Some dogs are powerful chewers and tear through normal toys like they’re nothing. But that shouldn’t stop them from having toys in their lives! And you certainly don’t want your tough chewer to get bored and wreak havoc on your house and furniture! You obviously want to give your dog toys, but the wrong type of toy won’t last a single house. Even worse, tough dogs could chew through the toy risking serious harm for themselves. In this article, we will provide you with safety precautions that come with powerful chewers and how to choose the best dog toy that will keep your pup safe and bored-free!
Many factors contribute to the safety or the danger of a dog toy. Most of which depend on your dog’s size, activity level, and preferences. More things to consider is the environment where your dog spends most of their time. There is no guarantee of 100% safety of any specific toy, but we are here to offer guidelines to keep your pup safe while playing with their favorite toy.
Unfortunately, the things that dogs find most attractive are often things that are the most dangerous. Although this is not ideal, you should always dog-proof your home. You can do this by removing string, ribbon, rubber bands, children’s toys, and any other items that could be swallowed by your dog. Dogs can be sneaky creatures, so keep these items out of your dog’s reach!
Furthermore, be sure to buy toys that are the appropriate size for your dog. Toys that are too small can be easily swallowed or get stuck in your pup’s throat. ALWAYS supervise your dog’s play with toys or bones. You should also discard toys when they start to break into pieces or are torn.
Simple Safety Steps for Choosing the Best Chews
Dogs need chew toys not only for their mental and physical health, but if they become bored, they will come up with their own chew “toys” which could be your new shoes or even your couch! None of which are desirable and more importantly, downright unsafe! Everyone knows there are a lot of dog chews and toys on the market today. So, which ones are the best? Which should you avoid? To help, we’ll inform you with this 3-step guide on dog chews so you can pick the best and safe toy for your pup!
Step 1: Find out how your dog chews toys.
Before you buy a new toy, it’s important to know what type of chewer your dog is so you can make a safe choice. Which of the below chewers is your dog?
- Inhaler: These types of chewers are the ones who really need to look after while playing with toys. Inhalers bite off large chunks of edible chews and swallow them fast, which is dangerous and could cause serious issues!
- Destroyer: These are the dogs that often destroy whatever they get their mouths on. Some may or may not swallow what they destroy, so be extra careful with the toys you purchase and always supervise them.
- Nibbler: These are the dogs who enjoy their toys. They take their time and savor their chews and toys slowly. These types of dogs are much easier to shop for since they take good care of their toys. However, you should still supervise your pup when chewing on toys.
Step 2: The Best Toy Options for Each Chewing Type
Now that you know what kind of chewing style your dog has, let’s take a look at the different types of chews and toys that are both safe and entertaining for your pup!
- For Inhalers:
Rubber (firm) chew toys
Rope chew toys
- For Destroyers:
Edible chews & treats
Rubber (firm) chew toys
- For Nibblers:
Edible chews & treats
Rubber chew toys
Rope chew toys
You can use this list to pick the best type of toy for your dog. However, just because it is on the list, doesn’t meant there aren’t thing to watch out for.
Step 3: Buy a Quality Chew Toy
Every dog is different, which means they will chew differently. Since it can feel quite overwhelming trying to pick the best toy for your dog, here is a helpful guide to make sure the toy you purchase is a good quality product for your pup.
- Hardness:Try the thumbnail test: If the toy doesn’t “give” a little bit when you press it with your thumbnail, then it’s too hard for your dog and could break their teeth.
- Softness & Durability:The toy should not be too soft or poorly-constructed that your dog will be able to chew it apart and swallow pieces, chunks, or the stuffing inside.
- Coating: It should not be coated or treated with flavorings that can cause digestive upset. For example, the coating on pigs’ ears.
- Size & Shape:It should not be so small that your dog could choke on it.
- Washability:You should be able to put it in the dishwasher or washing machine so you can thoroughly clean and disinfect it.
- Entertainment Value:It should be able to provide hours of chewing entertainment and distraction, either because it will last a long time, you are able to stuff it with treats/food, or your dog just really enjoys playing with it.
Ideal Materials for Tough Dog Toys
The following materials are great options for your dog no matter their chewing style. Although these materials are made to be super durable for dogs, you will still want to use caution depending on how powerful your dog’s chew is.
Rubber: A lot of dog toys that are specifically created for aggressive chewers are made of rubber. Rubber is a durable and one of the most indestructible materials, so this should always be high on your dog toy list! Look for rubber toys with soft edges that are also smooth and not sharp. Rubber toys are especially great for teething puppies.
Rope: Rope toys are another popular dog toy for powerful chewers. Ropes are durable, easy to clean (can be put in the wash), and is safe. Even if your dog ends up eating a few strands of cotton rope, they won’t be sent to the emergency room. However, it is still recommended to supervise them! Also, most rope toys can double as tug-of-war toys, which is a great bonding time for dogs and their owners!
Materials to Avoid for Tough Chewers
Some materials used for dog toys are not so great for power chewers. Here are some types of toys you should avoid entirely to keep your pup safe!
Squeaker Toys: Squeaker toys are very fun for dogs, but they also risk serious safety hazards, especially for tough chewers. Dogs who destroy their toys can tear through squeaky toys and find the noise-making device inside. If they were to eat it they could possibly choke. If your dog loves these toys too much, they may be acceptable for interactive use if you watch your pup closely.
Plush or Fleece Toys: These toys often attract pet owners because of their adorable look. There’s nothing cuter than your dog chewing on a fluffy hot dog! Unfortunately, indestructible plush toys simply don’t exist. Aggressive chewers will have them into pieces within minutes. Not only is that a safety hazard but it also leaves a huge mess! If your dog were to eat the insides of the toy they could potentially get digestive issues or even more serious medical issues.
Latex or Vinyl Toys: Just like plush toys, these toys are often cute and fun! But again, they just aren’t durable enough for power chewers. When dogs chew through them they can also create sharp edges that will harm their gums and cause extreme discomfort, which could lead to an infection.
6 Safety Tips for Power Chewers
1. Look for toys that are mostly indestructible.
If you have a breed such as a Rottweiler, Pitbull, or other big tough breeds, hard nylon toys or hard rubber toys are most likely the answer. Be careful because even with these toys the edges can become fairly sharp when dogs start to chew them.
2. Keep an eye on rope toys.
Rope toys can sometimes be a safety hazard depending how your dog chews. They may be ok for a little while but if your dog often destroys toys keep your eyes on that rope to make sure it remains intact.
3. Beware toys with bells.
Dog toys with bells, or squeakers on the inside are not a great toy choice because dogs can easily get to the inside and remove or swallow the bells or squeaker.
4. Watch for rips and tears.
Even the safest toys can break or tear, leading them to become unsafe. If your dog breaks a seam the stuffing can explode everywhere, or worse, in your dog’s stomach. Once you notice a big tear in the toys, it’s time to throw that away and buy another toy.
5. Rawhide chews have their pros and cons.
Dogs love rawhides, and they are especially great because they keep dogs occupied for a while. However, they become soft and begin to unravel or break apart when they are chewed on. When this happens, you should throw them away and give your dog a new one. Furthermore, a caution we have with rawhides is that some are made in China, which might have some safety concerns to them. When purchasing a rawhide, stay away from those made in China and stick to those made in the U.S.
6. Find the right size toy.
A main caution with any dog toy is that you purchase the appropriate size for your pets mouth. Toys that are too small can be swallowed whole and get stuck in dogs throat or intestinal tract. If too large, you might break it up into smaller pieces, which could be too small and be dangerous.