What Are Safe Chew Snacks and Treats For Dogs?

Tags: dogs, bones, rawhides, treats, safe, dangerous, knuckle bones, frozen



What's Safe?

Question Comment 1: Years ago pigs ears were singled out as being a possible source of salmonella. Raw hides have been singled out as possibly causing choking and blockage of intestines. Cooked bones might splinter; raw bones might splinter--and now we learn, can cause blockage of the esophagus. "Cookies" usually contain grains, and many dogs can't tolerate grains. Some cookies contain peanut butter, chicken, and other ingredients to which some dogs are deathly allergic. My dogs love paddywacks and chicken jerky, however, one is never enough, and they know how to count to five! ;-) So, the question is: Are there any other safe snacks for the dogs to chew on, that are satisfying to the dog, last more than a couple minutes, won't put on too much weight, and are easily available?

Suggested Alternatives

Comment 2: I heard from my trainer that compressed rawhide stuff was OK, because when it's chewed it comes off in very small pieces like flakes. They also last pretty long, I just watch it to see when it gets down to a swallow-able size and I pick it up.

Anything Can Cause a Dog to Choke

Comment 3: Probably not. The reality is that no matter WHAT your dog is chewing, there is a risk that it is going to break off a piece and choke on it. Period. Years ago I had a Newf choke on a bulb that he dug up out of my flowerbed. I have no idea why he chose to take down that huge chunk, but he did. We managed to save him, but had I not come out of the house at precisely the right moment and found him choking, he would have died, right there in the tulips. My dogs get bones and choofies. (These are cow hooves, sterilized for doggy chews.) I try to watch and when they become small enough to be a danger, I dispose of them. But, on the other hand, if they don't have something to chew that I have given them, they are much more likely to go and find something on their own...like an electric cord, or the sole of a workboot with nails in it, or a piece of wood that splinters. So you just have to measure the risks, be vigilant, and pray that your dogs will be safe. And, on the other side of the coin, dogs that don't get anything to chew on will probably need a dental eventually, and THAT requires a general anesthetic, and there is a risk to that too.

We do our best to keep our dogs safe, and that is all we can do. You cannot stop them from being dogs in that effort....a dog living in a fishbowl would be a very unhappy dog.

Kongs, Hot Dogs, Frozen Meats

Comment 4: Kongs (giant size for bigger dogs so they can't swallow them) can be stuffed with the thing of your choice. Peanut butter, cheese, hot dogs, ground up whatever and frozen. They work well and are practically indestructible. They are a 'must have' in my puppy chewing arsenal. I have a funny story though--one of my puppies who was extra obsessed with water put a large sized kong down the toilet unbeknownst to us. It plugged the toilet perfectly. We had no idea what had happened and had to call a plumber who failed to snake the drain. He had to physically take the toilet off its base and figure it out. I will *never* forget that phone call: well, ma'am its a kind of red behive shaped thing with k-o-n-g written on it.....I nearly died of hysterics and embarassment at the same time! LOL Now I shut the door to the bathroom...

Another thing I like to have which is not so readily available is my raw marrow bones sawn in 4" (but actually they come in -6-8)" pieces; I think they are beef long bones without the joints. I get them from my raw co-op in 40 lb cases, but I imagine you could ask your local grocery to get them for you. They are too big to swallow or get chunks off of, too heavy to carry very far. If a dog is too obsessive with chewing, say in the crate, I do take them away, but more for fear of breaking teeth. They last a long time and are very satisfying to chew and the dogs don't seem to get tired of them. I throw a few outside and let the dogs, sun, wind and weather kind of clean them up a bit before I let them come in. They are still the first things my younger dogs go for in the house and they sit down calmly and chew for awhile even though we have lots of fun toys that are safe for older non-chew everything dogs.

Ice is another great treat, but they do crunch through it rather fast and it makes a mess. Nothing better on a hot day though, and ice actually quenches thirst and keeps them from chugging huge amounts of water (think bloat--or that time when you had kids in the hospital and they would only let you have ice chips--your choice!).

I do feed american pressed rawhide from Trader Joes (argentinian hide was supposedly tainted with arsenic some years back) because it lasts longer, but I worry about the chunks so I don't do it too often. Once in awhile when everyone goes on a bark fest. I also use the Kirkland biscuits once in awhile when I am feeling expansive at Costco (one person said this was all her sick geriatric dog would still eat). My dogs think a slice of bread is just the best treat anyhow.

So far I have never found anything that wasn't food-based that held them for long.

Rawhides and Biscuits

Comment 5: I used to buy those rawhide bones and large rawhide chips for my dogs whenever I would go to PetsMart or some other pet supply venue....the dogs loved them....but again I say ....USED TO. Then there was the concern ( and correct me if I am wrong ) that some rawhide products contained...arsenic ???....which was used in the processing of the rawhides....I believe it was most commonly present in rawhides which were produced outside the United States. While this was a major concern for me....what changed my mind about the rawhides was back in 1990....I had a lovely Lab bitch and she purely loved her rawhides. One evening, when she was about 7 weeks in whelp....I gave her a rawhide chip which she was happily munching on and suddenly I heard this God-Awful gagging noise and she collapsed on the floor....the rawhide had become lodged in her throat and was cutting off her breathing. I was able to extract the rawhide and she immediately resumed breathing and soon recovered fully but that to me was THAT !!! The rawhides went into the trash and none of the dogs ever got them again.

Heavy Leg Bones

Comment 6: I like using the very heavy leg bones (approx 8" long) from cows, raw and frozen. Knuckle bones I've found, do break and chip, so I do not use anything with a knuckle. These bones have both ends cut. Even with heavy chewing mine can have a few evenings of fun with these. Once they dry out they will chip and break, so before that time they are taken away.

 

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