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7 Best Dog Chews for Chomping in 2023

Dog chewing on a raw hide
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Dogs are known for chewing on things, but nobody wants their canine companion gnawing at their shoes or furniture. By giving your pet tasty dog chews, you can let him chomp away on something that’s safe – and not your favorite pair of sneakers. 

However, it’s important to do your research in order to select the highest-quality dog chew products for your pup.

Our Top Dog Chew Picks

Why Do Dogs Like to Chew?

There are many reasons why dogs like to chew. For puppies and adult dogs, this is typically pretty normal, but sometimes chewing can be the result of stress.

According to Dr. Nathalie Paiva, part of the emergency and critical care team at NorthStar VETS in New Jersey, “Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs. It serves many purposes, including checking out their environment, keeping their teeth clean, and enrichment (preventing boredom). Sometimes, dogs chew to help relieve pain or anxiety.”

A dog’s breed might also play a role. “I find that all high-energy breeds whose basic needs are not being met are more likely to need to chew, “ says Jeff Coltenback, a dog trainer and rescuer in North Carolina. “And working dogs [like Border Collies] that are stuck in a [standard] domestic environment without access to actual work will also be likely to need to chew. Of course, dogs are individuals and chewing may arise regardless of breed.”

Now that we know why dogs like to chew, let’s get into some of the best chews for them to sink their teeth into,

Our Selection Process

Dog and child laying on the bed

We based our selections on a variety of criteria, including:

Safety: As we discuss later on, dog chews can pose some dangers to your pup, either because of what’s in them or improper use, so we kept an eye out for any safety issues as we compiled our list.

Quality and Manufacturing Process: Since chews are meant to be, well, chewed by your dog, we paid close attention to the ingredients included in each selection, as well as how they were sourced and processed.

Customer Reviews: We love our pet parent community, and while each dog and situation is unique, gaining perspective from their experience was helpful in supporting the pros and cons of each dog chew choice on the list. 

Price: Though some of these dog chews will put a bit more of a dent in your wallet than others, it may be worth it if your dog really enjoys them. Either way, we called out the higher-priced picks along the way.

7 Best Dog Chews of 2023

Time to get chewing and dive into our favorite dog chews for our furry friends.

Best Overall Dog Chew

Our Pick: Canine Naturals Hide Free Chicken Recipe Rolls

Canine Naturals Chicken Recipe Chew

Canine Naturals produces natural dog chews, and none of them contain rawhide. We chose these chews as our best overall for a number of reasons. To start, they’re easily digestible and promote dental hygiene, and they don’t have any unnecessary ingredients or artificial colors or flavors. Plus, the chicken that’s used is antibiotic free and hormone free, and it’s sourced from the United States. And though we’re highlighting the chicken flavor here, there’s a variety of flavors to choose from, depending on your dog’s preference.   

Pros

  • Limited-ingredient recipe that includes USDA inspected chicken 
  • Palatable and digestible chews without artificial fillers, flavors, or colors
  • Help clean your dog’s teeth  
  • Rawhide and collagen free
  • Available in a variety of sizes, so you can select one based on your dog’s weight

Cons

  • Because they don’t contain rawhide, these chews may not last as long

Best Dog Dental Chew

Our Pick: Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews for Dogs

Virbac CET Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews for Dogs

Virbac sells various products for pet dental health, and these oral hygiene chews are formulated to help reduce plaque and tartar thanks to the Dual-Enzyme System and rough texture. As your pet chews on these treats, he’ll be working on cleaning his teeth and freshening his breath.

Pros

  • Freshen breath and reduce plaque and tartar 
  • Can be used along with brushing to help keep your dog’s teeth clean
  • Multiple sizes available

Cons

  • Contain beef rawhide, which can lead to digestion issues if swallowed in chunks

Best Long-Lasting Dog Chew

Our Pick: Pawstruck Beef Collagen Braids for Dogs

Pawstruck Beef Collagen Sticks for Dogs

If your dog tends to go through chews quickly, these Collagen Braids from Pawstruck are thicker than typical pizzle sticks to help him enjoy his treat for a longer amount of time. Available in sizes small and large, these long-lasting chews for dogs can keep your pup occupied while also helping to clean his teeth. They’re natural, high in protein, low in fat, and very digestible.     

