Rawhides are probably the worst type of chew to give your dog. They contain toxic chemicals that can cause long-term gastrointestinal issues. Fortunately, if your dog loves rawhides, there are plenty of healthy alternatives! From Himalayan chews, to bully sticks, and more, we’re reviewing the most popular chews out there to help your dog develop healthy chewing habits.
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As most pup parents know, raw hides are widely controversial in the dog chew world. Made from the hide of cow or horses, they can contain chemicals and other unwanted preservatives. While they do have some positive aspects, they don’t outweigh the cons in our opinion. Like most chews, rawhides help to remove tartar and plaque from your dog’s teeth; they also prevent them from chewing up household items. Unfortunately, raw hides can expand in your dog’s stomach causing painful blockages in their intestines leading to both immediate and long-term gastrointestinal issues. Some rawhides are also made from toxic chemicals. When made, a chemical is used to remove the cow’s skin from the hide, and this can be left on the rawhides made for pups.
Himalayan dog chews are a great alternative to raw hides. They have a similar taste, and texture. Many pup parents like rawhides because they’re crunchy, making them great for your dog’s teeth. Of course, the health benefits don’t outweigh the harmful side affects. Fortunately, Himalayan chews are great for your dog’s teeth, without the chemicals. They’re easy to digest, tasty, and won’t leave a mess all over your carpet.
Himalayan dog chews are made from boiling cow and yak milk and letting it dry until it becomes a hard chew. They’re an extremely long lasting chew, gluten-free, and easy to digest. While most dogs have a hard time digesting milk, it’s actually healthy for pups once it becomes cheese. Himalayan chews are only made from 4 all-natural ingredients; yak milk, cow milk, lime juice, and salt. Fortunately, this means that they’re very high in protein and easier to digest than most chews. You can typically expect them to last several hours if your dog is continuously chewing on it.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of variation between brands with regards to size and durability. Some chews are much harder than others and may weigh more leading to a longer chewing experience for your dog. It’s also important to note that Himalayan chews are typically high in calorie (around 400 calories per stick).
When the chew becomes too small for your pup to safely chew on, you can throw the small pieces in the microwave for about 45 seconds. They will bubble up and become crunchy and puffy. They’ll also become large enough for your dog to chew on without creating a choking hazard.
The Himalayan Dog Chew brand sells a variety of Himalayan chews making it easy to find one to suit your dog’s specific needs. They’re available from sizes small all the way up to extra large. The small bag contains 3 chews weighing 3.5 ounces altogether, and approximately 7 inches long, these are great for smaller breeds under 15 lbs such as chihuahuas. The medium contains one 2.5 ounce piece that is almost 6 inches long; the medium is ideal for medium sized breeds 15-35 lbs. The larger bag contains one 3.5 ounce piece made for dogs up to 55lbs, and the extra large contains one 6 ounce piece ideal for any dog larger than 55lbs.
In general, Himalayan chews tend to be more expensive than other types of chews, this brand is no exception. Your dog will most likely love the taste and texture, as it is chewy, natural, and slowly melts as they chew on it. However, for most dog parents, the price doesn’t justify purchasing these for more than special occasions.
bully sticks & treats
Bully sticks are a great alternative to highly processed chews because they’re single-ingredient and highly digestible. Made from beef pizzle, they’re hard enough to remove plaque from your dog’s teeth, but typically not hard enough to crack a tooth. They also have a very long shelf life of several years (if you can make them last that long). Not only are they delicious for your dog, they’re full of amino acids, high in protein, and typically great for dogs with food allergies. We love bully sticks because they’re a great chew for nearly any dog. Even puppies can have them, as long as they’re able to eat solid food by themselves. The only thing to be cautious about is quantity; because of their high protein content, feeding your dog more than one a day can lead to stomach upset or diarrhea.
our pick - nature gnaws
Nature Gnaws are one of the healthiest bully sticks you can purchase for your pooch. The beef used to make Natural Gnaws comes from only grass fed, free range cattle. They don’t have any added hormones, making them completely healthy for dogs of all ages. The actual sticks are processed in a USDA approved facility that’s both clean and sterile. These all natural chews are a great alternative to rawhides; no chemicals, preservatives, and they’re easy to digest!
