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Healthy and Safe Chews

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Apologies if this thread has been done before. I did a search but all my searches turned up hundreds of posts--none of which were what I was looking for.

Best healthy and safe chews for dogs? Lottie loves bully sticks but they are rather expensive! I got her an antler, but it's so hard I'm reluctant to let her have it. I tried cow hooves and they chipped off sharp pieces so I took that away. Himalayan bones were popular for awhile but she has since lost interest (and while the first one I got was good quality, the second one chipped off into sharp pieces).

I knew of a breeder who fed her dogs chicken feet for a chew. I need to find a source for them.

What are your favorite chews to give your dogs? Where do you buy them?

I've been doing some research into giving uncooked bones to them, but what are the best and safest?

Thanks!

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Raw chicken feet are great, but aren't really going to last very long as a chew. More like a snack. But still, very good for them. You may try food or meat wholesalers, especially those that purvey to Asian restaurants, for sources. Don't buy cooked ones.

Avoid weight bearing bones from large ungulates, i.e. the marrow bones so often sold as dog bones. They're too hard and risk broken teeth. Especially avoid the cooked ones sold in pet stores; they're even worse.

Rib bones, especially lamb or goat, would be better options. But they can pose a choking risk if offered singly. Best to leave a couple attached to each other so the dog can't just swallow it longways.

Raw poultry bones are edible, but most are soft enough that they'd just be consumed rather than providing long lasting chewing. With things like necks you again have to be watchful that the dog won't just try to swallow it while. I feed raw turkey necks (from the wholesaler they're much larger than most of the necks in the giblet pack of a whole turkey) as a part of my raw feeding program regularly, but it still only takes my dogs a matter of minutes to eat the whole thing.

 

 

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The thing about raw bones is you can't exactly leave them lying around the house for them to chew whenever they like...

I used to let mine have elk antlers, but then I heard they are notorious for cracking dog's teeth.  Nylabones are either safe and healthy or the devil himself depending on who you talk to. 

I think raw bones are great as an outside/supervised thing but as far as chews to have in the house, I'm out of ideas. 

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All my dogs chews don't last long.  It is more for the delicious crunch of the bone they love.  However, when Ranger was young, I would put peanut butter in a hollow antler and freeze.  This was great for when I went to work for a few hours.  He absolutely enjoyed licking the frozen peanut butter out and chew the edge of the antler.  

Currently my dogs enjoy lots of different leg bones, their favorite being chicken legs with furry rabbits legs + feet at a close second.  I think rabbits ears come in 3rd.  Turkey necks are a great chomp too.  Usually mine get frozen Turkey necks.  I also will do pork necks and I know people are 50/50 on that.  

I think it really depends on what you are looking to have a chew do.  For me, raw feeding my dogs since they were puppies satisfied their desire to chew and kept my house untouched.  I do leave out bully stick pieces and on occasion large cut marrow bones for the rich marrow.  Mine do not chew weight bearing bones so I don't need to worry.  Some dogs will try and this is when teeth get fractured or broken.  

Raw chicken feet are a great chew for many dogs and many dogs LOVE them, but mine prefer furry rabbit feet instead.  They actually enjoy a whole rabbit....  Nothing is off limits at my house.  I offer it all to keep diet varied and learn what they really like.  

I get everything wholesale that I mentioned...about $1/pound.  Rabbit goodies are from my next door neighbor.  Sometimes she charges me a few dollars a pound, sometimes it's free.  Deer and elk parts are always from my hunting friends.  Depending on where you live, ask around at butcher shops or look for food warehouses open to the public.

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This is a great topic!  For our dogs, the "flavored" Nylaones are durable and seem to be safe.  Stuffed Kongs are good, but only until the stuffing is consumed.  I also give them Dentastix, which don't last long and are more of a treat or snack.  Does anyone know if they actually help to keep teeth clean?  Seems too good to be true.  I'd love to hear pros and cons on all of this, and more suggestions.

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I give my boys deer antlers because at least one of them loves to chew, and he has infected the others, but I only buy whole pieces, not split.  I have been doing this for over a year and so far so good.  I have read somewhere about soaking the antler so it softens and is less likely to splinter.

Edited to add: Deer antlers are inside treats only here, so they are not outside getting brittle.  They do not last more than a few weeks, they wear down bit by bit and get thrown out when they start getting small.

Bully sticks, pig's or cow's ears etc, chicken frames etc are loved but last a very short time only, so are really only a treat.

Chicken necks are swallowed whole by two of my boys so are a no go, turkey necks are chewed but again last less than a minute, even if frozen, so are an occasional treat only.

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Call me a stick-in-the-mud.

No antlers, no bones, no bully sticks, no chicken feet or necks.  (All for different reasons!)

Kongs - stuffed with any manner of goodies, frozen.  Won't last forever, but longer than many of the above-mentioned.

diane

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I hang onto an old marrow bone and coat the inside with something tasty for minor distractions but the only thing i’ve found works for a long chew are dried beef knees. They are not roasted (which would make them splinter) and not completely raw (which would be messy on rugs and it’s too cold for outside chewing now) but are dried enough so that they are not classified as raw. 

He grinds away at them for a good hour or more and goes back to them. I chuck them after a few days and give him a fresh one. They are inexpensive. About $2.50 at the holistic pet store. If I give him bully sticks or Himalayan cheese they are expensive and last about 15 mins! 

