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The Best Rawhide Alternative Treats for Your Dog

A dog licking its lips, happy to get a new chew toy.
Nicky Rhodes/Shutterstock

Rawhide is a popular ingredient in dog treats, but experts don’t recommend it because of the associated risks. Here are the best rawhide-free treats for your dog.

Why no rawhide? Well, while rawhide certainly isn’t as dangerous for dogs as foods that are immediately toxic, there are a handful of risks that come with rawhide chew toys that you may wish to avoid. These risks include illness resulting from contamination via poor manufacturing processes, digestive irritation (that you’ll be stuck cleaning up), and even surgery as a result of esophageal and bowel obstruction. You can avoid the late-night cleanups (or worse, late-night emergency vet visits) by swapping out the rawhide for an alternative. Here are our top picks!

DreamBone Twist Sticks

These edible sticks are made with chicken and vegetables for a delicious treat that’s full of vitamins and minerals. Choose from among three different flavors based on your dog’s preferences. These are pretty soft and skinny, so they’re best for small dogs and light chewers. 

Pet Factory Beefhide Chews

Beefhide is 99% digestible and a much safer option than rawhide. These peanut butter-flavored braids are made with beef collagen, which promotes healthy skin, nails, and fur. These chews are hefty and will take even the most aggressive chewers a long time to get through. 

Beef Cheek Rolls

Dried beef cheek is more easily digested than rawhide and lasts just as long. These rolls are high in protein and super tough for aggressive chewers. Beef cheek also contains vitamins B and C to support a healthy immune system.

SmartBones SmartSticks

SmartBones SmartSticks are some of the most popular rawhide alternatives on the market. These bones are made with real meat and veggies and are enriched with vitamins and minerals. They’re easy to digest and will rarely cause the gut issues commonly associated with other chews. 

Turkey Tendons

Dried turkey tendons are an all-natural treat made with only one ingredient. They are hypoallergenic and great for dogs with sensitive stomachs. This brand packages them in strips for small dogs and braids or pretzel twists for larger ones.

Bully Sticks

Made from beef pizzle (Look it up if you want a more specific explanation.), bully sticks tend to last longer than any other rawhide alternative treat. Even the most aggressive chewers can gnaw on these for hours before making a dent. However, the smell can be intense, so they’re best enjoyed outside.

Himalayan Cheese Chews

Himalayan cheese chews are made by boiling yak milk and drying it for several weeks until it forms a hard chew. Your dog will work on this treat for hours before being able to scrape small bits off, so it’s best for those that tend to inhale their treats. They contain only natural ingredients with no preservatives.

Nylabone Healthy Edibles

Nylabone is a long-standing, trusted brand for dog owners. Their Healthy Edibles last longer than most treats but are best for light or moderate chewers. They’re made with real meat for an irresistible smell and flavor.

Beef Jerky Chews

Just like beef jerky is a great treat for humans, the dog version is perfect for your pup. These are made with 100% dried beef gullet for an all-natural treat. They also help clean the plaque off your dog’s teeth to support a healthy mouth.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Soup Bones

These soup bones are some of the highest-rated dog treats on Amazon. You won’t find any artificial flavors or meat by-products in these goodies. Instead, they contain real beef and a variety of textures for a longer-lasting option for your pup.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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