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Dog Bones

Synthetic Dog Bones vs. Natural – Which Is Best?

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Some days, I could just about strangle Leroy!

I know, that sounds like a horrible statement from someone who professes to be “Simply for Dogs,” but the thing is, I have to really work to get Leroy to accept conventional chewies. Remember the horror story I told you in Help, My Dog Ate a Battery? Leroy is not all that fond of chewies. Leroy likes to chew things that he shouldn’t chew!

Over the years, I’ve also lost shoes and clothes and even furniture to Leroy, and one of his very favorite things is chewing up my firewood. If he were a human boy and not a canine one, I’m sure that if I asked him what he wanted to be when he grows up, he’d say, “A mechanical wood chipper”!

You have no idea what I go through, on a day to day basis, sweeping up the wood chips “Shredder” leaves all over the floor!

Therefore, I’ve been experimenting lately with a variety of chewies. Leroy has big, strong jaws, so I’ve been pretty much going with bones of one type or another, and trying to determine whether synthetic dog “bones” are better than the natural thing.

I have always had a bit of a predisposition against natural bones, since I’ve been of the belief that even the best natural bones are likely to splinter eventually and could cause problems in a dog’s digestive tract. As is my habit, though, when I’m in doubt, I talk with Stephen, my vet, and usually defer to his judgement. Leroy is not all that fond of synthetic dog bones, and Stephen seems to feel that there are some natural bones that are okay.

So, in the material that follows, I’m going to talk about synthetic dog bones vs. natural, and try to help you to make the choice that’s right for your dog.

Best Dog Bones On Amazon

Click Below To Go To Amazon Rating Price
Fido Texas T-Bone chew
Petstages Beyond Bone
Nylabone Dura Chews
Pet ’n Shape Chewz
Brutus and Barnaby knuckle bone
Deluxe Naturals Elk Antlers

Why Give Chewies in the First Place?

Every dog should have something to chew on, whether it’s synthetic dog bones or natural dog bones. This is because hard items work to clean our dog’s teeth, and also improve the health of his gums. They’re also great for training, and unless you have a really stubborn dog (Leroy, are you listening?) they can also work to protect your personal items and household furniture from unwanted chewing.

It’s not always easy, though, choosing between synthetic dog bones and natural bones. There are lots on offer from either side, and each has its own upsides and downsides. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of personal preference as to what you and your dog will prefer.

Before I Go Any Further…

…I’d like to point out that I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about dogs that have gotten sick after being left unattended with bones, both natural and synthetic. The key phrase here, though, is “left unattended.”

I don’t leave Janice and Leroy alone with chewies of any kind. Sure, the risk is small, but I don’t want to take any risk with my dogs! If you watch your dog when he’s enjoying a bone, whether we’re talking about synthetic dog bones or the natural kind, you’ll be able to see what’s going on. If something splinters, or if your dog takes in too big a chunk and begins to choke, you’re there and you can act. If you leave your dog alone, you lose that level of control.

Thus, from my perspective, you shouldn’t leave your dog alone with chewies. Under supervision, though, synthetic dog bones and natural dog bones can provide your dog with hours of enjoyment and also improve his dental health.

So, what’s the difference?

Synthetic Dog Bones

Synthetic dog bones come in all different sizes and flavors. They contain no natural bacteria or calories. They also won’t stain your furniture or carpets. Keep in mind, though, that synthetic dog bones have been known to break, get ingested, and cause harm to the digestive tract.

Natural Dog Bones

Well, of course, I don’t mean “dog bones.” I mean “bones that dogs can chew.” The advantage to natural dog bones is that dogs prefer them. Also, they contain marrow, which is rich in nutrients. Look for products that don’t have preservatives. The disadvantage to natural dog bones is that they can often cause diarrhea and vomiting.

The Best Synthetic Dog Bones

There are several synthetic dog bones on the market. Some are good, and some not so good. Here are three that I like:

1. Fido Texas T-Bone Chew

The Fido Texas T-Bone chew is good for dogs of all ages, and designed in such a way that the dog can hold the bone in his paws as he chews. The flavor releases slowly, so your dog will remain interested as he chews. This chew is also flexible and soft, so even senior dogs can enjoy it, and you won’t have to worry about it breaking and hurting your dog.

