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A dog chewing a dental care bone

The best bones for dogs 

  1. Native Pet Yak Chews for Dogs: Only 3-ingredients, high protein option
  2. Rachael Ray Nutrish Soup Bones: Savory chews with a meaty center
  3. AFreschi Turkey Tendon for Dogs: Easy-to-digest rawhide alternative
  4. Natural Farm Odor Free Bully Sticks: Odorless and easy to digest
  5. Nylabone Healthy Edibles Chew Treats: All-natural ingredients
  6. Benebone Real Bacon Chew Toy Bone: Made for aggressive chewers
  7. Nylabone Twin Pack Power Chews: Best for large or giant breeds
  8. Earth Animal No Hide Dog Chews: Best for small- or medium-sized breeds
  9. Benebone Puppy Pack Dental Chew and Wishbone: Best for puppies
  10. Nylabone Puppy Starter Kit: Another excellent option for puppies

🔎 How we picked our favorites

We partnered with veterinarians — Our list of favorites is vet-approved, so dog owners can trust that the ingredients are safe and healthy for your canine companion.

We avoided real bones — Whether cooked or uncooked, real bones are unsafe for dogs.  A real bone can splinter and break into sharp pieces that can puncture your dog’s mouth or organs. Smaller fragments can also pass through the intestines and accumulate in the colon, causing serious constipation or obstructive obstipation.

The best dog bones, reviewed

Best natural chews for dogs

Pros Cons
Good for dogs’ teeth. These treats will reduce tartar buildup and ward off stinky breath. Strong odor. Some customers have complained of purchasing treats that smelled rotten upon opening.
Long-lasting. 1,500+ Amazon reviewers agree that these yak sticks hold up against intense gnawing. Might be too tough for some dogs. These treats can result in bleeding gums and fractured teeth.
Lactose-free. This makes it easier for sensitive tummies to digest.

While a bone made from cheese might sound smelly and too soft, these organic yak milk chews promise to be lower in odor than rawhide treats and keep your dog entertained for hours on end. Native Pet Yak Chews are made of just three natural ingredients: milk (yak and cow), salt, and lime. They’re also grain-free, gluten-free, and a rich source of protein.

What our vets think

“Yak chews are great for heavy chewers, but may be a little too hard for older dogs or dogs with dental issues.” – Dr. Jennifer Schott

Pros Cons
One ingredient. Natural treats made from 100 percent beef. Expensive. Retails $26.99 for 1-pound bag of 2 to 3-inch chews.
Eco-friendly. Natural Farm products are all ethically raised and grass-fed. Potential stomach problems. Some dogs experienced diarrhea after eating.

These bully sticks are a fantastic option for dogs of any age and size. They’re super tasty for pups, and pet parents love that they’re odor-free. Natural Farm’s customers rave about how much their pups love these bully sticks. And for the few picky pups who aren’t wild about them, customers also say the company’s customer service is fantastic.

What our vets think

“Bully sticks are a great chew for any dog and these come in a variety of sizes. They are digestible but it is still a good idea to ensure your dog isn’t swallowing too big of a piece.” – Dr. Jennifer Schott

Best rawhide alternative bones for dogs

Pros Cons
Safer than rawhide. Soft enough to break into small, easily digested pieces. Small to extra-small bones. Some customers wish these bones were bigger — especially for the $14.24 price tag. Not ideal for puppies.
High in protein, low in fat. 100-percent turkey tendon treats with 80% protein and only 3% fat. Not ideal for puppies. Younger dogs may have a hard time breaking these bones into smaller pieces.
Long-lasting. Braided design can help it last longer than some softer types of bones.

Of the 4,000+ Amazon reviews, one thing is clear: Dogs love the taste of turkey tendon. Dozens of reviewers say their dog goes crazy for these bones. Hand-made and slow-roasted for maximum flavor, AFreschi’s turkey-tendon treats are free of artificial preservatives and naturally delicious.

