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If there’s one thing dogs are good at, it’s chewing things. They seem to have perfected the skill over the years, however, one thing they haven’t worked on is avoiding your couch, chairs, shoes, etc.
Our furry friends will chew on just about anything when in the mood, that’s when a good dog bone comes in handy.
Not only do the best dog bones provide our dogs with a safe and yummy chew toy, but they can also help maintain their health.
Tartar buildup is a regular concern for owners of canine pets, and a growing puppy can be destructive if they don’t have something to teeth on.
If you follow the latest updates on DogNutrition.com, Dog Food Advisor or other pet news sites, you’ll notice that finding a decent bone is sometimes a daunting task.
With recalls present for a number of brands, you may be tempted to shy away from bones altogether.
Your canine needs something to chew on whether they’re a pupper or a senior, it’s just good for their dental health.
Give me a good bone at the end of a long day – Doggo
Top 5 Dog Bones Compared
The best type of bones for dogs are edible, as dogs are fairly voracious creatures when it comes to a bone and won’t hesitate to swallow any pieces that come off of it.
Check out the items below for a detailed, informed review of some of the most popular dog bones on the market right now.
1. BeneBone Chews
- Far more durable than other chews
- No caloric intake
- Comes in a bacon, chicken and peanut flavor
- Small, medium and large sizes available
Different from other items on this list, the BeneBone isn’t actually a bone at all, but dogs find it yummy thanks to the bacon flavor. Many owners have mentioned that this bone is incredibly durable and long lasting, saving money on toys and chews in the long run.
These chews are not edible, so if you have an aggressive chewer who tends to swallow things, there’s a good chance that tiny pieces will eventually dislodge from the bone itself. Thankfully the design of the Benebone ensure that these pieces aren’t larger than a cucumber seed.
That aside, your Benebone should last for several months, and the bacon flavor definitely tastes great, and it won’t stain your carpet or leave a funky smell in your home.
2. Best Bully Sticks Premium Beef Trachea
- Safer than rawhide options
- Provides your dog with natural protein
- Excellent source of glucosamine for arthritic dogs
It sounds gross, but beef trachea is actually a healthy snack for your pet, and are very durable. Where braided treats are man-made and fashioned in an odd structure, a trachea from a cow is obviously going to have a natural, rounded shape with rough edges.
Larger breeds are able to grind their teeth against the bone and apply pressure to strengthen their jaw muscles and remove excess tartar from the gumline. Best of all, it doesn’t contain potentially harmful ingredients such as grain, soy, wheat, or corn.
Since they’re consuming marrow and cartilage directly from another animal, senior dogs especially benefit from the glucosamine and vitamin rich tissue. If you’ve got a canine with sore hips or a bad back, beef trachea might just be the thing they’re missing.
The problem with hollow dog bones are that they can sometimes get stuck around your pup’s bottom jaw. This is a painful, scary situation and many times dogs panic and injure themselves further by jamming their tongue through.
If this does happen, you may have to take them to the vet to have it sawn off. This happens more often with bleached bones though, as a trachea is a bit more pliable.
Keep in mind, this is a great chew option, but there’s a good chance that it’ll have a smell to it once it’s been mixed in with a few days worth of saliva.
3. Himalayan Yak Chew
- Made with natural ingredients, no preservatives
- Chewy texture that pulls tartar away from teeth
- Gluten-free for pups with sensitive tummies
If there’s one thing dogs love, it’s a tough, chewy texture that they can sink their teeth into. A mixture of yak milk, cow milk, lime juice, and salt, canines can’t resist the tasty flavor, and it does amazing things for their teeth!
Sodium bicarbonate, or salt, helps to reduce the acidic properties in your mouth that create cavities and tooth rot. It’s also an excellent remedy for bad breath, and reduces the chances of your dog getting periodontal disease.
Best of all, these chews are made in the USA, so they’ve passed inspections performed by the FDA and USDA.
While it is safer, ingestible, and probably better for your pups oral health than most bones, the Himalayan chew is not meant for long term use. It will melt down within a few hours, but the plus side is there won’t be any splinters or jagged edges to worry about.
4. Top Dog Chews Buffalo Horns
- Packages include sizes small, medium, and large
- Lasts for months, durable
- Great for working dogs
Buffalo and elk horns are a favorite for canines everywhere. Some breeds don’t grow out of chewing, especially cattle dogs and working animals that live in the city.
Instead of getting upset, get them a buffalo horn to work out some of that extra energy on. Like the beef trachea they aren’t man-made, and horns last longer than other dog bones.
While they’re more expensive than the water buffalo horn, elk horns are actually a much more durable bone and might be a more favorable option for larger breeds. Since they’re not made of cartilage, these bones are very low in fat and calories.
These may have previously been poor quality as many owners have mentioned that after they’re worn down, they splinter off and become dangerous. Most horns should wear down without breaking or leaving behind jagged edges after being chewed.
Additionally, they are hollow toward the top and become solid toward the middle, which may be the reason for the breakage.
