Experts today would not recommend for your dog to gnaw on rawhide chews since they can be a choking hazard. Dogs tend to chew rawhide in half, break off pieces and swallow, which then causes obstruction. Instead, dog bully sticks and chews made of easy-to-digest ingredients may be a much better and safer choice.
Studies show that it takes more than 24 hours for a dog's body to digest a piece of rawhide treat. This means it may end up lodged in a dog's digestive tract, causing a dangerous blockage. A blockage like this would need to be repaired with an invasive and expensive surgery. There have been many cases reported of rawhide cause this.
Nowadays, some of the best dog bully sticks and chews replaced rawhide in popularity due to their safety. However, even if bully sticks for dogs are safer, when it comes to dog chews in general, you should always supervise your pet until they're done with it. Below, we've tested, reviewed and ranked some of the best bully sticks for dogs based on their ingredients and safety. Here are the top five:
Rawhide vs Dog Bully Sticks
There are several factors to consider when choosing the safest dog chews for your pet, be it rawhide treats, bully sticks or anything else. A few studies (this and this) found that because chews are made to last longer, they contain harder materials, which can sometimes break off and allow to be swallowed by your dog. The studies reported a number of real-life cases of obstruction being caused by rawhide, and a few other dog chews. Therefore, safety of any dog chews is the first thing to consider.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has published a position statement on dog chews and dog treats that reads:
“The ASPCA encourages pet guardians to understand the chewing habits and preferences of their individual dogs. When choosing an appropriate chew, they should avoid products that their pets can consume in significant pieces…” (source)
While ASPCA don't condemn giving rawhides dog treats, they do state that consumption of chews should be “slow and deliberate.” This is to prevent choking hazards in dogs. Supervision of your pet is highly recommended.
The reason why most best dog bully sticks for dogs are a better alternative to rawhide is because they offer the same benefits of rawhide chews – dental care, satisfying oral stimulation needs, burning excess energy, mental stimulation – while also being much easier to digest, and have a lower chance of breaking off in large pieces.
That is not to say that bully sticks never break off. Your dog can still break off small pieces of bully stick chews, but due to their structure, they tend to be smaller in size, and they are also much easier to digest, as compared to ripping off large pieces of rawhide and trying to swallow them.
The Best Dog Bully Sticks & Chews for Dogs
1Supreme Bully Sticks
Chewing comes naturally to dogs. In fact, they need it to develop strong jaws, prevent plaque build-up, keep the oral cavity healthy and fresh-smelling, and reduce anxiety. There are a variety of dog chews available, both from synthetic and natural sources.
- 100% NATURAL: Best Bully...
- FOR MEDIUM TO STRONG CHEWERS:...
- PROMOTES DENTAL HEALTH:...
- NATURAL SCENT: Our Bully...
- EXCELLENT ALTERNATIVE TO...
These bully sticks are often touted by other pet owners and veterinarians that we meet as a far superior to synthetic chews and even to rawhide chews, so we needed to try and review them. In the end, these chews from Best Bully Sticks became our top choice when it comes to ranking the best dog bully sticks.
These best-selling chew sticks are available in 6-inch and 12-inch lengths, and in packs of 25 pieces and 50 pieces. Our dogs loved this chewy treat and we couldn't be happier that they finally found a chew that our pets like more than shoes and leather couches. Supreme Bully Sticks by Best Bully Sticks are uniformly cut, and are so hard and solid that even passionate chewers take time to finish off a piece.
The drawback is that we found these best dog bully sticks a bit smelly to our liking, but the dogs simply adore them, smell and all, so not a big complaint. No synthetic ingredients were added to mask the natural odor, which is good. Considering also that this is high-quality, 100% natural and grass-fed, chemical-free, single-ingredient, high-protein and low-fat dog snack from bull pizzle, it's hard to complain.
2SmartSticks Chicken Dog Chew
Dog chews are undeniably beneficial to pets, especially in preventing periodontal disorders and keeping your dog mentally stimulated. SmartSticks chicken dog chews come in packs of 5 and 10 chews with a chicken flavor. Made with real chicken and vegetables and processed into solid sticks, these dog chews are gentle on your pet's stomach yet firm on their gums and teeth. They provide the oral exercise naturally needed by canines, yet are easily digestible.
- Contains 1- 10 pack
- Now made in Vietnam; Made with...
- Made in Vietnam/Mexico; Made...
Our dogs loved these chew sticks and they were especially liked by a small puppy that wouldn't be able to handle tough rawhide or run the risk of choking on bone shards. The chicken and vegetable variant is a favorite it would seem, and there weren't any issues of allergy or upset stomach as long as the recommended number of sticks per day was followed.
Since the chews are protein-rich, SmartSticks Chicken Dog Chews might cause digestive disturbance if taken in large amounts, as any other protein-rich food products would, which is something you must be aware of. There are other variants, too, such as beef and sweet potato, and these options keep it exciting especially for finicky dogs, but we haven't tried them.
3DreamBone Chicken Dog Chew
A pack of these mini dog chews from DreamBone contains 24 pieces of chicken and vegetable treats. DreamBone chicken dog chews are “rawhide-free,” and will be easier on your dog's stomach.
- Included Components:...
- Now made in Vietnam; Made with...
- Easy to Digest
- Vitamin & Mineral Enriched
These are made to provide dogs with not only an appetizing chew time, but they're enriched with vitamins and minerals, and are tough enough for the dynamics that canines engage in when chewing. This helps to strengthen the dog’s jawbone, massage the gums, and prevent teeth loosening.
While rawhide chews provide greater challenge for a chewing dog, and will keep a pet busy for longer than these mini chews ever will, the DreamBone dog bully sticks will not pose a life-threatening risk, such as choking or blockages along the intestinal tract, and you can always throw a few more to your pooch (because you're supervising, right?)
