If you’ve ever had a beloved pair of shoes chewed up by your dog, you know the value of a good dog bone. The right bones can keep your dog happy, healthy, and safely distracted from your belongings. But not all dog bones are equally well-made, so which do you choose? Whether you’re looking for a classic dog biscuit, elk antler, or plastic bone, there’s a great dog bone out there for you.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help you shop for the perfect dog bone. So you can find the best bones for you and your dog, we bought and tested quite a few varieties. The results? We put together this list of the eight best dog bones available in 2020. For each brand, we’ve written a detailed review comparing price, type, ingredients, and extra features so you can be sure you’re choosing the best one. If you’d like to know more about the best ingredients and types of bones, take a look at our comprehensive buyer’s guide. Your dog will be enjoying its new bones before you know it!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2022
The 8 Best Dog Bones
1. Blue Buffalo Dental Bones – Best Overall
Our top pick is Blue Buffalo’s BLU00530 Dental Bones, which are fairly priced, well flavored, and have added tooth-cleaning benefits.
These dog bones, which come in a variety of sizes, contain no wheat, corn, soy, or chicken by-products. They’re potato-based and have added minerals and vitamins to keep your dog healthy. These bones contain parsley for better breath and vitamins A, C, and E to boost your dog’s immune system. These treats are also designed to prevent plaque and tartar buildup and maintain healthy gums.
We found that most dogs liked the flavor and aroma of these dog bones, and the added parsley worked well on bad breath. These bones can be too large for some dogs but are easy to break in half. They may be too hard for dogs with weaker teeth and may occasionally arrive stale.
2. Nylabone Healthy Edibles Dog Treats – Best Value
If your budget is smaller, you may be interested in the Nylabone NEB202TPP Healthy Edibles WILD Dog Treats, which we find to be the best dog bones for the money.
These inexpensive dog bones, which are sold in two-packs, come in a choice of bison, turkey, or venison flavoring. They don’t contain any added salt or preservatives. These bones are made with wheat and potato starch and are designed for dogs weighing up to 50 pounds.
We found these bones quite hard, so they may not work well for puppies or older dogs. They’re not very long-lasting and don’t have tooth-cleaning effects. We did find that many dogs enjoy the flavors and aromas.
3. Deluxe Naturals Elk Antler – Premium Choice
If you’re in the market for premium dog bones, you may want to look at the Deluxe Naturals EML1LB Elk Antler, which is a pricey option made with real elk bones.
These dog bones are sold in fairly expensive one-pound bags. You can choose between six- and nine-inch pieces. These antlers are guaranteed to be naturally shed and made without harming animals. There are no growth hormones, antibiotics, or preservatives, and the company completely sanitizes each antler before packaging. These bones are designed for dogs between 30 and 70 pounds and naturally contain health-boosting calcium, phosphorus, and protein.
These bones can keep your dog entertained for hours. They’re odor-free and hard enough to remove plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth. However, they may not be sturdy enough if your dog is a very strong chewer and can splinter or become sharp, so you may need to monitor your dog while it’s chewing. We also found that the cuts were inconsistent, with only some pieces allowing access to the inner marrow.
4. Jack&Pup Beef Marrow Bone Treats
Jack&Pup’s Roasted Beef Marrow Bone Treats are reasonably-priced and made with free-range cow bones. Unfortunately, they’re very inconsistent and may produce sharp edges.
These bones, which are sold in six-inch three-packs, are slow-roasted, smoked bones filled with marrow. They’re sourced from grass-fed cows and conveniently come individually wrapped. These bones are hard enough to help remove tartar and plaque buildup.
Jack&Pup doesn’t have great quality control, so some bones may arrive without a marrow filling. If your dog is a light chewer, these bones will last a long time, though they may break and leave sharp edges. These bones are fairly high-calorie, so they may not be a good choice if your dog is on a diet or has a sensitive stomach.
5. Pet ‘n Shape 19 Beef Bone Dog Treat
The Pet ‘n Shape 19 Beef Bone Natural Dog Treat is inexpensive and made of real beef bones but doesn’t have a marrow filling and may be dangerous if your dog is a heavy chewer.
These dog bones are sold in two-packs and don’t contain wheat, corn, soy, or artificial preservatives. They’re fully roasted and sourced in the USA. Though there isn’t a marrow filling, the bones do have some meat left on them.