 

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6 hours ago, Ranger.2016 said:

...mine get frozen Turkey necks....

Frozen they can be tooth breakers. Ask me how I know. <sigh>

I no longer risk feeding anything frozen.

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4 hours ago, jami74 said:

Oh God.

I've just Googled what Bully sticks are.

Why would I do that?

:lol::lol::lol: I know, but they actually really enjoy them.  I just figure my dogs eat a lot of things I would not touch with a ten foot barge pole, so, well...

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5 hours ago, jami74 said:

Oh God.

I've just Googled what Bully sticks are.

Why would I do that?

I did the same thing when someone recommended them to me. :rolleyes: I did not want to know or see that, but Lottie loves them and it is the only thing that will keep her quiet and busy without pestering me. Having something that will make her stop moving for a few minutes is a big help because we've yet to accomplish a nice settle command. When we have days of rainy cold weather that keeps us inside then bully sticks keep us both from going crazy.

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If y'all didn't buy bully sticks most of your dogs would be eating them anyway, along w/ pigs ears, etc. that would go into dog food as waste products. I wish I'd have been the genius who figured out that they could dry them and sell them to dog owners as treats. :lol:

Heck, I'd happily feed my dogs pizzles and a lot of other "waste" products if I could get them fresh. ;)

 

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It's a constant struggle to keep Fern busy. She finds antlers boring most of the time. She loves bully sticks. I also let her have the porkskin chews because they seem to be a safe, 100% digestible rawhide alternative, and they last a similar time to the bully sticks. She has himalayan chews and sometimes likes them but also gets bored. I buy bully sticks in bulk, 50 at a time, online for around $80. So it's like $1.60 a piece. I haven't been able to find a better cost efficiency when it comes to entertaining her. She usually gets a frozen stuffed kong and a bully stick when left in her crate.

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15 hours ago, Lawgirl said:

:lol::lol::lol: I know, but they actually really enjoy them.  I just figure my dogs eat a lot of things I would not touch with a ten foot barge pole, so, well...

If I could figure out how to turn cat poop and other 'trailside treats' into a commercially viable product, I'd make a killing in the dog treats market. Of course, I'd have to figure out how to call the ingredients something other than cat poop and assorted other animal droppings first. If anyone has some good ideas, let me know. We can brainstorm.

Ruth & Gibbs

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GentleLake   

 
  On 12/9/2018 at 1:21 PM, Ranger.2016 said:

...mine get frozen Turkey necks....

Frozen they can be tooth breakers. Ask me how I know. <sigh>

I no longer risk feeding anything frozen

 

Ya, mine will lick them until they thaw out some or leave them until they thaw.  I just toss them in the yard or my friend offers them up after romping in the woods.  

I could see frozen being an issue though!  

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On 12/9/2018 at 9:44 PM, Michael Parkey said:

This is a great topic!  For our dogs, the "flavored" Nylaones are durable and seem to be safe.  Stuffed Kongs are good, but only until the stuffing is consumed.  I also give them Dentastix, which don't last long and are more of a treat or snack.  Does anyone know if they actually help to keep teeth clean?  Seems too good to be true.  I'd love to hear pros and cons on all of this, and more suggestions.

What do you put in the frozen Kong?

 

I mostly go for veg that is said to be dog safe, some cheese, and peanut butter.

 

I’m going to Pets at Home now so I’ll look for some of the other recommendations. Ben seems really bored of his dry food now. Each meal gets eaten, but over a few hours sometimes. Up until a month ago it was wolfed down in one sitting! 

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On 12/10/2018 at 1:31 PM, jami74 said:

Oh God.

I've just Googled what Bully sticks are.

Why would I do that?

Although I do buy them on occasion (my boys luv 'um!), I still find it hard to believe they are what they are :o

FWIW; I've been giving these two frozen beef rib bones once a week for most of their lives. No issues (so far) and the heeler mix is 14 now. I buy the beef ribs (w/ plenty of meat) cheap, cut them up and freeze. When I feed them, it's in place of what they normally would've had that night which is kibble. 

IMG_0310-2.jpg.44b5a627a5c204a990bec88bdfff8e79.jpg

IMG_0304-2.jpg

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On 12/17/2018 at 10:03 AM, Michael Parkey said:

I don't freeze them, for fear of broken teeth.

I don't worry about freezing stuffed Kongs. The rubber's pliable enough not to pose tooth breaking risks IMO and whatever's frozen inside them needs to be licked and worked out so justn't just get chomped.

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7 minutes ago, GentleLake said:

I don't worry about freezing stuffed Kongs. The rubber's pliable enough not to pose tooth breaking risks IMO and whatever's frozen inside them needs to be licked and worked out so justn't just get chomped.

I agree. It all seems to come out quite soft anyway with him licking at it and squeezing it. It just means he gets a bit more time out of the Kong. 

 

If if I don’t freeze it I can stuff it full of stuff and it still can sometimes only take him 25 minutes to finish it.  He’s a Kong pro! 

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On ‎12‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 8:59 AM, Icaraa said:

What do you put in the frozen Kong?

Our boy has kibble mixed with a little bit of canned dog meat or raw mince in his, with a smear of peanut butter on top then frozen. He usually has two or three a day, then if he's still hungry he has kibble in a wobble Kong. Plus tiny bits of sausage for training treats. He doesn't get much food in a bowl, unless I've forgotten to make the Kongs.

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