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Review: Better Belly Rawhide Twists and Dental Chews

Better Belly Pork Hide Twist
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No doubt about it, dogs love to chew! And for good reason: Chewing is a natural canine behavior that provides both physical and mental stimulation. Plus, all that chomping and gnawing helps support clean and healthy teeth for your dog.

However beneficial chewing may be, excessive chewing isn’t always a welcome behavior…especially if it turns destructive. Luckily, there are plenty of acceptable chews on the market that can help deter your dog from gnawing on your shoes and other off-limits items. And that’s good news for everyone in the family.

Recently, I had the chance to try out two such chews on my own resident chewer, a miniature poodle named Jäger. Better Belly Pork Hide Twists and Better Belly Dental Chews are two new chews designed to offer a safer and more enjoyable way to satisfy your dog’s urge to chew.

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Better Belly: Safer Than Rawhide Bones

Jäger is a bit of a chewing expert. So I’ve tried my fair share of chews over the years, and some are definitely better than others. 

As most pet parents know, actual bones can be risky for dogs to chew. Cooked bones can crack and splinter, cutting your dog’s mouth or doing even more damage if swallowed. And while raw bones may be less likely to splinter, if handled improperly, they can cause foodborne illnesses.

Rawhide chew treats made from dried animal hides are often seen as a safer alternative.  However, traditional rawhide chews can be hard to digest, and if large pieces break off, they can pose choking and intestinal obstruction risks for dogs. 

This is where our test chews come in. Better Belly developed a unique manufacturing process to break down the tough collagen fibers that make traditional rawhide so hard to digest. The result is a highly digestible rawhide that’s designed to break down easily and rapidly, while still providing a long-lasting chew.

Better Belly Product Line

Better Belly offers many different types of chews, from knotted bones, to rolls, to twists, in sizes appropriate for dogs large and small. They even have chews wrapped with real meat, like lamb and venison.

Jäger and I were interested in seeing how the brand’s two newest products measured up:

Better Belly Pork Hide Twists

These highly digestible pork hide chews are made with thin sheets of rolled pork hide and have a natural smoke flavor. The chews are grain-free and gluten-free and contain no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Like all of Better Belly’s chews, the pork hide is specially processed to break down the tough fibers, so dogs can chew it more easily and digest it two times faster than traditional rawhide. These small twists are ideal for toy breeds and smaller dogs, though larger dogs can enjoy them too. With 25 in a pack, you can treat your dog for almost a month (the recommended feeding instructions are one chew a day).

Better Belly Dental Chews

Part of Better Belly’s Fresh Breath Dental line, these chews are made of a thin, ridged sheet of specially-processed, easily digestible rawhide rolled into a chew-worthy roll. These chews help support dental health in three ways. First, the rawhide has ridges that help clean the teeth as your dog chews. The chews also contain a special ingredient to help reduce tartar buildup, and they are flavored with spearmint to freshen breath. The chews are grain-free and gluten-free, and contain no artificial flavors or added colors. Like all of Better Belly’s chews, the dental chews can be digested easily—two times faster than traditional rawhide.  

Putting Better Belly to the Test

I was pretty excited about testing out Better Belly’s new chews. (Though it’s possible Jäger was even more eager to try them out.)

One of the first things I consider when looking for new chews is how hard they are. You’d think hardness would be a desirable quality in a chew you want to last for a while. But dogs—especially powerful chewers like Jäger—can actually break a tooth on chews that are too hard. We learned that the hard way when Jäger was younger and ended up needing a root canal after he broke his tooth on a hard chew. 

One way to make sure a chew isn’t too hard is to see if you can bend the chew or push your thumbnail into the chew. Better Belly’s Dental Chews and Pork Hide Twists both passed this test. 

The Dental Chews do not bend, but because the rolls are made with very thin sheets of ridged rawhide, there is some give and I could easily press my thumbnail into the top layer of the chew. The Pork Hide Twists are also rolled, made from thin sheets of pork hide, which is not as tough as beef rawhide. The Pork Hide Twists were flexible enough that I could easily bend them. 

The next consideration when considering a new chew is, of course, taste! If you want your dog to choose a chew over, say, your favorite pair of shoes, then it’s got to be yummy. 

To give each type of chew a fair shot, I introduced them to Jäger on different days. 

With both the twists and the dental chew, he immediately ran off after I gave him his new chew treat and started searching the house for a special hiding spot—something he does when he gets a chew that he considers very high value. After “burying” each chew in the couch cushions for a few hours, he eventually pulled them out and started enjoying chewing on them. 

I was curious if Jäger would like the spearmint flavor of the Dental Chew, and he did! I liked the fact that this chew had no odor and did not make a mess. My dog also enjoyed the Pork Hide Twist, though the smaller twist didn’t last as long as the larger dental chew did. The Pork Hide Twist has a mild smoked meat aroma, and also did not make a mess while Jäger was enjoying them. 

Another key consideration with any chew is digestibility. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, some chews might not agree with their system. Jäger has developed a bit of a sensitive tummy in his senior years and can’t always handle every treat and chew these days. So I was curious to see if the Better Belly chews were truly better for his belly.  

Happily, Better Belly’s proprietary processing system seemed to do the trick for my pup. Jäger digested both chews very well.  

Things We Like

Better Belly chews provide a great highly digestible alternative to traditional rawhide that is safer and more digestible for dogs. All chews can help support dental health, but the company’s Fresh Breath Dental Chews offer extra benefits, with ingredients that help reduce tartar buildup and freshen breath. Better Belly chews come in many different flavors and styles, with plenty of options for dogs with food sensitivities or intolerance who may need to avoid certain ingredients.  

Things to Consider

Because Better Belly’s chews are treated to make them less tough than traditional rawhide, the chews may not last as long as traditional rawhide chews. However, my dog still chewed these for a decent amount of time. The added safety and digestibility made up for the length of time each chew lasts, in my opinion.

Better Belly Chews and Twists: Our Verdict

Better Belly Dental Chews and Pork Hide Twists are an excellent highly digestible alternative to traditional rawhide chews, due to their unique texture, appealing flavors, and easy digestibility. The chews are particularly good options for powerful chewers and dogs with sensitive tummies. The wide variety of sizes, shapes, and flavors provide plenty of options for picky dogs, as well as those with food sensitivities or intolerances that may need to avoid certain ingredients. Overall, these are solid (and yummy!) dog chews that are perfect for satisfying any pup’s urge to chew. 

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