The act of chewing on bones is one of a dog’s most natural behaviors. Many dog-related jokes will focus on their love of bones, as dogs have always been known for this behavior.
This habit stems from their origins as pack hunters. With a large pack to feed, no part of the animal can be wasted.
Of course, you probably can’t offer your dog fresh-killed meat or bones, but you can give them the next best thing.
German Shepherds love to chew, and they have retained a lot more of their predatory drives than most other breeds. As such, a good chew bone is one of their favorite things in the world.
For those of you who want to give your German Shepherd the best bone that money can buy, we present our list of the six best dog bones that we could find on the internet.
Best Overall Product: K9 Connoisseur Dog Bones
This product is a very simple one, as it consists of nothing but cow bones. As you might expect, this is just a bag of fresh bones that have been roasted somewhat.
They are roasted to preserve them and keep the flesh attached to them from rotting, which would be a serious health hazard.
These bones are completely natural and contain no preservatives or artificial ingredients whatsoever. Of course, that’s also the reason for their high price, but you can’t expect to get the best without paying a little extra.
This company appears to be one that ethically does things. All of their dog bones come from organic, free-range cattle that are fed nothing but grain.
They also operate a dog rescue operation that has kept many dogs from being euthanized in shelters. From a moral perspective, you couldn’t ask for better optics than this.
Interestingly, these bones are evaluated using the same safety standards that would be used for human consumption. Thus, you can be pretty sure that these are safe for your dog.
All of this combines to explain why we selected this product as our winner. It offers a lot of trustworthiness, safety, and health benefits in an all-natural package.
Of course, the high cost will keep some people away. Also, some have complained that these bones are too brittle, breaking too easily for their liking.
It seems that the process of roasting these bones does result in a product that is much easier to splinter, and that means your dog will dispose of it much quicker.
Don’t expect this bone to last for very long, because large dogs like a German Shepherd will enjoy crunching it down to nothing.
- Nice and simple (only one ingredient)
- Completely natural
- Sourced from free-range cattle
- Evaluated by the same standards used for human food
- The company also serves as a rescue organization
- Pretty expensive
- A little bit brittle
Best Budget Product: Nylabone Healthy Edibles Bison Dog Chew Treats
This is another natural bone treat, but this one is a cheaper option for those who can’t afford to buy a whole bag. Instead, this product allows you to get two premium and organic bones at a very low price.
These bones come from American Bison, which is a good thing. Bison is one of the leanest meats around and is exceptionally high in protein.
The canine diet is meant to have a lot of protein, as they are mostly carnivorous. As such, we like the fact that they chose bison as the source.
We also like the fact that they fortified these bones with pea protein, making them even more packed with healthy benefits.
Unlike many commercial chew bones, this one is edible, so you don’t have to worry about choking or blockages. Also, these bones do have one significant advantage over our winner:
They are sealed a lot more tightly, which should lead to a longer shelf life. Of course, you only get two small bones in the package, so this isn’t exactly the biggest treat your dog will ever receive.
As for problems, we can see that there is some added salt in this product. We aren’t sure why this is present, but it probably isn’t a big deal.
Still, this product is advertised as being 100% additive-free, and we aren’t happy to find out that this isn’t true. On the plus side, a little bit of salt is not that big a deal.
- A high-class treat at a low price
- Bison meat is very lean and high in protein
- Completely edible
- Fortified with pea protein
- Well-sealed for a longer shelf life
- Only two small bones in the package
- A little added salt (why?)
The Runner-Up: Milk-Bone Original Dog Treats
Milk-Bone is probably the most iconic dog treat brands, so they deserve a spot on this list. This one could be classified as a treat bone rather than a chew bone, and is most often used as a reward for good behavior.
This brand has been around since 1908, which is pretty impressive. To the best of our knowledge, they have not had any serious product issues over that time.
This makes them more trustworthy than most other brands. Because the safety of your animal should always be the priority, the importance of a trustworthy brand cannot be overstated.
This particular product is a 10-pound box of biscuits, which probably contains 100 bones or more. Considering the low cost of this product, you are getting great value here.
Unless you go crazy, a package like this should last for a long time. Due to their higher fat content, it isn’t good to give your dog Milk-Bones daily anyway.
