Dogs love to chew…but did you know chewing is an instinct our furry friends have indulged for millenniums? Just like their ancestors, modern canines especially enjoy gnawing on chews from nature—including rawhide!
Rawhide can be an extremely gratifying way to satisfy your dog’s urge to chew, and it’s one of many long-lasting, natural chews that pups love. Whether you want to add some variety to your dog’s chews or provide them an option that’s even easier to digest, we rounded up the best rawhide alternatives in a wide range of flavors, textures, and shapes. Although rawhide and these alternatives are considered digestible, it’s always recommended to watch your dog as they chew to ensure they don’t eat pieces too large to swallow safely.
You read that right...these chews are designed to look, feel, and taste like the real thing, but are 100% hide-free. Most options are highly digestible, and they also offer many of the same benefits as rawhide, such as long-lasting enjoyment and scrumptious flavor.
Everybody loves the classics! Bully sticks are made from 100% beef pizzle, offering the savory flavor dogs can’t resist. They are low in fat and high in protein, so you won’t feel guilty about treating your Cadet to one of these natural rewards. Bully sticks are also one of the longest-lasting and most highly digestible rawhide alternatives for dogs; keep that in mind the next time you want to give your pooch a fun chewing challenge.
Real animal bones are an even longer-lasting option, often delivering a natural flavor similar to rawhide. Rib bones, femur bones, and knuckle bones from cows are quintessential natural chews and can keep even the most powerful chewers’ attention for hours on end. For an extra-special treat, give your dog a stuffed shin bone with tasty filling such as bully stick or peanut butter flavor. Just be sure to stick with bones that are properly dried, which can help prevent splintering.
Another savory rawhide alternative dogs crave, beef esophagus contains glucosamine and chondroitin to help support hip and joint health. This highly digestible chew often comes as strips or sticks, which gives it a unique texture and makes for an excellent on-the-go reward. Plus, beef esophagus is high in protein, making it a wholesome option for surprising your pup on your next walk or dog hike!
Frozen Carrots or Bananas
Feeding dogs fruits and vegetables is an inexpensive and nutritious way to wow even the pickiest four-legged friends. You can chop a few pieces of carrot and banana and place them in the freezer for a simple yet long-lasting chew that provides important nutrients like fiber and potassium. Of course, be sure the pieces are chopped small enough to avoid choking hazards.
Pig Ears or Cow Ears
The idea of giving your four-legged friend ears to chew on may seem a little peculiar, but the truth is dogs love the way they taste. Pig ears are made of 100% real pork and cow ears are made of 100% beef, providing yet another superb single-ingredient chew to add to the mix. The cartilage in ears contains naturally occurring glucosamine and chondroitin—similar to beef esophagus—offering the same hip and joint benefits.
Related: Are Pig Ears Good for Dogs? 7 Reasons to Love ‘Em
Yak Cheese Chews
Their name may make them sound like a special snack for dogs with thick winter coats, however any pup can enjoy a tasty yak cheese chew. This safe cheese option for dogs contains yak’s milk and cow’s milk, and many varieties also include lime juice and salt for added taste. Dogs appreciate their cheesy flavor, and you will appreciate their low odor.
We bet you didn’t think of dog chew toys as a rawhide alternative! While they are not edible, chew toys can be exceptionally long lasting and come in many enticing flavors, fun shapes, and exciting textures. Some are even shaped like real animal bones or rawhide for a truly authentic experience. Ensure you pick the right size and material based on your dog’s weight and chew strength, and your pooch will be safely chewing away in no time!
Bonus: Digestible Rawhide
Did you know there are highly digestible rawhide bones you can give your furry friend? Our Smart Hide is made entirely of rawhide and features a patent-pending Easy-Digest Grid Design that strategically places holes throughout the beef hide. These holes help the chew soften faster and digest easier; in fact, these chews are more than 90% digestible!
The Choice Is Yours
There’s an array of rawhide alternatives for dogs to pick from! In addition to the benefits mentioned above, many of these long-lasting options help clean your Cadet’s teeth as they chew to promote a healthy (and happy!) smile.
Many pet parents have heard of rawhide, but not many know how it’s made. Learn everything you need to know about rawhide
and its abundance of benefits.