Chewing is a natural instinct for dogs, as it allows them to exercise their mouth and jaw, explore their environment, and even keep their teeth clean. Some dogs will chew more than others, but they all do so from time to time. With no other outlet, they’ll turn to gnawing on your furniture and other belongings, damaging and maybe even destroying them. Investing in a few durable chew toys helps prevent this while giving your dog a fun and safe outlet for their natural chewing habit.
Why buy dog chew toys?
No matter how young or old your dog is, a chew toy can bring the joy and engagement they need to be active. If your new puppy is chewing everything in sight, a special chew toy can give them the relief they need while sparing your furniture, pillows, and shoes in the process. Not to mention that chewing the wrong items can be dangerous for your dog; if they chew on something too hard, they might harm their teeth or swallow something that blocks their digestive tract. Chew toys provide a fun and safe outlet for dogs’ natural chewing instincts.
Besides being fun for your pup, chew toys can help maintain your dog’s dental health since chewing helps to prevent tartar buildup on their teeth. They also encourage active play, which keeps your dog physically and mentally stimulated and may even relieve anxiety. A bored or anxious dog is more likely to act out by scratching or barking, so a good chew toy or two can go a long way towards preventing this kind of behavior.
What should you look for in a dog’s chew toy?
- Material: Rope and hard rubber toys are inexpensive, making them easy to replace while remaining relatively durable and long-lasting. If your dog is an aggressive chewer, opt for one of these solid materials, as they are more difficult to destroy. Dogs that have a gentler touch or older dogs with missing teeth can get plenty of enjoyment out of softer toys made of tight-knit fabric.
- Size: Larger dogs will generally need larger toys, but that’s not the only consideration when picking the ideal-sized chew toy for your furry friend. While it’s best to refer to the product’s size recommendations, a good rule of thumb is to ensure that the toys are bulky enough to not be swallowed. You should also assess the chew toy to see if there are any small parts that could be removed and accidentally ingested.
- Features: While all dogs need some mental stimulation, certain breeds require more than others. If you find your dog chewing aimlessly, consider a chew toy that includes puzzles or doubles as a treat dispenser. The action of twisting their own bodies while moving the chew toy in a certain way is a great way to challenge your dog’s problem-solving skills.
How can you tell if a chew toy is safe?
While there is a small risk with any chew toy, certain types tend to be more potentially dangerous than others and should be avoided. Hard plastic toys develop rough edges when gnawed, which may scratch or cut your dog’s mouth or tongue, and if they ingest small pieces of plastic, it can lead to gastrointestinal blockage. Any toy that is too hard to chew properly may break or crack your dog’s teeth or lead to other mouth injuries; hard rubber toys are popular for this very reason since they’re durable enough to last a long time but have enough give to greatly reduce the odds of this happening. This is also why it’s advised not to give your dog the hooves, antlers, or bones of other animals to chew on, since they are extremely hard on the teeth, not to mention indigestible if swallowed. Rawhide chews should also be avoided unless recommended by your vet since many are treated with chemicals and may cause irritation.
Keep in mind that even the most durable dog toys aren’t 100% indestructible, so proper supervision is wise.
AMZpets Rope Dog Toys for Aggressive Chewers
Get great bang for your buck with this set of rope toys that's great for tug of war play as well as chewing.
Pros: You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value on a set of good quality dog toys than this pack. You receive either 7 or 10 rope toys for one reasonable price, allowing you to cycle different toys in and out every day so that they last longer. And since there are four different varieties of rope toys for different kinds of play, you and your pup will get even more mileage out of them. This also makes them a great option for owners who have more than one dog. For additional value, you also get a complimentary travel backpack to transport all the toys to doggy daycare or the park. And the rope toys are suitable for all breeds and sizes of dogs, from puppies to adult dogs to senior dogs; the cotton-nylon blend is softer on young and aging teeth than hard rubber toys.
Cons: There is the risk that the braids of one or more of these toys might come unraveled, especially if used daily by extra-aggressive chewers. If this happens, the toys won’t be as durable or may even become mostly useable. There’s also the risk of the ropes fraying over time, which can be potentially dangerous if your dog swallows or ingests the strands.
