Let’s just make it clear from the beginning, there are no perfectly safe chew treats for dogs. If your dog is putting something chewable in its mouth, there is a risk of choking. Just like you run the risk of choking every time you eat food, or the risk of a car accident every time you drive. But just because there is some risk, doesn’t mean that you stop eating and driving. Similarly, some amount of risk shouldn’t stop your dog from enjoying the benefits of chew treats.

It’s all about managing the risk. Not all chews are created equally, and some are safer than others. In this list, we’ll break down some common types of chew treats, their benefits, and their risk levels.

Durable Chews for Aggressive Chewers

Antlers & Bones

Durability: Super Strong

Risk Level: 6/10

Pros:

  • Good for power chewers
  • Natural

Cons:

  • They are so hard that there is a risk of breaking or damaging teeth
  • Can easily splinter, creating sharp pieces
  • Risk of obstruction

Antlers and bones are somewhat different, but they have enough similarities that I’m lumping them together for this analysis. It’s fairly common knowledge that you shouldn’t give your dog cooked bones, but cooked bones and antlers are fairly common treats, especially for those who are looking for a sustainably sourced, all-natural option.

These are especially tempting for power chewers because they can last so long. The problem is that the same hardness that makes them durable is also what makes them dangerous. If an aggressive chewer starts chomping hard enough on antlers or bones, eventually something has to break: either the teeth or the chew. And either option is disastrous. I don’t need to explain the problem with breaking or cracking your dog’s teeth. That’s pretty self-explanatory. But if your dog’s teeth prove victorious and break the chew, it may be even worse. Bones and antlers both splinter when broken, creating sharp shards that can pierce the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines. They can also create blockages since they aren’t particularly digestible. In fact, in two separate studies from 2017 and 2019, around 80% of all foreign body obstructions were found to be bones.

When it comes to durable chews, these ones are pretty low on my list. I know a lot of people like them, but the FDA even put out an official warning to not give your dog bones. It’s one of the reasons we don’t sell them.

Himalayan/Yak Cheese Dog Chews

Durability: Super Strong

Risk Level: 3/10

Pros:

  • Easily Digestible
  • Good for power chewers
  • Natural
  • Comparatively Low Choking Risk

Cons:

  • They are so hard that there is a risk of breaking or damaging teeth

Yak Cheese Dog Chews, often simply referred to as Himalayan dog chews, are made from incredibly hard yak cheese. These chews have a lot of good things going for them. They’re natural, digestible, and very unlikely to cause any blockages. The major downside of these chews is the same thing that makes them great for aggressive chewers: they are crazy hard. That gives them the same flaw as antlers and bones, which is a risk of broken, cracked, or chipped teeth.

As with all dog chews, you need to know your dogs chewing style. Some dogs are going to do really well with these, and some dogs won’t. But they’re a reasonable option (and we aren’t even biased, because we don’t sell them.)

Natural Beef Hide

Durability: Super Strong

Risk Level: 3/10

Pros:

  • Digestible
  • Good for power chewers
  • Natural
  • Comparatively Low Choking Risk
  • Safe on teeth

Cons:

  • Some risk of obstruction

Of course I’m a little biased since natural beef hide is the main product we sell here at Ugly Chews, but I’ve tried to keep things pretty fair. Beef hide is different from conventional rawhide because it isn’t shaved down or processed with chemicals. Because they keep the full hide intact, they last longer and are much less likely to break into choking chunks. Most don’t, but our chews keep the hair on, which helps clean your dog’s teeth, gums, and digestive tract. Don’t worry, we roll the hair on the inside so it doesn’t get too messy.

Because the hides soften as your dog chews, they won’t damage teeth.

Moderate Chews

Rawhide

Durability: Moderate

Risk Level: 9/10

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Lots of different varieties
  • Safe on teeth

Cons:

  • High choking hazard
  • Chemical exposure
  • Can easily create sharp pieces

The more we learn about the health impacts of “classic” rawhide, the worse it gets. When I talk about rawhide, I’m usually referring to the steretypical white twisted or bone shaped rawhides. These are a by-product of the tanning industry, so they’ve often been soaked in salt and lime (not the fruit) to keep them from rotting as they are shipped internationally. Rawhide is usually made from the leftovers after a hide is split, which leaves the dog chew hard, but thin. Combined with the chemicals, this makes for a thin, brittle chew that can easily splinter into sharp pieces or break into large chunks that present a choking hazard.

Rawhides are one of the worst choices for chew treat when it comes to safety, sustainability, and overall health.

Bully Sticks

Durability: Moderate

Risk Level: 4/10

Pros:

  • Low Risk
  • High Protein
  • Cheap And Accessible

Cons:

  • Smelly
  • High Protein

That’s right, high protein is both a pro and a con. The pro is that protein is generally good for you! The con is that too much protein rich food can give your dog diarrhea or other digestional distress. You just need to use caution and moderation.

Obviously, some bully sticks smell more than others. If you are looking for odor free bully sticks I would recommend checking to make sure that they aren’t descented using any harsh chemicals or processes. Aside from the protein issue, the only risks of bully sticks are the same risks that most natural chews have. You need to make sure your dog doesn’t break off a chokable chunk or try to swallow too much at once. But those apply to pretty much every reasonably durable chew.

