Chews wisely: Which long-lasting treat suits my dog best?

Words By Gemma Sheehy

May 05, 2021

In case you hadn’t noticed, there are tons of dog chews to choose from. 

Blunt and pointy; bones or jerky; beef or poultry; the opportunities are endless. Just like us, doggos are individuals, with individual tastes and unique proclivities. Some like to take their time on a treat while others chow down. Some prefer a melt-in-your-mouth moment while others are only satisfied by an ultra-tough chew. 

For every different need there’s a different treat. But by far the most popular need? Chews that actually last. 

Doggos are destructive creatures by nature, and left unoccupied you might find them chowing down on your couch cushions or worse. Luckily, there’s an antidote for this: long-lasting chews.

We’ve taken the reigning champion of tough treats deer antlers, goat horns, bully sticks and collagen sticks and gone into the nitty gritty of what makes each of them unique. For each treat, we’ve rated them out of three categories:

  • Less Is More, for dogs that chew as a hobby and not a career. 
  • Captain Crunch, for canine’s looking for a good time and a long time. 
  • Super Chewer, for grizzly bears in a dog-shaped body. 

Every one of these treats will satisfy your dog’s need to chew. All of them will scrub away at stubborn plaque and tartar, benefitting your dog’s pearly whites. But if you’ve got a bored doggo and no idea which to pick, then this guide is for you. 

A yellow Labrador with a large goat horn in its mouth, with a backdrop of autumn leaves.

📸 Photographer: Shelby Huckstep

Goat Horns

We could bleat about goat horns all day. So we will. 

Goat horns are a staple in our treat box, and a go-to for keeping doggos content while we’re otherwise occupied. Made of the keratin protein, they’re a dense, durable chew that takes the average dog a week or more of dedicated chewing to break down. 

Goat horns naturally soften under continuous exposure to saliva, and tend to break away into very small (and safe) ‘chips’. They come whole or split, letting you personalise their toughness. 

You can find goat horns with their marrow intact, but we prefer them hollow. Removing the softer insides means you can get creative with your horn, stuffing them with something delicious (like peanut butter or mince) and then freezing them for next-level durability. 

Best Suited To: Super Chewer & Captain Crunch

Collagen Sticks

The fresh kid on the block, collagen sticks are quickly earning their reputation as a chew champion. 

The most abundant protein in our bodies, collagen is responsible for maintaining healthy bones, tendons, muscles, teeth and skin. Collagen sticks are made from an ultra-digestible layer of skin, brimming with amino acids that your doggo’s body uses to regenerate muscles and improve mobility

Collagen sticks don’t splinter or break into sharp pieces. They’re (very slowly) softened by your dog’s saliva, with most doggo’s taking a minimum of 30 minutes to conquer. 

Best Suited To: Less Is More

A Golden Retriever lying in a field of daisies, holding a deer antler.

📸 Photographer: Grier Morris-Obst

Deer Antlers

Antlers have quickly risen to stardom as a long-lasting, boredom-busting chew and for good reason. 

Deer antlers can be found in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colour and texture. Depending on the age and breed of the deer they came from, they can come flat and relatively soft; forked and ultra-tough; and anywhere in-between. This means you can scale up or down the treat difficulty while still reaping all the same benefits. 

Like goat horns, antlers come in split or whole varieties, with the marrow exposed for an easier chew or unaltered for power chewers. 

The best bit? Antlers tend to crumble away when chewed, rather than splintering or chipping off. Perfect for the doggo who’s prone to gulping. 

Best Suited To: Super Chewer

Bully Sticks 

Bully sticks need little introduction as an unbeatable choice for long-lasting, high protein treats. 

Made from 100% beef pizzle, bully sticks are junk food-free and come in a range of sizes, shapes and durabilities depending on the bull they came from. They’re nothing but protein-rich meat, and unlike traditional treats like rawhide they’re digested with ease. 

Just like collagen sticks, bully sticks don’t shatter or splinter. While still a challenging chew, your doggo’s saliva will eventually re-hydrate the treat, breaking away into soft (and delicious) morsels. 

While larger dogs may defeat this treat in one (substantial) chewing session, smaller and less toothsome doggos may find themselves returning to it for days to come. 

Best Suited To: Less Is More

A Golden Retriever lying on their back in grass, eyes closed and canine teeth showing.

📸 Photographer: Grier Morris-Obst

Chews your fighter

Picking the perfect long-lasting chew is the first step to an occupied, mentally stimulated and less destructive dog. 

As with all treats, we recommend supervising your doggo to ensure they’re chowing down appropriately. For dogs that gulp or have sensitive teeth, we suggest starting at the softer-end of the range and working your way up. 

If you’re still confused on what to choose, don’t sweat it! Reach out to us with a description or your doggo and we’ll give you our tried-and-true recommendations. 🤝 

Happy chewing!

Author

Gemma Sheehy

If there's one thing Gemma's passionate about in life, it's dogs. When she's not writing about them at WAG she's living, breathing, walking and snuggling with her own. Besides dog shows and sporting events on the weekends, Gemma is partial to cooking (sometimes) healthy meals, watching horror movies and making records for time spent in pyjamas.