Be Choosy About Dog Chews

Be Choosy About Dog Chews

May 27, 2019

Dogs love to chew on things. Any chew that can be swallowed or broken apart presents the risk of harm to your dog. If pieces can be chewed or cracked off your dog may swallow them and end up with a bowel perforation of an intestinal obstruction. Soft, easily swallowed chew toys may build up in the stomach and cause vomiting. Dog treats are not part of the pet food industry and as such, are not regulated in the same way, meaning that there could be potential for bacterial contamination if the treats aren’t prepared correctly.

So which one to choose?


Sticks can be a natural choice for dogs as they can pick up a stick on their walks. Be aware, that some wood is toxic to dogs, in particular White Cedar, Australian Pine, Black Walnut and Apple trees. Further, a dog running with a stick can cause punctures in the mouth, as too can splinters as well as getting lodged in gums.


Dried, aged antlers can be harder than bones and can sometime result in injured teeth


These popular chews are marketed as toys, not food and are processed using chemicals that can be very dangerous to dogs. Always avoid rawhide that is coloured as the dyes are very unsafe for dogs.

Hooves, Feet and Ears

Cow hooves and duck feet are cleaned and dried to use as dog chews, however they can become very brittle and smaller pieces can block or irritate the intestines. Lamb ears are suitable for puppies and smaller dogs, while larger dogs can enjoy cow ears. Pig ears are generally very fatty and can cause digestive problems.

Bully Sticks

You have probably seen bully sticks for sale and have heard that dogs love them, but not many people know what they are made of. Bully sticks, or pizzle sticks are digestible dog treats made with the dried muscle from steer or bull penis, which is considered an animal by product. Dogs love them, but be aware they really stink and are definitely an outside activity!

Dehydrated Meat

Meat can be dehydrated and given to your dog as a chew, provided there are no additional spices or flavouring.


Cooked bones should never be given to your dog as they become hard and brittle and can cause broken teeth and issues with splinters being swallowed and affecting the intestinal tract. Fresh, raw bones are great for your dog.

Nylon and Plastic Chews

These chew toys can keep your pooch occupied and help them with their urges to chew, but make sure that you check for sharp edges that can cause bleeding. Rope toys can also be used, however you need to ensure that once the toy starts to break down it should be removed as the fibres from the ropes can cause damage to your dog’s intestines.

There are no toys that are completely safe. You should always supervise your dog and immediately remove anything that might cause cracked teeth or intestinal blockages. It is hard to gauge the nutritional content of store purchased treats as they aren’t part of the pet food industry and do not need to have product labels so always purchase from a reputable supplier and use as an occasional treat.

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