We’re hoping to carry bully sticks in the future, but we want to make sure we’ve refined the process of making them odor-free while still maintaining our zero-waste, sustainable model. Check back for updates!

Trachea

Durability: Moderate/Light

Risk Level: 1/10

Pros:

  • Low Risk

Cons:

  • Not as durable

Beef trachea is an incredibly safe chew. Again, there is always some risk of trying to swallow too big of a chunk, but trachea is almost as safe as they come. Unfortunately, compared to other items on this list, beef trachea doesn’t have near the durability. They are a great option for moderate chewers, and will still last a power-chewer some amount of time, but they just don’t have the staying power. That can make it kind of discouraging if you have to keep buying more and more to keep your dog entertained.

Still, beef trachea is a great option. That’s why we sell it here at Ugly Chews (or at least we will soon, depending on when you read this.)

More To Come!

There are a lot of chew treat types out there. We’ll keep updating this list over time, adding more and more treats, their pros, and cons. In the meantime, check out our natural, zero-waste chew treats to see if they’re a fit for your canine companion!

Based on 262 reviews
86%
(226)
3%
(9)
4%
(10)
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K
Hair-On Hide Rolls
Karsten McKnight (Duxbury, US)
Great stimulation

My pup LOVES her bones! She is a huge fan of the fur on these. She's always hiding it for later 😅

l
Hair-On Hide Rolls
loriestaub@gmail.com (Williamstown, US)
Great chews

My dogs absolutely love these chews

B
Hair-On Hide Rolls
BlackDog Corso (Louisville, US)
Ugly but lovable

Ok so first-- yes they're ugly but after your dog chews on the ends, they won't look any different than any other rawhide. There's no smell whatsoever, even after they've been chewed. There are four dogs in the house and all of them loved them. The Yorkie claimed all the scraps and did her worst with what teeth she has left. Another has a sick tummy all the time and the roughage on the chews worked better than the fiber supplements I've been giving him. We'll definitely re-purchase soon.

T
Hair-On Hide Rolls
Tricia (Chicago, US)
High energy/AGGRESSIVE chewers!!

I have 2 GSPs(high energy, can’t stop won’t stop) and the only thing I’ve found that lasts them more than 20 minutes is a hard to find ostrich bone, then one day they decided to say “challenge accepted” and beat that record lol. First day I opened the box for the Hair on Hide rolls they sniffed and sniffed and then fought over them! I took them away after 30 mins since they have sensitive tummies and my youngest was halfway done. Took them out the next day and even if my youngest is the only one that LOVES them every time it’s worth it!! I appreciate Uglychews for the zero waste, natural content, and the time it takes for my INSANELY aggressive chewers to gnaw on these! Keep in mind I work and train with my babies multiple times a day (short increments) so a pup that doesn’t get a lot of exercise/attention/enrichment might go through them a bit faster. But my pups could be the poster children for our local natural petstore and they actually look to me for recommendations 🤣

C
Chips, Chunks, & Scraps
Cassidy (Detroit, US)
My pibbles FAVORITE treats!!!

My pup loves the hide rolls for a longer-lasting enrichment chew so I wanted to give the chips a try. She absolutely goes crazy for the chips and they make a perfect snack sized treat for special occasions. I love supporting family-owned businesses and when a shipping problem occurred with my order they were so kind and helpful in getting my package to me. This is one of my favorite shops and I highly recommend giving them a try!

A
Ugly Chews Gift Card
Alieth Parets (Fort Lauderdale, US)
First time trying Ugly Chews

This was our first time ordering from Ugly Chews and my dogs loved it! They were so excited when I opened the box and let them smell it. We will definitely be repurchasing!

C
Freeze Dried Liver Bites
Cynthia Marie (Cleveland, US)
Loved them!

My 4 dogs just loved them! I also liked that these treats didn’t smell bad at all. I would definitely recommend them! I look forward to trying other products too!

H
Hair-On Hide Rolls
Hannah Metzger (Lynchburg, US)
Best chew ever

So far he’s gotten 3 30 minute sessions with this. The only caution I’d give is if your dog is very pry driven like mine you need to make sure you trade out when you need to take it away. He’s very possessive of these.

J
Ugly Chews Gift Card
Jacquelyn Ostin (Arvada, US)
Hide rolls

My dog could not WAIT to get into these. She can be a little selective with fur-on treats but she took to these instantly. Definitely will be ordering more

S
Hair-On Hide Rolls
Samantha Woods
He loved it!

Our little guy went to town on these chews. True to their name they are VERY ugly, but according to the dog it only makes them taste better.

M
Hair-On Hide Rolls
Michelle Murrill (Azusa, US)
My pups loved them

My pitty and little mutt loved the chews. My only complaint is the tufts of hair around the house and my pit hacked up a hairball like a cat. Hahaha. That’s the only reason I gave them 4 stars.

N
Hair-On Hide Rolls
Nicole (Boonville, US)
Dog loves them, but not “long lasting.”

