Is your dog a gulper when it comes to meal time or an aggressive chewer? Do you have trouble finding treat and/or chews that will last your dog more than a few minutes? My dog Alaska, being a small size dog weighing in at 20 pounds, I am always surprised at how fast she eats.. everything. Over the years, I have searched far and wide for healthy, long-lasting chews on the market that can withstand the power of my dog’s jaws and her appetite, and even picked up some creative ways of giving her the pleasure of food and me a peace of mind. When it comes to choosing the best chews for my dog, I look for ones that are affordable, healthy, limited-ingredient, generally safe, palatable for my dog, digestible, mess-free, and low-odor.
Below are my personal tried-and-true recommendations on long-lasting dog chews from shortest to longest chow time.
1. 5-15 minutes
One of the staples in my kitchen is frozen stuffed Kongs. Kongs are natural rubber, durable treat toys made by the Kong brand with varying sizes and strengths. The best part is they’re stuffable! Alaska’s favorite stuffings are canned dog food, raw ground meat (any protein i.e. beef, fish, tripe, chicken, turkey, lamb, rabbit, bison, buffalo, etc.), dehydrated dog food, freeze-dried dog food, pumpkin puree mixed with all-natural peanut butter, and kefir mixed with blueberries. Freeze stuffed Kongs for at least 3 hours for an even harder challenge! *Frozen stuffed Kongs are to be fed as treats (unless you stuff them with your dog’s entire meal) and should be included in daily caloric intake.
Raw ground meat, canned pumpkin puree, fruits, all-natural peanut butter, and kefir are readily available in your local grocery store, but my favorite dog foods to stuff into Kongs are:
Ziwipeak canned dog food
The Honest Kitchen dehydrated dog food
Primal freeze-dried dog food
2. 15-25 minutes
Dehydrated Beef Tracheas are one of my go-to chews for Alaska when I come home from a long day at work and need some alone time. A quite popular chew, dehydrated tracheas are not limited to beef, but beef tracheas (as opposed to lamb tracheas) are bigger in size and therefore last longer. They are moderately hard, and very crunchy when dehydrated. Not only does it give your dog’s teeth a good clean, but also a nice jaw exercise.
My favorite brands of dehydrated beef tracheas:
Clear Conscience Pet
Best Bully Sticks
3. 25-45 minutes
Bully sticks are a must-have in my house. Bully sticks are bull penises (a.k.a. “pizzle”) that have been rinsed and dried to create hard, long-lasting chews for dogs. They vary greatly in length and width, which make them versatile treats for all furry four-leggers. My favorite kind is low-odor, non-greasy, and 6 inches in length.
You can fetch some here:
Best Bully Sticks
Bully Bundles (Subscription Service)
4. 45 minutes-3 hours
My dog is fed a species-appropriate raw diet, so it is always a bonus when I can find treats and chews that are raw or minimally-processed. Every now and then, I like to reward Alaska with recreational raw bones such as beef marrow bones, beef trotter bones, beef ribs, beef knuckle bones, and pork trotter bones. The kinds of bones you feed your dog will depend on his/her size, breed, and chewing habits. For moderate to aggressive chewers, weight-bearing bones from cows and other large animals are generally good because most dogs will be able to strip the meat off but not consume the entire bone. Bones from smaller animals such as deer, goats, pigs and lamb can be consumed by larger dogs and some smaller breed dogs. Poultry bones are generally appropriate for all sizes of dogs. *When feeding bones, bones should NEVER be cooked as they easily splinter and can choke or hurt your dog.
Raw bones can be found in your local grocery store (be careful with enhanced meats) or a butcher shop, but you can also order online in bulk:
When I am looking for long-lasting chews that can be accessible to my dogs at any time, I go to deer antlers. Antler chews are unique and versatile; they are cut into different sizes and shapes to match your dog’s needs. Some are whole and some are split down the center with the marrow exposed to make it easier for your dog. Deer antlers are very, very hard so use your discretion on when to take them away if your dog is chewing too hard. The whole antler may not be consumed, but the marrow can be gradually scraped off. With very hard chews, a potential hazard is your dog breaking a tooth or choking on a small piece. Deer antlers are good for recreational chewing to relieve boredom, and you can leave them around the house for your dog to come back to.
Deer antlers can be found in your local pet food store, or online:
*DO NOT leave your dog unattended/unsupervised when he/she is with a chew. Like all treats, toys, and foods, chews may pose a choking hazard. Other potential risks include bowel blockage, broken teeth, loose stools, and constipation (from feeding large amounts of bone). Wisely choose the best chew for your dog according to its size, breed, and chewing habits.