These sticks are 100% digestible, and have a great beefy smell and taste that your dogs will love. They come in a convenient resealable package, so simply throw your pup a stick once a day as either a dental chew or a treat.
treat pick - chew-a-bulls
If you’re looking for something with a little more taste and calorie content, check out these fun bully treats! Red Barn’s chew-a-bulls are one of their delicious treats made right here in the USA. Chew-A-Bulls are made with a unique blend of ingredients to create the perfect high-protein dental treat for dogs. They have all of the benefits of a bully stick, and a dental treat. All of Red Barn’s Chew-A-Bulls are made with beef pizzle, potatoes, and a delicious coating. Chew-A-Bulls are great for dogs on special diets as they’re free from grains, corn, soy, and gluten.
They contain ground 100% all-natural bully sticks, as well as chicken cartilage; great for your dog’s joints, skin, and fur. Red Barn’s Chew-A-Bulls have a very unique texture because they’re made from ground bully sticks, rather than just a simple bully stick. This makes them great for your dog’s dental health. They will easily scrape off any plaque and tartar buildup leaving your dog with fresh, healthy breath and gums. They have a crunchy texture at first, and then become chewy as your dog begins chewing. The Chew-A-Bulls will sooth their gums and have your dog’s mouth feeling great.
Beef trachea is another great alternative to rawhide. Tracheas are great because they’re single ingredient, all-natural, and free from additives or preservatives. If you’ve ever tried trachea before, you also know that they’re not flattened in production, so you can fill the hollow center with any of your dog’s favorite treats! Your dog will love the unique shape and texture, and the crunchiness will clean their teeth as they chew.
You’ll be happy to hear that beef trachea is low-fat, high protein, and is a great source of chondroitin, which is great for your dog’s joints. Especially if you have an older pup, this is the perfect substitute for raw hide.
These Smokehouse Toobles are about 4-5 inches long, making them perfect for dogs of just about any size. They have a great crunchy texture and beefy taste that your pup will flip for. You can purchase a box of 25 toobles right from Amazon, which should last you and your pups at least a month! They’re healthy, crunchy, and full of flavor.
If your dog loves rawhides, they’ll definitely enjoy Smartbones. They’re a near perfect substitute for rawhide, without all of the toxic chemicals and artificial preservatives. Smartbones are made with vegetables and chicken, making them 99% digestible, and full of filling ingredients. They look almost exactly like Rawhides, and have a very similar texture. The crunchy exterior will help scrape plaque and tartar from your pup’s teeth, while the vitamins and minerals found in the ingredients will benefit their all-around health.
These Rawhides are available in 3 sizes, making them perfect for any breed. Both our chihuahua and our border collie flip for these treats. They take a while to eat, so your pup will be distracted for some time. They contain ingredients such as sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, Vitamin E, and peanut butter! Even the pickiest pups will be good for these treats.
Cow ears may look a bit gross, but your dog will love them! They have a great taste and texture that will get your pup excited. Cow ears are a natural chew that dogs love. Just like pig ears, they’re made without preservatives or chemicals and are easy to digest for most dogs. Unlike pig ears, they’re low in fat, usually only containing about 2% fat. Just like any other chew, their crunchy texture and hardness make them great for dental hygiene. They gently scrape off built-up tartar and plaque, while simultaneously keeping your dog occupied with a healthy treat. They’re also a great alternative to typical chew treats because they’re very low calorie, with a taste dogs love. You can even buy low calorie flavored cow ears if you have a really picky pup.
Our pick comes from Best Bully Sticks. They’re a trusted brand that makes everything from bully sticks to quality treats. Best Bully Sticks makes high-quality cow ears (and don’t charge an arm and a leg). The cows used for their packages are grass-fed and free-range Brazilian cattle, and they don’t use any chemicals in the preservation process. Our pick is a 12-ounce package of 12 cow ears, that are 72% protein and only 2% fat. Unfortunately, just like the pig ears, cow ears also have a less than ideal smell, which can be minimized with the resealable bag. The cow ears made by Best Bully Sticks are also typically thicker and tougher than typical cow ears, which is something to consider, especially if you have a smaller dog.