My German Shepherd/Pitbull mix absolutely destroyed half a chew in about 10 minutes. The rolls also look much thinner than the advertised photos show, even though I ordered the largest size. He sure loved them but for the price I was very disappointed he was able to get through it so fast.

J
Sample of Chips, Chunks, & Scraps
J Smith (Birmingham, US)
Older dog loves them

I have an older dog that's picky about treats. He sniffed his first Ugly Chew for a few seconds, then started chewing. He really enjoyed it, and had no stomach issues. I highly recommend these!

W
Hair-On Hide Rolls
Wendy Kirkman (Rolesville, US)
The Good, the bad, and the Ugly.

The Good:My dog enjoyed these! There was no smell and no upset tummy.
The Bad: They didn't last long. My dog finished one in about an hour.
The Ugly: They definitely live up to their name. Pretty shocking when I first opened the package.

M
Chips, Chunks, & Scraps
Matie Mullendore (Portland, US)
these are gross and my dogs couldn't be happier

My dogs (5 of the 6!) LOVE ugly chews. They don't smell at all. All my friends ask if they smell, NOPE. Bully sticks smell so much but these smell like nothing. How nice is it to use the bits of the cow that would traditionally just be trash. I highly recommend these.

L
Hair-On Hide Rolls
Lacy (Valley City, US)
New favorite

My dogs absolutely loved these. They took them everywhere with them and really enjoyed them. I was surprised. Usually they end up just leaving half eaten treats all over. These, they guarded with their lives like they were their personal teddy bears. I'm impressed!

B
Hair-On Hide Rolls
Benjamin S. (Englewood, US)
Max liked it!

Indeed he did! Max loves his ugly chews. Expensive but worth it. No stomach issues afterwards which is a much needed surprise. Lasted about 5ish hours under optimal conditions which is a compliment coming from a Black Mouth Cur.

L
Ugly Chews Gift Card
Lily Hak (Oakland, US)
Forever Ugly Chews fans!

We love ugly chews! Archie has a blast gnawing on them and they last him such a long time. The fact that it is 100% natural, puts me at ease!

C
Hair-On Hide Rolls
Chloe (Austin, US)
Longest lasting chew we've tried

I'm always on the look out for a long lasting, safe chew since I have a 9 month adolescent puppy. We've gone around the bend with the popular recommendations (yak chews, bully sticks, pig/cow ears, beef cheek rolls, etc.). Some work better than others, but these hide rolls are probably the longest lasting for my puppy! They're high value, and she doesn't get bored of it in 5 minutes or finish it in 15 minutes. It's a fantastic price for how long it takes her to go through them. Thus far, one roll can last her about two hours total (we split sessions, so that's just an estimate). I'm also more assured that they're safe for her to consume, although I haven't let her swallow the last bit over worry for choking. All in all, 5/5 for sure. I will definitely be putting these on our regular shopping list! :)

k
Hair-On Hide Rolls
karen curatola (Las Vegas, US)
My sister bernedoodles love them

I do admit it's kinda gross in the begining however they love them and no stomach upset (doodles can have belly issues). These are awesome already need to place another order! Job well done

Immediate favorites!

My young bully mix is a powerful chewer, and I'm always on the lookout for new products to incorporate into her care. I learned about Ugly Chews thanks to her foster mom, whose personal dogs are BIG fans of Ugly Chews products. We started with the sample packs of the Chips, Chunks, & Scraps and the rolls - WOW! Celia Boo absolutely LOVES these chews, more than anything else we've tried so far. The chips and scraps are great for shorter, individual chew sessions, while the hair-on-hide rolls are better for multiple sessions over time. I love that these are handmade and commit to using all of the hide, focusing on creating quality products I know are handled with care from sourcing to shipping. We are an Ugly Chews household, and I tell all my fellow dog parents to try them, too.

C
Ugly Chews Gift Card
Caylen Jordan (Houston, US)
Thrilled I found this company!!

I am thrilled to have found an all natural, small family owned, single ingredient, holistic, no waste company to support! Buying only the best is always the main objective for our dogs and this beats SO many of the garbage, chemically processed options in stores these days. They really check all the boxes and my senior dog who rarely chews on things anymore LOVES them. Fuck yeah yall, thanks for all you do! Highly recommend!

J
Hair-On Hide Rolls
Justin Johnson (Roseville, US)
They loved em

My Bull Terrier snatched it and rant to her crate. That's how she rolls no pun intended. My big boy gnawed it for a good while before I took it away. Enjoyed them and didn't want to give them up.

@
Hair-On Hide Rolls
@kiloniner.kiko (Kea‘au, US)
He chewed himself into a nap

Just got our first shipment and within a few seconds, all of his other chew toys became irrelevant. Chewed himself into a nap, but had to have his paws on it while he slept.

Finding a natural dog chew that gets this kind of focus is a Godsend.

E
Sample of Chips, Chunks, & Scraps
Elizabeth Breyman (Stayton, US)
Being honest

I got these chews thinking they'd last longer than your average chew. My chow chows devoured the medium size ones way too fast for the price of the product. Most likely won't order again.

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