The 7 Best Natural Dog Chews of 2022

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Chew toys should always be chosen with your dog’s safety and health in mind. Dried animal skin that includes rawhide can cause blockages if ingested, while other animal chews pose potential risks ranging from bacterial contamination to digestive issues and even chipped teeth. .

“If it’s really hard, like you don’t want to hit your kneecap with it, it’s probably not good for your dog,” says Lisa Tanner, DVM, a veterinarian in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Although Tanner occasionally feeds her dogs rawhide or marrowbone, she stresses the importance of watching your dog closely, removing chews when the pieces break off or become small enough to swallow.

Rather than risk chew toys with potential health benefits for your dog, check out our selection of the best natural dog chews.

What to Look for in Natural Dog Chews


Choose the treat according to the size of your dog. If it’s too small, it could end up posing a choking hazard. If it’s too big for your dog, he might get frustrated because he can’t hold it with his mouth or paws. Most companies list recommendations on their websites based on your dog’s size.


Companies often list where ingredients come from. We like that our recommended bully sticks, for example, come from free-range, grass-fed cattle.

Other ingredients

The best natural chews should not contain additives, preservatives or chemicals from processing. Bully sticks, for example, must be 100% beef. Many of our recommendations only use a handful of recognizable ingredients, which can be helpful in reducing any food sensitivities, if your dog reacts badly to a chewy treat.

“Only use a new treat or chew every three weeks so that if your pet develops vomiting, diarrhea or itchy skin, it’s easier to pinpoint the source of the problem,” Dr. Tanner told The Spruce Pets. “I also recommend chews that say they’re digestible, so if a big chunk is eaten, surgery won’t be necessary.”


Are natural chews good for dogs’ teeth?

There are natural chew bones and digestible bones that satisfy a dog’s need to chew and can also be good for their dental health.

“The increased salivation and gentle brushing action of chewing can help reduce the level of bacteria, and therefore plaque on the teeth,” says Tanner. “It’s also very relaxing for some dogs to ‘chew well’ and it prevents them from choosing furniture or other inappropriate objects to satisfy the need.”

Are antlers considered a natural and safe chew for dogs?

Deer or elk antlers are popular because dogs can gnaw on them for a long time without needing to be replaced. However, this is not necessarily a good thing, as it indicates chewing too hard and can put your dog’s teeth at risk.

“Some dogs can chew antlers safely, but I don’t recommend them,” says Tanner. “Anything hard can wear down tooth enamel or even cause a tooth to fracture, which would require dental intervention with anesthesia, x-rays and extractions.”

Are Natural Root Chews safe for dogs?

If you have a dog that likes to chew on sticks, you may have considered giving him a natural root to chew on instead. These are dense tree roots of species like the heather tree that are not meant to break. But often pet owners say that the chews break into sharp shards. Also, the wood itself may be too hard.

“Like antlers, I think these can be harmful to enamel and cause tooth fractures,” Tanner says.

Why can rawhides, pig’s ears and other treats cause problems for dogs?

“Natural treats/chews may contain chemicals from processing or bacterial contamination. It can be harmful to the animal, and even to the owner,” says Tanner. “Some pets can chew fine, but others can chew and swallow large chunks which can lead to stomach upset or aggravate intestinal blockages.”

Additionally, pets can sometimes be allergic to animal protein. And some treats are high in calories, which if given too often can lead to obesity issues.

Why trust Treehugger?

Proud mom of a rescue dog, Mary Jo DiLonardo has fostered over three dozen dogs and puppies.. and is always on the lookout for healthy treats to keep them happy. We consulted a veterinarian and found out what problems people had with natural chews. For over 25 years, Mary Jo has covered a wide range of topics focused on nature, pets, health, science and anything that helps make the world a better place. She spent over six years with Treehugger, formerly under the Mother Nature Network brand.

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