These mini chews from DreamBone are beneficial to dogs' dental health, and after looking through other dog bully sticks reviews, we saw pet owners report that they have spared them from unnecessary expenses and their dogs from painful periodontal procedures.
4SmartBones Peanut Butter Dog Chew
Peanut butter is a popular dog treat ingredient because of its high-protein and heart-healthy fat content. No wonder this finger-licking goodness is a favorite stuffing for chew toys. SmartBones found a way to incorporate peanut butter into an all-food dog treat instead, and came up with this 24-piece pack of mini chews. Dogs undoubtedly love the product, and this also removes the risk of the them swallowing chipped parts from synthetic toys in their eagerness for the peanut butter.
- RAWHIDE-FREE: Easy-to-digest...
- REAL PEANUT BUTTER: Made with...
- EASY TO DIGEST: Highly...
- HELPS MAINTAIN HEALTHY TEETH:...
- BONE SHAPES: 24 fun-shaped...
Dogs find these delectable peanut butter chews irresistible. Pet owners observe that their pets are so excited every time the chews are about to be given. They then keep busy quietly in their corner, chomping at their prize chew bone with the chicken in the middle. SmartBones Peanut Butter Dog Chew don’t take very long for dogs to chew up, such as rawhide sticks would, but dogs and their owners don’t seem to mind.
Pet owners are happy to note that the treats don’t stain the floor or carpet and don’t have any undesirable smell, which is quite common with other best dog bully sticks and chews. That’s a huge plus, considering that an overwhelming smell can really pose a problem to most households. This easily makes the SmartBones Peanut Butter Dog Chew a favorite among canines and their humans.
5Blue Buffalo Dental Bones
Blue Buffalo calls their product dental bones, and rightly so. They were made to encourage healthy dental cavity in dogs and keep periodontal issues at bay. There are several variants available, targeting different life stages and oral care needs in dogs.
- DENTAL CHEW DOG TREATS: BLUE...
- WHOLESOME INGREDIENTS: These...
- MINI SIZE: Feed these dental...
- HEALTHY DOG TREATS: Blue...
- Contains one (1) 12-oz bag of...
The dental bones are made from carefully chosen natural ingredients plus taurine, DHA, and vitamins A, C and E. There is no poultry, corn, wheat and soy in the ingredients, so this is ideal for dogs that are sensitive to these components.
Pet owners trust Blue Buffalo because of the high standards the company follows and because this product is made in the USA. Each variant of Blue Buffalo Dental Bones is very well thought out and addresses special needs of dogs from puppies to senior pets. The puppy style, for instance, is textured to relieve the pains of teething and provides nourishment to promote brain development.
Dogs that previously had bad breath smelled fresh for the first time after finishing a pack of these dog chews. After long use, this product addressed other problems like tartar buildup and loosening of teeth. Although many pet owners find them a bit pricey, they say that they're still much cheaper than huge dental bills. These dog chews must be very appealing to the sense,s because even picky dogs take to them right on the first sight or first sniff.
6Odor-Free Bully Sticks USDA-Inspected
Each bag of the Best for My Pets bully sticks contains 8 ounces of 12-inch bully sticks that went through stringent USDA inspection and approval. These best dog bully sticks are guaranteed single-ingredient, all-natural, and free of chemicals and preservatives. Since they are made from bull pizzle, they are fully digestible and much preferred over rawhide.
- Odor-Free Bully Sticks: dogs...
- Great alternative to rawhide...
- Supports Dental Health: a...
- Chewing provides sense of...
- Quality control protocols: the...
There are several options for dog chews, but pet owners recommend the best dog bully sticks over synthetic chews, rawhide, bones, and other food-type chews. Bully sticks, and especially this particular brand, last longer and are therefore more effective as a chew. Unlike rawhide, Odor-Free Bully Sticks USDA-Inspected by Best for My Pets completely digestible. Unlike synthetic chew toys, these are all-natural.
A common observation by pet owners is that the Best for My Pets chews have no foul odor, which cannot be said of other brands they’ve used before. It does not fill the house with that distinctly awful smell associated with bully sticks. For this reason, these best dog bully sticks are more acceptable to the humans. As for the canines, they could happily chew on this thing for hours and still not get enough of it.
7Bullysticks Organic Best 6 Inch Bully Sticks
There’s no question about the benefits of natural dog chews, especially single-ingredient bully sticks. They’re sourced from the dried private parts of bulls, involving no chemical process such as what rawhide chews are subjected to. The question, however, arises as to the wholesomeness and healthfulness of the bulls.
- 100% digestible bully sticks...
- Our dog chew sticks are USDA...
- Healthy for your pup and great...
- We pride ourselves in offering...
- Our large bully sticks are...
Bullysticks Organic guarantees that they source their bully sticks from free-range, organically-raised cattle in South America. Each chew that you give your dog is hand-inspected, all-natural, and free of antibiotics, hormones, chemicals, preservatives and additives.
Discriminating pet owners only trust pet food brands that carry the USDA FDA approval seal, such as the Bullysticks Organic best dog bully sticks. Each pack contains 10 pieces of 6-inch sticks that are high in protein yet low in fat. Dog owners who have multiple dogs say that they use Bullysitcks Organics Best 6 Inch Bully Sticks for Dogs for all their dogs of varying ages and sizes, and that makes them very convenient.
There’s minimal odor and home owners say that, unlike other best dog bully sticks they’ve tried before, the smell is very tolerable and something that they can live with. They’re only too happy to have found a healthy and safe alternative to rawhide chews, which commonly contain elements that could be toxic to their mutts. Though on the pricier end, these sticks have gained the trust of dog owners, and they wouldn’t trade them for other cheaper options.