dog running with chew toy in mouth

The Most Natural Long Lasting Chew Toys for Dogs

Chew toys are an essential part of every dog's life. They provide great entertainment and exercise for your pup and save your furniture and shoes from unwanted destruction! We know that some chew toys will only last mere minutes with aggressive chewers; that's why there are specialized, long-lasting dog chews designed to withstand even the most enthusiastic of nibblers.

In this blog, we'll explore why dogs need chew toys, what you shouldn't let your dog chew on, and share some of our favorite safe long-lasting dog chews.

Why Do Dogs Chew?

Natural Instinct

Dogs are often scolded for their chewing habits, but did you know that your dog's natural desire to chew comes from its ancestors? Chewing and gnawing on bones and tendons is how wild dogs and wolves maintain good dental health.

Stress Reliever

Chewing can also work as a natural stress reliever to soothe your furry friend. Particularly in new or challenging places, chewing works almost like meditation for your pup, keeping them relaxed and busy.

Boredom

Destroying furniture, shoes, socks, and other random objects they can get their paws on is often a sign of an under-stimulated dog. Providing your pup with a chew toy keeps them mentally engaged and can prevent destructive chewing around your house. It is particularly important to provide your dog with a chew toy if they are an intelligent or energetic breed that needs constant stimulation to stay happy.

Anxiety

For some dogs, anxiety can also manifest in destructive behavior. Separation anxiety is very common in dogs, to combat this, giving your pup a dog chew toy can help distract them from the changes in routine that are triggering anxiety and provide them with something to occupy their time with while they are alone.

What Shouldn't Dogs Chew?

We know that dogs that love to chew will chew on anything; however, not everything is safe to put in your pet's mouth. As pet parents, we are responsible for being aware of the dangers around us and keeping a close eye on what our dogs put in their mouths. 

Cooked Bones

Although people have been feeding dogs bones for centuries, cooked bones can become brittle and have a high risk of cracking and splintering, posing a choking hazard and cutting your dog's mouth and gums. Dogs with sensitive stomachs should especially avoid cooked bones, as even small pieces can cause irritation.

*Raw bones are a softer, safer alternative, as dogs can chew off small pieces and properly digest them.

Sticks and Rocks

Chewing sticks and rocks can pose a huge risk to your dog's digestive and dental health. Rocks of any size are not only a choking risk but can also break and damage your dog's teeth. If swallowed, rocks and sticks can also cause intestinal blockages, leaving your dog in severe pain and you with a hefty vet bill!

Rawhide

Despite being one of the most widely known and affordable dog chews, rawhide is widely recognized as one of the most dangerous natural chews for dogs. It is not digestible and expands in your dog's stomach, which can lead to intestinal blockages and damage to the digestive system.

Microplastics

Although traditional dog toys and synthetic chews like nylon dog bones are durable and tough for even the most aggressive chewers, they contain microplastics that can enter your dog's body and damage their health.

Safe, Natural Alternatives

Picking a natural chew option for your furry friend can be difficult, considering the wide variety of edible and non-edible dog chews on the market. We have compiled a list of our favorite super tough chews that are guaranteed to catch your dog's attention and keep them busy for days on end! Also, an important reminder, NEVER leave your dog alone with a chew toy - they should always be supervised, just in case. 

Bully Sticks

Bully sticks are among the best safe chews for dogs of any age, size, or breed. Made from all-natural ingredients, they are tough enough to be long-lasting and durable but not so tough that a young puppy can't break them down. We love that these and many of the edible animal parts below can often be found in bulk without plastic wrapping - yay!

Pig Ears

Pig ears are irresistible to dogs that love to chew because of their crunchy texture and taste. Beef ears can also be baked and dried for a lower-calorie option.

Elk Antlers

If your dog can't get enough to chew, an elk antler is the perfect solution. Full of natural minerals, elk chews are not only renewable (as elk naturally shed their antlers every year) but also super long-lasting, making antlers a top choice for tough chewers. However, elk antlers can splinter and break like bone, so it is important that you closely monitor your dog so that they do not choke or damage their teeth as they chew.

Yak Chews

Yak cheese or Himalayan yak chews are 100% natural and safe dog chews made from a blend of yak and cow milk, lime juice, and salt. They make an utterly irresistible, tasty snack for your pup!

Tendon Chews

Beef tendon chews are an excellent choice if you are looking for a chew that helps keep your dog's teeth clean. Like how we floss our teeth, the string-like texture of tendons floss between your dog's teeth and can help reduce some of the plaque and tartar buildup in the back of your dog's mouth. In addition to the dental benefits, these tasty chews are fully digestible and can be enjoyed by all dogs, including puppies and seniors.

BetterBone Chew Toys

The BetterBone HARD Bone takes the top spot as our favorite chew toy for aggressive chewers. This bone is 2-5% more durable than typical nylon dog chews and eventually flakes into digestible pieces of cellulose that support dental health by protecting the teeth and enamel. This long-lasting dog chew is also available without added flavor (though dogs still love it!) to reduce the carbon footprint created by animal-based flavors (like beef, the worst food-based carbon emitter), making it a perfect hypoallergenic option for pups with allergies!

If you're looking for a softer chew toy, try the BetterBone SOFT Bone, a safe dog chew for puppies, seniors, and light chewers.

Tips for Introducing Chew Toys

  • Always supervise your dog closely while they chew on their new toy until you are sure they can play safely on their own.

  • If possible, introduce your dog to chew toys when they are a puppy to encourage healthy chewing habits.

  • Keep a variety of dog chews and rotate them to keep your dog's interest.

  • Reinforce positive behavior by praising and rewarding your dog when they chew on their chew toys.

  • Regularly inspect your dog's chew toys for signs of wear and replace them as needed.

Check Out Our Full Range of Natural Dog Toys here.