Why Dogs Chew
All dogs engage in healthy chewing behavior in their lifetimes. Young dogs chew to relieve teething pain. Older dogs chew for entertainment. Chewing can relieve minor anxiety. It keeps jaws strong and teeth clean. Never discourage your dog from chewing. Instead, make sure they have age and breed appropriate chew toys. Providing your dog with proper toys will help prevent them from chewing on inappropriate items. A dog without acceptable chew toys could destroy not only your property but possibly injure themselves. Furniture legs, paper, shoes, meat bones and other household items not specifically meant for chewing could poison or choke your dog.
Destructive chewing can be due to a number of reasons. Separation anxiety could be causing your dog to act out when you are not there. Boredom and lack of exercise could emerge as chewing on inappropriate items. Dogs can also engage in destructive chewing because of hunger. If your dog is on a reduced calorie or specialty diet, they may chew on household items to try and gain nutrition. Lack of mental stimulation can also lead to excessive chewing.
A Note on Cost
These dog toys do tend to cost a bit more than a regular chew toy. If your dog is an aggressive chewer, you should consider purchasing good quality chew toys. The money spent on these highly rated toys will be saved many times over if it means your dog won’t chew up furniture or dress shoes. Chewing on household items or items meant for less aggressive chewers can also lead to expensive vet bills, which can easily reach into the thousands.
Do I Have an Aggressive Chewer?
How can you know if your dog is an aggressive chewer? If your dog chews often or if they constantly chew through standard dog toys then a specialized chew toy may be necessary. Some dogs don’t appear particularly vigorous in their chewing habits, but their chewing is defined as aggressive because of their breed or size. Large or very large dogs (over 50 pounds) should be provided with specialty toys that they cannot destroy easily.
Certain breeds like American Pit Bull Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers, Boxers, Golden Retrievers, and Beagles are all known for their love of chewing. German Shepherds, Australian Cattle Dogs, Rottweilers and other breeds that are considered more energetic would also benefit from a toy for aggressive chewers.
Never discourage your dog’s chewing behavior. It is a natural activity. However, do not confuse your dog by offering old household items to chew. Your dog is incapable of telling the difference between an article that is for him, and one that you plan on continuing to use. Providing your dog with a chew toy that is appropriate for their age, weight, breed and chewing style is key to avoiding dangerous and destructive chewing behavior.
Things Your Dog Should Never Chew On:
- Pillows or fabric items
- Stuffed animals meant for children
- Old shoes
- Books, magazines or paper items
- Table scraps (including chicken, beef, and pork bones)
- Furniture or other treated wood
What Toys are Best?
Different dogs have different tastes. Some dogs are happy to chew on the same rubber toy all day long. Others like a plush type toy and still others enjoy chasing a ball or a stick. Below you’ll find several different types of toys and specific suggestions in those categories.
Recommended Solid Rubber Toys
These basic chew toys are great for a dog who just wants to chew, chew, chew! Solid rubber toys are considered the closest thing to indestructible. Remember that no dog toy is completely durable forever.
Kong Toys come in many different sizes. Many have additions like rope pulls or a hollow center to hide treats. The black rubber toys are considered the toughest.
Goughnuts toys are also solid rubber and “guaranteed indestructible.”
Jolly Pets offers a great rubber ball type toy, but with a handle. The handle makes it easy to throw and great for tug of war, but it’s also added fun for your dog as it makes it bounce around crazily, encouraging them to chase it. Make sure you choose the Heavy Duty version if you’re shopping for an aggressive chewer.
Mammoth TireBiter Rubber Tire Chew Toys are made with real rubber. these toys come in tire shape, a floating retriever stick and a classic dog bone shape.
Plush Toys for Aggressive Chewers
Dogs have different toy preferences. Some dogs love to just chew, but other dogs prefer something with a little more character, or even a toy that makes noise. Here are some recommended stuffed toys for aggressive chewers. Take into account your dog’s chewing power when providing them with these toys, as these are in no way indestructible and you should keep a close eye on your dog while playing with one of these. If this is a type of toy your dog prefers it is very important to provide your dog with a dog specific stuffed toy. Stuffed toys meant for children can shed eyes, buttons, stuffing or decorations (like ribbons and fabric scraps), and become a serious choking hazard for your dog. Below are some great stuffed toy choices if this is a toy your dog enjoys.
Tuffy toys claim to be the toughest toys on the market. They have multiple rows of stitching and some also have a vinyl strip on the outside to protect the stitching. Even so, Tuffy reminds pet owners that these are meant to be interactive toys and you shouldn’t give this toy to your dog on his own.
Go Dog toys have double stitched seams and a “Chew Guard Technology.” They also offer a plush toy for smaller dogs that are vigorous chewers, marketed under the Go Dog Just For Me name. Go Dog also guarantees their toys to be chew proof, but we’d still recommend saving the receipt.
Disc and Ball Toys
Dogs love to fetch and chase almost as much as they like to chew! Regular frisbees can be shredded in mere minutes if you’re not keeping an eye on your dog. The same is true for tennis balls, softballs and pretty much any other kind of ball that an aggressive chewer can get their jaws around. Here are some suggested disc and ball toys for those retriever and herding breeds.
West Paw Design Jive Zogoflex Durable Ball Dog Chew Toy is a great tennis-like ball with an unpredictable bounce.
The Virtually Indestructible Best Ball in hard is, well, the name pretty much says it all. It comes in several sizes from 4.5 inches up to 14 inches.
The Indestructible Dog Frisbee also comes with a lifetime guarantee. It also floats which is great for those water loving dogs in your life.
Kong’s Red Rubber Flyer is worth a second mention for the brand. Kong also makes a Squeaky Tennis Ball.
Natural and Meat Based Chew Toys
Rawhide and treated animal bones are a great option for the dog that likes a more wild experience. These bones also provide excellent jaw exercise as well as dental health benefits. Many pet owners also prefer for their dog to chew on something more natural. Even these natural toys aren’t without risks.
Pet ‘n Shape offers many different varieties of bone style chewing options. These bones are made in the USA and sourced from 100% grass-fed, natural free range beef. Animal bones, even those treated especially for chewing do still have a minimal risk of splintering so always watch your dog while they’re chewing on one of these. Animal bones for chewing can also be purchased at some butcher’s or local feed stores. Ensure these are treated in some way for sterilization purposes. Never give your dog a bone from your cooking refuse.
Rawhide dog chews can be had almost anywhere, and all are very similar. Drs. Foster & Smith sell a number of highly rated rawhide products. Make sure you choose the proper size for your dog’s chewing level. Rawhide products can also have a minimal risk of shredding and causing a choking hazard so as with all chewing products keep an eye on your pet while they’re enjoying this treat.
Buck Bone has an interesting product that is actually a Montana elk antler. These are made in the USA. Multiple sizes are offered, so be sure to pick the correct size for your dog.
No matter the type of toy always keep an eye on your dog’s toys for signs of wear and tear. If a toy starts to shed small pieces, the stuffing comes out, or it looks compromised in any way you should remove it and give your dog something else. The best way to know what your dog likes is to offer him several different types of toy and see what he likes best. Happy chewing!