Safe chews to keep a dog busy and happy?
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Thread: Safe chews to keep a dog busy and happy?

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    Safe chews to keep a dog busy and happy?

    Okay so the past few days I've been thinking about different chews or toys that will keep my dog entertained and that are SAFE. It has been HOT and HUMID here (as I see it has been in most of the states). So outdoor exercise has been extremely limited, and my dog is used to a lot of exercise! I've been taking him to the creek nearby so he can at least get a little exercise in, but its far too hot to walk or jog, and I obviously can't stay at the creek all day.

    So this got me thinking about chew toys and whatnot, and I thought it would be good to exchange ideas with everyone, and I'd like to ask a few questions.
    Bully Sticks are my dogs absolute favorite, and the 12 inch ones last him about 30-45 minutes. From what I've read and heard, they are pretty safe for dogs.. but as always under supervision so they don't choke on a large piece. My only problem with Bully Sticks is the price... I'm unemployed (I've applied 100+ places, horrible job market up here) and they cost a lot! So this is limited to an occasional treat. Any thoughts/problems with Bully Sticks?

    Rawhide... I do not like, but my dog LOVES. I have ONE bone that I keep in the freezer, and will take it out in extreme situations where I just need to keep him calm (and I watch him like a hawk, as soon as it gets soft, I turn it around, that side gets soft and it goes away). Any thoughts on Compressed Rawhide?? I've heard it is safer than regular.

    What about Pig Ears.... I've read they are fattening so only use them on occasion.. but are they safe as far as digesting? Or are they like rawhide?

    I tried a hoof once, and my dog soon splintered a piece off of it so I immediately took it away.

    Horse hoof trimmings are great when they are fresh I think, but that only happens every 6 weeks when I get my horses hooves trimmed. Dogs love them and they are soft when fresh so they don't splinter.

    Thoughts on bones?? I use the big beef knuckles and have had no problems, and the hollowed out beef marrow bones. Sometimes I stuff these with different things. I know some people give their dogs beef bones right from the butcher without even cooking it??? Is this safe, or is it safe to get one and boil it and give it to your dog?

    Kongs are always great- I've stuffed with plain yogurt and strawberries and frozen, peanut butter and liver treats, etc etc. Any other Kong ideas?

    Another thing I've noticed is most "long lasting" dog treats from pet stores are not actually long lasting! What I do with these (which are only given on occasion) is freeze them. Seems to last a little longer!

    Anymore ideas or advice? What keeps your dogs busy on days that are too hot or too cold to play outside??

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    Re: Safe chews to keep a dog busy and happy?

    We got our pup who was on BARF diet-- raw beef bones from the butcher (well her kennel actually bought in bulk from a supplier who supplies the local zoo!) was a large part of her diet. I continue to feed her (shes almost 2years now) as well as my 12 yearold Boxer raw beef bones 3 or 4 times a week (the pup was transitioned to dry food but supplemented with much raw meat, raw chicken necks, raw gizzards etc) -- they love them and it does keep your dog occupied for hours. If the bone is really fresh it wont stink for a couple of days then into the compost it goes (we are in a 3rd floor condo-- so we can tell you all about raw food decomp rates)-- otherwise I def leave it out and have had no problems leavign it out for them to chew all day-- fresh bones are actually sort of soft and they dry out and harden over time....

    My question is-- does any one know about fresh from the freezer?
    I didnt have time to dethaw one (its the beef bone section from the part right after the knuckle about 5 inches long and filled with marrow-- her favorite) and want to put it out for the Senior dog as she is injured and cant walk with us today...
    I guess I will try it and see how it goes....

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    Re: Safe chews to keep a dog busy and happy?

    Can't go wrong with Kong or any other durable rubber toy that you can put food into . Easy to control the amount of calories and keeps them busy for a while.

    Nylabone has good stuff though I'm not a huge fan of the inedible stuff. Tends to get expensive with the edible stuff though slightly healthier than other options.

    Bully sticks are too expensive for my taste. Never tried them, probably never will.

    We usually stay away from rawhide. The dogs just go to town and chew off chunks of it and swallow them.

    Pig ears or pig skin rolls are very enjoyable to the dogs but fattening so they don't get them often.

    I actually prefer toys that make the dog think to get the food rather than just chew. We like to put shredded wheat cereal into an empty milk jug and squeeze the top off a little bit. Our sheltie has learned how to push the top of the milk jug to the ground to make the cereal fall out. Just an example of a cheap way to keep the dog entertained.

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    Senior Member Niraya's Avatar
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    Re: Safe chews to keep a dog busy and happy?

    Bella doesn't care for kongs. I'm not really sure why. She doesn't like them even if we put treats in them. The only time she touches it is only when -she- wants to.

    We give her Powerade bottles. She absolutely -loves- them. They're not too big for her mouth so she can pick them up (and then promptly drop them as they slide out of mouth when she runs) and she loves to bat them around and she can't chew them and crush them like she can Dasani or soda bottles. Just don't leave the lids on them - so that in case they get them off they won't swallow them or the wrapping so they don't eat that either.

