Dogs are not always picky about what they chew. A pair of designer shoes, the living room sofa, the tv remote control… all are fair game when the chewing instinct strikes. So it makes sense to have some chew toys on hand for your canine companion. But how do you choose?
The fact is no dog toy on earth is truly “indestructible,” but there are many toys that can last much longer than the standard 5-minute snack for aggressive chewers. Because that is how long typical discount store toys last – anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or two. After a trip to the trash can, you’ll be right back where you started.
The best toys are multipurpose. These toys satisfy the chewing instinct, but they’re also fun to play with, both with or without their humans. Dog toys that store treats inside provide mental stimulation while toys that bounce provide a fun game of chase. And if the toy floats, even better for dogs that like water.
The first thing you need to do is determine your dog’s chew and play style. Some dogs are fetchers, others are go for the gusto chewers who love nothing more than to rip their toys to shreds.
Before you start searching for toys to suit your dog’s nature…
Safety is of the utmost importance when selecting chew toys for your precious pup. The best and longest lasting chew toys on the market are made with hard rubber. These are the toys that will prove most resistant to the beating an aggressive chewer can dish out. The last thing you want is a cheap toy coming apart and getting lodged either in your dog’s trachea or intestines.
However, if that should happen (and it can, even on the toys labeled “indestructible”), the second feature you should look for is whether the toy is non-toxic. The fact that a chew toy spends so much time in a dog’s mouth makes the toxicity of the toy much more important. And if small bits pass through the intestinal tract, it’s even more important that the pieces are non-toxic.
Another point is whether the toys contains a squeaker. If dislodged from the toy, the squeaker could pose a serious choking threat to your dog.
Rope toys can be extremely dangerous if your dog chews them unattended. We’ve seen $6,000 vet bills to remove these from digestive tracts, and even the chewed-off pieces of rope can bind up a dog’s intestines.
Plush toys are not going to be suitable for your dog’s aggressive chewing. Most dogs enjoy disemboweling anything with stuffing whether it’s a plush toy (especially if there is a squeaker inside), a dog bed, or sometimes, your couch. The stuffing in most plushies is dangerous and can cause health problems for the unlucky dog who ingests it.
Think about your dog’s chewing style. If he’s/she’s a very aggressive chewer, you want a toy with a little “give” to it to not risk breaking your pup’s teeth. It can happen when the wrong toy is matched with the wrong dog.
When a toy is damaged, or when it’s been chewed down to a size that can be swallowed, toss it and get a new one. Keep one in a safe place as a back-up.
You may experience sticker shock when shopping for chew toys for your furry friend, but there’s a reason for the expense. Better quality toys are going to cost more. Period. But on the flip side, better quality toys will last longer, too. You may be new to the struggle- spend $3 on a toy that might last 5 minutes to an hour, and then you have to buy another. And another. Or you could spend $15 on a toy that will last months. Which is the more cost-effective toy?
It makes sense to spend a little more on a toy that will last longer because these are the toys that are also safer. We recommend toys that are manufactured in the US with known standards and quality controls in place.
The most durable types of dog toys for aggressive chewers on the market are hard rubber, as mentioned earlier. These are the toys that can really take the heat when your dog’s boredom, separation anxiety or teething distress take hold.
Kong, Westpaw, Nylabone, and Playology make a wide variety of hard rubber/nylon styles to suit your dog’s chewing and play styles.