What our vets think

“Turkey tendons make a great alternative to harder bones. They still take some effort and time to chew but are softer and less likely to cause damage to the teeth. I give these to my own dogs!” – Dr. Jennifer Schott

Pros Cons
Good for smaller dogs. Dog owners love the smaller sizes these “no hide” bones come in. Price tag. Running $29.90 for a pack of 3, these treats aren’t cheap.
Healthy ingredients. Made from just 7 pure ingredients, with no bleaches, synthetics, or preservatives.
Easily digestible. No-Hide is easier on a dog’s stomach than commercial rawhide.

Our pick for smaller paws, these rawhide-free natural chews are a great option for dog owners looking for long-lasting treats for their pups. Pet parents also like that these bones tend to keep their pups busy for hours, but don’t have a strong smell like other products.

What our vets think

“These are another great alternative to rawhide bones but also may be too hard for dogs with dental issues.” – Dr. Jennifer Schott

Best bones for heavy chewers

Pros Cons
Quality treats. Benebone sources and manufactures all chew toys in the U.S. Nylon chew toys carry risk. Nylon can wreak havoc on a dog’s system if they accidentally eat a piece.
Extra tough. Owners of aggressive chewers confirm that these toys pass the durability test. Dental damage. Owners have reported finding cuts and scrapes inside their dog’s mouth after giving them this toy.

If you’ve got a super-chewer, Benebone says “Bring it on.” These chew toys are wishbone-shaped and “paw-friendly,” giving your dog the ability to get a good grip. Plus, they’re made with real bacon for flavor.

What our vets think

“Benebones are good for heavy chewers, but they are very hard and there is a concern they could cause broken teeth. If your dog chews off a large piece these also may cause an intestinal blockage, so it is important to monitor them closely if using these chews.” – Dr. Jennifer Schott

Pros Cons
Extra durable. Customers report they last their dogs as long as a full year. Non-edible chew product. See a vet if you think your dog has swallowed a large piece.
Flavors dogs love. Delicious bacon and chicken flavors are sure to keep your dog entertained. Not recommended for puppies. These bones should only be used by dogs with permanent teeth in place.
Promotes dental health. Ridges and nubs prevent plaque and tartar buildup.

Ideal for large or giant breeds, this nylon bone is designed to curb destructive chewing, even among the most aggressive chewers. One happy reviewer says this is a great distraction for when their dog starts to chew on furniture or shoes — it’s also much tastier and longer-lasting.

What our vets think

“These chews are also ok for heavy chewers but careful monitoring is important as they are made out of nylon and are not digestible-which means they could cause an intestinal blockage if a large enough piece is swallowed.” – Dr. Jennifer Schott

Best bones for soft chewers

Pros Cons
Expert-crafted formula. No artificial flavoring or meat by-products. Could last longer. Many people find their dogs burn through these treats too quickly because of the enticing flavors.
Highly digestible. Amazon reviewers love these bones for their soft texture. Potential for sickness. Dogs may experience unwanted symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.

Dogs love these soft, savory chews for their tasty meaty centers. One reviewer even said they’re similar to the consistency of a Tootsie Roll, without the chewiness. These soup bones are a good choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs because they’re softer than other types of bones.

What our vets think

“These bones are a great softer chew option for dogs that are older or have dental disease. My older dog loves these!” – Dr. Jennifer Schott

Pros Cons
All natural ingredients. No artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Mold. Some Amazon reviewers claim they received old or moldy treats upon delivery.
Good for training. Great rewards to teach your dog basic commands and encourage positive chewing habits. Digestion issues. Some parents claim their dogs experienced stomach upset or vomited after consuming the treats.

These more traditional-looking bones contain a blend of natural ingredients, vitamins, and minerals that you can feel good about feeding your pooch. Dogs of all shapes and sizes love the chicken and roast beef flavors, with several dog owners swearing these chews were a lifesaver for their picky pup.