    You could always put treats inside of the bottles too.

    As for rawhide - Bella only ever just licks the flavor off of them and then uses the rest of it as a toy to play fetch with. She doesn't care for chewing on them.

    Pig ears like everyone else said I've only ever used occasionally like. Christmas presents or the really occasional treat.

    I don't know what exactly to call this but I bought one from Petco (I guess they're for pools because they float) for Bella and she likes to play with it but she paws it around like a cat - and tries to pull the little things off of it. She doesn't often pick it up because it must feel funny to her. but she likes to play with it.
    Last edited by Niraya; 07-22-2011 at 06:24 PM. Reason: added pictures
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    Senior Member Charis's Avatar
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    Re: Safe chews to keep a dog busy and happy?

    We use puzzle toys extensively. I have multiple dispensers that dispense dry treats or their dinner. I use kongs and I am going to get the other shaped kongs for a different challenge. My Siberian Husky loves kongs but hates to work for it (she gives up easily) so we only slightly freeze hers and completely freeze our MAS' kong. I want to get nylabone stuff as well but I am waiting for it to go on sale :P
    We also use everlasting treat balls. Our Siberian has yet to get all the way through one (she has had it for probably about 4 hours) but our MAS can get through hers in about 3 hours. They are tad on the expensive side (a couple bucks for refills depending on where you get them). You can put dry treats to dispense from them as well while they chew. We avoid rawhides and I am currently trying to find a supplier of raw beef bones in our area to occupy them as well.
    As for energy users - the more they think the better I generally use my puzzle toys and train to run out energy when it is too hot to go outside.

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    Re: Safe chews to keep a dog busy and happy?

    Raw bones are great. NEVER COOKED BONES! Those ones from the pet stores are huge vet bills waiting to happen.

    Kongs with low sodium chicken broth and liver frozen.

    Antlers

    I will never ever feed rawhide. For starters they are bleached and i do not want my dog ingesting chemicals like that.

    Pigs ears i also never feed.

    My dogs love the Ziwipeak deer hooves.

    I make my own bully sticks so it costs me very little.

    "If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around."
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    Senior Member Porphyria's Avatar
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    Re: Safe chews to keep a dog busy and happy?

    I avoid rawhide and pig ears. My dog loves beef tendons, but they're probably in the same price range as bully sticks (they tend to be less smelly though!). Antlers are also a good chew, but use with caution as I have heard accounts of powerful chewers cracking teeth on them. They're expensive but they last a really long time (I've had two for over a year and they look like they've barely been chewed). I also use Nylabones as a long-lasting, durable chew; my dog likes these better than the Kong. For edible chews that don't last as long, my dog loves freeze dried sweet potatoes and Get Naked brand chew sticks.

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    Senior Member Jacksons Mom's Avatar
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    Re: Safe chews to keep a dog busy and happy?

    I buy bully sticks from www.bestbullysticks.com and I've found it to be the best deal I've found. Store prices are INSANE so I don't buy them at the store anymore. Much cheaper to purchase in bulk.

    Himalayan Chews last Jackson a while but he doesn't like them a TON. They are pricey but MUCH longer lasting than a bully stick.

    I put yogurt and some treats into a Kong and then freeze it. I'll have to try the chicken broth suggestion because I think he's getting tired of the yogurt. I've also put cheese in there.

    I've never tried antlers, elk chews, etc. He's picky about what he chews so it can be risky buying new things.

    Oh, he only likes the Flexi Chew type of Nylabones....
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    Re: Safe chews to keep a dog busy and happy?

    I also buy bully sticks from www.bestbullysticks.com and they're cheaper. But bully sticks aren't all that much of a strain on my pocketbook anyway because it takes my toy poodle mix days to go through one 6 inch bully stick. I leave it out, then pick it up when she gets disinterested, put in in the refrigerator, and then bring it back out again the next day when she starts getting in a chewing mood. When it gets too narly I throw it away. She's never actually finished one.

    Her absolute favorite, though, is a Kong filled with peanut butter and frozen. But that's basically a junk food so I'm trying to cut back on it, even if it is the best way to keep her occupied.

    Other than that, she has a treat dispensing ball that will keep her occupied at least long enough for me to leave the house in the morning without her noticing. She hasn't quite figured out any of the other puzzle toys she has.

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    Re: Safe chews to keep a dog busy and happy?

    Raw bones are much safer for you dog even though pet stores sell a abundance of smoked. It sounds like yours is an efficient chewer and can probably bite bones to where shards may come off so I wouldn't recommend to try boiling them at home either. I've gotten a smoked rib bone once. I figured they were okay for them since they have little rice teeth but those monsters cracked off quite a bit. They didn't get hurt, but could have. Never again.

    With that said, they did fine with elk 4inch bone sections from a leg. Those things are solid like ivory though and they know it is so they figured out how to grind their mouth on it gently. Since there's no marrow in them now, I reuse them by stuffing the bone with liver puree to keep em busy. My crew hate Kongs somehow they like this.