These bones are fortified with lots of vitamins and minerals, making them a good way to supplement your dog’s normal diet.
At the same time, their crunchy texture helps to clean the dog’s teeth. Of course, these bones are also known to help freshen your dog’s breath, which is always a good thing.
As for problems, we do see a few. For one thing, this bone doesn’t allow your dog to chew, as these bones are meant to be eaten. This means that Milk-Bones lack one of the most important features of a dog bone…at least, from a dog’s perspective.
- Fortified with many essential minerals
- Trusted brand with a good reputation
- Promotes clean teeth and fresh breath
- Great value
- Lots of different varieties
- No chewing benefit
- Older dogs might want something softer
Honorable Mention: Greenies Dental Treats
This is another variety of treat bone, and this one is also very popular. Greenies might not be as well-known as Milk-Bone, but they might be a little better in some ways.
With Milk-Bone, the dental benefits are a side feature, while Greenies has chosen to emphasize this benefit and focus on it completely.
These treats are given for one purpose only: To clean your dog’s teeth. This helps to defray their unusually high cost because you don’t have to give them to your dog every day. Just give them one treat per week so that their teeth can get a good cleaning.
You might chuckle a little bit when you first look at these treats because each one looks like a little toothbrush. This shape is not just decorative but is intended to help the dog get a deep cleaning.
If your dog isn’t chewing on it the right way, you can take one of these treats and use it as a toothbrush before allowing the dog to munch it down.
The advertising makes a big deal of the fact that these treats are soft and flexible. This, they say, allows the dog to sink their teeth into the treat, which scrapes dirt and debris from the enamel of the dog’s teeth.
These claims do make sense and seem to be backed up by legitimate experts, but this product still can’t replace a toothbrush. It can supplement your dog’s dental health, but it’s not a stand-alone solution.
- Recommended by several veterinarians
- Meant to provide maximum dental hygiene
- Improves doggy breath
- Available in lots of sizes
- Can be used as a toothbrush
- Doesn’t fully replace a toothbrush
- Somewhat expensive
Alternate Product 1: Cowdog Chews Retriever Roll
Rawhide bones are another popular type of chew bone, and they offer several advantages over natural bone. First and foremost, rawhide is a lot cheaper. What we have here is a value pack, in which you get 20 rawhide rolls for less than $30.
When we compare that to our winner (a natural bone product), we see that it only offers 8 bones for about the same price. Thus, this product offers good value.
Rawhide also tends to last a lot longer than natural bone, as it cannot be so easily crunched and swallowed. That makes it great for those times when you have to be gone for a while.
Dogs aren’t supposed to swallow the rawhide from these chew bones, but it’s not a serious problem if they do. These bones are not exactly edible, but they can be digested with little trouble.
We like the fact that this product contains no additives or chemicals. If the advertising is to be believed, this is just pure rawhide and nothing else. That’s a good thing, but it does have one negative side effect.
Without any kind of binding agent, these rolls tend to come unrolled pretty easily. The dog can still chew them at that point, but there is a much bigger chance of choking when all those thin shreds come into the picture.
- Lasts longer than a natural bone
- Very good bulk value
- Contains nothing but rawhide
- Not exactly edible, but can be digested
- Great for those long, anxious trips
- Comes unrolled too easily
- Small choking hazard
Alternate Product 2: Devil Dog Antler Chew
At this point, you might be wondering why we included an antler on our list. You may not know this, but antlers are made of bone.
Antlers and other horns are a little different from structural bones, being harder and stronger than most. That’s why some people find them to be a better choice.
If you are dealing with a dedicated chewer who shreds normal toys in a matter of hours, this might be just the solution you need.
You don’t have to worry about any funky chemicals, because these antlers come straight from the wild with no real alteration. They are (obviously) cleaned and dehydrated for preservation, but that’s about all.
Unlike normal bones, these antlers won’t produce a mess and a bad smell when they break. Antlers have marrow, but it’s not as thick as that of a structural bone, so there isn’t much chance for rotting.
The rough, striated natural texture of the antler is also helpful because it helps to remove tartar and plaque from the dog’s teeth.
- Harder and stronger than ordinary bones
- No mess or odor
- Sourced from wild elk with no cruelty
- Perfect for aggressive chewers
- Rough texture helps to naturally clean teeth
- Kind of expensive
- A lot of natural variation
Dog bones are not a particularly complex subject, so you should now have a good grasp on the things you need to know.