Bottom Line: After witnessing the fluffy aftermath of your dog’s last tussle with a pillow or blanket, a softer chew toy may not sound appealing. However, these rope toys have some serious durability, and since you get several toys per purchase, they’ll last you even longer.
MewaJump Durable Rubber Dog Toy
This cute rubber cactus chew toy is both durable and well suited for most dogs.
Pros: The 100% natural rubber material of this cute little chew toy is flexible but dense, perfect for playing and chewing. It’s nontoxic as well. The unique cactus shape gives it great versatility, as it’s both easy for a dog to grip in their teeth and to be tossed or thrown around in play; it can be used for chewing, interactive play, and even training purposes. The size is ideal, suitable for small, medium, and large dogs, puppies, and fully grown canines alike. It’s especially great at giving teething puppies some relief.
Cons: This toy comes with a milk flavoring and scent meant to entice dogs. Though the flavor and scent are fairly subtle, they may not appeal to all dogs. And while the unique cactus shape is both fun and versatile, some dogs might be able to rip the arms off over time.
Bottom Line: Serious chewers will love the challenge of this tough, versatile toy that is made for playing and chewing alike. Owners can get in on the fun by easily tossing the cactus around for their dog.
FAIRWIN Puppy Teething Chew Toy
This teething toy keeps your young dog entertained with its varied shapes and texture.
Pros: This food-grade rubber chew toy features a unique pineapple shape with a raised, bumpy, highly realistic texture to support healthy, clean teeth as your puppy grows. It’s available in two different sizes to be safe for puppies of both large and small breeds and features a treat dispenser to keep your pup occupied for even longer or reward good behavior. And since it’s dishwasher safe with a mild detergent, it’s easy to keep clean even with the most slobbery puppy.
Cons: Since this chew toy was designed with teething puppies in mind, it may not be best suited for fully grown dogs. You may want to preemptively cut the leaves off for safety purposes. And though it’s not ridiculously expensive, this toy is slightly pricier than many similar models.
Bottom Line: This colorful teething chew toy is a great addition to your new puppy’s toy basket. The material is softer than standard dog chew toys but is still tough enough to satisfy your puppy’s need to gnaw. While your puppy won’t stay small forever, this toy’s innovative design makes it an ideal first chew toy.
Feeko Dog Chew Toy for Aggressive Chewers
This tough rubber chew toy is perfect for tossing and throwing around, thanks to its ring-like shape.
Pros: This ring-shaped chew toy makes an equally great toy for playing fetch, thanks to its rounded shape. It’s available in several different colors and two other shapes. The rubber material is dense, all-natural, nontoxic, and tinged with a beef flavor to encourage your pup to chew on it instead of the furniture, your shoes, or other belongings.
Cons: Due to its size, this toy is meant mainly for larger breeds. Due to the ring shape, there is a small risk of the toy getting caught around your dog’s snout.
Bottom Line: This toy combines the toughness of rubber with the more aerodynamic aspects of a ball. The donut shape fits between your dog’s teeth without the worry of accidental swallowing, while the texture makes it easy for both dogs and owners to easily grip it during play.
Outward Hound Dog Treat Puzzle
This treat-dispensing chew toy challenges your dog's ability to problem-solve.
Pros: This little ball is a chew toy, treat dispenser, and puzzle toy all in one affordable package. Dogs of all breeds, ages, and sizes can push, roll, and flip the toy around until pieces of kibble or treats make their way out through the opening. It’s suitable for indoor and outdoor play and will keep your pup entertained for hours on end. If the level one puzzle proves too easy for your dog to solve, there are three more advanced levels that you can buy instead.
Cons: Since this toy gets pushed around constantly in order to get the treat out, it might get stuck underneath the furniture. Finally, this toy will be prone to getting covered in slobber due to its treat-dispensing nature, but it’s not dishwasher safe.
Bottom Line: If your dog is food-motivated, this interactive chew toy will be a dream come true. While it’s great for chewing and throwing, the real engagement comes when you place a few of your dog’s favorite treats into the center. This toy relies on independent play, making it a great chew toy for dogs that spend lots of time alone.
Toys are a necessity for a happy, healthy dog, and chew toys are an important part of a dog owner’s arsenal. They provide mental and physical stimulation, allow your pup to safely indulge in their natural chewing instinct, and spare your furniture and belongings from destruction.