Bone Alternatives: Top 10 Alternatives to Bones

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The great bone debate has been raging on for years.

Some say bones are an excellent healthy option to give your dogs and others say they are the worst to give your pups.

Without a doubt, bones come with several risks such as choking, internal blockages, broken teeth, internal punctures from sharp edges and points, and food poisoning from raw bones.

Though bones have many benefits, such as being rich in vitamins and nutrients, plus they can help keep teeth and gums healthy, many dog parents find the risks too high.

As pup parents, we all know the importance of providing safe chews for our dogs.

Chewing helps our dogs keep their teeth clean, provides mental stimulus, alleviates frustration, and releases the much-loved endorphins.

So if we don’t feel comfortable providing bones, what can we give our dogs to chew?

Thankfully, that is an easy question to answer since there are several alternatives to bones on the market, but nothing is 100% risk-free.

Below, we have provided a list of our top 10 bone alternatives, including the pros and cons of each.

Top 10 Alternatives to Bones

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Antlers – Least Messy Alternative

Pros:

  • All-natural alternative
  • Excellent source of calcium, potassium, manganese, and zinc
  • They don’t leave a greasy or crumbly mess
  • Available in a wide range of sizes
  • Not processed

Cons:

  • Can cause broken or cracked teeth
  • Can break or splinter causing severe internal injuries

Summary:

Antlers are an excellent all-natural alternative to bones. Antlers come from elk or deer, making them a hypoallergenic option for dogs with allergies.

Also, antlers do not have a foul odor like other natural alternatives such as bully sticks or tracheas.

However, unlike bully sticks and tracheas, antlers last a long time.

You can purchase antlers split or whole and in a variety of sizes.

Best Bully Sticks 6 Inch All-Natural Thick Bully Sticks for Dogs - 6” Fully Digestible, 100% Grass-Fed Beef, Grain and Rawhide Free | 18 Pack

Bully Sticks – High Protein Alternative

Pros:

  • High in protein
  • Single-Ingredient chew
  • Rich in amino-acids
  • Are an excellent option for canines of all ages

Cons:

  • Can have a bad smell
  • Higher in calories
  • It can contain harmful bacteria like salmonella
  • Large pieces can be a choking hazard

Summary:

Bully sticks, also called pizzle sticks, are available in a variety of options and sizes.

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You can get bully sticks that are thinner for small dogs, thicker for aggressive chewers, long, short, braided, and in the shape of a ring.

I like giving bully sticks because they are easily digestible and don’t splinter.

Bully sticks also aid in keeping your dog’s teeth clean and can last quite a while, depending on your dog’s chewing style and the size you buy.

I buy the Best Bully Thick Sticks because the girls are aggressive chewers.

SmartBones SBC-00232 SmartSticks With Real Chicken 10 Count, Rawhide-Free Chews For Dogs

Smart Sticks – Budget Friendly Alternative

Pros:

  • Highly digestible
  • Budget-Friendly
  • Variety of flavors
  • Help keep teeth clean

Cons:

  • Processed
  • Contains artificial flavors

Summary:

Smart Sticks come in a variety of shapes and sizes and won’t break the bank.

Although Smart Sticks look like rawhide, they do not contain rawhide and are instead made from ingredients such as chicken, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, and carrots.

Earth Animal No-Hide Medium Chicken Flavored Rolls Natural Rawhide Alternative Dog Chew Treat for Medium Dogs - 6 Chews

No-Hide – Premium Chew Alternative

Pros:

  • Highly digestible
  • Variety of flavors and sizes
  • Help keep teeth clean
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Price
  • Not always a great option for canines with a allergies

Summary:

Though No-Hide looks like a rawhide chew, Earth Animal No-Hide does not contain any rawhide material.

Instead of rawhide, No-Hide is made with a minimal ingredient recipe containing Rice flour, organic eggs, agar-agar, olive oil, pineapple, banana, and the chosen protein.

These are an option my girls love, and they last longer than a lot of other chew options.

Whole Carrots – Budget Friendly Alternative

Pros:

  • Budget-Friendly
  • Healthy
  • Helps Keep Teeth Clean
  • Calorie Friendly
  • Won’t Break Teeth

Cons:

  • They may not be appealing to all dogs

Summary:

Whole carrots are an excellent alternative to bones[1].

They are safe for your dog’s teeth and will help keep your dog’s teeth clean and the gums healthy.

Plus, carrots are easy to find at the store and won’t break the bank.

