Long Lasting Dog Chews
Most dog owners are in search of the longest lasting dog chews they can find. After all the longer chews last, the longer their dog is occupied giving their people a much needed break! Also, the longer chews last, the lower the overall cost invested. So what are the best long lasting chews on the market?
First, we are excluding so called flavored "fake" bones because no dog really wants to chew on a flavored piece of hard plastic when he/she can chew on a real chew. We are also excluding rawhide chews because frankly they are dangerous, especially for deep barrel chested dogs. Seriously, when would it ever be a good idea to give a dog a piece of hide to consume? Hides are definitely not 100% digestible. Hence the danger as rawhide chews have gotten caught in the intestines of many dogs, ultimately leading to their demise.
So sticking only to real, non-hide animal based dog chews, the ones we recommend are as follows:
- Antler Chews The best option among antlers are elk antlers but red deer, moose and white tale deer are also decent options, assuming they are sized appropriately for the dog. We don't recommend antler chews for any dogs under a year but for sure not until they have their adult teeth. If you feel you must give your dog an antler chew before the age of one (but after they have their adult teeth) go for the split variety. While a split antler won't last very long because you've done all the work for your dog - exposing the marrow type substance for them to gobble up - it will be much safer. Once a whole antler chew is introduced to your dog, always provide supervision as you should with all dog chews, bones and treats.
- Dog Bones Raw or slow-roasted beef or bison femur bones are always a good option. Lots of people will tell you that "cooked" bones are dangerous for dogs because they shard. They only shard because the manufacturer doesn't know how to cook bones correctly. The secret recipe is closely guarded in the dog chew business. What I can tell you is that GREAT DOG knows how to cook bones right - they are slow roasted in their own juice with nothing else added. Lots of bones that claim to be smoked have liquid smoke and a colorant added to give them a brown patina. That brown, fake patina can also give dogs an upset stomach which frequently manifests in diarrhea. Not fun. Invest in a high quality, US sourced and made beef or bison bone, either raw or cooked, and your dog will keep going back to it over and over.
- Scapula Scapula or Scaps, either Bison or Beef, come from the shoulder of the animal. It requires a dog's saliva to break them down. Scaps are crescent moon in shape, approximately 7-10 inches long, 2.5 - 4 inches wide, crunchy, durable, full of chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, collagen and they offer a good amount of chewing enjoyment. Scaps are just plain fun to eat because of the cracking and focused gnawing required to consume them. They are also completely digestible and a perfect alternative to rawhide chews. Do they last as long as antlers or bones? No. But nothing really does.
- Bully Sticks or Pizzle Most people who have lived with a dog for any length of time are familiar with bully sticks or pizzle. If so, you are also probably aware that they aren't inexpensive! Yet, virtually all dogs love them. They come in a variety of widths, thin or thick, they come twisted, they also come in varying lengths including 24, 12, 6 and 3-4 inches. It's important to size the bully stick to your dog's size and/or eating behavior. The most common bully sticks on the market are beef. Bison bully sticks are highly coveted by most dogs but harder to find. Ultimately, it's best to buy US sourced and made bully sticks. Don't be fooled by claims of grass-fed, made in the US bullies. That likely means they are foreign sourced, most likely from a country in Central or Latin America. Once the USDA approves the product for entry into the US, the manufacturer cooks it and states it was "made in the USA." The real question is, "where was the product sourced?" Foreign sourced product is often not processed in the same way or to the same standards as product sourced in the US. Hence, the difference in how bully sticks smell when they are being eaten by dogs. A high quality bully stick should not have a strong, unpleasant odor. Bully sticks won't last as long as antler chews or dog bones but we are pretty certain your dog will love them while they do last!
- Trachea Beef Trachea is the most common type found on the market. Bison Trachea is loved by most dogs but harder to find as is Lamb Trachea. Trachea chews are also called tubes and windies, come in a variety of lengths from 11-12 inches , 6 inches, and 1-3 inch pieces. Trachea is a great source of chondroitin sulfate which may ease still joints. Both Beef and Bison Tubes (Trachea) can be filled with plain yogurt and frozen, stuffed with peanut butter or any other favorite food. Trachea is a great alternative to rawhide chews, fun for dogs to eat as they "crack" when chewed, and most dogs find them very tasty. They are also a lot less expensive than a similarly sized bully stick and will likely last about the same amount of time.
- Tendon Chews Tendon chews vary in size depending upon the animal as well as the cooking process. The most common tendon chews are from beef and bison. Beef tendon chews tend to be longer and a bit thicker than bison tendons. GREAT DOG offers both slow roasted tendons as well as freeze-dried tendons. Dogs of virtually all sizes generally enjoy tendon chews. GREAT DOG Bison Achilles Tendon Chews have consistently been our top selling chew for decades - clearly dog's enjoy them. On average, they likely last about the same as a 6 inch bully stick but they are also much less expensive (around half the cost). They are completely digestible but need to be appropriate for your dog's size and/or eating behavior.
In reality, most human food doesn't require a huge amount of time to consume. It's really no different for dogs. Dogs need to chew to help keep their teeth and gums clean and healthy, to reduce boredom, to add variety into their diets, and because it's just plain enjoyable to eat tasty stuff.
Look for US sourced and made dog chews. And, if you are in search of long-lasting chews (relatively speaking), pick one from our list. Your dog will thank you!