Healthy & Safe Dog Chews: 5 Natural Rawhide Alternatives For Dogs

Every pet owner considers giving their dog a rawhide, but did you know that such treats can be dangerous for your pet. Dogs do love the bones, and they can provide contentment for extended periods of time.

Dogs are amazing animals with unbounding loving and loyalty for their humans, but can at times get bored. Boredom can lead to destruction, so many pet parents choose rawhides for entertainment purposes. Here’s what you need to know about these “convenient” dog treats.

  • Rawhides are derived from the inner layer of horse or cow hides. In the process of making the treats, the hides are cleaned and then prepped in various forms. They may be ground or cut and then pressed into shapes. Some of the treats are made more appealing through additives of chicken, beef or liver flavors.
  • Yes, rawhides are beneficial to satisfy your dog’s natural instinct to chew. Chewing helps to relieve your pet’s anxiety while providing necessary stimulation. You have probably heard that these treats help with keeping the teeth clean, healthy and stronger, warding off bad breath and oral disease.
  • There are several risks correlated with rawhide chews and bones such as:
  • There may be some trace content of toxic chemicals and also carry contamination of Salmonella or E. coli.
  • Some dogs could have allergic reactions to substances used in the creation of these treats, leading to diarrhea.
  • Since rawhides are not digestible, there is a threat of choking or blockage. If your dog swallows a large piece of the treat, it may get stuck in the digestive tract and could lead to surgery. Without surgery, the result could be fatal.

Consider weighing the benefits versus the risks of providing rawhides to meet your dog’s chewing needs. Documented risks are minimal each year, considering the amount of these treats eaten by dogs on a regular basis. The safer option is to find healthy treat alternatives for your dog including natural dog chews.

Rawhide Alternatives

Frozen carrots are the best rawhide alternatives.

Now that you know more about rawhides, you may wonder what your options are in choosing a healthy alternative snack or chew for your dog. You must first analyze the chewer in your family. I have one who is a gulper and lucky you if you think you can get the bone away from him. Those tiny little “bat teeth” come out and he guards it with his life.

My larger dog is not one to share with her brother but would gladly and gently share with her humans. She is a moderate chewer. My daughter has a rescue Pittie who is very kind and loves to share, but when it comes to her bones, she needs something more substantial and nearly destructive. You alone know what type of chewer is in your family, and can determine the best healthy snack for that behavior. There is a range of options for almost every canine chewing pleasure. Some great choices are:

Bully Sticks

Bully sticks are said to be a great alternative to rawhide because they are healthier and digestible. However, not all bully sticks are the same. Healthy varieties contain no chemicals or preservatives. This variety is made from Free-range, grass-fed beef and turkey.

Raw Bones

These are tricky. You want to avoid the pet store verity as they are cooked and chip easily. The last thing you want is splinters in your dog’s digestive tract. Get your bones raw these being the top choices:

  • Duck
  • Lamb
  • Beef or Buffalo Knuckles

All of these are available at local butcher shops or organic markets. If you already have your dog on a raw food diet, then you can do your meat and bones shopping all at the same time.

Random Animal Parts

Some pet owners choose to give their canines deer antlers as a rawhide alternative, but there is a new product that claims to be even safer for your pet. The Healthy Edibles Antler dog treat is an antler and a good rawhide alternative for dogs. The snack is shaped like a deer antler with true venison flavor. There are no other colors, preservatives or chemicals added. Dogs love these easy-to-digest canine chews.

Fish Skin

You may want to try these new, natural, healthy dog treats made from fish skin and fish meat from Barkworthies. They are fully digestible and do not contain any chemicals, preservatives or additives.

But they can provide loads of glucosamine and chondroitin, along with a boost of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support your pet’s hip and joint issues. They are treats that have full health benefits.

Fruits & Vegetables

There are several healthy options found right in your own home, according to A-Z Vets, such as fruits and vegetables. Just make sure it’s all frozen otherwise it won’t be much of a chew.

Dogs love green beans, sugar snap peas, and carrots and you will make them fun and last by freezing them.

Most fruits are also a great option except for sultanas, raisins, and grapes which are all toxic for your pet.

Frozen fruits may include:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries

Mixed berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries in small sized portions once or twice a day are a great healthy option too.

Natural Chews Not To Give

There are many no-hide dog treats that are completely digestible but that doesn’t mean you should vie them to your dog. Many of them are either made from chickens with added chemicals, steroids or hormones or incase of fish skin, might be too fatty for your pupper to properly digest.

Make It Healthy

When considering the health of your dog, you choose the best in diet, physical activity, and a loving environment because your pet is family. Most of us who adore our animals, love to spoil them although many feel the way to show affection is through many treats and snacks. When you decided to provide your pet with a healthy diet, it is also vital to select some of the healthiest and safest snack alternatives.

People often use treats as a reward system for their pets, not realizing how the calories and fats add up throughout the day. As a dog owner of two small dogs, I often feel the urge to give them a treat throughout the day, but at the same time have concerns about their weight and overall wellbeing. You can provide your dog with healthy dog chews that are also a safer substitute than rawhides.

Another thing to remember is that quantity is not the answer. Your dog will be just as happy with half a treat rather than overindulging. In this case, “it is the thought that counts” and your dog appreciates any morsel with tail-wagging excitement. Spoiling your pet is never about quantity, but about providing healthy, safe dog chews to please your furry family member. I get the same affection and tail wags from my pups whether I give them a whole treat or just a morsel.

All Natural Is Best

After talking to a few veterinarians, I put together a list of vet-recommended dog treats and snacks found around the home, including oat cereal like cheerios, peanut butter (without added xylitol), baked sweet potato chips, and a small chunk of ear pigs meat.

You need to research dog treats extensively just as you would the food you provide. Read labels and choose treats with minimal ingredients.

Look for all natural dog chews when possible. Ensure your choices state there are no:

  • Chemicals
  • Preservatives
  • Additives
  • Colors or Dyes

Also, make sure the treats are digestible, and there is no chance for choking, not even a minimal chance. So many dogs succumb to choking hazards due to rawhides and other canine treats. However, even if a treat or snack promises to be safe, never give something to your pet while unattended.


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