Any dog parent will tell you that sometimes our furry little friends simply have to chew on something. When this happens, it is highly recommended that you offer them a safe and natural alternative to the more dangerous objects they might target. Fortunately, natural dog chews are here to help!
Whether they're teething, scratching an itch in the gums, or simply strengthening their teeth, chewing is as natural as breathing when it comes to dogs. Because every dog has their own unique preferences and needs, you'll need to figure out which chews will be perfect for your pup.
What Are Natural Dog Chews?
Natural dog chews typically contain meat that has been enriched with oils, nutrients, and vitamins. Healthy and delicious natural additives like peanut butter are also often used. A natural chew should be large and durable enough to keep your canine companion busy chewing for a while.
Examples of Natural Dog Chews:
- Naturally Shed Antlers: Naturally shed antlers from wild elk. Made for dogs who want to celebrate having caught a wild animal all by themselves without actually doing that.
- Beef Rawhide Chews for Dogs: Classic long-lasting and tasty treats that feature braids, barbells, and filled rawhide chews.
- Beef Chews: Cow hooves, bull horns, and bully sticks.
- Pork Chews: Pig ears, pig snouts, and braided pig pizzle.
- Bully Coated Dog Chews: Bully coated in the same deliciousness as a classic bully stick.
- Cow Hooves: Non-staining, non-greasy, extra-delicious, and all-natural.
- Stuffed & Filled Dog Chews: Dog chews filled with bacon, cheese, ham, and even peanut butter and jelly.
Are Natural Dog Chews Safe for Dogs?
Natural dog treats are generally well tested and positively received by dogs of all shapes and sizes around the world! Though, all chews could be a potential choking hazard, so puppy parents should always remember to monitor their furry babies while enjoying them.
Though natural dog chews can potentially be a wonderful treat that comes with several natural benefits for your pup, they are not without their drawbacks. For more on the risks of providing your dog with natural chews, continue reading below!
Risks of Using Natural Dog Chews
When it comes to our dogs, chewing is important for their health and happiness. But it is equally as important to recognize the potential dangers that may come with giving your dog a natural chew. While some chews are generally safer than others, dog parents mustn't forget that all chews have inherent risks.
Anytime your puppy chomps, there's a risk that they may swallow broken-off pieces or even the entire chew by accident. Similar to CPR, learning the Heimlich maneuver for dogs is never a bad idea for puppy parents. To avoid needing to execute the Heimlich on your sweet pup, be sure to remove any pieces of their chews that you think your dog would have difficulty chewing or swallowing.
A chew that's too tough or a chewer that's too eager can lead to severe tooth damage, including painful cracks and possibly an entire break. A broken tooth is not only painful for your pup but painful for your wallet as well, as trips to the doggy dentist aren't cheap. So make sure that your dog is careful enough to avoid hurting itself and your bank account!
Your pup can receive cuts on the gums, lips, and tongue if their chew has a rough surface or sharpened edges. If this is an issue, chop the chews into more manageable pieces or consider buying a softer product.
Ingested chews may cause some tummy troubles for your pooch, especially if it has food sensitivities. Chews that have a lot of oil in them can also cause stomach problems for some dogs. Even chews that your pup can safely digest might cause digestive issues if given in excessive quantities.
As your dog slobbers and chews on its food, bacteria will naturally spread across it. If bits of the chew or the saliva spread across the house, it can become a bacterial time-bomb for you and your pup. Odor is not the only concern here, but sickness as well.
You can prevent bacteria from growing and spreading by feeding your dog in one area. Eventually, the dog will know to keep its food in one spot rather than take it around the house. This will make it much easier to clean up its slobber!
What Are the Benefits of Natural Dog Chews?
Many of the natural chews that are available today offer essential nutrients, meaning that supplementing your dog's diet with natural chews can potentially be beneficial for them in the long run. Although, no chew will be able to replace a balanced and complete diet.
Still, many different types of chews may potentially provide additional nutrients to support your pup's needs, as natural chews are generally low in fat and high in protein. Below we have provided a few of the most widely recognized benefits attached to natural dog chews.
Chewing is how wolves and wild dogs care for their teeth. Gnawing on tendons, raw meat, and bones helped to maintain their dental health. But when it comes to domesticated dogs, lifestyle, diet, and environment all contribute to their greater dental care needs.
While chewing may have many dental benefits, caring for your dog's teeth can get a tad more complicated, as they require a more human-like approach to dental care: toothbrushing. Although you can't care for your pup's teeth solely by providing them with natural chews, offering a natural and safe chew is an excellent complement to a complete dental routine.
Today, many dogs are less than thrilled about their weekly war with the toothbrush. This is why natural chews are such a desirable option for dog parents all over the world. Natural chews are healthy, safe, and delicious, and your canine pal will almost always welcome them. Although not all chews are right for every dog, certain chews carry more risk than others (more on that in the section below).
Idle paws are the devil's playthings (in this case, "idle jaws" may be more appropriate). When it comes to puppies, especially puppies on the younger side, boredom can often lead to destructive behaviors. Digging, destroying furniture, poor eating habits, and aggression can all result from a dog being under-stimulated.
