How to Chew

A Guide on How to Chew Real Dog Box Chews

Are you new to feeding your dog fresh chews? Don’t sweat it, I put together some tips and tricks on how to make this a smoother process for you.

Bone shattering and splintering.

Up until earlier this month we believed the "industry standard" that only cooked bones splintered in a hazardous way. Recently, we began testing that myth. And much to our demise we know that no other company is willin to admit.

Admittedly we are in the wrong to say that: "...because they are dried below 125 degrees, they do not splinter like cooked bones." and for that, we apologize, our intentions have never been to cause harm but to inspire change in dog nutrition for better health.So moving forward...

Product screenshot

There are new changes:

We will be updating the info cards to reflect our new findings, including the acknowledgement that bones DO splinter and that there is always a risk.
We will continue to research in house and update the community over time. We've already started testing our theory, but we need your help! We do not have the funding to embark on a large scale research project, we want to prod your curiosity and challenge you to test the sharpness, flexibility and shattering between cooked and air dried bones and share your results. Help us debunk the myth that only cooked bones splinter.
We're making a video on how to teach your dog how to chew. Not every dog is a natural chewing expert, just like not every dog likes brain games or knows how to herd, but we can sure try to offer you some tips.
We now have "no bone" as a category option at checkout which means that your box will not have any "bone in" chews such as pig trotters, turkey wing, boar ribs, chicken feet, duck feet, duck neck, duck wing. This list may change based on supply. For current members you can log into your account and opt in if you don't bone chews.

Real Talk

If splintering is normal, will these sharp fragments harm They shouldn't, but they might.
Dogs have been eating bones for years!
There is an inherent risk to everything we give our dogs and what they have access to. this includes chews with or without bones, toys, socks, tennis balls, sticks, collars, dog parks and more. There might be an adjustment period to a new food, your dog might suffer from gastroenteritis or colitis. It isn't always bad, it's normal. And we are talking it upon ourselves to teach you more about that.


Recommended Chew Session Time: 10 to 15 minutes maximum in one sitting.

10-15 minutes is the recommended maximum chew time however, every dog is different. Heavy chewers may be able to consume an entire chew faster than that. Be sure to supervise and monitor your dog's progress.

Start with one protein at a time.

Don’t introduce all proteins within the same 1-3 days, take it slow! You are probably just as excited as your pup is, but patience is a virtue! Introducing too many new items too quickly can result in digestive upset.

If your dog is a fast and/or aggressive chewer, be mindful and watch for gulping.

You don’t want your dog to inhale a chew and choke, or swallow larger pieces that can be regurgitated. Although regurgitation is normal and a natural defensive mechanism , you can help prevent this from happening by simply holding the chew or using a chew holder while your dog chews.

Different Chewing Styles

Sit and supervise your dog while they are chewing. This is a time to spend together. It’s not a time to drop the chew and walk away or sit with your phone. Make this an experience that you bring to your dog and quietly observe him or her.

GUMMER: These dogs love to take their time. They lick the chew and are content to wait for it to dissolve or break down.

NIBBLER: These dogs love to take little nibbles here and there.

METHODICAL: These dogs are patient and methodical. They do not rush how they chew. You could give a big dog a chicken foot and they will grind and chew 15 to 20 times. It's almost as if they are trying to get the pieces as small as possible before they swallow.

CHAMPION CHOMPER: These dogs have one mission and that is to gnaw and crunch for as long as it takes. They are not as patient as the METHODICAL CHEWERS but they certainly don't gulp.

GULPERS: These dogs love to bite off chunks and then swallow it after they have chewed it 1 to 5 times.

Ideally you want your dog to slow down.

If they are going too fast (CHAMPION CHEWERS AND GULPERS) you can:

Hold the chew to slow them down, Use chew-holders, Change the chew.

A good chewer takes their time. They use their paws and don't appear to be in a rush.

An aggressive chewer falls between a CHAMPION CHOMPER and a GULPER.

Sometimes their chewing style changes with age, condition of teeth, size of their mouth, size of the chew, and environment.

Giving your dog a safe and quiet space is ideal as you don't want them to rush or guard their resource.

Anything that goes in your dog's mouth comes with a risk including digestive issues or dental damage. You know your dog best and can decide which items work best for them. Remember to #feedresponsibly

The strengths of the chews.

At Real Dog Box we are all about variety. If you have a power chewer, don’t feel like you have to limit your dog to the toughest of chews. Light, medium, and heavy chews all offer their own benefits and play a key role in dental hygiene!

Our light chews rotate between chicken feet, duck feet, rabbit feet, steer pizzle, and beef aorta. Due to their size, they are often looked at as they won’t provide any mental stimulation -- wrong!

The light chews are very versatile and can be turned into dog friendly popsicle “handles”, or easily fit into interactive feeding toys to make chewing more fun and stimulating.

Our medium chews rotate between lamb ear, beef tendon , pig skin , wild boar ear, duck wing, duck head, and duck neck .

Our heavy chews rotate between pig ear , beef backstrap , bison trachea, cow ear, turkey neck, and beef trachea .

