I cringe when I think there was I time when I gave my dog’s rawhide. That was many, many years ago and long before I really knew what was good, bad, safe and unsafe.
For those who may not know, I have a pretty busy page on my main website where other dog owners frequent to read and share stories/opinions about rawhide.
The stories are quite scary and I recommend checking them out if you have a little time to sit down and read through the testimonials and horror stories from many other dog owners. I guarantee that you’ll NEVER even consider feeding it again.
Most dog owners want their dog to be happy. This includes good food, exercise, play time and entertainment which is where the dog chews come in. Many dog owners lean towards rawhide for entertainment purposes simply because of how long it lasts. Unfortunately, it’s not a healthy entertainment choice for dogs.
I often coach dog owners on how to implement a healthy diet for their dog. What’s funny is that many dog owners struggle with the dog treat issue. It’s almost harder for the owner to give it up than it is for the dog!
Safe Alternatives To Rawhide Dog Chews
Keep in mind that dogs don’t need to be kept busy every waking moment of the day. Dogs are usually pretty content when they are getting everything that they need as mentioned above. Exercise and a healthy natural dog food choice goes a long way. Dog chews and treats should be given sparingly, yet you want to make sure you are feeding healthy treat choices when you do.
Here’s some great alternatives to feeding rawhide:
- Deer antlers are my favorite alternative. They are very hard like a bone and they are 100% calcium. They last a long, long time. They’re not like rawhide, but more like a bone, but even safer since they aren’t actually a bone. Depending where you buy them, they can be expensive, but Amazon sells them pretty reasonably.
- Bully Sticks are another excellent choice, but I should probably let you know that they are actually “bull penises”. Don’t get too grossed out; it’s a muscle and it’s also low fat! No hide involved. Most dogs absolutely LOVE them and they are long lasting. They entertain my dog’s for approximately 10 minutes which is good. If you can; purchase treats made in the USA, but I have to warn you that they are more expensive.
- Tripe Sticks are another great treat and alternative to rawhide. They too are low fat which is excellent! Although they don’t last as long as bully sticks, their still a super option. Dogs LOVE, LOVE, LOVE tripe! Tripe dog chews usually come in springs and sticks. Green tripe sticks are very healthy and include all the original fatty acids, but they are VERY stinky. It’s a great treat for out doors or in an area where you can put a big towel down and not have to worry about it. The picture above is tripe springs which are not the same as green tripe sticks.
I typically give my dogs bully sticks, but if for some reason I can’t get them, then I give them tripe springs. I’m not feeding them the treat for any nutritional value; it’s just really to give them something they like to chew on. They last maybe 5 minutes if that, depending how your dog chews; not as long as bully sticks, but long enough.
I used to recommend sweet potato chews, but I learned that they were coming from China, so I stopped recommending them. If you can find the sweet potato chews made here in the U.S., then go for it. But, look at the fine print on both sides of the packaging. Depending on the brand and thickness, they last a couple of minutes. Again, not as long as bully sticks, but a nice healthy alternative as well. If possible, make your own.
When Lulu was alive she not only had liver disease, but was also in cancer remission. The above treats were recommended by her nutritionist.
Outside of all natural baked snacks, my dog’s only chew on deer antlers regularly. That’s it!