Rawhides are a popular chew for dogs, but believe it or not, they’re not healthy. That’s why we’ve created this list of the best natural chews for Chihuahuas.
You may have given rawhide to your Chihuahuas in the past, but don’t panic. We’ve all had our fair share of unhealthy fast food. This article is not meant to cause worry, just to provide healthy, safe alternatives to rawhide chews.
Why not just give rawhide?
Rodney Habib, a well-known natural food, chew, and treat advocate in the dog-world, created this super-informative video on why rawhide is unhealthy. To summarize, aside from the fact that they can be messy and leave stains on your carpet or furniture (if they contain “flavors” or dyes), but they also go through a variety of chemical treatments in order to become the packaged rawhide we see at stores. Aside from the chemicals themselves being dangerous, the treatments can also cause rawhides to be difficult to digest which can lead to risks of intestinal blockages.
Natural Chews for Chihuahuas as a Safe Alternative to Rawhide
Thankfully, there are lots of people who love their dogs just as much as we love our Chihuahuas who have developed safe, natural alternatives to rawhide chews!
If your chihuahua loves to chew, or you have a teething puppy who needs to chew, here are our nine favorite natural chews for Chihuahuas:
1. Marrow Bones
Marrow bones are natural bones that you can find online both stuffed and empty. You can also get them at many grocery stores in the meat section (filled with marrow and packaged as soup bones). We prefer the unstuffed marrow bones, because we can fill them with the ingredient of our choice (peanut butter, yogurt, wet food, etcetera) and freeze them for a cool summer treat, or leave them unfilled and let our Chihuahuas enjoy them as-is! If you choose to get the bones from your local grocery store, be sure to only allow your Chihuahua to have a little of the marrow at a time as that is a very high source of protein and fat and can cause upset stomach if too much is consumed at once. Also, since they’re a harder bone, they can also be run through the dishwasher if you feel they need some extra cleaning!
2. Cow Ears
Cow ears are literally slow-roasted cow ears. These natural chews are lower calorie, low-fat, and softer (for those of us who have Chihuahuas with missing teeth or sensitive mouths). Cow ears are 100% digestible, have minimal to no odor, and promote healthier mouths by encouraging chewing. They are easy to find online, in fact, our favorite brand of cow ears is available on Amazon! They’re made in America, inspected and approved by the FDA, USDA, and outside 3rd party inspectors, and contain no artificial ingredients, no hormones, and no chemicals! If you prefer a smaller ear for your Chihuahuas, you may want to look into lamb ears.
Tracheas! We’re sure you’re catching the trend by now, but this is another all natural chew for small dogs that is safe and highly digestible. Tracheas are available in beef, lamb, and even buffalo! Trachea chews for dogs are high protein and a source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Depending on the type of trachea you choose to get for your Chihuahua, you could also be looking at lower fat (for example, Buffalo is 70-90% lower fat compared to Beef and 50% less cholesterol). Just like the other natural chews, this is a great way to encourage your Chihuahua to chew which promotes better oral health!
4. Himalayan Chews
Himalayan Chews are a harder chew (so they’ll last longer for larger Chihuahuas and super chewers), but they are still all natural! They are made from milk produced by yaks, are high in protein, low in calories, and low in fat. They contain no meat, are also rich in iron and essential fatty acids (such as Omega-3 and Omega-6). If you’re looking for an odor-free chew, Himalayan Yak Cheese Dog Chews are a great choice!
Antlers are another hard chew for super-chewers! Personally, we’ve found antlers to be a hit-and-miss kind of natural chew. Some of our dogs love them, some of them don’t. However, you can boil them in chicken or beef broth to enhance their flavor and encourage chewing with your reluctant chewers! Antlers are a good source of calcium, phosphorus, manganese, and zinc. Some brands, like this one, also do not process or dye their antlers which leaves them odorless and keeps them from leaving residues or coloring behind – so they’re a great chew indoors or outdoors!
6. Fish Skins
Fish skins are a softer natural chew, so they’re another great option for small dogs with sensitive mouths or missing teeth. They are packed full of Omega-3 fatty acids which are great for your Chihuahua’s skin, hair, and nails. Fish skins are a single-ingredient dog chew, so they are great for dogs with specific protein allergies.
7. Bully Sticks
Bully sticks are 100% all-natural beef muscle which makes them 100% digestible and safe! This natural chew is high in protein, low in fat, you can find them online from brands like this one that do not use any additives or artificial ingredients! Some bully stick brands have more of an odor than others, so don’t be afraid to try another brand if you’re not happy with the first one. Bully sticks are a great natural chew for Chihuahuas and will help keep their teeth and gums healthier by encouraging chewing!
Hooves are available both stuffed and empty. We prefer the unstuffed cow hooves, because we can fill them with the ingredient of our choice (peanut butter, yogurt, wet food, etcetera) and freeze them for a cool summer treat, or leave them unfilled and let our Chihuahuas enjoy them as-is! Cow hooves are a longer-lasting natural chew for Chihuahuas as they’re medium density (not hard, but not soft). This chew can vary in odor depending on the brand, so just like bully sticks, don’t be afraid to try another brand if you aren’t happy with the odor of your first choice!
9. Knuckle Bones
Knuckle Bones are slow roasted or smoked (typically with pieces of meat left on them) which create a super savory natural chew for Chihuahuas! Just like the other chews, they are 100% digestible. Knuckle bones are protein-rich, low odor, but can be a little messy. If you prefer a smaller chew for your Chihuahua than a large knuckle bone, you may want to get a knee cap bone instead.
BONUS: Learn how to make your own natural chews for your small dogs with our article, DIY Dehydrated Chicken Feet Recipe!
Does your Chihuahua have a favorite natural chew that we didn’t mention? Let us know your favorite natural chews for Chihuahuas in the comments!