10 All-Natural Dog Chews: Their Benefits and Risks

Can dogs eat it

Written By: Angela Jakeson

10 All-Natural Dog Chews: Their Benefits and Risks
Reading Time: 10 minutes

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Natural dog chews are safer and healthier alternatives than most commercially-produced dog chews. They relieve dogs’ nipping and biting tendencies and provide them with nutrients like essential proteins and calcium.

We enumerated the 10 most popular healthy all-natural dog chews’ health benefits and risks to help you better decide which one is the most suitable for your pet.

Best natural dog chew options.

1. Pig Trotters

Q: What Are the Benefits of Pig Trotters for Dogs?

Pig trotters are enriched with vitamins and minerals.

Are you in search of affordable yet nutrient-dense all-natural dog chews? Include pig trotters in your list. They are loaded with protein and contain healthy amounts of iron, vitamin B12, and zinc. Their natural fats nourish the skin, coat, and joints of dogs.

Q: Do Pig Trotters Have Downsides?

Pig trotters have too many calories and fats.

Not all dogs can have pig trotters as an all-natural dog treat because of their high calorie and fat content. In addition, these all-natural dog chews are unsuitable for puppies, small dogs, obese dogs, and senior dogs.

Generally, most nutritionists recommend pig trotter as an all-natural dog chew for adult dogs weighing 10 kilos and above. If your dog fits these requirements, he should have no more than one pig trotter per week.

Raw pig trotters may carry food-borne diseases.

Pig trotter is best served raw to dogs as cooking can make its bones brittle and dangerous choking hazards. When chewed, cooked pig trotter can damage your dog’s mouth and digestive system. However, raw pig trotter also has its disadvantages.

If sourced from a disreputable shop, these natural dog chews are likely to harbor a transmittable illness called Aujeszky’s disease. This disease can be highly fatal to dogs.

Buying locally sourced pig trotters from trustworthy sellers lowers the possibility of this health threat happening to your pet.

2. Pig Ears

Q: What Are the Benefits of Pig Ears for Dogs?

Pig ears are highly digestible all-natural dog chews.

The part of pig ears commonly used to create all-natural dog chews is the pinna, which is mostly composed of cartilage and skin. There is barely any muscle on it too, so dogs’ stomachs can easily break it down.

Hence, pet owners have fewer worries about their pooches suffering from digestive upset after chewing on these chewy treats.

Pig ears offer additional nutrition.

Several nutrients are found in pig ears, including protein, which is an integral part of dogs’ diets. High levels of iron and omega-3 fatty acids can be also found in these all-natural dog chews.

Q: Do Pig Ears Have Downsides?

Pig ears contain high levels of fat.

Although pig ears have a good nutritional value, they are also full of fats. If dogs consume these all-natural dog chews regularly, their digestive tracts will suffer from nasty side effects. Pet owners should offer them occasionally to their dogs —1 pig ear a week will do.

On a side note, it is best to avoid giving these all-natural dog chews to puppies. Their sensitive tummies cannot handle the richness of pig ears.

Some pig ear products undergo chemical treatment.

It is common for some companies to treat pig ears with harsh chemicals such as bleach to get rid of harmful contaminants. However, sourcing from reputable places such as local butcher shops reduces the risk of purchasing pig ears containing harmful ingredients.

If you are looking for ready-made pig ear chews, opt for products made in the USA or UK. They tend to use safe and wholesome ingredients since their sanitary regulations are better compared to other countries.

3. Antlers

A beagle chewing on an antler chew.Q: What Are the Benefits of Antlers for Dogs?

Antlers are long-lasting natural dog chews.

The tough exterior of antler chews prevents dogs from gnawing through the entire thing quickly. Thus, they make suitable alternatives to rawhide chews and are the ideal choice for aggressive chewers.

These long-lasting chews are quite pricey, but in the long run, their high durability will save you more money since you will not need to buy dog chews that often.

Antlers do not carry a bad odor.

Many all-natural dog chews have a funky smell, which can be a major deal-breaker for some pet owners. Fortunately, antlers do not reek of any malodorous stench. However, constant contact with dog saliva can make them smell.

Antlers are a sustainable choice for all-natural dog chews.

Deer shed their antlers each year, which are then replaced by another set. The shed antlers are then collected to turn into 100% natural dog chews.

No animals are harmed in the process, and their production does not depend on finite sources. These qualities make antlers more sustainable compared to commercially produced dog chews.

Q: Do Antlers Have Downsides?

Antlers may cause teeth and gum injuries.

Chewing on tough antlers can sometimes lead to painful dental accidents in dogs like cracked teeth or bleeding gums.

If it is your dog’s first time having antler chews, offer him the split variety. This tasty treat is cut lengthwise, giving him easier access to the soft bone marrow.

