Rawhide has long been a favorite chew among dogs of all breeds. Their artificial flavor and the fact dogs can chew on them for hours are the main reasons. Owners also like rawhides – they are much more inexpensive than other puppy chews.
However, as universally popular as rawhide chews are, they suffer from one fatal flaw: They aren’t safe for your dog. They pose a massive risk of choking. And if your dog swallows it, the rawhide can get stuck in their digestive tract, putting their life at risk. They are also packed with chemicals from the bleaching and process they go through before ending up on the shelves.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll outline the best rawhide alternatives that are safe for your dog and don’t contain unnecessary chemicals, additives, or fillers.
Our Top Pick
Moose Antlers from Allagash Antlers in Maine. Their all-natural products are sustainably sourced in the wild and all processing in completed right here in the US.
Why Trust Allagash Antlers?
Allagash Antlers is based in a small town in northern Maine called Fort Kent. Each year they scour the famous northern woodlands of Maine with their trained antler-finding dogs Tripper (Black lab) and Finley (Australian Shepherd).
Once they find the antlers, they cut, process, sand, and inspect each and every piece to ensure quality and consistency. While they sell various types of moose antlers, moose paddles are their best-sellers.
Our Moose Antler Chews
Here is what distinguishes their moose antler dog chews:
- 100% Natural – Their moose antler chews are as natural as they come. They contain zero preservatives, additives, or chemicals.
- Cruelty-Free – Antlers are shed and regrown each year. The entire process is natural and has zero human involvement.
- Packed with minerals – Moose antlers are chock full of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and zinc. This makes them an incredibly nutritious chew choice.
- All types of antlers – Go for antler paddles if you have a moderate chewer at home. Tines and bases suit aggressive and super-aggressive breeds, respectively.
- Splinter-proof – Their antlers aren’t brittle and contain no sharp edges. Your dog can gnaw on them for hours and enjoy mouthfuls of delicious marrow.
- Affordably priced – We’re aware that not all dog owners have deep pockets. That is why all their antlers come at a pocket-friendly price!
Best Rawhide Alternatives
Now that you’re aware that rawhide isn’t the best chew choice for your furry friend, let’s take a look at the best rawhide alternatives.
Moose and elk antlers are by far the best rawhide alternatives for your dog. They are chock full of essential nutrients like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and zinc to boost health. At the same time, antlers keep your dog’s teeth fresh and clean.
Many animals in the wild chew antlers because they have the innate ability to sense the nutrient dense marrow contained within. Dogs have been chewing antlers since before they were domesticated.
Best of all, antlers are sturdy enough to withstand the pressure applied by the biggest breeds without breaking down. And while their upfront cost is higher than a rawhide, they will last much longer.
Tendons are a type of connective tissue that links the muscle to the bone. They wouldn’t be able to do what they do if they weren’t incredibly strong. So strong, in fact, that your dog can chew on tendons for days without compromising their integrity.
Beef tendons are popular chew choices because they are nutritious, contain low fat, and provide days of chewing time. Best of all, they contain chondroitin and glucosamine, natural chemicals that help improve your dog’s joint health.
3) Lamb Horn
Is your dog on a restrictive diet? If so, this rawhide alternative might be an excellent choice. Lamb horns contain significant amounts of bone and keratin, both brilliant sources of protein. They also perform a fine job of removing plaque build-up from your dog’s teeth.
That said, lamb horns aren’t as long-lasting as other rawhide alternatives. That is because they are just a bone covered by a sheath, meaning they are naturally thin. Think of them as an occasional treat and not a regular rawhide alternative.
4) Bully Sticks
Bully sticks are everything rawhide isn’t. They are highly digestible for dogs and pose zero risk of intestinal blockage. Even if your dog swallows a bully stick, it will pass through its system as if it were food, before being broken down by the dog’s stomach.
Bully sticks come in different shapes, thicknesses, and lengths to suit every breed’s chewing style. Also, since they soften with time, bully sticks come in handy to remove bacteria that hide at the gum line and in the back of your dog’s mouth.
5) Cow Ears
Cow ears are another safe rawhide alternative. Especially for smaller breeds whose teeth aren’t super-strong to cut through cow ears. Still, even if you have a bigger breed at home, a cow ear would still stand up long enough to remove plaque from its teeth.
Another amazing thing about cow ears is that they are low in calories, meaning they won’t contribute to unnecessary weight gain. Also, since they are softer than rawhide, cow ears are less likely to cause mouth damage and broken teeth.
6) Raw Bones
Keep these things in mind while selecting raw bones as chews for your dog. Make sure to opt for a femur or hip bone from large animals like bison and cows. They are choke-full of nutritious marrow and are strong enough to last for days and days.
Don’t go near cooked bones – they can perforate or splinter your dog’s intestines or stomach, causing serious injury or death. Also, as your dog is chewing on an uncooked bone, don’t forget to place a towel under them. This chew can make things messy.
So, there you have it. These are the 6 best rawhide alternatives that we have found. We appreciate you taking the time to read our article here on The Pet Blog Lady and as always, we look forward to hearing what you think about the article in the comments below!