Medium and heavy chews offer a bit more of a challenge when it comes to chewing. This is a great opportunity for a good “teeth brushing” - after all, fresh chews are nature’s toothbrush!

Most of the chews will also fit in certain feeding toys, or you can freeze them to extend the chew sessions. To really get your pup to work away at the plaque buildup, hold the chew for them or place in a vice grip!

The purpose of our chews is not to keep dogs busy for hours- it is not natural for them to chew for long periods of time- so split up chew sessions for no more than 10-15 minute intervals, then store the chew on a paper plate or in an open plastic bag in the freezer between chew sessions to avoid moisture buildup/mold.

If your pup is not showing much interest:

1. Don’t give up! New items in the diet can be overwhelming. As I mentioned earlier, stick with introducing slowly and one protein at a time!

2. Rehydrate the chews! You can rehydrate all of our items back to their original, soft form. This helps with slowing your dog down while chewing but also brings out a new texture and aroma that may pique their interest.

3. Try using the chew as a toy. Sometimes dogs won’t realize that the treat or chew is edible until you start “playing” with it. You can throw the treat or chew and play a game of fetch with it!

4. Add a thin layer of coconut oil or dog-safe peanut butter to get your dog started. Often once they get going they won't stop!

What about the bone-in chews? Can my dog eat the whole thing?

Real talk, dogs are meant to eat bone! From their jaw structure to their digestive system, dogs are facultative carnivores and should be eating a variety of fresh meat, organ and bone.

But if your pup isn’t accustomed to eating bone-in chews such as feet, necks, wings, and heads you will want to pay close attention.

The acidity level in a dog’s stomach is so high that the pH level is 1 (100 times stronger than humans). This acidity is what helps soften bone and break it down but it’s imperative to understand that the entire bone may not fully break down or turn to mush.

Nature uses what it needs and passes what it doesn’t, so you may notice pieces of bone passing through the stool or even regurgitated in vomit. A lot of times when bone passes, the density has changed and the bone is softer. This is often a good indicator that they ate too much in one sitting.

While this is a common and normal defensive mechanism, there is a risk giving your dog anything and it’s best to evaluate what bones are suitable for your dog.

Slippery Elm & Marshmallow Root

You can also use some fiber , like slippery elm or marshmallow root. This will help most when introducing a new chew or a new protein entirely. Imagine yourself visiting a new country with an entirely different cuisine and eating all different kinds of food-- you may feel sick after!

This is because it’s new to you and it’s totally normal! So don’t stress if your pup experiences some GI upset. Feed the marshmallow root or slippery elm 30 minutes before you introduce the new chew.

If you forget to do this or don't have any slippery elm on hand, that's ok! Just remember to go slow when feeding your new chews and that a little adjustment period is normal.

Look out for hunching or whining, bloating and abdominal pain as these can be a sign of a blockage. While regurgitation bone in vomit is common and normal, repetitive diarrhea and vomiting can indicate there is a blockage.

Watch Their Stools

If your pup has a normal stool with a few pieces of bone or cartilage, or a one-off vomit with bone or cartilage, just monitor closely to see if it happens again. If your pup is eating and drinking, that’s a good sign! But if you suspect your pup has a blockage, immediately visit your vet’s office.

Keep in mind:Don’t feed the entire bone-in chew if your dog isn’t used to eating bone or if it’s their first time. While smaller feet like chicken and duck feet are lighter, it’s best to start slow and monitor your dog’s stool before increasing the amount you feed.

Toss the pieces that break apart while your dog is chewing to avoid a larger chunk being swallowed. While this should break down and pass, it might be too much for your dog to digest entirely.

Some pieces of bone may break off sharp and if they do, you can toss these *splintered pieces to avoid discomfort when trying to pass them in stool.

Overall, feeding bone-in chews is a great source of calcium and can even help to firm up soft poops. Necks, feet, heads and wings all offer their own nutritional benefits, so keep that variety going!

What separates gently air dried bones from cooked/roasted/baked/smoked bones is that the cellular structure doesn’t change therefore you can rehydrate air bones back to their original, soft form.

This can make an easier chew for pups who don’t have all their teeth, or sometimes to make the chew session tougher!

If you don’t feel 100% ready to feed bone, you can opt out of bone-in chews on your box! Want to have a dialogue and help picking what’s best for your pup? Text us! 858-348-5954

What’s the difference between bone-in chews versus boneless chews?

Bones offer a great source of calcium, whereas a lot of boneless chews are cartilage based and offer an abundance of glucosamineand chondroitin. While it’s ideal to feed a combination of both, no need to think about FOMO if you feel more comfortable restricting bone. We have plenty of boneless options!

Bone-in: Chicken feet, duck feet, rabbit feet, duck wing, duck head, duck neck, turkey neck

Boneless: Steer pizzle, beef aorta, lamb ear, beef tendon, pig skin, boar ear, beef backstrap, bison trachea, beef trachea, pig ear, cow ear

And for all of the next level chewers out there who want to take on a challenge, let me introduce you to our super chews!