What our vets think

“Edible Nylabones are preferred over the nylon ones as they are going to be more digestible. These are better for heavy chewers and again swallowing larger pieces could cause an intestinal blockage.” – Dr. Jennifer Schott

Best bones for puppies

Pros Cons
Easy to handle. The wishbone in the puppy pack is made to sit up off the floor while chewing. Could be more durable. Customers complain that their puppies tear dangerously large pieces off these bones in as little as a day.
Minimize teething pain. Designed to soothe a teething puppy’s gums. Not for bigger pups. These bones are ideal for puppies under 15 pounds.
100% bacon. The company uses real, USA-sourced bacon all the way through these chews.

Benebone crafts its products to last, and the puppy line is no different. Cleaning ridges on the dental chew toy help remove plaque and tartar as your pup chews, while the accompanying wishbone is designed for pups who haven’t quite mastered the use of their paws yet. Customers say the toughness of these toys keeps their puppy’s attention focused on the bone and not off-limits “chew toys” like shoes or furniture!

What our vets think

“Benebones are good for heavy chewers but if they are chewing off large pieces they should be taken away.” — Dr. Jennifer Schott

Pros Cons
Great for teething. Soft plastic chewing bones are perfect for teething puppies. Not made for hard chewers. These bones easily break off into small parts.
Quality ingredients. All bones in this kit are made without salt, artificial colors, or preservatives. Flavors could be stronger. Reviewers wish the chicken and bacon flavors packed more of a punch so their puppies were more interested in the bones.

Nylabone has been a trusted brand in dog bones for many years, and new pet parents still swear by this puppy starter pack. The pack comes in three different types of bones to help puppies through different stages of teething. Puppy parents love having these bones on hand to keep their pups from chewing on things they shouldn’t, like fingers!

What our vets think

“Puppy Nylabones are a good option and I like that the ‘starter’ bone is softer for puppies that are teething. Careful monitoring is essential and these have to be taken away if the puppy is chewing off large pieces. I still prefer the digestible chews over the nylon-based ones.” — Dr. Jennifer Schott

Should I give my dog bones to chew on?

With so many safety considerations, you might wonder if giving your dog a bone is really worth the trouble. Most dogs will feel the urge to chew on something. To keep their chompers away from your furniture or favorite pair of shoes, it’s beneficial to have a safe bone around.

Here are some other benefits of bones for dogs:

  • Mental stimulation. Can distract nervous or anxious dogs
  • Oral hygiene. Can help minimize the accumulation of plaque and tartar on dog’s teeth
  • Puppy support. Can soothe teething dogs

Types of bones and their safety

There are plenty of perfectly safe dog bones. But there are many more that aren’t safe. If you’re ever unsure about a certain dog bone, consult your vet first. Here are a few of the most common types of dog bones and the safety measures offered for your pup.

Safe bones for dogs

👍 Bone treats — Softer chews that are usually made of meat or cheese, like bully sticks, are usually safe. Always confirm with a veterinarian that the ingredients check out, but these types of treats will typically have the tenderness that makes them safe for dogs.

Mostly safe dog bones

👍 Synthetic — Usually made of plastic or nylon, these are typically safe to give dogs depending on the level of softness to the bone.  Synthetic bones that are too hard can fracture teeth or break apart and cause dental or stomach issues. Watch for broken pieces and consider switching to a digestible bone if your dog chews through a lot of these.

Synthetic bones are okay as long as they are pliable or have some ‘give’ to them. Ones that can break apart in some firm, solid pieces could cause GI obstructions, and too-hard bones can fracture teeth.

Dr. Erica Irish, DVM

Unsafe bones for dogs

🚫 Cooked — Real animal bones that have been cooked over heat — as in, your chicken wing or rib leftovers — are never safe for dogs. Because they’ve been cooked, they splinter very easily into small, sharp pieces that can puncture your dog’s mouth, stomach, and intestines.