Later on, you can gradually transition him to gnawing on whole antlers. If you are worried about him sustaining tooth injuries, opting for a softer variety such as elk or moose antlers can prevent this problem.

Do not forget to keep a close eye on your dog to ensure he is not chewing on the antler too hard.

4. Buffalo Horns

A furry dog chewing on a dog chew.

Q: What Are the Benefits of Buffalo Horns for Dogs?

Buffalo horns do not have high concentrations of fat.

Buffalo horns are some of the best natural chews for dogs because of their low-fat yet high protein content. They are great for dogs that are under weight control.

These all-natural dog chews are also beneficial to dogs’ bones and teeth since they are rich in calcium and phosphorous.

Buffalo horns are highly durable.

Buffalo horns’ thickness makes them long-lasting natural dog chews. They are suitable for aggressive chewers and a good substitute for bully sticks.

You can even get creative with buffalo horns. Stuffing peanut butter or other healthy treats dogs love turns this dog chews into more enticing chew toys.

Q: Do Buffalo Horns Have Downsides?

Buffalo horns may come with sharp points.

If you plan on getting some buffalo horns as all-natural dog chews for your dog, know that they can be purchased with or without the points.

The sharp edges can be dangerous since these could poke his eyes or graze his gums, resulting in bleeding and other severe damage. For your pet’s safety, pick the buffalo horns without the points.

Buffalo horns can splinter into small pieces.

Although buffalo horns can withstand relentless gnawing, they are still prone to splintering and breaking off.

Always keep close supervision on your pet during chewing sessions. Immediately dispose of these all-natural dog chews if they start to chip into small pieces.

5. Fish Skin

Q: What Are the Benefits of Fish Skin for Dogs?

Fish skin makes great nutrient-rich training treats.

Fish skin is an all-natural dog chew that is low in saturated fats and calories but loaded with protein and minerals, including iron, potassium, and zinc.

Omega-3 fats, with their anti-inflammatory properties are also teeming in this all-natural dog chew. Altogether, these nutrients work hand in hand to keep dogs’ brains, eyesight, and nervous system healthy.

Q: Does Fish Skin Have Downsides?

Raw fish skin can cause food-borne illnesses.

Do not give dogs raw fish skin as an all-natural dog chew. It carries dangerous bacteria such as salmonella and listeria, which are transmittable to pets and humans. For this reason, go for dried or dehydrated fish skin.

To make this all-natural dog chew at home, bake it to eliminate all harmful microorganisms.

Some types of fish skin are high in toxins.

Certain fish have more exposure to water pollutants and heavy metals, leading them to accumulate high amounts of toxins, particularly on the skin.

Thus, double-check what fish varieties are used to make fish skin dog chews. Ideally, they should be sourced from small, wild-caught fish varieties such as sardines and cod since their toxin concentrations are quite low.

6. Cow Hooves

Q: What Are the Benefits of Cow Hooves for Dogs?

Cow hooves are affordable.

Many dog chews have an expensive price tag, especially if they are 100% natural. Cow hooves are often cheaper than many other types of chews.

Cow hooves can endure chewing.

Cow hooves are also long-lasting chews, and they can keep an aggressive-chewing dog occupied.

Generally, these all-natural dog chews can last for more than a day and satisfy dogs’ chewing tendencies. Thus, pet owners do not have to deal with their pooches ruining the furniture or rug with their chompers.

Q: Do Cow Hooves Have Downsides?

Cow hooves have an unpleasant smell.

Cow hooves may slowly build up a foul odor when chewed by dogs. These all-natural dog chews are made of keratin, and they become smelly when they come into contact with a dog’s saliva.

Cow hooves are difficult to digest.

Because cow hooves are primarily composed of keratin, this substance is not easy to digest, and it often passes through the digestive system in dogs whole.

Serious gastric issues might happen if dogs ingest large amounts of cow hooves as they may block the intestines. Thus, these all-natural dog chews are only meant as chew toys instead of dog snacks or training treats.

7. Chicken Wings

Raw chicken wings placed on a round board.Q: What Are the Benefits of Chicken Wings for Dogs?

Chicken wings make a good natural joint supplement.

The ligaments and cartilages of chicken wings are rich in chondroitin and glucosamine. Both compounds play a significant role in maintaining the strong joints of dogs.

Dogs with joint problems, such as arthritis and highly active dogs can benefit from gnawing on these all-natural dog chews.

Chicken wings pose a lower risk of choking.

Some pet owners may worry that bones in chicken wings can cause choking accidents in dogs. There is only a minimal risk of this from happening if these all-natural dog chews are served raw as their bones are soft and rubbery compared to other meats.

Practice sanitary food handling methods if you decide to give your dog raw chicken wings. If you do not want to take the risk, try freeze-dried chicken wings.

