In a rush and just want my recommendation? I think the Downtown All Natural Beef Bully Sticks are a great choice.
We all like to give our dogs a treat now and again. It could be as a reward, a distraction, an anti-boredom strategy, or simply because we like to make them happy. On top of that, there are many oral health benefits of a daily dental chew for dogs. Studies have shown that using appropriate chews results in significant reductions in plaque, gum disease and bad breath.
In this article, I’m reviewing the following long-lasting chew treats for dogs.
- Milk-Bone Gnawbones
- Himalayan Mixed Dog Chew
- Purina Busy Real Beefhide Dog Chew
- SmartBones Chicken-Wrapped Sticks
- Downtown All Natural Beef Bully Sticks
5 Best Chew Treats Reviewed
- First 5 Ingredients: Potato Starch, Corn Starch, Vegetable Glycerin, Modified Food Starch, Soy Protein Isolate.
The first Milk-Bone® dog biscuits were made in New York City in 1908, by F.H. Bennett Biscuit. The company now uses a California based distributor, however the Gnawbone treats are actually made in China.
Introduced in 2019, the Gnawbone packaging claims the treats are ’100% rawhide free’, and are ‘made with real chicken’.
A quick look at the ingredients list places chicken in sixth position, behind all kinds of starch products. There is no indication that the ‘real chicken’ is actually good quality protein, which leaves room for it to be undesirable by-products.
Each treat is 65 calories. The shape is good for providing a little friction to clean teeth and gums, but depending on what type of chewer your hound is, the Gnawbone may not be particularly long-lasting.
- Ingredients: Cheese, Salt, Lime Juice.
These 100% natural cheese treats pack a huge 69% protein punch. The cheese is made from cow and yak milk, which is then pressed and smoked to make the hard, long-lasting chews that are so popular with dogs.
No artificial preservatives are used in the Himalayan Chews, with the salt and lime juice providing some shelf-life. These chews absolutely fit the bill if you want a healthier chew that lasts a little longer.
When your dog gets down to the last little piece at the end of the chew, instead of throwing it away so they don’t choke on it, you can put it in the microwave for 45 seconds and give it back to them as a cheese puff.
The Himalayan Chew is high in calories, about 319 for the Large Breed product. For that reason it’s recommended to only feed 1-2 per week.
- First 5 Ingredients: Beef-hide, Oats, Brown Rice, Maltodextrins, Rye Flour.
Purina Busy Chews are a very affordable treat. They are made from beef-hide, which is bovine, or cow hide. The only difference between beef-hide and rawhide, is that rawhide could be made from any animal hide, or even a mixture of hides.
Natural beef-hide is high in protein and low in fat, with 20% crude protein in each Purina Busy chew. The center layer of these treats is the beef-hide, while the outside is oats and brown rice, making it a crunchy texture that dogs love.
Purina makes all their chew treats in the USA, so you can be confident that the hides have not decayed before being processed. It’s this issue that necessitates the use of chemicals to clean the hides of rot, which is why it’s always safer to buy USA made chews.
Beef-hide and rawhide chews can be hard for some dogs to digest, which is why they can become a gastrointestinal obstruction hazard. If your dog is an aggressive chewer and swallows a large lump of hide, it may just sit somewhere and not break down to be digested. That said, most dogs do enjoy these chew treats with absolutely no issues.
- First 5 Ingredients: Corn, Chicken, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Fructose.
These are an affordable option for dogs of all sizes, with eight treats per bag in chicken or peanut butter flavor. Chicken does come second on the ingredients list, but with a protein analysis of only 9%, it’s safe to assume that the first ingredient, corn, is the main event.
I think that’s acceptable in a chew treat, since the corn has been cooked down and reduced so it’s more digestible for dogs. If they swallow a piece whole, you know it will eventually break down and pass through your dog’s digestive system naturally.
This product also contains vegetables, but these are well down on the ingredients list. That said, they are a good quality chew which meets United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.
SmartBones Sticks are manufactured by PetMatrix in Vietnam and China. They are highly digestible for all dogs, since there is no rawhide content. There are 80 calories per chew treat, and contain added minerals and vitamins.
- Ingredients: 100% bull pizzle.
Bully stick treats are produced by washing the pizzles in water for several hours. They are then cooked in ovens on low heat over several days. This creates an extremely durable chew treat. As with all treats though, don’t buy them unless it’s clear where they were processed. Downtown Bully Sticks are made in South America and Europe.
These affordable, high protein and low fat treats come in both 6” and 12” lengths, with a jumbo extra thick version for super aggressive chewers. They are a highly digestible treat, meaning that the chance of causing an intestinal blockage is very low.
There is nothing in these chews except beef, so no additives, no chemicals and they are USDA approved. Bully sticks are a dehydrated and tough chew, great for keeping dogs’ teeth clean and mouths healthy.
Dogs love the strong smell, but it’s not quite so pleasant for us humans. They also have a high calorie content, so one or two chews a week is the recommended feeding guide.
Guide To Buying Chew Treats For Dogs
I tend to use treats as a daily, or occasional ‘extra’ alongside the main, balanced diet for my dogs. I never consider a treat to be part of their dinner, therefore I don’t look for complete dietary ingredients. But I do expect treats to be nutritionally safe and non-hazardous for my dogs. I also want a ‘long-lasting’ chew treat to take longer than a few seconds to disappear.
Are Chew Treats Good For Dogs?