We found these bones somewhat brittle, splintering easily and not taking most dogs very long to chew. They’re also fairly messy and may stain your carpet or rug. Many of the bones also had an off-putting chemical smell. Without marrow, these bones are a lower-calorie option.
6. Rachael Ray Nutrish Soup Bones Treats
The Rachael Ray Nutrish 4502210313 Soup Bones Dog Treats are well-priced and made with US-sourced beef or chicken. On the other hand, they won’t clean your dog’s teeth or entertain it for long periods.
These treats are sold in six-bone bags. You can choose between beef and barley or chicken and vegetable flavors. These bones don’t contain corn, soy, meat by-products, or artificial flavors, though they are made with wheat flour. A portion of the proceeds is donated to the Rachael Ray Foundation, which supports animals in need.
These treats aren’t hard, so they won’t last very long and don’t help clean teeth. They may also be too large for some dogs, though they’re easy to break in half. There isn’t a satisfaction guarantee, but if you have any issues, Rachael Ray Nutrish does offer good customer service.
7. Purina Busy Bone Dog Chew
Another low-cost option is Purina’s 38100144959 Busy Bone Dog Chew. These soft dog treats are free of FD&C coloring, and made primarily with pork.
These bones are sold in one-pound packs of 12. They’re made with wheat flour and pork and don’t contain rawhide or added colors. The bones are designed for adult dogs weighing between five and 55 pounds.
These dog bones aren’t hard enough to clean teeth or last very long. They also contain sugar and may upset sensitive stomachs. If your dog has a wheat allergy or is on a restricted diet, these treats may not be a great option. We also found that they often arrived stale.
8. Petstages Toy Beyond Bone
Our least favorite option is the Petstages Toy Beyond Bone. Though it’s synthetic, this somewhat pricey bone is made with a bone meal blend. Because it’s made with plastic, the Beyond Bone could be a good choice if your dog is on a diet or has a sensitive stomach.
This synthetic dog bone comes in three sizes and has soft, chewy patches. The manufacturer mixes real bone meal blend into the plastic, making the bone more appealing to your dog.
Though the plastic won’t splinter or become sharp, it may come off in pieces if your dog is a strong chewer. It’s fairly expensive and won’t last all that long, and it may also be too hard for weaker teeth. It won’t provide your dog with any nutrients or help maintain clean teeth but is also free of calories.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Dog Bones
Now that you’ve read through our list of the best dog bones, it’s time to start shopping. But would your dog rather have an elk antler, a meat-flavored biscuit, or a chewy plastic bone? Keep reading to find the answers to all of your biggest dog bone questions.
Why should you give your dog bones?
Dogs are chewers by nature, instinctively using their teeth to eat, play, and explore, so chewing on bones can provide your dog with quite a few benefits. Dog bones may naturally contain key nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and protein and may have added ingredients like immune-boosting vitamins or breath-improving herbs. Perhaps most importantly, giving your dog a bone can keep it entertained and distract it from chewing on your slippers or furniture. Chewing can also strengthen your dog’s jaw and stomach muscles.
Are bones safe for dogs?
While many types of bones are generally safe for dogs, there are a few safety considerations that you may want to take into account. To make sure that your dog is safe, you may want to monitor it while it’s chewing. Pick a bone that’s appropriately sized for your dog, meaning not too large or too small for its mouth. To help with digestion, you’ll want to provide plenty of water. If you’ve chosen a real bone, keep an eye on your dog to ensure that it doesn’t swallow the bone or get cut by splinters or sharp edges. Bones can also get stuck in your dog’s mouth or throat, so you’ll probably want to pay attention so you can avoid a costly trip to the veterinarian.
Though it may be tempting to make use of your leftovers, veterinarians generally don’t recommend that you feed your dog bones from cooked turkeys or chickens. These cooked bones splinter easily, forming sharp edges that can harm your dog. Commercial dog bones are made with raw bones that hold up better to your dog’s teeth.
If your dog is teething, you’ll want to look for products that are specifically designed for puppies. Many dog bones are very hard and are meant for adult dogs with full sets of permanent teeth. On the other hand, if your dog is older and has weaker teeth, you may want to avoid real bones and stick to softer dog biscuits that won’t harm your dog’s teeth.
What type of bone should you choose?
There are three major kinds of dog bones: baked treats, real bones, and synthetic toys. Which type you choose will depend on your dog and your wallet.
Baked dog biscuits are fun and easy to give your dog, but they generally don’t provide extended entertainment. These treats may be soft or hard and come in a range of sizes. You’ll probably want to choose a biscuit size that’s appropriate for your dog’s weight. You can generally find size guides printed on treat bags, or you can consult your veterinarian if you’re not sure.
