Obviously, the positive thing about digestible chews is their increased safety. However, the downside is that they don't last very long and tend to be more expensive than bones and hooves. To save money, try balancing between chew toys and edible chews. Aggressive chewers might do well with something like a food-filled Kong Ultra, bully sticks, beef tracheas, or flavored dental chews.
To help, we've put together this 3-step guide so you can "chews" wisely (and safely). And, since no two dogs use a toy the exact same way (see “Chews-onality” section below), we’ve also included a few words of caution about the different types of chews and chew toys so you can best assess which types might be best for your dog and so you can know what to look out for if any problems arise.
Your dog is going to chew… it’s just a part of being a dog. And it’s quite an important part, too! Whether they’re a puppy or an adult dog, all dogs need to chew. Puppies chew when they’re teething or just to explore the new world. Then they continue through adulthood to keep their masticatory (chewing) muscles strong, their teeth clean, and their brain engaged.
These chews — which include things like Greenies®, Dentastix™, Brushing Chews®, VeggieDent® Chews, and others — don’t last very long and therefore won't provide much long-term satisfaction for your dog’s chewing needs and desires. That said, they can provide some help with your dog’s short-term chewing desires and can even provide some help with their dental and oral health, as many of these chews can help minimize or slow plaque and/or tartar buildup. Just be aware that they can also add a fair number of calories to your dog’s diet and should only be given in moderation, especially to a dog with a weight problem. Additionally, these can become a choking hazard or digestive obstruction if your dog bites off and swallows large chunks - so always observe how your dog is chewing and interacting with these and take them away if they're not chewing well or safely enough.
2. Puppy proofing. Look around your environment for possible dangers to your inquisitive puppy. Place household cleaners and chemicals out of reach along with potentially toxic plants. Electrical cords should be covered or made inaccessible to prevent chewing on them resulting in electrocution. Remove objects of curiosity that might appeal to your puppy such as shoes and socks, children’s toys and the like. Block access to rooms that have not been puppy proofed and consider crate training your dog for the times when he cannot be supervised.
Beef tracheas: Sometimes called "windies" or "moo tubes," beef tracheas are primarily made up of cartilage and contain glucosamine and chondroitin, which benefit the joints. Beef tracheas last almost as long as bully sticks, but it really depends on the dog. They can also be more costly than bully sticks though they do not tend to stink quite as badly.