Best Dog Chew Toys
By: Travis McDermott DVM
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A common question I get in my veterinary practice is “What are the best dog chew toys?” or it’s cousin – “Can I give my dog _________ to chew on?”. Chewing is a normal, healthy behavior in dogs and when properly directed with the appropriate chew toy, it can help prevent destructive chewing, provide stress relief, and serve as a means for preventing dental disease. In this article, we will look at items I recommend for chewing and others that I do not.
Benefits of Healthy Chewing
There are numerous benefits to healthy chewing through the use of appropriate chew toys.
- Redirecting chewing to a chew toy prevents destructive habits. Basically, it is better that you dog use a chew toy instead of your Jimmy Choo shoes.
- Chew toys can be a healthy part of your dogs life is stress relief. Chewing can decrease stress levels and be a healthy outlet your pet’s excess energy.
- Healthy chewing is the an important component in the prevention of tarter on the teeth and dental disease. While brushing your pet’s teeth is recommended, it is often a very difficult task. One of the best alternatives is healthy chewing.
CHEW TOYS I RECOMMEND
One of the most well-known names in dog chew toys, Kong toys are designed to be extremely durable. Kong toys come in multiple forms including treat dispensing toys, chew rings, and straight chew toys (they even have puppy chew toys). These toys are machine washable, and can stuff them with kibble, peanut butter, or the Kong brand snacks. As with any chew toy, Kong toys are not indestructible and should be monitored to make sure pieces don’t break off and get ingested.Check Price
Touted as the “World’s Tuffest Soft Dog Toy” on the Market, Tuffy toys are considered more of an interactive toy that a chew toy, but they make my list because of their quality. Each toy has up to 4 layers of fabric, floats in water, and is machine washable. Some dogs enjoy playing with stuffed animal toys and now they have option that doesn’t leave fuzz and stuffing all over your house. My favorite part are all of the cool animal shapes you can pick from.Check Price
This chew is not really a “chew toy”, but I had to include it because it is so good for your dog’s health. CET chews are constructed similarly to rawhides, but have the antiseptic power of chlorhexidine to reduce calculus. Basically, your dog gets to brush its teeth while it enjoys the chew. This product is made with beefhide, so if your dog has a beef allergy, it probably won’t work. We actually like these things so much, we carry them in the clinic.Check Price
CHEW TOYS I DON’T RECOMMEND
- Bully Sticks
- Pig Ears
Bones have always been a popular dog chew toy and recently antlers have joined them in a group of items that are long, skinny, and very firm. While these objects are favorites of dogs for chewing and can do wonders for their teeth, the risks outweigh the benefits put them in the category of “not recommended”. Any dog chew toy you use should have some give in it when your dog bites into it to avoid the risk of fractured teeth. With the increase in popularity of antlers and our next item, we have seen the number of fractured premolars go through the roof. Often times these teeth, which are the most important in the mouth because they are used for dry food, have to be extracted due to the fracture. The extractions are expensive and can obviously affect the life of a pet and how it eats.
This item is another popular product that is too hard and is a major contributor to broken teeth in dogs. Bully sticks are actually made from bull’s penis that are dried. Funny thing is that it is not the grossness of that I am bothered by, but more the damage they can do to your dogs teeth. Even though I know some of you will scoff at this and still give them to your pets, I do not recommend them and would never give them to a dog I owned.
Pig ears are another type of chew toy that are popular with pet owners. The have enough give when the dog bites them to be safe to eat, but they often cause gastrointestinal upset. If I had a nickel for every dog I have seen in our clinic for diarrhea or vomiting after being given a pigs ear, I would have a whole lot of nickels. There are other products that provide the same chewing benefits, but don’t tear up your dogs stomach that I would check out before buying