Organic Dog Chews

Many dog owners believe that everything fed to a dog must be home-made in order to be natural and/or organic, including dog chews, thereby providing the best nutrition possible. For the most part, that line of thinking is correct. However, a number of dog food manufacturers have recognized this line of thinking and have changed their manufacturing process in order to conform to this new “standard”. Some major dog food manufacturers also feature organic dog chews now.

Organic vs. Natural

Exactly what is meant by the labels “organic” and “natural”? Contrary to popular belief, organic can include the use of certain sprays and other materials derived from plants that naturally eradicate insects that meet the government standards. For vegetables and fruits, this would mean excluding the use of pesticides. It would also exclude the use of chemicals and genetic alterations or modifications. For livestock, this would mean raising the livestock with regular access to pasture and without the use of growth hormones or antibiotics.

Though the word “natural” basically means the same as organic in farming and livestock raising, some people distinguish a difference by stating that there is no human intervention in the production of crops and livestock. However, the labels mean basically the same: no use of chemicals, antibiotics or hormones in the production of the food.

Organic or Natural Dog Chews

Organic or natural dog chews are made from grass-fed free-range cattle. The muscles, tendons, tracheas and sometimes the bone marrow are used to produce a dog chew that is either made in a braided form or in a single “vine” form. These are low fat with high protein and can reduce tartar due to the chewing action needed to digest them.  An organic dog chew can also be produced from organically grown sweet potatoes. Most dog chews are either cooked and/or grilled and therefore are easily digestible.

Some organic dog chews contain glucosamine and chondoitin, which are necessary for healthy joints. In fact, glucosamine plays a key role in the building of cartilage while chondoitin helps keep cartilage healthy by absorbing fluid into the connective tissues of cartilage. It also provides the building blocks to enable the body to produce new cartilage. It may also block enzymes that could break down cartilage. Glucosamine may help prevent cartilage degeneration and treat arthritis.

Homemade Organic Dog Chews

Some dog owners prefer to make their own dog chews. A sweet potato makes a great dog chew. Slicing up a sweet potato lengthwise and then baking it in an oven for 3 hours at 250 degrees will make them chewy. Baking them longer will make them crunchy.

For the truly adventurous, a dog owner can cut meat into slices of about 5 inches and then smoke them in a little smokehouse that can be purchased at a department store or hardware store. These dog chews would resemble beef jerky in looks, are high in protein and are organic. Recipes can be obtained on some outdoorsman websites for “people beef jerky” recipes that can also be used for dogs.