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Best Rawhide Alternatives For Heavy Chewers: Long Lasting Dog Chews That Are Rawhide-Free


Last Updated: April 11, 2024 | 5 min read | Leave a Comment

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Overall WinnerPowerful ChewersModerate ChewersGentle Chewers
Tibetan Dog Chew Yak Cheese Himalayan ChewPet Parents GnawtlersSmartBones SmartSticks
Tibetan Dog Yak CheesePet Parents GnawtlersWild Eats
Water Buffalo Ears
SmartBones SmartSticks
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If you’ve been a dog parent for a while, like I have, you may have heard about the dangers of giving your pup rawhide treats — even though you can find rawhide products in almost any pet store. Rawhide is so popular because it’s a cheap, long-lasting chew that can keep dogs entertained for hours. But the dangers far outweigh the benefits.

The good news is there are many equally long-lasting dog chews, not rawhide, on the market that are much safer. Which are the best rawhide alternatives for your type of chewer? Can you buy safe, rawhide-free dog bones? Yes! I give you some top picks and some other ideas to keep your dog or puppy from chewing up your house.

Why Should I Choose A Rawhide Alternative?

Rawhide is the inner soft hide or skin of an animal. It’s most commonly made from cows but can be made from any cleft-hoofed livestock. The hides are cleaned, cut or ground, and then pressed into chewable dog treats. Many rawhide bones and treats contain beef, chicken, and other flavorings and fillers. The quality of rawhide treats for dogs can vary widely.

Choosing a high-quality rawhide alternative can provide a safe way to satisfy the need to chew, help maintain our dog’s teeth, and keep them busy for hours.

Many veterinarians warn that rawhide isn’t safe for dogs because it causes choking and blockage risks. Rawhide isn’t easily digestible, and if your dog swallows large pieces of rawhide, these pieces can get stuck in the esophagus or other parts of the digestive tract, causing severe health concerns and even death.

Best Rawhide Alternative

I’ve selected the best rawhide alternative chews for various types of chewers.

Overall Winner: Tibetan Dog Chew Yak Cheese Himalayan Chew Review

Tibetan Dog Chew Yak Cheese Himalayan Chew

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It can be hard to find rawhide alternatives that don’t give off a harsh odor and are all-natural, but Himalayan yak cheese chews are an excellent option for most types of chewers. There are many on the market, but our top choice is Tibetan Dog Chew’s treats. They’re made from yak milk using a method in Nepal that makes them hard and thick but non-choking and easily digestible. They’re also all-natural and high in healthy proteins, containing only yak milk, cow milk, salt, and lime juice.

Our Personal Experience With Yak Cheese Sticks

Barley, our power chewer dog, loves these, and they last longer than some of the other rawhide alternatives we’ve tried.

Michelle Schenker, Canine Journal Co-Founder and dog mom to a heavy chewer
Long-lasting compared to many other rawhide-free productsOn the pricey side
All-natural, gluten-free and grain-freeA few complaints that they’re too hard, while a few complain that they don’t last long enough
Comes in variety of sizes
Promotes good oral health
No complaints about them causing digestive issues


Bulk orders and subscriptions through Amazon are available in some sizes.

Powerful Chewers: Pet Parents Gnawtlers Review

Pet Parents Gnawtlers

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Is your dog an aggressive chewer? Do you have a tough time finding chews that are both safe and that can satisfy your dog’s insatiable chewing habits? These Gnawtlers elk antlers could be the solution you’ve been looking for. Gnawtlers are only sourced from naturally shed antlers found in the Rocky Mountain and Heartland regions. They’re all-natural and packed with calcium, phosphorus, manganese, and zinc and contain no dyes, preservatives, or contaminants. Each chew is vacuum-sealed to preserve its safety. They also make an excellent rawhide alternative for puppies of medium-to-large-sized breeds.

Our Personal Experience With Gnawtlers

This is a favorite with Barley, our super chewer dog. He can chew on it for months before we have to replace one! An elk antler is one of the best chew solutions we’ve found for dogs that tear up other bones and toys. But he can get a little territorial with it when our other dog comes close, so we have to take it away to curb this behavior sometimes.

– Michelle Schenker, Canine Journal Co-Founder and dog mom to a heavy chewer
Long-lasting compared to many other rawhide-free productsOn the pricey side
All-natural and cruelty-freeDoesn’t have much flavor
OdorlessSome users say you must monitor use with super aggressive chewers because it can splinter
Comes in various sizes
Good for teething


Moderate Chewers: Wild Eats Water Buffalo Natural Ear Dog Chews Review

Wild Eats Water Buffalo Natural Ear Dog Chews

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Many pet parents rave about how much their dogs love these Wild Eats dog chews, and they make a great alternative to rawhide and overly processed pig ears. These chews are all-natural and sourced from grass-fed, free-range water buffalo raised without any added hormones. They’re high in protein and low in fat and contain no chemicals, preservatives, or additives. They’re thin and crispy but hard and chewy and are hardy enough to satisfy moderate chewers. However, be aware that some people say they’re smelly (but not as bad as pig ears).

Good valueSome say that they’re smelly
All-natural and grain-freeA few complaints that some pieces are small in the bag
Higher in protein and lower in fat than pig ears
Free-range and sustainably sourced
No worries about splintering
Many owners say they last a while


Gentle Chewers: SmartBones SmartSticks Review

SmartBones SmartSticks

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SmartBones SmartSticks are popular rawhide-free dog chews for tons of pet parents. They’re full of flavor and healthy ingredients. The ones we review here are peanut butter, but some also come in chicken, beef, and sweet potato flavors. These chew sticks are made of peanut butter and vegetables wrapped around an actual chicken center. They also contain essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins E and B12, riboflavin, and more, but they’re not all-natural. They’re also a bit softer than the other products we review here, so they’re more like treats than a hard, rawhide alternative.

Our Personal Experience With SmartBones SmartSticks

Our dogs enjoy these, but they don’t last as long as other chews.

– Michelle Schenker, Canine Journal Co-Founder and dog mom to a heavy chewer
AffordableOnly come in one size
Easy to digest for most dogs of all sizesContain artificial flavoring and coloring and some preservatives
Good for dogs with sensitive teeth and gumsDon’t last long for hearty chewers
Users say they’re not very smelly


What About Bully Sticks & Dental Chews?

Here are some other ideas to satisfy your chewer in addition to the best rawhide-free dog bones above. Click on the links to learn more about each option.

What Are The Dangers Of Rawhide?

This three-minute video from KGW News talks with Dr. Ladan Mohammad-Zadeh at the DoveLewis Emergency Hospital about the dangers of rawhide.

Need Toys For Your Powerful Chewer?

Are you always looking for toys and treats that can withstand your dog’s massive desire to chew? Does he demolish every toy you buy within minutes? You can keep him satisfied regularly with a monthly subscription box tailored to heavy chewers. These boxes contain heavy-duty toys that are hard to find and built to last. And some boxes include high-quality treats to boot. Or see our article on six of the best indestructible toys.

Why Trust Canine Journal?

Sally has over 20 years of experience in human health sciences communications, including 10 years as an expert on pet health conditions and treatment. She’s also spent over a decade researching pet insurance as part of an expert team at Canine Journal. As dedicated canine professionals and long-time dog owners, we test and research the best pet products, not only for our own pups but for all of our readers.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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