I absolutely adore my dog, but she has a very ~active~ mind and might chew a table leg off if there’s nothing to do. Boredom is the enemy, and we will leave no dog behind when one of us—*ahem* me—is lacking a bit of playtime energy. A good chew should last longer than 30 seconds, taste great, and lack the calories of so many treats.
There’s also something each of us (yes, me and my dog) agree on: ALWAYS supervise the fun–when some large chews get down to a not-so-manageable size, the last thing I want is for her to accidentally choke or end up swallowing it and have it cause issues. Safety comes first, and chances are your dog will go bonkers for any of these 6 durable chews:
Best For Most Pups:
BRAIDED BULLY/PIZZLE STICKS
Chances are you’re at least a little familiar with this one, and I won’t deny that with some dogs an ordinary bully stick might not last super long. That’s why I highly highly recommend the next best thing—three bully sticks braided together into one monster of a good time.
In theory, this bad boy will last three times as long, and the ones I’ve linked to below are low odor, free of preservatives, hormones, or other additives, and are (like all bully sticks) a fantastic source of protein.
WHY WE LOVE IT:
- – Stink free!
- – Longer lasting than ordinary bully sticks
- – High protein, low calories
DEVOURED BY: Belle the Boston Terrier
BUY HERE, $29.95 (6” 6-pack)
Best For Pup Parents On A Budget:
BEEF TRACHEA CHEWS
Dogs like gross things—if you know what bully sticks are, then you understand. My pup LOVES beef trachea, and it’s a huge bonus that they’re chock full of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health. It will typically take her at least a half hour to get through one of these; they’ll last even longer if you smear a little peanut butter on the inside so they have to lick it off first.
On the stink front, I can confidently say I’ve never had a smelly trachea, though some do complain of an odor. They tend to be a little oily or waxy as a trade-off and might be best given on a kitchen floor or outside. I have never had issues with tracheas staining the carpet. Like many chews, these can also be treated as “dental chews” since they act like a very strange looking toothbrush.
WHY WE LOVE IT:
- – Contain glucosamine & chondroitin for joint health
- – Good source of protein
- – Tube-shaped, so they can be stuffed with other goodies
DEVOURED BY: Cosmo the Boxer
BUY HERE, $12.95 (6” 3-pack)
Best For Dogs Watching Their Weight
Attention! These are not edible—I repeat, Benebones are made of crazy-strong nylon and flavored with food-grade bacon, peanut butter, and rotisserie chicken. While these super tough “chews” are meant to be chewed and not swallowed, the dogs in my family go absolutely NUTS for them. And, get this—they’re still around for WEEKS intact. Plus, no calories.
The wishbone-shaped option is designed specifically for a secure grip by paws, and the dental chew version is grooved and double-ended for the ultimate cleaning sesh. Both are available in Mini and Regular sizes with the former also sold in Jumbo form. As with any snack or toy, be sure to remove this from your dog if he appears to be ingesting it or if it’s ready for a replacement.
WHY WE LOVE IT:
- – Sticks around much longer than an edible chew
- – Comes in various sizes
- – Different flavor options
DEVOURED BY: Zia the Boxer Mix
BUY HERE, $9.65–17.41 (Mini–Jumbo)
Other Chews We Love
Water Buffalo Horns
Like antlers and other bone-type chews, buffalo horns are low in calories, high in protein, and last quite a long time. Luckily, unlike cooked bones (which I would never recommend giving to your dog, no exceptions), these will not splinter as they’re chewed.
Another awesome benefit—there’s no odor! I’ve never experienced carpet staining or any issues with water buffalo horns, and they stay “alive” in our house for weeks to months on end. As always, never leave your dog alone with any kind of treat or chew.
BUY HERE, $19.95 (2-pack)
Yak milk, cow milk, salt, and lime juice are the only ingredients in these ancient himalayan snacks. They wear down over time as your dog gnaws and are good for keeping plaque at bay, though when they get small enough (down to an inch or so) you’ll want to take them away. Don’t throw it in the trash just yet though! If you pop the little piece in your microwave for about 30 seconds it will puff up like a piece of popcorn and come out nice and crunchy. It will be hot, so don’t give it to your dog right away; once it cools they should be able to munch it like a regular treat.
BUY HERE, $10.41 (3.5oz 3–4-pack)
Raw Beef Marrow Bones
These are a tad difficult to ship due to their frozenness and rawness, but any local pet supply store should have a freezer stocked with vacuum-sealed marrow bones. My personal pick is the beef marrow bone from Primal Pet Foods. For a dog new to raw snacks, I would limit them to one bone per week, though Primal advises that you can offer up to two.
These raw bones are NOT meant to disappear, meaning once your dog scrapes out all the marrow and any leftover meat left on the bone, discard the bone itself. Unlike a “stuffed” bone from the pet store, you won’t want to leave a raw one lying around too long after the fact. Out of anything and everything, my pup would do backflips for these.
BUY HERE: Check out your local pet supply store or call ahead to see if they have their freezers stocked!
Now you can take a deep breath and catch up on that Netflix show you’ve been meaning to watch, and won’t have an eager nose poking you in the leg to play. An occupied dog is most definitely a happy one—go forth and chews your chew!
Featured Image via @lolabarksdale/Instagram