The 7 Best Natural Dog Chews of 2022

Natural Farm's bully sticks are our dog expert's top overall pick.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Jack Russell Terrier with a natural dog chew

K. Thalhofer / Getty

Chew toys should always be selected with your dog's safety and health in mind. The dried animal skin that comprises rawhide can cause blockages if swallowed, while other animal-derived chews have potential hazards ranging from bacteria contamination to digestive problems, or even chipped teeth.

“If it's really hard, like you wouldn't want to hit your kneecap with it, it's probably not good for your dog,” says Lisa Tanner, DVM, a veterinarian in Alpharetta, Georgia. While Dr. Tanner will occasionally give her dogs rawhide or marrow bones, she emphasizes the importance of monitoring your dog closely, removing chews when pieces break off or become small enough to swallow.

Rather than risk chew toys with potential sides to your dog's health, check out our selection of the best natural dog chews.

Best Overall

Natural Farm 6-Inch Bully Sticks

5
Natural Farm Odor-Free Standard Bully Sticks

Natural Farm

Bully sticks (sometimes also called pizzles) are popular chew sticks made from the penis of a bull or steer. These treats are 100% beef, made from grass-fed, free-range cattle in Brazil. They contain no hormones, additives, or chemicals. Natural Farm Odor-Free Standard Bully Sticks are cleaned with water, then air-dried and wrapped in sustainable packaging made from 51% recyclable sugar cane.

The company's sustainable ethos extends beyond its bully sticks, making it our top overall choice for adult dogs. Natural Farm plants a tree for every purchase made directly from its website, through a partnership with the non-profit One Tree Planted.

Natural Farm's bully sticks come in traditional straight chews, as well as coiled springs, rings, braids, and bites. Depending on your dog’s size and how aggressively they chew, you can opt for extra thick, extra thin, pixie, standard, or large, braided versions. While these treats are high in protein, you'll also want to take the calories into account (for example, the medium 6-inch bully sticks contain approximately 88 calories).

Price at time of publish: $65

Best Long Lasting

Himalayan Pet Supply Himalayan Dog Chew The Original

Himalayan Pet Supply The Original Dog Chew

Chewy

These hard cheese chews are made from yak and cow’s milk, without artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. Dogs tend to respond to the savory treat by scraping and licking, rather than gnawing, which can give these hard cheese treats a surprisingly long chew time. If your dog doesn't respond to other chew treats, the Himalayan Pet Supply Natural Cheese Dog Treats can offer an engaging alternative. Plus, they don't smell like many meat-based treats.

The Natural Cheese Dog Treats can also double as a "puffed" chew treat. Should your dog break off a large chunk, or when a stick has been reduced to a nub, simply soak it in warm water for five minutes then microwave for 45 seconds. Once the treat has had a few minutes to cool, it will be a puffed up, easily-chewed version of its former self—perfect as a snack reward.

Available in four different sizes, there's a Himalayan Pet Supply hard cheese chew suitable for any dog breed.

Price at time of publish: $21

Best Splurge

The Honest Company Beams Ocean Chews Grain Free Dog Chew Treats

The Honest Company Beams Ocean Chews Grain Free Dog Chew Treats

Amazon

These one-ingredient chews are made with pure fish skins—either cod or wolffish. The fish skins are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have numerous health benefits for dogs, including relief from osteoarthritis symptoms and improved cognitive function. They’re also packed with protein.

The chewy dehydrated fish skins can hold up to some serious gnawing, though the Ocean Chews don't tend to last as long as rawhide or nylon. But the main downside is the fishy smell.

Made in the United States (from fish sourced worldwide), The Honest Kitchen's Ocean Chews are dehydrated without artificial preservatives or added grain fillers. They're even manufactured to human-grade food standards, in human food facilities. With its single-ingredient pedigree, Ocean Chews can be a good option for dogs with food sensitivities.

Price at time of publish: $16

Best Edible Bones

Nylabone Healthy Edibles Dog Chews

Nylabone Healthy Edibles Dog Chews

Walmart

Nylabone is known for their hard nylon chew toys, but its line of Healthy Edibles dog chews are made from wheat and potato starch, making them easily digestible. Available in six different sizes and seven flavors, the Healthy Edibles may not last as long as nylon or bone, but they're an excellent hybrid of chew toy and snack, providing protein and other nutrients in addition to recreation.

Price at time of publish: $15

Best for Puppies

N-Bone Puppy Teething Ring

N-Bone Puppy Teething Ring

Amazon

Teething puppies really need to chew for relief, but its best for them to learn on something other than your fingers and furniture. The ridges and rings are soothing on sore gums and make it easy for puppies to grasp with their paws. Rather than the nylon or rubber found in many other puppy chews, these puppy teething rings are made from rice flour, vegetable glycerin, gelatin, peanuts, and oat hulls, with natural ingredients like yeast, fish oil, cranberries, and cinnamon for flavor and nutrients (including calcium and omega-3 fatty acids).

N-Bone Puppy Teething Rings are available in multiple flavors, including salmon, chicken, peanut butter, blueberry, and pumpkin. They're sold in six-pack bags.

Price at time of publish: $14

Runner-Up Best for Puppies

Benebone Puppy Dog Chew Toy

Benebone Dental Chew Toy

Chewy

Puppy Benebones are made out of hard nylon with added real bacon for extra chewing motivation. Some have ridges to provide your puppy a helpful grip, in addition to assisting with tooth cleaning. The puppy versions are a little bit softer than traditional Benebones so they’re more forgiving for teething puppies.

