During the holidays, our pets always get a little extra love from their “grandparents.” Last year, Topher got the biggest rawhide chew I’d ever seen in my life. I have some mixed feelings about rawhide, but since we were home and able to supervise him we went ahead and let Topher go to town. He loved it, of course, and it took him three or four days to finish it off—with no ill effects that we could see.
Still, it started me thinking about what we can do to steer people towards more healthy options for our pets in the holiday season. Step one? Talking about what you do and don’t feed your dog. We never mentioned our aversion to rawhide chews, so how were my (non-dog-owner) parents to know?
This year, we’ll plan on doing a better job at pointing some different options out, if they want to get Topher some extra goodies over the holidays.
But what about the present we’ll be giving our own dogs this year? Maybe instead of being tempted to buy that giant red, green, and/or white rawhide for your dog to chow down on this Christmas, how about trying some more natural holiday treats and chews? Here are some of our favorite non-rawhide dog chews we’ve tried with our dogs.
Nylabones & Hard Digestible Chews
Hard toys like Nylabones or Benebones are a great option for high intensity chewers, aka dogs that will chew anything and everything, and want to chew all the time. Topher is a heavy chewer like this, so we almost always have some kind of hard chew like this in our rotation. You can get Nylabones in flavors or plain, and there’s a bunch of varieties to choose from.
1. Nylabone Holiday Dura Chew ($14.99)
2. Benebone Rotisserie Chicken Flavored Chew Toy ($11.59)
What’s a Benebone? We reviewed this up and coming line of chews earlier in the year.
A good bully stick can last anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes, to several days, depending on your dog’s chewing tendencies. Topher, a heavy chewer, can go through an extra large bully stick in about an hour. Bully sticks are a great extra treat for the holiday season, because they’re just as affordable as your average rawhide!
Plus, over at Best Bully Sticks they have some holiday varieties that are a fun change, even though they don’t come in red or green. We had the opportunity to try a few of these holiday varieties, and they hold up just as well as their regular bully stick counterparts.
3. Bully Stick Candy Cane ($3.59)
4. Bully Stick Crown/Wreath ($6.99)
5. 12 Inch Braided Gullet Stick ($3.49)
Still not convinced? Here’s our full review of Best Bully Sticks’ bully chews.
Antlers are natural chews that can stand up to tons of abuse. They contain no preservatives or additives, yet are still enticing to dogs without artificial ingredients. Some antlers are also a natural source of essential nutrients like calcium, glucosamine, and chondrotin. So for Christmas this year, why not try giving your pup a little piece of Donner or Blitzen to chew on?
6. Large Elk Antler ($12.79)
7. Medium Moose Antler ($9.99)
Never given your dog an antler before? Read our pros and cons roundup of popular chews on the market to see if an antler is the right option for your pup.
Supplying your dog with one tough, high quality chew toy could reduce your need to buy them other chews by a pretty large margin. Many of these toys are fillable—you just need to add a little incentive, and let your dog go to town. Instead of the rawhide cane, invest in one of these toy options for your heavy chewer at home that’s built to last through more than New Year’s Day.
8. KONG Extreme Dog Toy ($10.42)
9. Zogoflex Tux Toy ($16.50)
10. Zogoflex Hurley Dog Bone ($10.95)
Not sure if Zogoflex will stand up to your extreme chewer? Read our love letter to this tried and true West Paw Design toy line.