Dogs chew – in fact, dogs need to chew. Chewing relieves stress and boredom. For domesticated indoor pups, dog chews are a necessity, providing an enrichment activity and keeping active teeth – especially puppy teeth – off your furniture, shoes, and books (sometimes). Plus, canine chewing releases happiness hormones like dopamine and serotonin.
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Why do dogs chew things?
There are three main reasons pet dogs chew things:
- separation anxiety
Also, it’s instinctive, and wood seems to be a material they naturally gravitate to. If your pup is like mine, no walk is complete without stopping to grab a stick or two and shredding it.
However, chewing on random sticks can be hazardous: splinters can stick into gums and puncture the inside of a dog’s mouth. Ingesting pieces can cause blockages. Some types of wood are even toxic for dogs including black cherry, yew, and walnut. Occasionally, picking up a stick on a walk likely won’t cause too much harm, but shouldn’t be their primary dog chew.
What type of wood can dogs chew?
Believe it or not, coffee wood – sometimes called java wood – is safe for dogs. Coffee wood comes from the same plant that grows, you guessed it, coffee beans. The wood is a very tight grain and is harder than other woods. Dried and sanded down, it’s safe to give to dogs. When it comes to dog chews, coffee wood is the new antler. Even better, coffee wood is a salvaged from spent plants.
Rescuing coffee wood that would otherwise be burnt and turning it into dog chews is the new thing.
Canophera, a German-based company we met at SuperZoo 2022, is one of the companies taking on the challenge to distribute Canophera dog chews in several different sizes across Europe, Asia, and North America.
Canophera dog chews are wood only and contain no preservatives. The best part is they are a by-product of an existing industry: after a coffee plant can no longer produce coffee it’s usually destroyed to plant new ones. Now it’s cut down and the gnarly branches that can’t be used as lumber are cut and chiselled into imperfect shapes and packaged as dog chews – no harmful additives.
Coffee wood dog chew review
Did my heavy chewing puppy love the Canophera? We got a sample product at SuperZoo 2022 to give an honest try, and it’s one of my dog’s favourite chews. My spaniel is a chewer but first she covets her stuff and carries things around with her, sometimes guarding it from the cats. Her piece of coffee wood made the pile – after first grabbing it out of my hand with vigor.
Turns out, Canophera isn’t the only company distributing dog chews made from coffee wood. Some companies call it java wood and Quebec-based Dentler is one of them. Dentler who started by selling sustainable harvested antlers has added java wood chews to its catalogue.
Of course, java wood isn’t the only new chew in town. There are several other new or natural dog chew options getting into the game.
Here are other non-wood dog chews to keep your pup entertained:
Barkworthies Deer and Elk Antler Dog Chews
Many companies offer natural antlers for active canines who love to chew. Barkworthies are one of those companies – both elk and deer shed antlers naturally, and those antlers are collected, cleaned, and cut into various sizes. Essentially, these dog chews are scavenged from the forest floor.
Antlers are good for strong and power chewers. According to Barkworthies, these antlers are low mess and odour free. Note that when antlers get small enough to ingest, take if from your dog and discard.
Full antlers, rather than antlers split in half, are also ideal for power chewers. Half antlers, sometimes labeled ‘split antlers’ expose the marrow making the chew more appealing to dogs who might need to be encouragement to chew.
What’s the difference between elk and deer dog chews?
Elk – Elk are larger than deer, therefore their antlers are longer and wider. However, they have a thinner outer core around the inside marrow, so it’s easier for a dog to chew to the middle. Although they are thicker, their recommended for medium chewers.
Deer – Deer are smaller than elk and have smaller, thinner antlers. However, deer antlers have a thick core around the center marrow, making them harder chews recommended for more aggressive chewers.
Alternative to Antlers: Loving Pets Be Chewsy
However, if antlers are too dense or messy for your dog – or they simply don’t appeal to your pet – Loving Pets has a solution. Be Chewsy are promoted as an antler alternative because they mimic the texture and shape but have none of the splintering.
Made in the U.S.A. with real chicken to create the chicken flavour, these chews are edible and digestible, according to Loving Pets, and are available in packages of two or six.
Hold My Billy Stick: Bow Wow Buddy
Bow Wow Labs is a company innovating existing dog products. Bow Wow Buddy is its latest dog chew accessory that helps prevent dogs from chocking on the tail end of a chew or bully stick.
Shaped like a dumb bell, the Bow Wow Buddy is a holder for dog chews, specifically bully sticks (Bow Wow Labs offers ‘safe fit’ bully sticks designed for the holder).
Simply insert the bully stick into the holder and screw twist the holder tight. The stick stays upright and easy to access. Six different sizes are available depending on your dog’s size.
Long Lasting: Benebone Tripe Chew
Benebone has been making durable dog chews for a while – since we first met them at SuperZoo years ago. Benebones are chews made with flavoured durable nylon and manufactured in the US. The appeal of the product is the shape – easy to chew for pups with no thumbs.
Twisty tripe shape in beef flavour is the company’s newest Benebone product, available in three different sizes. My pup spent a long time with her Benebone, but I probably kept it too long. Note that Benebones last about one month and should be disposed of when more than a sugar-cube sized piece is gone, the product should be thrown out.
Yes Whey: Dog-o’s Cheesy Chompers
Remember Little Miss Muffet eating her curds and whey? Turns out, whey is a real thing. (We knew curds are real, thanks to poutine). Whey is a by-product of cheesemaking, and rather than dispose of it or send it somewhere else, the Marcoot Dairy Farm in Illinois had a new idea: dog chews. Whey is extremely protein-rich and ripe for new innovation.
In 2010, the 7th generation of Marcoots added cheesemaking to the dairy farm’s production. Eight years later, the company created frozen whey products and soon after, Dog-o Cheesy Chompers. These flat donut-shaped chews are solid like yak cheese chews but are made entirely in the U.S.A. from the milk of grass-fed Jersey dairy cows..
My dog chewed Dog-o’s Cheesy Chompers with interest and determination, and consumed one disc much faster than she gnaws through wood chews. But it was novel alternative treat for her that kept her focused until she was finished. Giving her a variety of chew options might, just might, keep the outdoor sticks outside.
Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for decades and travel writer for the last two. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America, and travels almost weekly with her canine companion, Victoria. All written content is original, written by a person, and based on experience and research.