Always keep an eye for wear and toss the toy if there’s significant damage. Benebones are made in the U.S. They come in various shapes: a stick, wishbone, a dental chew, and a rolling pin. You can buy them separately or in packs of two.

Price at time of publish: $25

Best Toy Alternative

West Paw Zogoflex Qwizl Dog Puzzle Treat Toy

4.7
West Paw Zogoflex Qwizl Dog Puzzle Treat Toy

Amazon

The durable Zogoflex Qwizl from West Paw is a versatile fun toy. There’s a slot down the center where you can hide kibble, bully sticks, or other tempting treats to challenge your pup to dig them out. You can smother peanut butter in the crevices, poke in some treats, and then freeze it for a puzzle of a timekiller.

Aside from the treat angle, it’s fun for tossing, fetching, and rolling and it holds up to aggressive chewers. It’s dishwasher safe after all those great adventures and recyclable in case it ever gets too banged up. It also floats for water fun.

Price at time of publish: $25

Final Verdict

Our top choice are the Odor-Free Standard Bully Sticks from Natural Farm. However, if you’re purchasing for a puppy, consider N-Bone Puppy Teething Rings

What to Look for in Natural Dog Chews

Size

Choose the treat based on your dog’s size. If it’s too small, it could end up being a choking hazard. If it’s too large for your dog, they could get frustrated because they can’t hold it with their mouth or their paws. Most companies list recommendations on their websites based on the size of your dog.

Sourcing

Companies will often list where the ingredients came from. We like that our recommended bully sticks, for example, come from free-range, grass-fed cattle.

Other Ingredients

The best natural chews shouldn’t have additives or preservatives or chemicals from processing. Bully sticks, for example, should be 100% beef. Many of our recommendations use only a handful of recognizable ingredients, which can be helpful in narrowing down any food sensitivities, should your dog react poorly to a chew treat.

“Only use one new treat or chew every three weeks so that if your pet develops vomiting, diarrhea, or itchy skin, it is easier to determine the source of the problem,” Dr. Tanner told Treehugger. “I also recommend chews that state they are digestible so if a large piece is eaten, surgery will not be needed.”

Calories

Many chews do contain calories, often more than other types of treats, so you'll want to take that into account when you think about your dog's overall daily caloric needs. If your vet says your dog should be on a diet, it's best to consult with them about they type and frequency of the treats you offer.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Are natural chews good for dogs’ teeth?

    There are some natural chews and digestible bones that satisfy a dog’s need to chew that can also be good for their dental health.

    “Increasing salivation and the gentle brushing action of chewing can help reduce the level of bacteria, and therefore plaque on teeth,” says Dr. Tanner. “It's also very relaxing for some dogs to ‘have a good chew’ and keeps them from choosing furniture or other inappropriate objects to satisfy the need.”

  • Are antlers considered a safe natural dog chew? 

    Deer or elk antlers are popular because dogs can gnaw on them for a long time without needing a replacement. However, that's not necessarily a good thing, since it indicates a chew that's too hard and can put your dog's teeth at risk.

    “Some dogs can chew antlers safely, but I do not recommend them,” says Dr. Tanner. “Anything that hard can wear away tooth enamel or even cause a fractured tooth, which would require a dental procedure with anesthesia, X-rays, and extractions.”

  • Are natural root chews safe for dogs?

    If you have a dog that likes chewing on sticks, maybe you’ve considered handing them a natural root chew instead. These are dense tree roots from species like the heath tree that aren’t supposed to splinter. But often pet owners say the chews break off into sharp splinters. In addition, the wood itself may just be too hard.

    “Just like antlers, I feel that these may be harmful to the enamel and cause tooth fracturing,” Dr. Tanner says.

  • Why can rawhides, pig ears, and other treats pose problems for dogs?

    “Natural treats/chews can contain chemicals from processing or bacterial contamination. This can be harmful to the pet, and even the owner,” Dr. Tanner says. “Some pets may chew appropriately, but others may chew off and swallow large pieces that can lead to stomach upset, or worse intestinal blockages.”

    In addition, pets can sometimes be allergic to the animal proteins. Some treats are high in calories which—if you feed them too frequently—can lead to obesity issues.

Why Trust Treehugger?

At Treehugger, we are advocates of animal welfare, including our pets and other domestic animals. When recommending dog products, we always put the health and safety of our pets first, while also taking into account the environmental impacts of products.

To help guide our choices, we consulted with veterinarian Lisa Tanner, who has been practicing veterinary medicine for 20 years. We also deeply researched the market, and searched to see what problems people encountered with natural chews.

The proud mom of a rescue dog, Mary Jo DiLonardo has fostered more than three dozen dogs and puppies and is always looking for healthy treats to keep them happy. For more than 25 years, Mary Jo has covered a wide range of topics focused on nature, pets, health, science, and anything that helps make the world a better place. She has spent more than six years with Treehugger, formerly under the Mother Nature Network brand, and is also one of Treehugger's pet product testers.

View Article Sources
  1. Bauer, John. The essential nature of dietary omega-3 fatty acids in dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, vol 249, issue 11, 2016, American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). doi: https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.249.11.1267