Selecting the right bone is just a matter of balancing all the relevant factors and choosing the product that suits your needs. Now, let’s answer a few of the more common questions that we receive on this subject.
Can My Dog Eat A Bone?
The answer to this question will depend on what you mean. If you mean a literal bone from an animal, then the answer is yes.
In the wild, it is perfectly natural for canines to eat bones. It represents an important source of calcium, and the marrow provides all kinds of nourishment.
None of that applies to bones made of synthetic materials like nylon or plastic. Treat bones, of course, are meant to be eaten.
Is Natural Bone Always The Best?
If you can afford to get your dog natural chew bones, that is probably the best option. While there is nothing wrong with the other choices on our list, natural bones are the safest bet.
Dogs have been gnawing on these things since the dawn of time, so why try to change them now? At the same time, you should realize that natural chew bones are a lot more expensive.
Do Rawhide Chews Present A Choking Hazard?
To be honest, all chew toys present at least some hazard of choking. We aren’t telling you to disregard this risk, but you should understand that it will always be present.
If a dog swallows large pieces of rawhide, it can create an intestinal blockage that might require surgery to remove.
Swallowing small pieces shouldn’t cause a problem, but you should limit your dog’s overall consumption of rawhide to keep this risk to a minimum.
Best Bones For A German Shepherd Buyer’s Guide
As you may have noticed, dog bones always fall into one of several categories. To help you evaluate any other products you might encounter, let’s talk about those basic types of dog bones. We will discuss their pros and cons and give general recommendations about each type.
This is the ideal choice, but a lot of people cannot afford them. On the upside, not all of them are so expensive. We might look at our best value product as an example of a low-cost natural bone.
The main benefit of natural bones is the fact that they provide extra nutrition to your dog. Between the calcium in the bone itself and the nutrients in the marrow, this is almost as nourishing as a meal.
Of course, there are some issues here. Natural bones are usually roasted before being put on sale, and this can make them very brittle.
In some cases, this can lead to splintering as the dog chews, and that can be dangerous. A sharp bone splinter can pierce all kinds of things, including your dog’s sensitive insides. Thus, we would recommend that you avoid natural bone products that seem excessively dry and brittle.
Nylon bones offer some definite advantages, but they do have one big problem: They are non-digestible. Because of that fact, nylon bones will always present the danger of intestinal blockage. These bones also tend to be harder than most, meaning that they are best suited for large dogs.
On the upside, nylon bones will usually last a lot longer than most others. When they do break, they tend to break into large pieces.
That’s good because it means much less chance of choking. Still, we would recommend that you not allow your dog to use nylon bones unless you are there to supervise.
Treat bones aren’t bones at all, but we might as well discuss them as such. These are generally molded from a mix of substances that dogs like.
Meat by-products make up the majority of their bulk, but vegetable material is also usually present. Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not strict carnivores but are more like omnivores who prefer meat.
These bones should not make up a significant part of your dog’s diet, both for financial and health reasons. Like all treats, these are not designed to serve as a primary food source.
They are a lot richer in fat than most kibble, so they could cause your dog to gain weight after too many of them.
These are probably the cheapest and most common chew bones, and there are reasons that many people prefer them. Rawhide is a relatively safe material, as dogs can eat a fairly large amount of it without issue.
We have already talked about the dangers of this material, as it can cause various problems if your dog eats too big of a piece.
At the same time, rawhide chew products are used by millions of dog owners every day without incident, so it’s only fair to consider that aspect.
Statistically, the chance of your dog being harmed by rawhide is pretty small. That being said, we would recommend that you stick with the small chews, just to stay on the safe side.
For once, we have a relatively simple subject to address. Dog bones are generally not complicated, but we have tried our best to educate you as to the finer points of the subject.
As a final note of caution, we would like to remind you that anything in your dog’s mouth has the potential to be a choking hazard.
Even if you use natural bone, this risk is still present. That’s why you should always take great care when selecting chew bones for your dog.
Most people don’t give this much thought to their dog’s chewing habits, but we want to encourage you to be a more conscientious dog owner than that.
If we have succeeded in that goal, we hope that you will leave a comment below.