Best Vegan Dog Chews
Chewing is an important activity for your family dog - it not only keeps his teeth clean and healthy, but it’s good for him mentally, too!
A dog that is able to chew is able to keep his mind occupied and keep him from chewing on inappropriate objects - say, the couch, or your favorite dress shoes.
If you’re transitioning to a vegan diet, however, traditional dog chews are likely to clash with your new lifestyle - they’re typically made with things like rawhide, pigs’ ears, and cow’s hooves.
Luckily, there are plenty of safe dog chews on the market to help keep Fido entertained, ranging from all-natural sweet potato chews to durable Nylon-based toys.
Read on to learn more about our favorite chews.
Top Vegan Dog Chew Brands
Sam’s Yams Veggie Rawhide
Rawhide bones are an iconic dog chew, but in addition to being unsuitable for a vegan home, they can also be harmful to dogs’ digestive tracts.
Sam’s Veggie Rawhide provides the same comforting chew, without the potential for tummy trouble.
Made from thick-cut sweet potato slices, the chews are low in calories, high in antioxidants, and have a ridged texture to promote healthy teeth and gums.
The chews won’t stain your carpet, and won’t get soggy and smelly the way traditional rawhide does. The chews are made in the United States, and come in 5- and 14-ounce bags.
What We Love
Even picky dogs love the taste of these chews - reviewers note that even dogs with the most discerning palettes go bonkers for the things. You won’t have to worry about your dog tiring of the flavor or getting bored, as dogs almost universally love the taste of sweet potatoes.
While these chews are healthy and nutritious, they aren’t the chew to turn to if you need to keep your dog occupied for a long time. Dogs tend to chew through them quickly, so they’re best used for dental health rather than keeping your dog busy.
Snook’s Organic Sweet Potato Dog Chew
A safe and natural option for your dog, Snook’s Sweet Potato Dog Chews are exactly as they sound - made from non-GMO dried golden sweet potato, these chews are appropriate for dogs that are 20-60 pounds.
Because they’re made in the United States and don’t contain any plastics or chemicals, your dog can rip these apart and ingest the pieces, unlike a chew made from manmade materials.
The chew consists of eight sweet potato rounds on a handy rope.
What We Love
Aside from being natural and non-GMO, sweet potatoes are great foods for dogs, rich in vitamins and minerals they need. These chews are not only good for dogs’ dental health, but also for their digestive health.
Be mindful of how many rounds your dog is eating - some reviewers’ dogs experienced gastric issues and vomiting after tearing through all eight rounds. If you’re worried, take the rounds off the rope and give them to your dog one at a time.
Zuke’s Z-Bone Box Treat
Especially effective against bad breath in the mouth and gut, Zuke’s Z-Bones are grain-free dental chews for dogs in all shapes and sizes.
The chews are made with whole foods like apple, spinach, and turmeric, while parsley, rosemary, and fennel support a clean mouth and fresh breath. The texture of the bones themselves help polish teeth and maintain healthy gums, creating a healthier mouth inside and out.
These chews are a little more tender than some harder-to-destroy products out there, so if you’re looking for a chew that will provide hours of entertainment for your dog, this product may not fit the bill. These are, however, an ideal chew for short car rides, or simply when you’re bonding with your dog and have a few minutes to supervise his chewing time.
Zuke’s Z-Bones are available in Apple and Fruit flavors are made in the United States and can satisfy a variety of dogs - from five-pound yorkies to 70+ pound pit bulls.
What We Love
These chews are like little scrubbers for dog teeth! In addition to providing them with entertainment and stimulation, reviewers note the huge difference these chews make on their dogs’ teeth and gums. Regular chewers reported less buildup on teeth and fresher breath.
While the reviews for this product are overwhelmingly positive, a handful of owners noted their dogs threw up after consuming these chews. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, start them out slowly with these chews, and be sure to supervise them while they’re in chew mode.
KONG Goodie Bone Dog Toy
Kong chews come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are usually made from a medium-hard rubber that provides a satisfying chew and is resistant to breaking and shredding.
Most types of these chews are hollowed out on the inside so that you can tuck a treat or a smear of peanut butter on the inside.
By adding the food aspect, your dog won’t get bored as quickly with the toy; his brain will be stimulated to get at the treat, and you’ll be able to keep him occupied for a long time.
Kong products are made in the United States and are available in different sizes for tiny toy breeds to extra-large Newfoundlands and Great Danes.
What We Love
Kong bones step up the mental stimulation aspect of chewing. Because you can hide something in the hollowed-out portion of the Kong, you can keep your dog busy much longer than you could with a just a solid chew. The fillable chew is a good tool to have on hand for long car rides or when you have company.
Reviewers note that very large dogs and powerful chewers can easily destroy some Kong toys. If your dog is a large breed, or destroys many toys with ease, you may want to look for a more durable product, so the Kong doesn’t pose a choking hazard or cause digestive distress if eaten.
