May 05, 2021 3 min read

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. 

Order Bully Sticks for Your Dog

  • 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. 

Dog with Rawhide Alternative dog treat

  • Gullet Chews— Gullet chews are made from the gullet or esophagus of the cow. Like trachea chews, these are a natural source of chondroitin. They also contain glucosamine, another natural compound that’s ideal for achy, elderly dogs. Glucosamine also helps promote the production of cartilage, which can in turn help reduce joint pain and discomfort. Glucosamine is a great supplement for both treating and preventing joint pain. Note that gullet treats are best for light chewers, as they are not as durable as other options.
  • Pig Ears— Provide a satisfying experience without the risk with cow and pig ears for dogs. These low-odor, natural treats contain no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives and will endlessly satisfy your four-legged friend. Both of these ear chews are great for medium-strength chewers, however larger dogs may enjoy our cow ears a bit longer, as they’re larger than our pig ears. 
  • Elk Antlers— Elk antler dog chews are becoming increasingly more popular, and it’s easy to see why. These single-ingredient natural chews come from a renewable resource — the antlers of elk which are naturally shed — and contain an array of vital nutrients. On top of that, antlers hold up a lot longer than most other types of chews, making them great for heavy chewers.

Rawhide Alternative dog treat

Try Elk Antlers for Dogs

As you can see, finding the right rawhide alternatives for your dog is all about sticking to long-lasting, single-ingredient treats that keep your dog  busy. Unlike rawhides, these treats are easy to digest and lessen the risk of choking and intestinal blockage. Best Bully Sticks is the best place to find nutrient-dense, high-quality rawhide alternatives. 

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