You may also want to look closely at the ingredients, as dog biscuits can be made of a range of ingredients. Especially if your dog has a sensitive stomach, you may want to choose a brand with just a few simple ingredients and steer clear of added sugar, preservatives, and irritants like garlic. Some dog biscuits have added dental features, which will remove plaque and tartar. Some biscuits also have health-boosting ingredients like vitamins, nutritious minerals, and herbs that can improve dog breath.
Real bones may be sourced from a variety of animals, but the most common options are cow and elk bones. Cow bones often come with some meat still attached and may be filled with marrow, a high-calorie but potentially nutritious filling that is irresistible to many dogs. Elk’s bones are generally antlers, which manufacturers sanitize, cut up, and package. These bones often have marrow in them as well and may be cut lengthwise to allow access.
If you choose real bones, you’ll want to pay attention to the piece size and make sure that it will suit your dog’s mouth. Real bones are very hard and have the potential to splinter into sharp pieces, possibly cutting your dog or chipping its teeth. Because they’re so hard, these bones will also keep your dog entertained for longer and will help remove plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth.
Synthetic bones are the third major variety. These plastic models are toys rather than treats and won’t provide your dog with nutrients or tooth cleaning. They can be a good option if your dog is on a low-calorie diet or has a sensitive stomach that may be upset by treats or real bones. The plastic bone we reviewed, the Petstages Toy 61200599 Beyond Bone, contains a bone meal blend to attract your dog, but these toys will not appeal as strongly to most dogs.
What about calories?
Helping your dog maintain a healthy weight is one of your most important jobs as a dog owner. Since some types of dog bones are very high in calories, you may want to consider your dog’s dietary needs while making your choice.
Veterinarians recommend that treats and snacks make up just 10% of your dog’s diet. If you’re looking for regular entertainment for your dog, you may want to stick to lower calorie bones that won’t cause weight gain. Real bones may be particularly high-calorie, especially if they have meat on them or are filled with marrow. Low-calorie options include healthy dog biscuits and synthetic bones.
SEE ALSO: The Best Low-Calorie Dog Treats
How much do dog bones cost?
Dog bones are available at a wide range of prices. When you’re thinking about your budget, keep in mind that these bones aren’t a one-time investment. Treats, cow or elk bones and even synthetic bones will need to be replaced fairly frequently. If you’d like to save money, there are many affordable biscuits and cow bones on the market. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you may be interested in high-end products like elk antlers that will provide your dog with additional entertainment and nutrition.
How long will your dog bones last?
A major reason to buy bones for your dog is to keep it entertained, so you may want to consider how long your dog bones will last. What kind of chewer is your dog? If it has a strong jaw and set of teeth, you may want to choose the hardest options, typically made of real bone or plastic. These bones will allow your dog to gnaw for hours or days. If your dog isn’t a serious chewer, you may want a softer bone that won’t hurt its teeth but will still keep it entertained.
Do I need to clean my dog bones?
If you choose a synthetic dog bone, you’ll want to clean it regularly to prevent bacteria buildup. These bones are easy to hand wash with hot, soapy water. If you notice that a synthetic bone has started to come apart, it’s time for a replacement.
Real bones aren’t as easy to clean but can certainly build up unhealthy bacteria. Many commercial dog bones have been sanitized before packaging, but after hours of chewing, they can become unhealthy. You may want to refrigerate real bones between chewing sessions and replace them frequently.
See also: Our favorite long-lasting dog chews!
What’s the bottom line? Our favorite dog bones are the Blue Buffalo BLU00530 Dental Bones, which are well-priced, nutrient-packed, and have added tooth-cleaning benefits. If you’re looking to save money, you may prefer the Nylabone NEB202TPP Healthy Edibles WILD Dog Treats. These low-cost treats come in several meat-heavy flavors and last an impressive amount of time. Are you shopping for high-end dog bones? You may want to try the Deluxe Naturals EML1LB Elk Antlers, which are sanitized, naturally-shed antlers that contain quite a few nutrients and will reduce plaque and tartar on your dog’s teeth.
With so many great dog bones on the market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed while shopping. We hope that our list of the eight best dog bones, complete with detailed reviews and a convenient buyer’s guide, helps you pick a dog bone brand that you and your dog will both love. Whether you choose biscuits or bones, you can hardly go wrong!