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Natural Product Reviews

Safe Natural Chews for Dogs (That Aren’t Rawhide)

Natural Chews for Dogs

We have three very big dogs who love to chew. For years, it felt like we were struggling to find safe, natural chews to give them. Either the dog chews were not strong enough and only lasted a few seconds, or the dogs just wolfed them down in a solid piece creating a huge potential for veterinarian bills and a giant health risk.

These days, there are many options for safe, natural chews for dogs (that aren’t rawhide).

Remember, it’s very important to supervise your pet while giving any type of treat or chew and you need to be sure to purchase size-appropriate chews. If you’re unsure, ask your veterinarian.

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Our Top 10 Favorite Safe, Natural Chews for Dogs

Tree and Plant-Based Chews

Barkworthies Brushies and Tree Roots

The Brushies are so new to Barkworthies that they haven’t even posted yet. So, I’m going to show you a picture and explain what it is – then you can order once they’re available.

Brushies are basically a small twig from the Arak tree. You may have heard of this tree before – it’s also known as Miswa, Arak, Galenia asiatica, Meswak, Peelu, Pīlu, Salvadora indica, toothbrush tree, mustard tree or mustard bush – but it’s scientific name is the Savadora persica.

The Brushies look like this:

Now, just because we see it as a new product doesn’t mean it is. This chewing twig has been around for thousands of years – since ancient Babylonian times. In fact, over 7,000 years ago, the Babylonians used this twig to brush their teeth.

Eventually the tree moved to the ancient Egyptians, then found their way to the Greek and Roman empires and sure enough – everyone was brushing their teeth with these twigs.

The Arak tree is used to keep gums and teeth healthy in people, but as Barkworthies discovered, animals can also benefit from this tradition. The hard wood helps whiten teeth, prevents bad breath, strengthens the gums and (reportedly) can even help improve your sense of taste.

The same tree also gives us some large pieces of wood for our heavy chewers. “Tree Roots” are great ways to keep your heavy chewers busy.

Barkworthies tree root

The Gorilla Chew from Ware

The Gorilla Chew is actually a giant piece of Java wood root from Indonesia. These are manufactured by Ware. You may know this wood by it’s more common name: Teak wood.

Teak (Tectona grandis) is a tropical hardwood species in the Lamiaceae family. If you have birds, you may already have pieces of java wood laying around. Birds enjoy chewing on it to help sharpen their beaks and the wood is so hard that it’s a long-lasting way to keep pets occupied.  Since it’s naturally smooth, not a lot of work has to go into shaping toys or chews. In fact, the shape makes it pretty much perfect for a dog chew.

gorilla chew

Himalayan Ruff Roots

Ruff Roots are another wood chew that is offered by Himalayan Dog Chews.

This is a 100% natural dog toy that makes a great alternative to rubber or plastic toys and antlers. Ruff Roots are hand-harvested and sustainably sourced from Spain. Ruff Roots originate from the roots of shrubs or trees in the Mediterranean Heathlands.

Unlike sticks or other local woods, Ruff Roots do not splinter, which makes them a great choice for heavy chewers. The natural shape of the chew further makes it challenging for dogs to get their mouths around it, which only acts as an incentive in our pets.

Ruff Roots are all-natural dog toys that serve as an alternative to rubber or plastic toys – and they make a great teething toy for growing puppies!


Cheese & Alternative Protein Chews

Himalayan Dog Chews

While we’re talking about Himalayan Dog Chews, let’s take a moment to discuss their hard cheeses. We’ve talked about them before, but they’ve expanded their product lines to include more things than we’ve had time to review. We do, however, already know and love these chews which are made from Yaks milk.

The ancient recipe creates a very hard (VERY HARD) cheese. It’s also ideal for dogs to chew and they love the taste.

Now they’ve expanded to include some really innovative chews. The Yaky Stick is their special cheese cover that wraps around a bully stick (see below). For a dog, it’s everything that’s right with the world…


Honest Kitchen Beams

The dogs absolutely LOVE these chews from The Honest Kitchen. Beams are made from pure Atlantic Catfish skins that have been wild-caught in the ocean water of Iceland. They are quite literally the dried skin of this healthy fish.

Beams are an excellent source of protein for dogs who are sensitive to more common proteins (like chicken or beef). They’re also lower in fat and a great source of Omega 3 essential fatty acids.

You already know we’re huge fans of The Honest Kitchen for their human-grade pet food. Now see how they apply their expertise to these chews.

One note – you’ll want to have your dogs eat these outdoors because it does smell “fishy”  – I promise your dogs won’t be able to resist them!

beams from the honest kitchen

BarkWorthies: Goat Horns

Another favorite from Barkworthies is their Goat Horn chews. These horns are full of keratin with marrow inside – a great long-lasting chew at a value price! Barkworthies Goat Horns are all-natural treats that are 100% natural and digestible chew toys that your dogs are sure to love.

The medium sized horns were just a tad small for our dogs, so we’ll be getting the large from now on. But, the medium horn is a perfect size for dogs under 40 lbs. They’re all-natural and completely digestible, making them a great alternative to traditional rawhide.

As with all of the Barkworthies products, these chews are additive-free, chemical-free, and preservative-free.


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Crocodile Bones

Why would I give my dog crocodile or alligator chews? Because they are sustainable, the dogs love them, and they’re an excellent alternative to traditional proteins.

Besides all that, they’re tough to chew.

These chews are made from Australian crocodiles that have been raised without antibiotics or hormones. They are filled with antioxidants and protein while being low-fat., and they’re fully digestible.

Crocodile bones make a  great alternative to pork, beef and chicken, and these tasty treats are high in antioxidants.

Another great point is that these chews can help with joint and mobility issues because they are an all-natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin. They’re also rich in Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids which help the skin and coat and have immune-boosting properties.

Barkworthies Crocodile Bones are additive-free, chemical-free and preservative-free.  But, the best part? Our dogs love them.


Red Barn: Bully Sticks

If your dogs are anything like ours, they love Bully Sticks.

What are bully sticks, you ask. They are the natural beef pizzle of a bull (please don’t ask me to define a pizzle). Obviously, pizzle is a great source of protein.

Redbarn’s Bully Sticks are made in Paraguay from free range cattle. There are no added hormones, steroids, or antibiotics.

When you buy your bully sticks, you’ll want to make sure you choose the appropriate size and width. Some are braided to encourage heavy duty chewers, others are small (there’s nothing wrong with that).

Fun Fact: Redbarn sold over 5 million feet of bully sticks last year! If you laid them down end to end, they would stretch for 963 miles! Now, that’s a long pizzle…

bully-sticks bully-sticks

When ordering chews for pets, be sure you account for your pets size and chewing ability. Some small dogs do well with larger chews. Whatever you choose to give them, make sure they only have it when you’re around to keep an eye on them. Some dogs become overzealous and may choke.

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