The freeze-drying process crumbles the bones, preventing them from becoming choking hazards. Cooking chicken wings is a big no-no because it weakens their bones, causing them to splinter into sharp points.

Q: Do Chicken Wings Have Downsides?

Chicken wings may come from poorly raised chickens.

Some chicken farmers subject their chickens to unnatural diets or give them hormones that can affect their health quality as well as their meat’s nutritional value. With this in mind, be extra careful when sourcing chicken wings for all-natural dog chews.

Carefully check the packaging label if they come from free-range, organic chickens. Avoid chicken wings sourced from barn-reared chickens as they might carry transmittable diseases or harmful chemicals.

8. Lamb Ears

Q: What Are the Benefits of Lamb Ears for Dogs?

Lamb ears are nonfattening.

Lamb ears are high in protein but low in fats, lowering their likelihood of causing a digestive upset in dogs, particularly those with sensitive stomachs. These healthy dog chews can be a suitable alternative to the fat-loaded pig ears.

Lamb ears are gentle to dogs’ teeth and stomachs.

If you are wondering, “What is the safest natural dog chew?” the answer would be lamb ears. They have a softer texture than bones. Thus, these all-natural dog chews are easy on the digestive tracts of both young and adult dogs.

Since lamb ears are not difficult to chew on, tooth fractures and other dental health issues are also the least of your worries.

Q: Do Lamb Ears Have Downsides?

Lamb ears can cause large dogs to choke.

The size of lamb ears is smaller than cow ears, which is why they can easily get lodged in the windpipe of large dogs when swallowed. Therefore, lamb ears are more suitable natural chews for puppies and small breeds.

9. Turkey Necks

A beagle puppy chewing on a dog chew.Q: What Are the Benefits of Turkey Necks for Dogs?

Turkey necks are great all-natural dental chews for dogs.

When turkey necks are chewed by dogs, their soft bones and cartilages gently scrape off plaque and tartar stuck on their teeth and gums.

Combining this with regular tooth brushing protects your furry pal from periodontal diseases, which is a very prevalent problem in canines.

Turkey necks support strong bones and joints.

Turkey necks contain a healthy amount of calcium and phosphorous, which are crucial for dogs’ normal bone growth and development. In addition, chondroitin and glucosamine, which are essential for maintaining healthy joints, are abundant in these all-natural dog chews.

Turkey necks contain hefty levels of nutrients.

Turkey neck all-natural dog chews are fortified with B-vitamins, which regulate many body processes, including red blood cell production and essential protein creation. Several trace minerals can be found in turkey necks, such as copper, iron, selenium, and zinc.

Q: Do Turkey Necks Have Downsides?

Raw turkey necks do not last long.

Turkey necks are meant to be consumed by dogs raw since cooking makes their bones splinter easily, which can cause mouth and intestinal injuries.

It is important to note that raw turkey necks have soft, digestible bones and meat. Dogs will not have trouble consuming them within a few minutes. But they are not the best choice if you are looking for highly durable all-natural dog chews.

10. Rabbit Ears

Q: What Are the Benefits of Rabbit Ears for Dogs?

When in search of all-natural dog chews, pet owners take into consideration their health impact on their canine companions. So, many often ask, “What is the healthiest dog chew?”

Rabbit ears are some of the healthiest all-natural dog chew options out there. They are high in protein and low in fats; thus, dogs can gain additional nutrients without the risk of packing on extra pounds.

These all-natural dog chews also offer other great health benefits:

Rabbit ears lessen intestinal parasites.

Some rabbit ear chews come with fur, which sweeps the intestinal walls and removes intestinal worms. Take note that by themselves, rabbit chews cannot completely eradicate these parasites, so dewormers are still required to help solve this health issue.

Rabbit ears promote a healthy digestive tract.

The fur on rabbit ears acts like a gentle brush in the stomach when ingested. It clears up undigested food and aids in producing firm stools. These all-natural dog chews help regulate your dog’s bowel movements and also boost his digestive system’s nutrient absorption.

Rabbit ears reduce the chances of allergic reactions.

Rabbit ears are considered a novel protein, meaning they have a lower likelihood of triggering adverse effects in dogs with common protein allergies, including beef and poultry. So, if your pet has this health condition, rabbit ears are a good alternative to regular dog chews.

Q: Do Rabbit Ears Have Any Health Risks?

Rabbit ears may cause impaction.

The fur on rabbit ears is a hard-to-digest fiber. When consumed in large amounts, it can accumulate inside the digestive tract, making it difficult to pass through as excrement. Safely avoid this risk by giving only 2–3 pieces of these all-natural dog chews to your dog per week.

When sourcing natural dog chews, make sure they come from organic or free-range animals. Most importantly, never leave your dog unsupervised when munching on chews to prevent dangerous accidents like choking and tooth fractures.

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