Product Review – Smart Bones

18 Aug

many Veterinarians never endorse dogs chewing rawhide because of concerns about the digestibility and potential choking hazards. Many consumers also have concerns about chemicals used to process rawhide and the general lack of regulation in the leather industry. And let’s face it … rawhide is hide. It’s skin. Processing leather for consumption takes quite a bit of work; work that results in toxic waste, which has a negative effect on the environment.

I’m not an anti-rawhide person. I’ve fed rawhide to my dogs. But I do worry about the chew when it gets to be so small that the dog might swallow it. Unless I’m watching him chew the entire thing — or unless I look up as he gets to the end of it — I may not know that he’s about to swallow the last of it. I also had a Dachshund who would maul and gum the rawhide until it was soft, wet and floppy. When I took it away from him, I pulled a bunch out of his throat that he had partially swallowed. Yuck.

And yet, rawhide has benefits. It’s a long-lasting, protein chew that will give a dog hours of chewing activity, which they need to keep their minds occupied in their modern confinement lifestyles. It also helps clean their teeth.

So I was interested in the concept of Smart Bones, a chew that’s veggie-based chewy outside and chicken jerky inside. I tried two of their varieties, the chicken and the peanut butter, in size large, which is 6.5″ long. They also have a dental variety (see below for sizes and flavors).

The “vegetable” outside is mainly extruded corn starch, and includes (depending on the flavor) sweet potatoes, peas, carrots or kelp.

I gave one to my 12-week-old Shiloh Shepherd puppy, who’s a shark right now (everything goes in the mouth, right?) and one to my nine-year-old Irish Setter. There was a little bit of crumbling on the outer part of the chicken one, but the chew seemed to be palatable. While it did not last as long as a rawhide, it did keep her busy for half an hour. The Irish Setter had a ball with the peanut butter one. His teeth aren’t as sharp as the puppy’s milk teeth, and he’s not as frantic, so he got nearly an hour’s fun out of his.

I saw no ill effect when I took the dogs out to do their business. Sometimes, you can feed a new treat or chew and then regret it later. But there was no evidence that the Smart Bones were stressing their digestive systems. They don’t smell, which I like (some rawhide chews reek) and they don’t stain my carpets or sofa, which is nice, since my Setter likes to save some for later by hiding his treats under our pillows on the bed.

Smart Bones are also fortified with vitamins and minerals, which gives them an extra nutritional boost. Minor “cons” I see are that they have 9% protein content (vs. 80% and up for rawhide) and dogs with grain allergies might not tolerate the high corn percentage. Other than that, my dogs loved them. This is a smart alternative to rawhide if your dog does not like or should not consume rawhide.

Sizes: Mini, small, medium, large (also available in chips and “smartsticks”

Buy in bags or bulk boxes.

Flavors: Chicken, peanut butter, dental


Posted by on August 18, 2012 in Dog Product Reviews


20 responses to “Product Review – Smart Bones

  1. Kimberly, The Fur Mom

    August 21, 2012 at 9:41 am

    I’ve never heard of these. Our dogs love rawhide bones, but I’m terrified to give them the rawhides because we once had a close call. I’m also concerned about the corn you mentioned and I’m a little concerned about flavored items. Are these made in the US?

    • Rence87

      April 22, 2013 at 9:10 am

      These “treats” are NOT made in the USA. I was very disappointed to find out these alternatives are made in China. I hope you don’t make the same mistake I do and buy these for your dog. I now have to waste money and throw all of the bones I purchased away.

      EDITOR’S NOTE: So because they’re made in China, you automatically think they’re dangerous?

      • Ann

        June 9, 2013 at 10:40 am

        Yes, I will never knowingly buy a food product made in China or sourced from China ever again after the chicken jerky treats by Canyon Creek nearly killed my dog and resulted in a $2000 vet bill. First the melamine scandal in China followed by many more, including the chicken for human consumption sold there by Yum brands. You can source your products from more reliable places than China and not defend their indefensible criminal food practices. Thanks.

      • Jessica

        July 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm

        You just threw them away? I’m sure somebody else would have bought them from you or gladly taken them off your hands. No need to be wasteful. My dog hasn’t died from them yet…

      • Angela Shore

        October 18, 2013 at 9:55 am

        In response to the Editors Note “Yes! I personally will always assume they are dangerous if made in China!” How many pets have to get sick and die before people stop buying products made there?