Pig Foot

The largest super chew we carry, but do not be intimidated! The pig foot is completely edible. Due to its size, we recommend feeding the foot in small intervals at first. You can hold the foot in the beginning to slow your pup down and teach them to chew.

Once your dog is used to the pig foot, you can break chew sessions into 10-20 minute sessions. Although an edible chew, the pig foot can be looked at as a recreational chew, since dogs get a nice “workout” from ripping apart the meat.

Remember, feet are made up mostly of bones, so if your pup isn’t used to eating edible bones , it's normal if the stool is a bit chalkier-- just reduce the amount you are feeding! If you realize your pup is experiencing some GI upset, don’t assume quite yet that it’s an intolerance to pork, o r the pig foot itself.

It’s possible that too much was introduced at first, so feed next time in a smaller session and feed some fiber like slippery elm beforehand. Pig feet are very meaty and fatty and may cause digestive upset if overfed.

Bull Pizzle

One of the most popular of the super chews. The bull pizzle is versatile and known to work best for all sizes of dogs! The spiral of the pizzle gives your pup more of a challenge, but can also be softened up fairly easy in some hot water for at least 25 minutes if it’s too tough.

This chew can be held easily for first time chewers, and in some cases can even fit in food stuffable toys if your pup has a tendency to swallow things whole.

Bison Scapula

This bone-in chew is a great middle ground between bone-heavy pig feet and boneless bull pizzles. Comprised mostly of cartilage with a small piece of bone it's perfect for testing heavier items with your dog.

These chews are loaded with glucosamine and chondroitin which are great for joint health and the blade shape is perfect for cleaning between your pup's teeth. The shape also makes it a challenge for your pup to hold which makes it more mentally engaging.

Lamb Foretrotter

One of the larger super chews we offer that gives a lot of pups a challenge!

The load the bones are carrying on the lamb is much lighter, so the bones are not nearly as dense, making the foretrotter fully edible! However, some dogs will leave pieces behind and just try to get to the marrow on the inside.

This may result in pieces breaking off, which depending on your dog’s chew style, you can toss or allow them to chew these pieces and swallow.

Not sure what type of chewer your dog is? Practice holding the femur at first while your dog chews to see if they are looking to take their time or gulp the chew!

Most dogs accustomed to eating fresh food or having a varying diet will digest the trotter better since they have the digestive enzymes to do so.

More often than not, kibble fed dogs don’t have the digestive enzymes to break down the trotter completely, resulting in vomiting up pieces. Rest assured that this is completely normal and a natural defense mechanism!

Good news is, by increasing variety and continuing to add fresh foods in the diet, they will begin to develop the digestive enzymes to break down all sorts of foods!


Hold the super chew when introducing for the first time to your pup to get a feel for their chewing style, or if they are gulpers. Holding teaches them to slow down and actually chew, which prevents them from choking and makes for a longer lasting chew session!

Introduce the super chew in small intervals and short sessions. You don’t want to fee too much in the beginning and risk any GI upset.

If you notice any GI upset, feed in a smaller session next time around and feed some fiber beforehand like slippery elm. Slippery elm 30 minutes before should do the trick!

Chew sessions don’t need to last longer than 15 minutes for a mentally stimulating activity and teeth cleaning. It’s not natural for dogs to chew for extended periods of time. If you find the super chews aren’t lasting as long as you’d hope, you can freeze them for a longer chew session.

Pup not taking to the super chew? Here are some suggestions:

1. Rehydrate! Start with rehydrating just one end of the super chew in hot (not boiling) water for at least 25 minutes until it softens. This opens up a new smell and texture which sometimes piques interest!

2. Play with the chew! Dogs will become more interested in something if you make it fun. Play fetch or have your dog “work” for the chew by asking them to practice a few tricks or commands.

3. Don’t offer an alternative! If you try to introduce the pig foot and your pup won’t take to it, don’t feed something different instead. Rejecting a new chew is not uncommon, so don’t give up on the first try! Dogs are smart and will hold out for other options if they know they will get one. Simply wait until later in the day or the next day to reintroduce again.

What are the benefits of the super chews?

75% of dogs and cats over the age of three have periodontal disease, which affects the kidneys, liver, heart and lungs.Infections start in the mouth but can travel through the bloodstream if not taken care of properly.

By feeding a super chew, you are providing nature’s best toothbrush. Chewing on a super chew even just for a few minutes helps scrape off plaque and tartar.

In turn, if you ditch any of the carbohydrate-filled dental chews and feed super chews instead, you are preventing plaque and tartar buildup.

The chew is what acts as the toothbrush, whereas the meat acts as floss, and your pup gets to eat the entire super chew, which is the tastiest toothbrush I’ve ever heard of! In addition to the dental benefits, chewing is a stress reliever and releases endorphins into the body.

Without chewing, your pup is being deprived of an important function that is needed for jaw exercise, mental stimulation and to keep him from becoming bored!

It's an investment for your dog's life.

We will take good care of you! But don’t take our word for it, read what dogs and their owners are saying about us and let us help you feed your dog real food, too!