🚫 Rawhide — Though popular, these bones do not pass the pliability test. They can break into sharp, solid pieces, making them a digestive and choking hazard. Plus, many dogs are known to fracture their teeth on these.

🚫 Raw bones — While they might be a smidge safer than cooked animal bones, raw bones are still dangerous. That includes antlers, knuckles, and other types of real bones. They can still splinter like cooked bones do, but they also pose the risk of tooth breakage due to their hardness.

Safety tips for giving your pup bones

Administered correctly, bones can help with oral health, anxiety, and destructive chewing. But how do you make sure they’re safe?

First, you should know the risks of giving your dog certain materials to chew on. Second, you should know a few guidelines about what to look for and what to avoid.

Chew toy alternatives to dog bones

Luckily, there are many softer alternatives to dog bones, like dental chews, rubber chew bones, and fabric tug-of-war toys. These come with their own set of risks, but one great alternative is a Kong toy.

These highly popular toys are made of rubber and look like a hollowed-out beehive. Inside, you can stuff a Kong with anything safe for your dog to eat, such as peanut butter or wet dog food. Like a bone, the kong can keep your dog busy licking and chewing for hours as they try to reach the inner deliciousness. But the kong poses much less risk of GI obstruction or fracturing teeth.

Potential risks

Unsafe dog bones can cause a number of health issues. If the bone is too hard, you risk fractured teeth and gastrointestinal obstructions. If it’s a material that splinters, like real bones, your dog might swallow the fragment and end up with a punctured throat, stomach, or intestine.

🚨 If you notice a change in behavior after giving your dog a bone, they may have a GI obstruction. Bring your dog to the vet immediately if you notice vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal tenderness, hunching, or other changes in behavior.

On a more minor level, you risk tummy troubles with any new treat. A new bone, even if it’s generally considered “safe,” may cause diarrhea or vomiting. If that happens, simply stop using and talk with your vet about what ingredients might be causing the upset. They can help you identify a gentler alternative.

Which dog bones and chews to avoid

Avoid anything listed in the “unsafe” section above. In general, stay away from anything that splinters, like natural bones or sticks. That includes traditional bones, like beef bones, but also other products like elk or deer antlers. Harder synthetic bones, like Nylon or plastic bones, can be okay for some dogs but may lead to tooth fractures or intestinal blockages in others.

In general, the safest bones have some pliability and will break into chewy little pieces as your dog gnaws. There is a simple test to determine if a bone is safe for a pup to chew. If a bone doesn’t “give” a little when you press it with your thumbnail, it may be too hard.

As far as ingredients go, it isn’t necessary to be too concerned about only feeding your pup organic, all-natural, grass-fed, preservative-free, additive-free treats. Animal by-products also actually have some benefits, mostly to help preserve the bones.  Bones need some level of processing and preservation to keep them shelf-stable.

Talk to your vet if you have dog bone confusion

As with any new product for your pooch, the best source of truth is always your veterinarian. Your vet knows your dog and is in tune with their health and wellness needs.  When in doubt, trust the experts.

Frequently asked questions

Are dog bones good for dogs?

A safe dog bone can be an excellent option to improve your pup’s oral health. Dogs are also natural chewers, and chomping on a dog bone can help relieve anxiety and keep them entertained.

What are the best chew bones for dogs?

The best kind of bone for a dog is one made specially for dogs, instead of a raw or cooked animal bone. Many of these bones come in tasty meat or cheese flavors. They’re designed to be tough enough to keep your pup busy while also easy to digest.

What is the best knucklebone for dogs?

Knuckle bones are a type of raw animal bone, typically made from cattle. Veterinarians typically don’t recommend dogs ingest raw or cooked animal bones as they can cause dental or GI issues.

Are dog bones good for dogs with sensitive tummies?

While most dogs love to chew, some pups are prone to tummy issues. This may make finding the right dog bone more of a challenge. We recommend Rachael Ray Nutrish Soup Bones Longer Lasting Dog Treat Chews, which can be gentler on a dog’s sensitive stomach.