  2. RevPlace

    August 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Odd. I feed my dog rawhide all the time and have never had any issues. I didn’t realize they could cause such problems.

    • Kathy

      May 19, 2013 at 1:42 am

      Hi rawhide is not good for dogs especially the little ones they can swallow peices and they will swell in the stomach and intestines. They do not digest them


    August 22, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Yes, Fur Mom, these are made in USA. Sorry I didn’t say that in the review. Thanks for bringing it up. : )

    • Donkey mom

      October 24, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      These aren’t made in the US but made in China

  4. Stacey

    September 26, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Looking for the dental smartbones, the mint ones, cannot find them so I was wondering if you were not making them anymore or if there was a recall?

  5. Sarah

    November 12, 2012 at 8:46 am

    The back of the package says they are made in China.

  6. Noamaye

    December 1, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I gave my dog one and spent 15 minutes trying to calm her down and remove the stuck bone from her teeth and gums. Removing anything from my Rottweiler’s mouth is never a fun time. This has never happened before with any other type of bone. No more SmartBones for us!

  7. Sharon Substanley

    December 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    A few weeks ago I gave my dog one medium size Smartbone. She vomited some pieces up the next day, and was deathly ill for over a week! I have never had such a horrible reaction to any kind of bone. This product is made in China, cleverly written in small print on the back of the package. Also first ingredient is corn.With a $300 vet bill, I would say it is an expensive product. I would never feed this bone to any dog.She is a Yorkie mix, weighs about 20 lbs. Should have been able to handle it if it had quality ingredients and was made in the USA! Smartbone? Not so smart!

    • Kathy

      May 19, 2013 at 1:44 am

      Wow I will have to recheck into these, my little 2.3 pound teacup poodle loves them. I had so much trouble trying to get her to chew something because of her tiny size. Ihave tried everything and was happy to find these.

  8. Clark Gould

    June 25, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Purchased a pack of Smart Bones for my big Lab who loves the rawhide bones. Like others I worry about having him swallow a large piece and thought this might be a good alternative. Took him about 5 minues to eat versus 30 minutes for raw hide. Did not notice any bad side effects, but did not notice the made in China small print until I decided to look on line. Reluctanty I will not purchase any more. The combination of poor ingredients and made in China where they seemt to have almost zero controls to provide for safety is more than I want to risk.

    • Ann

      June 25, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      I agree Clark. I checked these out a few weeks ago and was very disappointed to see that the chicken came from China. My dog almost died from China chicken in Jan of this year with the Nestle Purina chews. The vet bill was over $2000.00. China does not have control of it’s food industry. The same chicken was being used in their Yum brand Taco Bell over there and had to be pulled. So it is not just in pet food, it is also entering the human food chain. No second chances for them to kill my dog again.

  9. Heather

    July 22, 2013 at 10:19 am

    I fed my dog the Smart bone chicken flavor and shortly after she went into Gastric Distress….bloating, vomiting, diarrhea and eventually stopped drinking and became lethargic and listless. She was severely dehydrated and required an overnight stay at the vets and was put on medication. The smartbone company denied that her trouble were caused by this bone yet that was the only thing she ate. The third ingredient in that bone is Sorbitol which is a sugar/alcohol based laxative which causes GI discomfort in humans let alone small dogs. I would NEVER buy this bone or support this company again! I’m just thankful by dog lived!

    • Ann

      July 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm

      Heather, I am happy to hear that your dog survived as well. The chicken is raised in China and I will never buy any pet product made or originating in China ever again. Just this morning, I saw a new recall on Dogswell dog and cat treats with the chicken made in China. They found the prohibited antibiotic in it again. Of course the corporate heads always say it is not harmful when it is making many pets ill.

  10. David

    August 6, 2013 at 11:23 am

    I was researching where this product was made. It doesn’t say on their website so I was suspicious. Typically made in US treats will advertise that fact. My dog hasn’t suffered previously from chicken byproducts made in China, but that’s because I learned of the risks and started avoiding them. Seriously, its not worth the risk to save a few bucks, AND my dog has never had a problem with US made rawhide.


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