If you have a puppy or a more aggressive chewer, you can put the carrots in the freezer for a bit to firm them up.

Also, cold carrots are perfect for teething puppies as it helps relieve discomfort.

However, do not fully freeze them; or they will become too hard and may crack or break teeth.

The Honest Kitchen Wolffish Ocean Chews Grain Free Dog Chew Treats – Natural Human Grade Dehydrated Fish Skins 3.25 oz

The Honest Kitchen Fish Skins – Hypoallergenic Alternative

Pros:

  • Single-ingredient
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Easily digestible
  • High in protein
  • Available in several sizes and shapes

Cons:

  • Cost
  • Smell

Summary:

I have been giving my dogs fish skin chews for years. They not only love them, but fish skin chews are one of the safer alternatives to dog bones.

Fish skins will not break or chip your dog’s teeth, nor will they splinter and cause internal injuries.

Plus, fish skins come in various types, such as salmon, cod, and wolffish.

My preferred brand is The Honest Kitchen because they use 100% human-grade ingredients.

Raw Paws Large Yak Cheese Himalayan Dog Chews, 3 Pack - Packed in USA - Natural Yak Chews for Medium Dogs to Large - Churpi Durkha Himalayan Yak Dog Chew Bones - Digestible Yak Milk Dog Chew Large

Yak Cheese Himalayan Dog Chews – Grain Free Alternative

Pros:

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Minimal ingredients
  • It lasts a long time
  • Digestible

Cons:

  • Can break or crack teeth

Summary:

Yak Cheese Chews have become quite popular over the recent years, especially for dogs who suffer from allergies.

Most dogs love Yak Cheese chews (these are my favorite), and being highly digestible makes them a good choice. Plus, Yak chews last a long time.

However, the drawback is that they are very dense and can crack or break teeth. Plus, if your dog breaks off larger chunks, they can become a choking hazard.

Sweet Potato Dog Treats- Dehydrated North American All Natural Thick Cut Sweet Potato Slices, Grain Free, No Preservatives Added, Best High Anti-Oxidant Healthy Dog Chew by Brutus & Barnaby (8 oz)

Sweet Potato Chews – Lower Calorie Alternative

Pros:

  • All-natural
  • Single-ingredient
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Superfood

Cons:

  • It doesn’t last as long as other options

Summary:

Sweet potatoes are an excellent healthy option.

Sweet potato slabs help keep teeth clean and gums healthy, without the risk of cracking or breaking your dog’s teeth.

Sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of fiber, which is essential to a healthy digestive system.

These are the ones I buy my dogs.

Beef Trachea Tubes- Natural Alternative

Pros:

  • Dogs love them
  • Available in a variety of proteins
  • High in protein
  • Full of glucosamine and chondroitin

Cons:

  • Smell
  • Can be greasy
  • Large pieces can be a choking hazard

Summary:

Beef Trachea tubes are part of my dogs’ regular chew rotation. They are rich in glucosamine and chondroitin[2], which are vital for active dogs like Ginger and Mira.

Trachea tubes are easily digestible and don’t splinter, making them a safer alternative.

Additionally, beef trachea are good at helping to keep your dog’s teeth clean.

Raw Paws Natural Water Buffalo Horns for Dogs, Large 2-ct - Packed in USA - Cape Buffalo Horn for Medium to Large Dogs - Dog Buffalo Horn Dog Chew - Bull Horns for Dogs - Dog Horns for Aggressive Dogs

Stuffed Water Buffalo Horns – Best Alternative for Lighter Chewers

Pros:

  • Low in fat
  • High protein
  • Long-lasting

Cons:

  • Can be brittle
  • Can cause broken or cracked teeth

Summary:

Water buffalo horns are too hard for aggressive chewers but are an excellent choice for dogs who like filled toys and gnawing on chews.

Some people fill the horns with canned food and kibble, then freeze it, which makes a long-lasting chew for your pup—kind of like a doggie ice cream cone.

But because of their brittle nature, aggressive chewers can hurt their teeth on these, so they are best for lighter chewers.

You don’t need to fill it, but it’s a great and fun way for your dog to eat part of their meals.

Resources

  1. https://www.puppyleaks.com/carrots/
  2. https://wagwalking.com/wellness/natural-sources-of-glucosamine-for-your-dog-chicken-feet-beef-trachea-and-more
Bone Alternatives Top 10 Alternatives to Bones for Light to Aggressive Chewers - Pinterest Pin

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