For dogs and other pets, toys are not a luxury, but a necessity. Toys are important for your dog's well-being. Toys help fight boredom when you have to leave your dog at home and provide comfort when they feel nervous. Dog chew toys can even help prevent your dog from developing certain problem behaviors.
While cats can be pretty picky about toys, dogs are often more than willing to play with any object they can get their paws on. This means that you will need to be extra careful in monitoring your dog's playtime to prevent any "unplanned" game time.
Whether it's a puppy or an adult dog, all dogs need to chew. Puppies chew when teething to relieve pain and soothe their gums, or just to explore a new world (like a baby!). They then continue into adulthood to maintain strong masticatory (chewing) muscles, clean teeth, and an engaged brain.
Chewing helps senior dogs deal with anxiety, frustration, and boredom. In fact, it's one of three rewarding activities that help calm a hyperactive or anxious dog.
But which chew toys are safe for your dog? Here's how to choose the right chew toy.
What type of chewer is your dog?
Watch your dog when he first plays with a new toy to make sure it's right for the way he chews. See if your dog falls into one of the categories below.
- Shredder - Put a toy in front of them and their job is to destroy it. They may even try to eat the pieces.
- Inhaler - These dogs are like vacuum cleaners. Now you see the toy, now you don't.
- Nibbler - These dogs enjoy their treats and are gentle with their toys. No need to worry about toy guts all over your house.
Safe chew toys for dogs
When you buy toys, if you can't dent them with your fingernail or break them easily, it's probably too hard for your dog's teeth. The following toys are generally safe for dogs:
- Solid rubber toys – the hollow ones (which are great for holding treats) usually work well for all types of chews. Just choose the size that fits your dog's mouth.
- Rope Toys – If your dog is a chewer, make sure they don't pull on the ropes and swallow them. Otherwise, they are considered safe.
- Durable stuffed toys - Usually not durable enough for a shredder. If you have an inhaler or lover, avoid toys with parts that could easily come off, such as eyes, bells or ribbons.
- Tennis balls – These are fine for most chewers, but watch out for shredders who might destroy and swallow tennis ball pieces. Excessive fluff chewing can also wear down their teeth.
Choose the best chew toy options for every personality
Now that you've figured out your dog's "personality," take a look at the general types of dog chew toys that are most likely to be safe and fun for your pup's chewing style.
- Rubber toys
- Stuffed animals
- Rubber toys
- Edible Chews
- Rubber chew toys
- Stuffed toy
- Edible Chews
Use this list to choose the best type of chew toy for your type of dog. However, just because something is on your dog's "best list" doesn't mean there isn't something to watch out for.
How to buy a quality chew toy
Every dog is different and every dog can chew differently. And there is a seemingly endless variety of dog chew toys.
- Hardness: In general, if you can't bend or break a toy with your bare hands, it's probably best to avoid it. But if you're powerful, it might not be the best test.
- Miniature Test — if the toy doesn't "give" a bit when you press it with your fingernail, then it's too hard for your dog and could break and crack his teeth.
- The “hammer rule” – if a nail cannot be hammered in with chewing gum, your dog should not chew on it.
- The “knee cap rule” – if you hit your knee with a toy and it hurts, it means the chew is too hard or heavy for your dog.
Softness and durability: The toy should also not be so soft or poorly constructed that your dog can chew on it and swallow bits, pieces, or the filling inside.
Coating: It should not be coated or treated with flavors that can cause indigestion
Size and shape: It should not be so small that your dog can choke on it, or so that they can stick their tongue or mouth in it.
Washability: You should be able to put it in the dishwasher or washer/dryer to be cleaned and disinfected regularly.
Entertainment Value: It should be able to provide hours of chewing fun and distraction, either because it lasts a long time, you can stuff treats/food into it, or your dog really likes to play with it.
.t is always important to make sure that they are not choking or gagging, trying to eat too much at once, or trying to eat products that are not meant to be eaten. If you notice any of the following, it's time to take the toy away and schedule a vet visit:
- Blood on the toy or the area where it was chewed
- Changes in eating habits. For example, chewing differently, avoiding hard food, or refusing to eat at all.
- Less energy, loss of appetite, or lack of interest in playing after chewing on a particular toy or treat.