Rawhide is a classic staple of dog chew. Personally, when I was younger, every dog home I saw also had a couple of rawhide chews laying about the home as well. They seemed to last forever. Rawhide bones are also very cheap and are available in many different places.
However, there seems to be a switch away from rawhide in recent years…why is that?
First of all, rawhide has been discovered to be highly indigestible to most dogs. Rawhide is made from the skin of the animal and is layered in different chemicals to give the chew its color, shape, texture, and flavor. Specifically, larger dogs tend to swallow pieces whole (if you have a bigger dog, you know what I am talking about), which means that the rawhide can easily be choked on. If it manages to pass the esophagus, other issues can arise, such as a blockage in the stomach or intestines, often requiring surgery to remove. Smaller dogs can typically handle rawhide a little better, as they take smaller bites and don’t tend to swallow whole chunks. However, the chemicals and material still make the chew hard to digest.
So what’s a good alternative?
Here at mini-critters, we have many alternative options available, but our recommendation?
Bully sticks. Bully sticks are made from high protein beef muscle, which is easily broken down in your dog’s stomach. The beef muscle also has several health benefits, such as the amount of amino acids which is great for your dog’s muscles, brain, skin, and coat. Chewing in general (but especially on bully sticks) helps your dog get rid of plaque on his teeth, which reduces the chance of him getting tooth decay later on in life. Bully sticks are also free from artificial chemicals, additives, and preservatives, which makes them great for dogs with allergies and sensitivities.
Bully sticks are great for dogs of all ages, as long as they have good teeth (including puppies!) They are especially great if they are struggling with bad chewing behaviors, such as chewing shoes or furniture. Offer the bully stick as a different alternative for them to chew on, the stick is much tastier for the dog, and better for your wallet, too!
They also come in different shapes and sizes. Do you have a small dog who chews fairly slowly? A regular, small stick would do the trick. Have a larger dog with a strong jaw? Something braided or circular would be better. Something in the middle? A curly stick, or a smaller braid would work. There’s a difficulty and size for every dog!
Bully sticks will also stay fresh for up to 3 YEARS, so if your dog is a fairly slow chewer, no need to worry! Most dogs will take anywhere from a couple of hours to a month to chew them up, though, so you can try different styles and see which your dog likes best!
Have questions about what type of bully stick is right for your dog? Ask us at the store, or message us and we will help you out!
*Please always monitor your dog while they are chewing. Larger dogs still tend to swallow the last bit of the stick, so take it away once there is a small bit left.*