5. Peppy Pooch Braided Bully Sticks
- Braiding provides a longer lasting chew
- Doesn’t carry an after smell
- Higher levels of protein than other chews
Best enjoyed by Boston Terriers, Chihuahuas and other small breeds, the Peppy Pooch stick helps to get in between the grooves and curves of your pet’s teeth and gums. This chew is made in the USA and is derived from beef, which helps to ensure a quality product that is low in fat and high in protein.
Since the bully sticks don’t emanate much of an odor, your dog will likely have better breath. As an added bonus, you don’t have to worry so much about it stinking up your dog’s bed, or your furniture.
Since they’re made for smaller pooches, the braided bully sticks aren’t exactly durable or tough.
Larger breeds like Rottweilers and Labradors will have a much easier time chewing these up, and will likely be able to finish them off with ease.
Another concern is that once they’re chewed down to a certain size, they may become a choking hazard and should be disposed. However, it’s important to remember that this is the norm with most chew toys as dog owners know, you have to tell them when they’re finished.
If for some reason you don’t like this dog bone or your pet has an issue after consuming it, the company offers a 100% money back guarantee. Just be sure to hold onto your receipt!
How to Pick a Good Dog Bone
Choosing the right dog bone for your pet can be tricky. That’s why we’ve put together this buyer’s guide to help you decide what option is best for your pup.
To start things off, let’s take a look at the different types of dog bones that you can choose from.
Types of Dog Bones
Below are the most common types of dog bones you can choose from and what makes them different from each other.
Raw bones are a dog’s oldest and most beloved treat. Some experts believe that raw bones are the best option, especially when they are still covered in meat, ligaments, tendons and have plenty of marrow left in them.
Something that isn’t really obvious is that cooked bones are actually harder and more dangerous for your pet than uncooked, raw, ones. This is because cooking a bone dries it out and makes it brittle and in turn more susceptible to breaking and splintering.
Furthermore, raw bones are much more nutritionally dense than cooked ones because cooking leads to some nutrients being lost.
Natural dog bones
These are the best alternatives to raw bones, especially if you are worried about the germs that can be present in raw meat.
These bones are very similar to raw bones, except they get sterilized to kill off germs and then they are cooked. However, since they are cooked, some of the nutrients may be lost and the bones may be more brittle.
Rawhide dog bones
We shouldn’t actually call these bones, since they are typically made from other parts of animals. They are similar to natural dog bones, but they are not actually made of bone. They are made of inner layers of skin or the hide of horses and cattle.
They are not exactly the tastiest treat, so, often, the manufacturers will add natural flavors to make them more appetizing for your pet. It is best to look for rawhide products that are made with all natural ingredients.
Dental health dog bones
Some bone products are specifically created to promote and support the dental health of your dog. They are manufactured in a way that allows them to help remove food particles and other debris from your dog’s teeth as they chew. An extra benefit is that they can help freshen your dog’s breath and soothe its gums.
Enriched dog chews
These are products that have been nutritionally enriched in order to supplement your dog’s regular diet. They can be very useful if your dog is having trouble eating well.
Bone-hard dog treats and chew toys
These products are designed for aggressive chewers. They give dogs a less destructive outlet for their chewing and are hard to break or splinter. They last a good while too. So if you have a power chewer, you should consider one of these.
Related: Best Indestructible Dog Beds for Aggressive Chewers
Natural Dog Bones vs Synthetic Dog Bones
When shopping for dog bones, you have two options: natural or synthetic. Let’s go over the differences, benefits and drawbacks of each type.
If you’re looking for a product that resembles your dogs ancestral diet, is full of nutrients and would like to give your dog the feeling of chewing on real bone, then you want to get a natural dog chew.
Alternatively, if you have concerns about the contamination and safety issues of natural dog bones, then you can go with the synthetic option.
But what’s the better option?
Nutritionally speaking, natural bones are much better than synthetic ones. This is true even if synthetic bones are something enriched.
Furthermore, the contamination concerns that come with natural bones are also matched on the other side by the artificial preservatives, gluten, flavors. artificial colors and other chemicals that synthetics may be laced with.
You should weight the pros and cons of each type of dog chew and make the best possible decision for your pet.
Natural Dog Bone Chews
- Bone marrow that is natural comes packed full of nutrients that your dog might be missing out on.
- Instinctively attractive to our dogs, particularly if the cartilage is still attached. They mimic actual bones.
- The best quality natural dog chew will have no added preservatives
- May sometimes cause diarrhea, vomiting or other issues
- Prone to contamination
Synthetic Dog Bone Chews
- Often specifically designed to support the health of teeth and gums, and have no risk of natural bacteria
- Available in a wide variety of flavors and sizes
- Typically don’t stain furniture, carpet or clothing
- No calories, so you don’t have to worry about weight gain
- When left unsupervised, dogs may sometimes break off pieces and ingest them. This can cause issues.
- Sometimes manufactured using artificial preservatives, colors, flavors & other chemicals.