Busy dog parents may benefit from finding a long-lasting chew to entertain your dog while you tend to your human business. Though buyers beware, even the highest quality chew may not take up 100% of their spare time. Still, it should give them an activity to focus on for a short time as you finish your aforementioned human business.
Dog parents must remember that natural chews are not a good replacement for one-on-one attention or regular exercise. We recommend that you always monitor your dog when it's chewing to prevent the risk of choking or obstruction. Even experienced chewers (adult dogs) can accidentally swallow a chew whole.
Many chews provide essential nutrients such as fat, protein, and minerals. Supplementing your dog's diet with natural chews can be quite beneficial, as these natural chews can add calories to a puppy's diet or help a senior dog build and maintain muscle.
Other nutrients like phosphorus and calcium are sourced from bones and bone marrow. Bones are an exceedingly popular option, as they are long-lasting and carry lots of generally unrecognized nutritional value.
Dog parents should keep in mind that treats should not make up more than 10% of a dog's diet. In small quantities, the right kind of treats can easily complement a balanced diet and effectively promote your dog's overall health!
Hip and Joint Care
For larger dog breeds and canine companions getting on in years, hip and joint issues become increasingly likely. To reduce how severely your dog is affected by mobility problems, you can provide it with natural chews to support connective tissues and protect your dog's joints.
Over time your dog's natural collagen ( the main structural protein of the body's various connective tissues) will begin to weaken and deteriorate. Natural chews rich in collagen can help your old pup's body replenish vital connective tissues. This is because collagen is the primary component of ligaments, cartilage, and tendons.
A surplus of collagen won't entirely repair joint damage, but extra vigilant canine parents can use it to try and prevent issues from arising. Providing your dog with a collagen-rich chew at least once a week may help support their hips and joints as they grow and age.
Ingredients to Look for in Natural Dog Chews
The best ingredients are those that the are located as close as possible to the manufacturer. These locally sourced ingredients are significantly fresher than ingredients that require cross-country shipping, not to mention being much better for the environment, too.
When it comes to dog food, treats, and chews, every ingredient on the label should be easily recognizable. There should be little to no question concerning where it came from. For example, "animal fat" or "meat meal" could come from pretty much anywhere.
On the flip side, one look at the label should tell you that "chicken" comes from chickens, and you could probably guess that "chicken fat" does, too. Not being able to determine what species of animal a piece of meat or fat came from should be a red flag that it's not as healthy as it could be.
Organic ingredients are always good as they are less likely to contain added contaminants. Plus, they receive extra scrutiny from health inspectors. The more organic ingredients you're feeding your pup, the better. If a sweetener is used, it should be food-based and natural, and used in moderation. Foods like honey, molasses, or applesauce are much better for your dog's health than artificial sweeteners.
A bit of natural sweetening in a treat or chew is completely fine for your special pawed pal. While too much sweetener can quickly become unhealthy, a sweet treat every once in a while can be an excellent way to show your dog some extra love.
Related Post: Good & Bad Dog Food Ingredients: Knowing Is Caring
Ingredients to Avoid in Dog Chews
Unfortunately, there are some cheap treats out there made with potentially harmful, low-quality ingredients that aren't healthy for your dog. Knowing which ingredients to stay away from is just as important as knowing which ingredients to look for.
You can't trust the brand packaging itself, as pet food companies often employ dishonest tricks and marketing strategies to make their product appear better than it might be. Pretty packaging can be misleading, but the ingredient list on the back of most products will generally offer a more honest look at what you're feeding your sweet pup.
Dog owners that wish to guarantee their pet's well-being will stay on the lookout for these ingredients. Be sure to purchase dog food and treats that only contain ingredients that promote their health. When searching for dog food, treats, or natural chews, be sure to avoid the ingredients on the list below:
- Food dyes including Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and 4-MIE
- Propylene glycol (PG)
- Rendered fat
- Corn and wheat gluten
- Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
- Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
Which Natural Dog Chews Are Best?
The best chews for dogs are generally made from safe, all-natural ingredients that boost your pup's health. Here at Hollistapet, we make our products to be 100% Non-GMO and with no gluten or dairy.
Our three available CBD dog treats are made to support the heart & immune system, joint health & mobility, and stress & anxiety to keep your sweet pup well-balanced and healthy. Plus, we make all of our products completely vegan and organic to ensure that your four-legged friends are getting the most nutrition possible out of their treats.
We suggest avoiding chews made with lots of artificial ingredients and always consult your vet or another animal healthcare professional for guidance if you're unsure about how to proceed.
Final Thoughts - Natural Dog Chews
Chewing can be a healthy and positive outlet for your pet's energy that dog parents should gleefully encourage. Though, boundaries on chewing are a must, of course — you shouldn't have to sacrifice your favorite shoes, after all!
Providing your pup with dog-friendly chews can help fulfill this natural instinct and prevent the boredom that often leads to more mischievous canine behaviors.
Chewing is also an easy and fun way to keep your dog's gums and teeth free from bacterial buildup (in addition to a regular tooth brushing schedule). Pairing the best natural chews with high-quality canine toothpaste is the best method to keep your dog's teeth fresh, healthy, and clean!