Nylabone Dura Chew Wishbone
Nylabone’s Dura Chew products offer a vegan-friendly chew for extra large breeds and powerful chewers that have a tendency to destroy even “durable” toys and chews.
The chews have been designed with your dog’s dental health in mind - in addition to being a medium-hard texture for comfortable chewing, the toy is covered in raised bristles to help clean teeth and remove plaque and tartar buildup.
The chews are extremely light, especially considering their durability, and is available in small/medium and large/extra large sizes.
What We Love
Nylabone is extremely durable - even when chewed on by the strong jaws of danes and pit bulls. This means you’re getting good value for your dollar (some reviewers reported getting 2-4 months out of a single bone!), but it’s also safer for your dog, as they won’t ingest any part of the toy.
Dogs, like people, have particular tastes when it comes to flavors. Some purchasers noted their dog didn’t care for the flavor of these chews, so you may need to try a few versions before settling on one your dog enjoys.
Things to Consider When Buying a Chew
While the products listed above are our top picks for vegan-friendly dog chews, there are countless options available online, as well as at your local pet retailer.
When considering whether or not a certain dog chew is right for your pet, there are several important qualities to keep in mind - not only to make sure your dollar is going as far as it can but also to ensure the safety of your four-legged best friend.
With the spotlight focused on natural, “clean” eating, this has of course extended even to the diets of our pets. While the inclusion of whole foods, like sweet potatoes, into chew toys is a smart move for your dog’s health, there are certain foods that are toxic to dogs and should be avoided in anything that’s going to go in your dog’s mouth.
Even though they sound tasty to humans, the following foods can be fatal to your dog:
- Coconut (not fatal, but can cause stomach problems)
- Nuts, especially macadamia
- Artificial sweeteners
- Yeast dough
In addition to ingredients that are toxic to dogs, you’ll want to be on the lookout for animal products in the chews. Look for the usual offenders, like milk powder and chicken broth, but also sneakier ingredients like glycerin, which are often sourced from animal ingredients.
2. Country of Origin
Several years ago, thousands of pets died after eating Chinese jerky chews tainted with melamine, a toxic ingredient which was meant to boost the protein content of pet food as cheaply as possible.
While most of the reports came from chicken, beef, and duck jerkies, sweet potato chews were also found to contain the poisonous ingredient.
While pet products must now go through more rigorous testing as a result of the pet deaths, it doesn’t mean your pet is entirely safe.
Check the back of the package to see where your chews were manufactured, and if they were made in China, toss them out or put them back on the shelf. Buying chews made in the United States may cost a little more, but your dog’s life is not worth saving a buck or two.
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny toy breeds to huge dogs that rival small ponies. Just as you can’t give an extra-large chew to a very small dog, giving a tiny chew to a big dog means they won’t get the same chew time from the smaller chew and could wind up ingesting some or too much of the toy.
Look on the chew’s packaging to see the weight range that particular product is suitable for. This will not only make sure your dog won’t completely destroy the thing, but giving them the size chew that’s right for their body type means their chew time will be more enjoyable, and they’ll be more likely to use the toy.
Think about your dog’s personality and the strength of her jaw. Is she more laid back, and doesn’t show a lot of interest in toys, or has she ripped apart every single chew you’ve ever gotten for her?
If your dog is a strong chewer, she’ll need a high-durability chew that can stand up to her jaws, so she still gets enough chew time to keep her teeth and gums healthy.
However, too durable of a bone for a dog that has little interest in chews and toys might be a waste of money, as she could get bored, or it may be too hard for her to eat. Make sure you’re giving your dog the type of chew she needs based on her interest and strength.
Just like people, some dogs are picky eaters, and are either averse to certain tastes, or need a little flavor boost to stay interested. Some chews come pre-flavored, while others need some help from a tucked-away treat or a good glob of peanut butter.
Try a few different varieties of chew flavors and see which one(s) your dog likes best. Changing things up not only allows you to see what kind of flavors your dog enjoys but will also keep them from getting bored.
Animal-Friendly Dog Chews
Your dog depends on you to provide him with the things he needs, and this includes products that allow him to get in much-needed chew time for mental stimulation and dental hygiene.
Of course, these responsibilities as a pet owner can coexist with responsibilities as a member of the animal kingdom - you can provide for your dog without having to promote the suffering of other animals.
Whether you’re looking for a completely natural chew made from nutritious sweet potatoes, or need an extremely durable nylon-based chew to stand up to powerful jaws, there is a variety of options available on the market for a vegan-friendly chew.
By choosing a chew that is animal-friendly not only to your dog, but also to cows, pigs, and chickens, you’re standing up for animals who have not yet received complete protection in the eyes of humans, and showing that there are growing demands for chew toys that are healthy, safe, and kind.