Chewing is important for every dog as it prevents boredom and poor dental health. As you probably already know, there are a lot of different chews available for dogs, ranging from the relatively normal to the downright bizarre.
Rawhide is one of the most popular treats for dogs. This type of chew is durable and tasty, but there are a few risks associated with it. And unfortunately, the negatives outweigh the positives.
But donâ€™t worry, there are plenty of other chews you can feed your dog. In this article, Iâ€™ll be looking at a variety of rawhide-free long-lasting chews for your dog. Not only are these chews safer for your dog, but theyâ€™re healthier too!
Are Rawhide or Beefhide Chews Good for Dogs?
Providing your dog with chews is important as it provides them with mental stimulation and keeps their jaws strong. Rawhide or beefhide can be decent chews for dogs as theyâ€™re relatively long-lasting, so they will keep your dog occupied for quite some time.
Chewing regularly can also prevent tartar or plaque build-up on your poochâ€™s teeth, which helps reduce bad breath. As rawhide is quite hard, the scraping motion when your dog chews on it is advantageous for their dental health.
Are Rawhide Chews Bad For Dogs?
While rawhide can have some benefits and is universally loved by most dogs, there are a few risks you need to be aware of with this type of chew. Letâ€™s take a look at some of the main reasons why rawhide is bad for dogs.
Choking or Blockages
Rawhide chews can be a possible choking and blockage risk. If your dog eats large amounts of rawhide, it can get lodged inside their esophagus or digestive tract. This is incredibly dangerous and will require a visit to a veterinarian.
A vet might be able to remove the piece of rawhide through your dogâ€™s throat, but this depends on the size of the rawhide and where itâ€™s located. In extreme cases, abdominal surgery might be necessary.
Dogs can experience digestive issues after eating rawhide, particularly if they have a sensitive stomach or are allergic to rawhide and other ingredients used in the chew. These problems often include diarrhea, vomiting, and flatulence.
Rawhide chews can contain small quantities of toxic chemicals, as well as Salmonella and E. coli. In fact, even humans can be at risk of contracting these bacterias from rawhide chews.
In the video below Dr. Campbell provides useful info about safe and dangerous treats for dogs. If you want to know why rawhide is a dangerous treat for dogs, watch his explanation below.
Is Beefhide Safer Than Rawhide?
If youâ€™re not already aware, beefhide and rawhide are not the same. Rawhide chews are made using any bovine livestock, while beefhide chews are made solely from cows.
Despite being created from different sources, both rawhide and beefhide have the same risks.
Rawhide Alternatives for Large Dogs
When you own a large dog, you might wonder â€œwhat can I feed my dog instead of rawhide?â€. While some store-bought chews might be a little too small for your large pooch, there are a few types of long-lasting chews you can offer your large dog.
Antlers for dogs come from a variety of animals such as moose, elk, and deer. They are extremely durable and tough but often lack flavor.
2. Bully Sticks
Bully sticks are made from just one ingredient: beef muscle. Theyâ€™re extremely high in protein and are usually easy to digest. However, they can have a strong smell.
3. Himalayan Chews
Himalayan chews are made from very hard cheese, so they last a relatively long time. This type of chew is natural and nutritious, as well as low in odor.
DIY Rawhide Alternative Chews
If youâ€™re looking for DIY rawhide alternative chews, then dried sweet potato chews, jerky, and carrots are all excellent choices. Carrots can be fed raw, making them a quick and easy snack for your dog thatâ€™s packed with nutrients.
Dried sweet potatoes and jerky require a little more preparation but are also fairly simple to make.
Dried Sweet Potatoes
- Wash the sweet potatoes under running water and dry them.
- Cut the potatoes into thin pieces (donâ€™t peel them!) around Â¼ inch thick.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the potatoes onto it. Donâ€™t overlap the potatoes, otherwise, they wonâ€™t cook evenly.
- Set your oven to 250Â°F and put the potatoes in.
- Bake for 3 hours or until the potatoes have dried and shriveled up.
- Remove the potatoes from the oven and cool them completely.
Cut of Meat (any of your choice)
- Slice the meat into â…› inch thick pieces. Make them as thin and long as possible as jerky shrinks a lot during the cooking process.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the meat pieces onto it.
- Set your oven to 200Â°F and put the meat slices in.
- Bake for 3 hours and check to see how dehydrated the meat slices are. If the meat isnâ€™t dry enough, then bake them for an additional hour. If you want chewier dog jerky, then cook for less time (or the opposite for crunchier jerky!)
- Once youâ€™re satisfied with the texture of the meat slices, remove them from the oven and let them cool completely.
Safe Alternatives to Rawhide Chews
These long-lasting chews made from vegetables and real chicken are a fantastic option for your dog as they contain wholesome and easy-to-digest ingredients. They consist of a vegetable exterior thatâ€™s wrapped around real chicken and sweet potato.
Not only are these treats a more healthy alternative to rawhide chews, but theyâ€™re also beneficial for your dogâ€™s digestive system and teeth. The only downside of the treats is that they are not as durable as some other chews.
- Easy to digest
- Beneficial for digestive health
- Good for dental health
- Not as long-lasting as some other hard chews
If you need soft and chewy treats for your dog, these rawhide free dog chews made in USA from Simply Nourish are a good pick. They contain real chicken and bacon to make them natural and flavorful.
Resealable bags are included with the chews so you can store them easily once the package is opened. These chews are ideal if you need tasty but soft treats for your dog, but they might be devoured pretty quickly due to their crumbly texture.
- Made from real bacon and cheese
- Comes with resealable bags
- Might not be as long-lasting as some other chews
Containing just one ingredient, Honest Kitchenâ€™s grain-free rawhide replacement chews are high in protein but low in calories. They consist of wild-caught haddock skin which is loaded with omega-3.
If your dog has food allergies or sensitivities, then these fish chews are an excellent option as theyâ€™re made with a single ingredient. This makes them less likely to trigger a reaction than some other chews.
However, these chews can have quite a pungent odor, which might be off putting to some dogs.
- Contains just one ingredient
- Packed with omega-3
- Ideal for dogs with food sensitivities
- Pungent odor
If you own a dog who loves to chew, then Benebone dog chew toys for aggressive chewers are definitely worth considering. Theyâ€™re fused with real peanuts to make for an irresistible flavor and scent.
The chew features a dog-friendly design so your pooch can easily get their paws and mouth around it. If youâ€™re looking for non rawhide bones for puppies, Beneboneâ€™s toys are ideal as they are long-lasting and robust.
Bear in mind that this chew is not edible, so you need to supervise your dog when they are playing with it. Additionally, the toy can get quite sharp once it has been chewed on. Make sure you check the chew frequently for signs of damage.
- Fused with real peanut
- Dog-friendly design
- Not edible
- Can develop jagged edges
Although rawhide is a common chew for dogs, itâ€™s not the best option as there are too many risks associated with feeding it. Fortunately, there are plenty of rawhide-free chews you can offer your dog instead. The chews listed above are all solid choices for your pup as theyâ€™re much safer and healthier than rawhide.