The Chew Works Story

Chew Works co-founders

Chew Works was founded by Karl and Kristy Stern to provide a safer and healthier way for dogs to chew.

How It Started

We have owned dogs most of our lives and they have always been an important part of our family. After becoming empty nesters and saying a sad good-bye to Mandy our yellow lab, we were unsure about getting another dog. Many of our friends talked about travel and the freedom of being able to come and go as you please, but we are dog people. Six years ago we brought Lucy, an 8-week-old Bernedoodle into our family and, WOW, did she change our world. Lucy, like most puppies, had a strong urge to chew. Chewing was an important physical and emotional outlet for her that needed to be channeled. Chewing devices are a great tool to teach puppies what they can and cannot chew and are also a great energy outlet. We used to give our dogs rawhide chews until we learned more about the danger of chewing rawhide.

Dangers of Rawhide Chews

We tried many non-consumable chew devices but Lucy only had interest in consumable chews. Like most dog owners, we did not want to give her something that was unsafe or unhealthy. When Lucy was 4 months old she swallowed an 8” braided bully stick. We immediately started Googling like crazy wondering what to do. Fortunately, Lucy didn’t have any issues, but we learned a lot in our search and talking with our vet. We learned that it is all too common for dogs to choke or experience GI blockage if they swallow big pieces of chews or rawhide. As the chew gets smaller, it is hard for dogs to hold in their paws. They eventually end up with the entire stick in their mouth which makes it easy to swallow. We also learned that most rawhide chews are made in Asia or South America. Foreign made rawhide chews may contain harmful chemicals and a high percentage of the leather (less digestible) part of the hide. 

Finding a Better Way

After the braided bully stick scare, we decided not to take any more chances. Lucy still needed a healthy and safe outlet for her need to chew and so began the too-many-to-count variations of the Hold-a-Chew that were engineered by Karl in the garage.

What started as a project to make chewing safer for Lucy resulted in a mission to do this for all dogs and their families.

Chew Works Now

We are a small start-up company founded on the development of the Hold-a-Chew and giving dogs safer, healthier options for chewing. The Hold-a-Chew is designed to hold dog chews in a way to prevent dogs from swallowing large chunks of the dog chew stick that could cause choking and minor or major digestive issues, even surgery or death.


Chew Works manufactures the Hold-a-Chew from an FDA approved nylon polymer material that is safe for dogs to chew but not intended to be consumed. The regular Hold-a-Chew was the first product developed for medium to large dogs that are super chewers. The junior and mini size Hold-a-Chews were offered shortly after the regular size launched. We've found many smaller dogs can be super chewers too. And the mini is perfect for helping puppies understand what to chew and what not to chew. 

Chew Works has also sourced high quality Collagen Chew Sticks that are designed to lock into the Hold-a-Chew. These are long lasting consumable chews that dogs enjoy. 

Collagen Chews

Our collagen chews are specially made to fit the Hold-a-Chew products for safe chewing. 

We took extra care to source a dog chew product that is completely made in the USA without additives or chemicals. The collagen chew sticks are unique in that they look like rawhide and are a beef product however, they do not contain rawhide and are from the very healthy and more digestible collagen layer of the cow hide.

We started with a natural flavor and have recently added chicken which is becoming a real favorite.  

Dual Purpose

Dogs can chew on the nylon polymer material of the Hold-a-Chew, therefore, we have found that most dogs will continue chewing for a long time even when the collagen chew is down to the remaining plug that is locked into the Hold-a-Chew. Some dogs are happy to chew on the Hold-a-Chew itself without a chew stick in it. The material of the Hold-a-Chew will not break off, however, dogs will rough up the surface over time. We recommend replacing the Hold-a-Chew at your discretion as it gets dirty and wears.

Lucy Approved

Our Bernedoodle Lucy is now 6 years old and weighs 100 pounds. Lucy has been named Chief Chew Tester for Chew Works product development. She has some friends that help with product testing as well. 

For Lucy, the product should taste good, keep her busy and most important – make her happy. It is all about enjoying the chew. 


It is more than just fun and games:

Lucy approved means that as Lucy’s dog parents:

  • We believe the product is safe and in no way would harm her. 

  • That the consumable products are made from quality ingredients sourced in the USA. 

  • That the non-consumable products are made from quality, FDA-approved materials and are sturdy enough to withstand rigorous chewing. 


And then came our Assistant Chew Tester, Daisy!

Daisy the Bernedoodle joined our family in 2021. We thought we had the puppy thing figured out but Daisy came in with a whole new set of puppy challenges. We have regained control of our world and Daisy was very instrumental in the development of the Hold-a-Chew Mini and Hold-a-Chew Junior. They are great for small dogs and puppies. Daisy is now a much more grown up Assistant Chew Tester.