Chew on that: the best puppy chews to soothe gums and satisfy natural instincts

  • Horse & Hound is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy. Learn more
  • Puppies love to chew. In fact they have a physical need to do so to relieve the discomfort of teething gums. Chewing can help improve their oral hygiene too, by descaling tartar and massaging the gums. It can also help distract them from destroying household items, as they have something satisfying and appropriate to keep them occupied. The best puppy chews are designed to be ingested, unlike the best puppy chew bones or best teething toys for puppies, which are for gnawing in a more long-term fashion. Examples of chews include dental sticks and dehydrated animal parts.

    Because they need to be chomped on and digested, chews should be as natural as possible to avoid a puppy’s sensitive stomach having to cope with indigestible ingredients. They should also be good for the teeth, so as not to cause decay. Try to avoid artificial additives or ingredients, colours, dyes and chemicals, and remember that a puppy’s teeth and jaws are developing, so the chews mustn’t be like a rock. Some chews are very hard, and even if the puppy does manage to chew them down, the remainder can be a choking hazard, so it’s best to find something a little softer that he can soften and chomp his way through. Of course, there will always be some strong-jawed puppies who crunch through regular puppy chews in seconds, and they will be able to cope with something harder that will provide more lasting satisfaction.

    Chewing is a calming activity, which dogs tend to find very satisfying. It relieves stress, provides mental stimulation and provides enjoyment. Although this desire to chew will wane as the pup grows up, for the majority of dogs, it remains a pleasurable activity which you can use to your advantage to help clean their teeth.

    Provide a good range of chews so your puppy doesn’t get bored, as well as plenty of play sessions and appropriate exercise, and you should end up with a happy little pup, who chews what he’s given and not whatever he feels like!

    6 of the best puppy chews

    Bounce & Bella dog chews

    Bounce and Bella Natural Dog Chews

    Flavour: Chicken/beef/green tea | Format: Stick | RRP: £6.99 for 10 chews |

    These are not specifically designed for puppies, but are suitable from eight weeks. They have just three ingredients – beef, chicken and green tea extract – so you know exactly what you are feeding your pup. They contain no sugar, additives or preservatives, and have been air-dried for days (rather than sped up by chemicals) to lock in nutrients.

    They help maintain oral health as the green tea extract controls bacteria causing decay and gum disease, while also working as an anti-inflammatory to help gums stay strong and healthy.

    The pyramid shape of the chews is designed to rub against the pup’s gums and sides of teeth to help remove plaque.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk

    Bella & Duke Premium Beef Pizzles

    Bella & Duke Premium Beef Pizzles

    Flavour: Beef | Format: Stick | RRP: £13.99 for bag of 5 pizzles |

    Beef pizzles are essentially a chunk of beef penis that is dehydrated muscle twisted into a stick shape, and dogs love them. These are a great alternative to dental sticks as they are 100% natural, long-lasting and delicious.

    They are high-protein, low-fat and packed with natural taurine. An expensive treat, but they last a long time for a puppy and are made from high-quality ingredients. Bear in mind they are quite stinky when the dog gets chewing!

    Suitable from 12 weeks onwards.

    In the UK? View now at amazon.co.uk or bellaandduke.com
    In the US? View now at bellaandduke.com

    Antler Chews for puppies

    The Regal Mutt Antler Puppy Chews

    Flavour: Deer antler | Format: Stick | RRP: £17.99 for pack of five |

    These are great for puppies with an insatiable appetite for chewing. They are extremely long-lasting, so it’s unlikely the pup will manage to get through one, making the particularly suitable for teething pups who need something to gnaw.

    They are made from 100% naturally shed deer antler, providing a durable chew which is free from additives and preservatives. Low-fat, hypoallergenic, and providing a natural source of calcium, these chews act as a “natural toothbrush”.

    A big bonus of these chews is that they are clean, leaving no stains or odours.

    Suitable from 12 weeks.

    In the UK? View at amazon.co.uk or regalmutt.com

    Paw Originals Himalayan Yak Bars

    Flavour: Cheese| Format: Stick | RRP: £9.99 for 110g |

    These are 100% pure and natural, made from Himalayan milk, without any added ingredients, salt, sugar or chemical preservatives. They are naturally air-dried to be long-lasting without chemical processes.

    They are rich in protein, calcium and omega 3. They last for ages, making them great value, and dogs absolutely love them.

    In the UK? View at amazon.co.uk

    Lily’s Kitchen Woofbrush

    Lily’s Kitchen Woofbrush

    Flavour: Fennel and parsley| Format: Stick | RRP: £31.95 for 5 packs of 7 chews |

    These sticks are designed to freshen breath, remove plaque, clean teeth and boost gut health.

    They are made with natural ingredients such as fennel, parsley, coconut oil, algae, chicory root and green tea extract. They have a bubbly texture which is not only satisfying to chew but enhances the cleaning effect.

    They also contain prebiotics and fibre for digestive support.

    In the UK? View at amazon.co.uk, lilyskitchen.co.uk, viovet.co.uk or petsathome.com

    Pooch & Mutt Peanut Butter Sticks

    Pooch & Mutt Peanut Butter Sticks

    Flavour: Peanut butter| Format: Stick | RRP: £3.79 for bag of 7 chews |

    The option for those wanting to provide a vegan diet, these plant-based dental sticks are approved by vets to help protect teeth and gums. Their shape helps to break off bits of plaque, and while they are not that long-lasting, they are a decent treat with benefits to their oral hygiene.

    They contain peanut butter for flavour, lignocellulose for natural plant fibre and SHMP to help clean tartar.

    Suitable from eight weeks.

    In the UK? View at amazon.co.uk, poochandmutt.co.uk or mountainwarehouse.com

    You may also enjoy reading…

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...