Supervision Is Always Best with Dog Bones
Truthfully, no matter what kind of chew or bone you buy, there’s always a little bit of risk involved. Most dogs are pretty good about stopping when they reach their limit, but it’s not uncommon for animals to choke on or injure themselves on the splinters of a poorly designed bone or toy.
Keep on eye on your dog when they’re chewing, especially on a new bone that you haven’t purchased before.
The best kinds melt down the way the Himalayan Yak Chew does; sure, they won’t last very long, but it’s better than rushing your dog to the emergency vet to remove a splintered bone from their abdomen.
Avoid Certain Body Parts
There are bones that are advertised as “Butcher Blocks,” and generally consist of harder pieces like knuckles, femurs, and knee caps.
While these parts are packed with minerals, marrow, and glucosamine, they’re extremely brittle and weak. Companies take these parts and cure them to be softer and edible. However, bones aren’t built to be soft, and this is why they break off into sharp pieces that can hurt your pet.
Some Bones Stink a Little More Than Others
Bully sticks are made from different materials including bone and cartilage, usually wound together in a fashion similar to the Peppy Pooch Braided Bully Stick. They’re not a terrible option, and they do keep dogs busy for awhile, but they do have a scent and can often come with an oily texture.
Out of all 5, the best on the list would be the Himalayan Yak Chews as long as your pup doesn’t have any dairy allergies. Second best would have to be the water buffalo horns because of their durability, but the elk horns are a little better if you’re able to splurge for them.
Dog Bones FAQ
How Does My Dog Benefit from Chewing Bones?
This is a great question that many dog owners have. There are two types of bones, as mentioned above, natural or synthetic. The benefits your dog will receive can depend on which type of bone you give him.
For instance, a difference between the two types is their nutritional content. Synthetic bones tend to be enriched with substances that you may not find in a natural bone. Some of these substances can be very beneficial and some may even harmful.
It’s important to do your research on what kind of bone is best for your dog. That being said, regardless of what type you go with, there are four primary benefits dogs get from chewing bones:
- Supports healthy gums, teeth and oral cavity
- Cognitive stimulation
- Provides a less destructive way for dogs to act out their primal behavior
- Helps fight boredom and misbehavior
Teeth, gum and oral cavity support
Physically speaking, this is the most important benefit. Your dog wants to have healthy teeth just like you do. Toothaches are not fun, no matter who you are!
Chewing on bones can be a great help in cleaning teeth and gums which leads to a heather oral cavity. The action of the bone scraping and rubbing against the surface of their gums and teeth helps to remove any larger debris or food particles.
There are certain chew bones that even come specialized in promoting oral health. They are shaped with little ribs in them that act like bristles on a toothbrush to remove particles as the dog chews.
Now, as beneficial as dog chew bones can be for oral health, they are no replacement for proper management of your dog’s teeth and gums.
As most dog owners know, our furry friends are much smarter than a lot of people realize. Dogs get cognitive stimulation just like us. And while you may not realize it, when they’re chewing on their bones, their brains are working!
When given a new bone, especially a raw one or a processed one with meat and tendons, dogs will work to figure out how to approach it and best get to the good stuff.
When given a bony treat they are essentially working their brains, figuring out how to approach a particular bone. One of their natural instincts is knowing that before they get to the bone’s core, they have to get through the outer meat and tendons.
This is an excellent mental exercise for them. Even when they are chewing on synthetic bones, they are getting a sensory load from the taste, smell, texture, sight, etc. This has a positive impact on their cognition.
Provides a less destructive way for dogs to act out their primal behavior
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, dogs gonna chew! They’ve been doing it for thousands of years and aren’t gonna stop now.
It’s up to you to decide what you want your dog to practice this natural urge on. You could make the smart decision and buy them a bone or a toy or you can let them chew up your furniture, carpet, bedding, TV, your shoes, your clothes or anything else in your house that gets in their path.
So this one is a no brainer, buy a bone or chew toy and guide your dog’s natural tendency to chew in a less destructive manner.
Helps fight boredom & misbehavior
Guess what? Dogs get bored too! Probably as much as you or I do, and unfortunately they don’t have the capability to play Candy Crush (yet).
Bones are a great way to give your dog something to do and keep themselves entertained. Chewing may not be fun for (some) of us, but to dogs, it’s a natural and fulfilling act.
And furthermore, a busy dog is a well behaved dog. Keep them chewing and entertained and they won’t have time or reason to misbehave.
What Is the Safest Bone for My Dog?
As we discussed above, raw bones tend to be the most safe option when used properly and under supervision. They are much softer than cooked bones, tend to break apart and splinter less, and are packed full of nutrients and moisture.
This is not to say that other options are extremely dangerous. When properly supervised, most dog bones will be fine for your pet. You just have to keep an eye out for any breakage and splintering and remove it from your dog if you do see it.
That wraps up our guide to buying a good bone for your dog. We hope you’ve come away with some valuable information and the confidence to get your pup the bone they deserve.
Keep Reading: The Best Dog Training Books
Stock Photos from David O’Dell / Jaromir Chalabala / Jaaak / Shutterstock