2. Petstages Toy Beyond Bone

The Petstages Beyond Bone is another safe treat. It’s highly durable, and will last a long time. Although it’s durable, it’s also soft, so again, it’s good for senior dogs. Some dog parents, though, have reported that small pieces can break off, so don’t let your dog use this chewie unattended, and replace it if it looks like it’s wearing out.

3. Nylabone Dura Chew Combo Packs

If you have a “power chewer” like my Leroy, the Nylabone Dura Chews are ideal. The combo pack also features a variety of flavors, so your dog won’t lose interest. In addition, these chews are “bristled,” so they’re really good at cleaning crud off your dog’s teeth.

The only thing I can find to complain about with these chews is that if you leave them lying around, and you step on them, it’s not much different from putting your foot down on a Lego – ouch!

So, these are great synthetic dog bones. Now, let’s talk about the natural variety.

The Best Natural Dog Bones

As is the case with synthetic dog bones, there are good natural bones and bad natural bones. I think everyone probably knows that you shouldn’t just throw your dog a bone that you’ve used in the course of preparing a meal. Chicken and turkey bones, for instance, will split in a heartbeat, and can easily puncture your dog’s intestinal tract. If you must feed bones from your butcher, choose round bones.

Your best choice, though, is to buy bones from a reputable provider of pet treats. The reason is simple; they don’t want to get sued. So it’s a pretty good bet that they’re only going to sell bones that will be reasonably safe for your dog. Yes, you’ll pay more than if you just went down to the local meat shop and said, “Give me some bones.” I think your dog’s worth it, though.

So, here are some natural dog bones that I like:

1. Pet ’n Shape All Natural Dog Chewz

Pet ’n Shape Chewz are made with large dogs in mind, and they are completely digestible. These natural bones come from free-range cattle, and are roasted to deliver outstanding flavor. The only down side is that you can only roast the outside, so as the flavor begins to disappear the deeper the dog gets into the bone, the dog may begin to lose interest. Since this is going to be the case with any natural bone, though, I think it’s a pretty minor complaint.

2. Brutus & Barnaby Knuckle Bone

The Brutus and Barnaby knuckle bone smells so good, you might want to give it a try yourself! It’s also from grass-fed cattle, and contains no preservatives or artificial flavors. Even better, because it’s a “round” bone, it’s not likely to splinter. Knuckle bones are more likely to crumble, and won’t cause any harm to your dog’s digestive tract. The only downside is that, like all natural bones, it can stain your furniture and carpets.

3. Deluxe Naturals Elk Antler

Okay, so this isn’t actually a bone. As you can tell, it’s an antler. Deluxe Naturals Elk Antlers come three or four to a pack, so if you have multiple dogs, as I do, you can buy one pack and spread the happiness or keep one dog happy for a long time. The other good thing here is that animals are not harmed in harvesting this product; elk shed their antlers naturally, so it’s a sustainable resource. This product is also great for “power chewers” since elk antler is very hard. It also won’t splinter. The only downside is the same as it is with other natural products: the flavor doesn’t hold.

Best Dog Bones On Amazon

Click Below To Go To Amazon Rating Price
Fido Texas T-Bone chew
Petstages Beyond Bone
Nylabone Dura Chews
Pet ’n Shape Chewz
Brutus and Barnaby knuckle bone
Deluxe Naturals Elk Antlers

The Final Word

So, synthetic dog bones or natural?

I don’t think there’s really a “right or wrong” here. Choose the product that your dog enjoys. You can always experiment a bit, try synthetic dog bones and natural dog bones, and then go with what works best. Either option is very affordable, so it’s no big deal if you end up with a few bones that don’t get chewed.

With trial and error, I hope that you can find a product that will amuse your dog to the point where he won’t be chewing your furniture or your shoes. Or your firewood (Leroy, are you listening?)

No, he’s still not listening. Oh well, I’ll just have to keep trying, I guess. Or rent him out the next time the guys come around to cut down the excess growth under the power lines. Or if the beavers go on strike.

About the Author Ash

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