7 Healthy Alternatives to Rawhide Chews

Rawhide chews used to be the go-to for stealing hours of a canine’s attention.

Nowadays many professionals have shined a light on the hazards these “treats” contain. If you’re looking for a healthy, safer alternative for your pup, there are plenty of other options available.


Deer and elk antlers are fantastic treats for your pet. They have multiple benefits like helping your dog maintain healthy, clean teeth and providing essential nutrients his body needs to thrive. Antlers are chock full of potassium, zinc, calcium and manganese to promote a long, lasting life. Best of all, these things stand up to even the toughest chewers. Just make sure you keep an eye on your dog when giving one of these in case he manages to break it.

Sweet Potato Chews

Sweet potatoes are the ultimate light snack for your pup. When cooked properly, they can keep him busy for while you bust out a quick load of laundry or wash the dishes. They’re high in fiber to promote a healthy digestive system and also provide many of the nutrients your dog requires. When dried out in the oven the rough edges offer a great way to help clean your buddy’s teeth.

Frozen Carrots

Frozen carrots are perfect, all natural treats that most dogs love. These orange sticks are already kind of tough to chew through to begin with, but when you toss them in the freezer for a few hours they become even more long lasting. They’re also low on calories so you don’t have to feel guilty about plumping up your pooch.

Raw Bones

Raw marrow bones can be a fantastic source of minerals and other nutrients and also are great for keeping teeth clean. Go with a hip or femur bone from large animals like cows and bison, which are filled with marrow. Place a towel under your dog as it can get messy. Never feed cooked bones which can splinter and perforate your pet’s intestines or stomach and cause severe injuries or death.

Venison Ears

A lot of pet stores have sections full of ear chews, most of which are some variety of pig or beef. Venison chews, however, are low in fat. They’re tough for your pup to chew through, which will make him happy, while also being a healthy treat. They don’t break easily so they pose little in the way of choking hazards, but you’ll probably still want to stay in the room with your dog while he gnaws one of these down.

Fish Skin

Did you know there are chews made entirely of fish skin? Obviously the name is a bit of a misnomer and comes from the shape, but these healthy chews are low in fat and non-greasy, making them a great alternative to traditional rawhide bones. The texture is somewhat like jerky and the chews are great for your pup’s skin. If you’re looking for something a little smaller, dried fish skins also provide lean protein and Omega-3s while helping to clean your dog’s teeth.

Himalayan Chews

Himalayan chews aren’t always easy to find at the local pet store, but they’re a great choice for dogs with digestive issues. Made of yak and cow milk, along with salt and lime juice for flavor, most dogs have no problem with these in their stomach. They’re tough as most bones and, even if broken, typically aren’t dangerous for your dog to swallow. That doesn’t mean you should let them gulp down huge chunks, but the risk isn’t the same as with rawhide. These chews can last for hours.

Always Monitor

It’s important to note that if you’re giving your dog any type of chew, you should be monitoring this activity. That’s because you want to make sure pieces don’t break off that he can swallow or choke on. And be sure to cycle out the chew regularly so you and your dog don’t have to deal with any nasty (and dangerous) bacteria.

Meet the Author: Ben Kerns

Ben Kerns is a freelance writer, photographer and outdoor adventurer based out of San Diego. When he’s not busy working you can find him hopping across the world looking for new places to climb big rocks. He’s also fanatically obsessed with funding his outdoor obsessions for as little money as possible. This stuff gets expensive.

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