What Can I Give My Dog Instead of Rawhide?

small dog laying on bed chewing rawhide stick

Dogs love to chew. They will chew on shoes, toys, trees, even you if you let them. Since we love our pups, why would we deprive them of chewing if they love it so much? The goal is to give them the right thing to chew.

In past days, rawhide has been a popular treat to give your dog to stop them from chewing on everything else. In more recent years, we have learned that rawhide isn’t the best choice for a dog chew. But what can I give my dog instead of rawhide? Luckily there are alternatives like sweet potato chews that we can give our dogs to keep our chewers happy.

What are Rawhide Dog Treats?

Rawhide twists on white background

Rawhide dog treats are hard treats made from the inner layer of a cow’s hide or other large animal like a horse. These hides are cleaned, processed and shaped into treats for your dog. Sometimes flavoring such as beef or chicken is added to the rawhide to make it more appealing to dogs.

These rawhide dog treats can be curled into sticks from a single piece of rawhide, left as small sheets, or crushed and reformed into a shapes.

Is Rawhide Really Bad for dogs?

Dog Chewing rawhide bone

Giving your dog rawhide comes with a lot of risk. Rawhide can cause digestive issues such as blockage, digestive irritation, allergy, or even choking.

Like with any food, for dogs or humans, rawhide can become contaminated with bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli. There are also chemicals involved in the processing of rawhide treats that could have an ill effect of your dog.

What Should I do if My Dog Swallowed a Rawhide?

Pug sitting with chewed rawhide bone on grass

If your dog has swallowed a piece of rawhide, you should contact your veterinarian. Large pieces of rawhide, when swallowed can become lodged in the esophagus or stomach causing a blockage.

Your veterinarian will be able to tell you what signs and symptoms to look for and help you plot the best course of action.

Alternatives to Rawhides for Dogs

Dogs have a natural instinct to chew and it can help them relieve anxiety. Luckily for our pups, there are plenty of alternatives to rawhide.

Sweet Potato Dog Treats

Sweat potatoes can be dehydrated in your oven and given to your dog as a chew or added to a rope as a chew toy. An added bonus is that sweet potato has great nutritional value for your dog. You can learn how to make your own sweet potato chews in our article Sweet Potato Dog Treats on a Rope – DIY Indestructible Dog Toy.

SmartBones Sweet Potato Chews Dog Treats

SmartBones Sweet Potato Chews Dog Treats

SmartBones Sweet Potato Chews Dog Treats are a great rawhide alternative made from chicken and vegetables, are highly digestible, and are enriched with vitamins and minerals.

Here is what people are saying about SmartBones:

Shepard likes them!

My German Shepard loves these…don’t last forever but enough to keep her busy so I can get a small task done and she doesn’t get in my way!

Great

Best dog bones!

Love these as an alternative to raw hides. It’s hard finding something that is not only safe for my fur babies but also won’t upset my sensitive boy’s skin. They also hold up really well and keep my dogs busy for a solid 30mins, recommend these strongly!!

Hannah

Lip smackin!

I got these for my big girl, Sophie and she loved them! I don’t think she’s had sweet potatoes before but she’s a definite fan. Will be buying them again.

Joyce

Bones & Chews Braided Bully

 Bones & Chews Braided Bully

The Bones & Chews Braided Bully is a long-lasting dog treat designed to help clean your chewers teeth and gums. It is made from Argentinian cattle pizzle and is 100% digestible making it a great stand in for rawhide.

Here is what people are saying about Bones & Chews Braided Bully Dog Treats:

Will keep them busy all day

Our Teddy Bear Chip loves these Bully sticks. He is still in that chewing stage. We give him one of these and he stays away from other items in the house to chew on. He will chew on this all day.

John

Hannahs Fave

These are lg enough for a big dog but my chihuahua loves them too, takes her along time to work through them and I often have to hide it for awhile as its a bit rich if she chews too many days on it. But sure keeps her busy and happy

Rescued

Great for my blue heeler!

My blue heeler puppy looooves to chew. She is picky about things to chew on, though, and really can chew through a busy bone quickly. These can keep her occupied for hours at a time. I have already repurchased and will continue to repurchase in the future!!

Katie

The Bottom Line – Safe Chews for Dogs

Beagle chewing rawhide

Rawhide dog treats do not completely digest making the rawhide dangerous for dogs who chew or break off large pieces that can cause blockages and digestive issues.

Replacing your dogs rawhide dog treats with a digestible and durable alternative can cut down on these risks while keeping your dog happily chewing.

Please keep in mind that we may receive a small commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

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Hi! My name is Heather Hallman. I’m the mother of two beautiful girls and a MAJOR passionate pet parent. I can hardly wait to bring you the BEST resources and information that I've found for our fur-babies.