Dogs are born with a strong instinct to chew, so it’s vital that we provide them with safe, healthy options to do so. Not only does controlled chewing keep energetic dogs away from our favorite pair of shoes, but it also helps them burn off energy and enjoy a little mental stimulation.
What’s Wrong with Rawhide?
In the past, rawhide bones — dog treats made from the hides of animals, typically cows — were the go-to for pet owners looking to help their dogs release some energy and chew safely. However, veterinary experts have begun to warn against rawhides because they can cause choking and intestinal blockage, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). These are both serious emergencies that could be life-threatening to your dog.
Rawhide Alternatives to Try
We all want to entertain our furry family members and keep them happy, but not if it puts them in danger. Luckily, there’s a wide variety of safe dog chews that can serve as an excellent stand-in to rawhide. Here are our favorites. Be sure to try all of these options to find a style that’s suitable to your dog’s palate and chewing style.
- Bully Sticks — We always recommendbully sticks for dogs who love to chew. These easy-to-digest, single-ingredient treats are made from the pizzle (penis) of the bull. The AKC and other organizations recommend bully sticks over rawhides and other treats because not only are they safe and healthy, but they’re also great at cleaning your dog’s teeth.
- Collagen Sticks — Collagen chews are dog treats made from all-natural, highly digestible beef.. They are packed with collagen, which can promote healthy bones, skin, fur, muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and nail growth. Similar to bully sticks, these chews are made from a single ingredient (beef) and provide a gentle, mechanical scraping action for healthier teeth.
- Trachea Chews — Also referred to as “moo tubes” or “windies,” trachea chews are hollow tubes made from the trachea of the cow. They’re highly digestible and can easily be filled with your dog’s favorite treats. The best part about these chews is that they’re an excellent source of chondroitin, a naturally-occurring substance in the body that’s useful for older and achy dogs. This substance can help your dog by preventing deterioration of the cartilage, which causes joint pain.