Chew treats are good for dogs in that it makes them happy to receive them. They are not an alternative to a healthy meal, so in that way I don’t expect them to be nutritionally balanced. That said, I do expect them to be safe for my dogs to consume. Treats, by definition, are an item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure.
All dog chews carry the risk of an adverse event. Some chew treats have been found to contain dangerous chemicals and toxins. Others splinter and break, causing bowel obstructions or broken teeth and mouth injuries. Dogs have choked on treats, with catastrophic outcomes.
Always supervise your dog while they have a chew treat. If you see a piece break off which may become a choke hazard, remove it straight away.
How Often Should I Give My Dog A Chew?
There’s nothing wrong with giving your dog a chew treat every day. The right treat will help with their teeth cleaning, prevent gum infections and improve their breath. Obviously all treats have calories, and you should always check the pack for details. Training treats are different again, since they have to be very small, or easily broken up for rewarding frequently during training sessions.
If you use treats regularly, adjust your hound’s main meals accordingly.
Suggested Calorie Intake Per Day For Dogs
- 10 lbs. 200 to 275 calories
- 20 lbs. 325 to 400 calories
- 50 lbs. 700 to 900 calories
- 70 lbs. 900 to 1050 calories
- 90 lbs. 1100 to 1350 calories
This is a guide only. Always check with your vet to be absolutely sure you’re feeding your dog appropriately. As you can see, if you give your 20 lb dog a 100 calorie treat, that’s one quarter of their daily intake.
Types of Popular Chew Treats
These chews have been around since 1955, so you know they’re a quality product. As always though, check the pack’s ingredients. There are a few different types and strengths of nylabone, so you can choose one that’s suited to your dog’s chewing habits.
These are also known as bull pizzles. They are made from 100% beef because they are essentially bull penises which have been washed and slow-cooked.
These are specifically for dental health and come in all shapes and sizes. They are made from various different ingredients, and the purpose of these chews is to help scrape tartar off your dog’s teeth. This is achieved by both the material it’s made from, and the shape of the chew causing friction against the teeth.
There are many durable and safe rawhide chews available for dogs. Sadly, there are also a huge amount of rawhide products which are toxic to dogs. The manufacturing processes are not regulated in some countries, and these cheap imports may have been treated with harsh chemicals which remain in the product. They are also known to be indigestible, so can cause gastrointestinal blockages.
The American Kennel Club advises that, if your dog is a light chewer, then hide chews are probably safe for them. If in doubt, ask your vet. Make sure you read labels, and if you can afford American made products, opt for those. The thicker the hide, the better, since it will take longer for your dog to chew.
Chews You Should Never Give Your Dog
Bones and Sticks
Bones and sticks can splinter and tear the gastrointestinal tract, or break your dog’s teeth. Injuries include bowel and stomach blockages, choking, mouth wounds, vomiting and diarrhea.
Sticks splinter very easily, and can become stuck in your dog’s gums, tongue or throat.
Tennis balls are very easy for a dog to break small pieces off, creating a choking hazard. Some dogs have died from having a tennis ball lodged so deeply in their throat that it couldn’t be removed in time. Also, the felt outer material on a tennis ball is very abrasive to your dog’s teeth.
Chew Treat Myths
Chew Treats Should Be Nutritious!
Since treats are not a meal replacement or a supplement, I don’t think you have to worry about complete nutrition, in a treat. Of more concern is how they have been made, and where. Chew treats that are cheap, and from unknown places should definitely be avoided.
The fewer ingredients, the better. Be aware of the manufacturing process. If chemicals and other toxic substances have been used, don’t buy them. Always check a chew by sniffing it yourself, before you give it to your dog. If it smells like plastic, or other chemicals, throw it away.
A bit of research goes a long way. Check ingredients, customer reviews, veterinary recommendations, and of course, trusted reviewers.
Chew Treats are Hours of Fun!
Since I always advocate for supervision of your dog while they have a treat, you don’t really want it to last for hours. Another important point, if it lasts for hours it’s either too hard, and possibly dangerous, or it’s not suited to your dog very well. For instance a 12 inch chew treat for a Yorkie just won’t work.
Chew Treats Clean Teeth Completely
There is no substitute for regular brushing of teeth. A good dog toothbrush and a specially formulated canine toothpaste is by far the best way to keep your dog’s mouth healthy and free of tartar build-up.
You Can Safely Leave Your Dog With A Chew Treat
The majority of dogs will chomp through a treat with no issues whatsoever. But I wouldn’t want to take that risk. The incidence of injury and even death occurring due to unsupervised chew eating, is high enough to make me very cautious.
- Only give your dog a chew when you have time to supervise them.
- Choose the right sized chew for your dog based on body weight, chew habits and oral capabilities.
- If the chew starts to fracture or break up, or becomes a slimy blob, remove it.
Giving your faithful hound a chew treat should be a mutually happy activity. With a bit of research, you can make sure your dog gets the ideal treat to match their chewing habits. High calorie treats should be given once or twice a week, and make sure you know the origin of anything you put in your dog’s mouth.
I’ve reviewed some great treats for you, so you can feel assured by any choices you make.
My favorite chew treats are the Downtown All Natural Beef Bully Sticks. They are long-lasting, 100% natural, highly digestible, and my dogs love them.
All the treats on this list have excellent qualities, and depending on your particular dog you can feel confident in choosing one of these alternatives.