I have no bones about rawhide. I think that high quality rawhide given wisely makes a fine chew. There are better chews out there, but rawhide is alright. Because my own Dipper’s bully stick habit doesn’t break the bank, finding a more cost-effective chew, like rawhide, has never really been a concern. And because Dipper doesn’t really eat rawhide, I’ve never felt like I needed to find something “safer.” Ergo, when I first saw Earth Animal No-Hide Chews, I didn’t give them a second thought.
Looking back, it’s a shame that these are marketed as a rawhide alternative because it made me discount them immediately. I can’t recall why I bought these for Dipper since he’s not a rawhide dog, but I’m glad I did. No-Hide Chews are great in their own right. It’s a disservice to compare them to rawhide.
When I think of something as an “alternative,” I think of something similar . . . but worse. Turkey bacon. Margarine. Synthetic leather. They get the job done but not nearly as well as the original.
No-Hide Chews take the concept of rawhide and improve upon it tenfold. Point one: real flavor. Rawhide just looks and smells bland. Unless it’s unnaturally flavored with something unhealthy like peanut butter, most dogs chew it just to chew. While Dipper likes to chew, it’s not for the sake of chewing. He chews to eat and taste, which is why he loves his No-Hide. Inside and out, the No-Hide Chews are coated with real meat. They come in three varieties—chicken, beef, and the unconventional salmon. It’s not often that I see or Dipper tastes a fishy chew!
Dipper immediately set to removing the tasty coating of his thick 4″ No-Hide Chicken Chew, a practice that made the whole thing a gummy mess on my bed. Thankfully, both the bone and my bed dried, and all remnants of his No-Hide were easily brushed off my duvet. This makes it a #1 choice for me.
I expected Dipper to abandon it after the taste was stripped from the outside, as he does with most bones. Not so! He’s since continued chewing—and consuming—the rest of it. This was surprising, considering that after he chewed off the meat, it looked like a regular, bland ol’ rawhide.
Again, though I didn’t need a rawhide substitute for Dipper, I understand the desire for one. Some dogs’ digestive systems can’t handle rawhide, but their owners’ wallets can’t handle the price tag of any other chew. Bully sticks are expensive. No-Hide Chews are not.
Even if you’re not looking for a less expensive option (lucky you!), there are still benefits to switching to No-Hide. They have limited ingredients and are much easier to digest. While you could argue that rawhide is itself only one ingredient, that one ingredient is essentially pre-treated leather. Further, cheap internationally sourced rawhide is often treated with harsh chemicals for whitening and other unsavory purposes. No-Hide Chews are American made with all-natural ingredients.
These ingredients include the aforementioned real meat and, for some reason, bananas. However, it’s important to note that these chews are not grain free because of their third ingredient: brown rice flour.
With that said, despite being, well, rice, these chews have the consistency and feel of real rawhide, especially after being gnawed. They soften up and then harden again just like the real deal. They have the same form and function of a rolled rawhide, and I love the way Dipper can insert his teeth between the internal rolls for a good oral scrubbing. They seem to take a similarly long time to finish, too.
In addition to three flavors, No-Hide Chews come in different sizes with varying thickness and lengths. I first bought Dipper the No-Hide Beef Stix and he quickly learned how to whittle them down to nothing in less than ten minutes, turning them from a chew into a treat. I probably won’t be buying those again, and would have opted out of No-Hide Chews for good if we hadn’t tried the thicker 4″ Chicken Chew when we got them at work.
I didn’t realize quite how much Dipper enjoyed these chews until he had the thicker ones. He plays with them. He brings them to visitors. He even jumped into my bed the first night he had one and chewed into the night with the lights off. All of these are unprecedented acts—though mostly because heck if he’s bringing a bully stick in my bed!
Despite the No-Hide Stix not working for us, I’m glad Earth Animal has a lot of variation. That gives us the opportunity to try different flavors and varieties while still sticking to a wholesome American brand we trust.