Pros

  • Made with a single ingredient: collagen from grass-fed, free-range cattle
  • Free of rawhide, grains, soy, and corn
  • Natural ingredients, without added colors, flavors, artificial ingredients, or preservatives
  • Support mobility with collagen, glucosamine, and chondroitin
  • 36-month shelf life

Cons

  • Only available in two sizes
  • You might notice that these chews have an odor
  • Higher price point for 5 chews (but keep in mind that the benefit may outweigh the cost if your dog doesn’t go through them as fast)

Best Vet-Recommended Dog Chew

Our Pick: Whimzees Natural Daily Dental Chews

WHIMZEES Natural Grain Free Daily Dental Long Lasting Dog Treats

Whimzees dental chews for dogs are recommended by the Veterinary Oral Health Council and feature a firm texture with nubs and ridges that help to clean teeth. These chews last longer than some others on the market, which means you’ll get more cleaning power out of just one chew. Pet parents only need to offer their dogs one Wimzee chew per day to see all the dental benefits. 

Pros

  • Veterinarian recommended for dental care and included on the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Accepted Products for Dogs list
  • Firm texture with nubs and ridges for cleaning teeth
  • Available in multiple sizes
  • Made without any artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, gluten or meat
  • Good option for dogs with food allergies

Cons

  • Can be a little large for small dogs to handle

Best Dog Chew Stick

Our Pick: Natural Farm Bully Sticks

Natural Farm Odor-Free Bully Sticks

These odor-free, long-lasting, single-ingredient bully sticks from Natural Farm are made with 100% beef pizzle. They’re high in protein, low in fat, and easy to digest. And they can help clean your dog’s teeth and strengthen his jaw. Plus, Natural Farm is a brand that aims to work in a sustainable way. They produce their chews in a facility in Brazil and test their products for quality and safety.

Pros

  • Natural and free of preservatives, hormones, grains, and chemicals
  • Made with grass-fed, free-range beef from Brazil
  • Provide amino acids
  • Available in multiple sizes

Cons

  • Higher in calories, according to the manufacturer

Best All-Natural Dog Chew

Our Pick: Nature Gnaws Beef Trachea for Dogs

Nature Gnaws Beef Trachea for Dogs

These all-natural dog chews from Nature Gnaws are made with a single ingredient: beef trachea. High in protein, they’re grain free and can serve as a great alternative to rawhide. In addition, they can help keep your dog busy and content, relieve stress, and support dental health.

Pros

  • No artificial ingredients, chemicals, or additives 
  • Packaged in the United States with raw materials sourced from other countries 
  • Simple manufacturing process, and each chew goes through testing and an inspection; chews that don’t meet size specifications are donated

Cons

  • Because they’re natural and contain no chemicals, you may notice that these chews have an odor and don’t last as long as others
  • Not ideal for smaller dogs

Best Chew for Small Dogs

Our Pick: Earth Animal Beef No-Hide Wholesome Chews

EARTH ANIMAL No Hide Small Beef Flavored Natural Rawhide Free Dog Chews

No-Hide Chews from Earth Animal are made with ingredients like beef, brown rice flour, agar-agar, organic eggs, olive oil, banana powder, and bromelain (pineapple). Perfectly sized for dogs 16 to 45 lbs, they’re easily digestible and long lasting, and they don’t contain rawhide, chemicals, or artificial preservatives. The manufacturer is focused on sustainability and uses high-quality ingredients. 

Pros

  • Contain only seven ingredients, which are sustainably sourced
  • Made with humanely raised, grass-fed beef
  • Made in the United States in a human food processing facility
  • Available in multiple sizes/flavors 

Cons

  • Higher price point for two chews 

Dog Chews Buyer’s Guide 

Dog licking his chops

To help ensure you buy the best chews for your dog, consider the following: 

Types of Dog Chews 

There are plenty of dog chew treats out there. You can keep things interesting for your pet by providing variety. Options include:

  • Bully sticks. These chews come in various sizes. They’re made with one ingredient, which is beef, so they’re yummy and easy to digest. Plus, unlike other types of chews, they won’t splinter. Just be sure to supervise your pet so he doesn’t end up biting off too much, which might be a choking hazard.
  • Dental chews for dogs. Dental chews may be softer and more flexible, so these could be a good option if other chews are too hard for your dog. They come in many shapes and sizes, and they’re designed to help clean your pet’s teeth.
  • Horn and antler dog chews. Natural horn and antler dog chews are hard and available in a myriad shapes and sizes. Keep in mind that supervising your dog is necessary as these might splinter, which can result in your dog cutting his gums or breaking his teeth. 
  • Himalayan dog chews. Also known as yak chews, Himalayan chews are a natural option made with yak’s milk. Other ingredients may include cow’s milk, lime, and salt. As is the case with other types of chews, if these are too hard, they might be damaging to your dog’s teeth and gums, or could splinter and cause serious gastrointestinal issues. Supervision is always recommended. 

What About Rawhide Dog Chews and Himalayan Dog Chews?

Dog in yard with head tilted

While rawhide dog chews and himalayan dog chews are popular pet products, they generally aren’t recommended by veterinarians. 