    Anyone know of chews that are not narrow sticks? My boy is a bit clueless on how to not choke himself by sticking half the bully in his throat so he gets square hides but I don't like how they're bleached.

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    Senior Member Porphyria's Avatar
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    Re: Safe chews to keep a dog busy and happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Monstors View Post
    Raw bones are much safer for you dog even though pet stores sell a abundance of smoked. It sounds like yours is an efficient chewer and can probably bite bones to where shards may come off so I wouldn't recommend to try boiling them at home either. I've gotten a smoked rib bone once. I figured they were okay for them since they have little rice teeth but those monsters cracked off quite a bit. They didn't get hurt, but could have. Never again.

    With that said, they did fine with elk 4inch bone sections from a leg. Those things are solid like ivory though and they know it is so they figured out how to grind their mouth on it gently. Since there's no marrow in them now, I reuse them by stuffing the bone with liver puree to keep em busy. My crew hate Kongs somehow they like this.

    Anyone know of chews that are not narrow sticks? My boy is a bit clueless on how to not choke himself by sticking half the bully in his throat so he gets square hides but I don't like how they're bleached.
    Beef tendons (I use Merrick's "Flossies" brand) are spiral shaped; I don't know if that would work better for you.

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    Re: Safe chews to keep a dog busy and happy?

    Thanks for all the ideas! About raw bones-- is it safe to just get them from the butcher and give them directly to the dog, or should I remove the marrow and meat that are on them first?

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    Re: Safe chews to keep a dog busy and happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by katG View Post
    Thanks for all the ideas! About raw bones-- is it safe to just get them from the butcher and give them directly to the dog, or should I remove the marrow and meat that are on them first?
    I give em straight to the dog as is (he cuts them up in 4 or 5 inch sections for me) and the marrow in the bone is just like stuffing a Kong with peanut butter-- It is Natures Kong!
    Mine never had problems with them....(and I dont like saying Never...)....

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    Re: Safe chews to keep a dog busy and happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by katG View Post
    Thanks for all the ideas! About raw bones-- is it safe to just get them from the butcher and give them directly to the dog, or should I remove the marrow and meat that are on them first?
    As-is, with all the yummy marrow inside. If they are fatty on the outside, you can trim a bit of the fat, but usually they will have just a thin layer of meat on them. After all, the butcher doesn't want to waste the good meat he is selling as steaks etc. I prefer the knuckle bones because the dog has to gnaw around it more than chomp down on it. If you are worried about germs, put some white vinegar on a paper towel and wipe off their feet and faces after they chew on the bone. I let mine chew for an hour or so and then toss it back in the freezer for the next day.

    As an aside, the spiky rubber ball that Niraya posted is not at all a chew toy. My neighbor's kids tossed their dog's ball into my yard and my dog had in it shreds in seconds (and pooped purple bits of it the next day).

    As horse friends for their hoof trimmings

    Try freezing a big block of ice with some treats inside. They will both lick at it and crunch at it. Outdoor only since its melty-messy.

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    Re: Safe chews to keep a dog busy and happy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Candydb View Post
    I give em straight to the dog as is (he cuts them up in 4 or 5 inch sections for me) and the marrow in the bone is just like stuffing a Kong with peanut butter-- It is Natures Kong!
    Mine never had problems with them....(and I dont like saying Never...)....
    Quote Originally Posted by Shell View Post
    As-is, with all the yummy marrow inside. If they are fatty on the outside, you can trim a bit of the fat, but usually they will have just a thin layer of meat on them. After all, the butcher doesn't want to waste the good meat he is selling as steaks etc. I prefer the knuckle bones because the dog has to gnaw around it more than chomp down on it. If you are worried about germs, put some white vinegar on a paper towel and wipe off their feet and faces after they chew on the bone. I let mine chew for an hour or so and then toss it back in the freezer for the next day.

    As an aside, the spiky rubber ball that Niraya posted is not at all a chew toy. My neighbor's kids tossed their dog's ball into my yard and my dog had in it shreds in seconds (and pooped purple bits of it the next day).

    As horse friends for their hoof trimmings

    Try freezing a big block of ice with some treats inside. They will both lick at it and crunch at it. Outdoor only since its melty-messy.
    Thank you so much for the information!!! I am going to give one of those bones a try!! I'm sure he'll love it I'll try the ice thing as well, although when I give him ice cubes he mostly bats them around and plays with them... when he tries to lick or bite it he has a "this is too cold!" look on his face. Maybe if he was outside in the hot weather he would enjoy it.

    As far as the rubber ball, he would probably play with it, not chew it up. He is funny... he will tear stuffed toys that have no specific shape to them (basically that aren't an animal, just a stuffed circle or whatever), but has had the same stuffed animal toys since he was a puppy... he will NOT rip them apart... his favorite are his penguin from Christmas, his goose, and his monkey. He carries them around with pride :-)

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