We get a lot of questions on why we don't allow rawhides to be brought to our facility for dogs that are boarding with us. When a dog chews on a rawhide, the material becomes very soft and breaks down into small pieces that can become choking hazards or can cause a blockage if swallowed. There are so many other safe alternatives out there that we would rather not take the risk. Here are a few of our favorites:
-Bully Sticks: Made of beef pizzle. Bully sticks are easily digested and also help clean the dog's teeth when they chew on it. If the smell of dried beef isn't for you, you even have the option of purchasing odor-free bully sticks from certain retailers now!
-Beef Gullet Sticks: Cheaper alternative to bully sticks. Beef Gullet is dehydrated esophagus that provides a great source of chondroitin (used in treatment of osteoarthritis) and aids in joint health. Much like bully sticks, they are great for teeth and gums!
-Cow Hooves: Affordable and durable treat! Cow hooves come directly from cows, so they are considered an all natural product. You can even stuff hooves with cheese and peanut butter, like how you would a Kong. The biggest downside to hooves are the smell. They are VERY smelly, but the dogs love them!
-Pig Ears: Widely available and affordable treat! Pig ears are very popular and can be found in nearly any pet store. They are high in fat, so be conservative giving them to dogs on a diet.
-Deer/Elk Antlers: Most durable treat on the list. Antlers are collected from deer and elk who have naturally shed their antlers. They are all natural and are ethically sourced. They can be quite expensive, but if you have a power chewer that demolishes anything in 10 seconds, then these will be worth it!
As with all treats, be sure to supervise your dog while chewing and make sure they have fresh water readily available. Also consider if your dog is a power chewer or just an occasional nibbler since this will help you decide what type of alternative to get them. Local pet stores such as Dolittle's or All is Well are great sources for finding the right treat for your pet.