“As an emergency veterinarian, I have seen rawhide chews stuck everywhere from the roof of the mouth to the esophagus and the intestines,” says Dr. Paiva. “Many dogs have needed surgery to remove rawhide pieces from their stomach or intestines. Some dogs have died from choking on a piece of rawhide.”

Himalayan chews or yak chews are very hard and can damage a dog’s teeth. They are also prone to splintering, which can cause serious gastrointestinal obstructions. Himalayan dog chews are also made with cow’s milk, and most dogs are lactose intolerant and do not need dairy in their diets. For these reasons, most experts do not recommend these types of dog chews.

If you do want to give your dog rawhide or himalayan dog chews, discuss them with your veterinarian before giving them to your dog. Ask about precautions you can take and whether the chews are a good option for your pet. 

Benefits of Dog Chews

A good quality chew can serve as a treat that keeps your dog busy, strengthens his jaw, and cleans his teeth.

Coltenback agrees, saying they can help satisfy your dog’s prey drive and alleviate boredom. “I think providing chews is essential for most dogs, whether they are adequately stimulated or not,” he says. “Chews do provide enrichment.”

Paiva also mentions that they can be helpful in keeping a chew-happy pup’s teeth away from your stuff, ensuring the safety of both your dog and your belongings. “Providing dogs with appropriate chews helps to prevent them from using your personal items as chews,” she explains. “Chewing on inappropriate items can be dangerous for your dog.” 

Things to Consider When Buying Dog Chews

Dog head tilted at home happy on couch with owners

There are a few things you want to look out for when purchasing dog chews.

Check the label. Read labels carefully, and choose products that contain safe ingredients and are a suitable size for your dog. Purchasing dog chews made by trustworthy manufacturers can give you peace of mind. Or, you can narrow your options by looking for vet-recommended dog chews.  

“Some dogs do not tolerate certain types of chews. If your dog has food allergies, you must be very careful when picking chews to make sure they are not allergic to the ingredients,” says Dr. Paiva. If your dog starts having vomiting, excessive gas and/or diarrhea, or is extra itchy immediately after or within a few days of trying a new chew, seek veterinary attention and avoid that chew in the future.

Ask questions. If you think your pet might benefit from chews with added ingredients, such as probiotic chews for dogs or CBD chews for dogs, it’s wise to consult with a veterinarian, as you want to be sure they’re safe for your canine companion.

Beware of breakability. “The most important thing I recommend looking for in a chew is that it cannot be easily broken into large pieces,” says Paiva. “Large pieces can get stuck in the mouth or gastrointestinal tract. It also should not be very hard since tooth fractures can occur from chewing.”

Dog Chew Safety Tips

Dog chewing on a bone at home

As you know by now, there are some risks that come with chews for dogs. “Dog chews can get stuck in between teeth, break teeth, become stuck in the stomach and intestines requiring surgery, and can be a choking hazard,” explains Dr. Paiva.

It’s also necessary to keep an eye on your dog while he’s enjoying his chew, and to know when it’s time to replace it with a new one. “Dogs should be supervised when chewing. If their chews get small enough to be swallowed, they should be taken away,” she adds. “If you notice your dog can break off large pieces or you notice blood on the chew or in their mouth, it should be taken away.”

Coltenback shares this tip: “Offering a chew while you hold it is a good way to introduce a new chew to make sure the dog is actually gnawing (using the rear teeth) instead of trying to just swallow the chew whole.”

Another way to keep your dog safe is to take away chews when they become small enough for the dog to swallow.

Dog Chew FAQs

Dog giving owner kiss at home

Can dogs chew on sticks?

Letting your dog chew on sticks is a bad idea. Dr. Paiva warns that sticks could splinter and cause secondary infections, as well as cut your dog’s mouth, cause choking, and get lodged in the mouth or gastrointestinal tract. It’s best to provide pet-safe chews instead.

Can dogs chew on deer antlers?

Antlers are an option, but it’s important to select the right ones. “I prefer the split antlers, as the marrow is exposed and minimizes risk of periodontal injury and ingesting large chunks,” Coltenback says.

Dr. Paiva also notes that they can be too hard for a lot of dogs, causing the same issues previously mentioned. 

Are yak chews safe for dogs?

Yak chews are very hard and prone to splintering. They can cause tooth damage or gastrointestinal obstructions if pet parents aren’t careful. Yak chews also contain dairy, and most dogs are lactose intolerant. Coltenback says he isn’t a fan of dairy in a dog’s diet, but yak chews could be fine as an occasional treat, particularly if your dog is enjoying them in moderation while being supervised.

Are dental chews good for dogs?

High-quality dental chews may help keep your pet’s teeth clean and his breath fresh. Just be sure to select chews that are appropriate for your dog’s size and don’t contain unwanted ingredients.

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