Before you buy chew toys for your puppy remember why these wonderful creatures do chew in the first place and then buy selectively and safely. Between three and seven months young dogs lose their baby teeth and new adult teeth appear. This is uncomfortable and usually why they gnaw on things to start with and if nothing suitable is available they will use the legs of chairs, remote controls and anything else to hand.
If the habit of chewing on anything becomes ingrained, it is difficult to stop. So remove all unsafe and valuable objects out of reach and anything heavy that can be pulled over and hurt the puppy should also be taken away.
A tug on a table cover can bring a heavy vase of flowers crashing onto a small animal with nasty consequences. Even small puppies can swallow socks which twist in the intestine and can be fatal. Take away rugs and cushions temporarily and if the puppy manages to take something unsuitable like a mobile phone or remote control, take it away, scold him and offer a proper chew toy instead.
You may think that you should only get a chew toy to stop your pup from chewing up your belongings, but please read our article on the many benefits chew toys provide, as well as how to go about picking the right one for your dog.
Puppies also chew from boredom and this increases as they get older. Keep your dog company and watch him or maybe buy a crate so that the pup, your house and it’s contents are safe if you have to be away for awhile. Spend time with your puppy to encourage him to play with the right things and give him plenty to think about.
A tired puppy will settle and sleep just like a child and needs to learn about his world and the rights and wrongs in exactly the same way.
Best chew toys for young puppies
Generally speaking the toys you buy depend on the size and determination of your puppy. It sounds common sense, but when choosing chew toys for puppies, between a Dachshund and a Great Dane there is a huge size range and a large dog can have a small toy stuck in the throat and a small puppy may not be able to bite on a toy for a large breed.
Young pups need chews with areas of softness as well as something on which to gnaw and often the chew toys have ridges and bumps that make them easy to pick up and carry. Sharp edges can hurt tender young gums. Balls are not a good idea.
A small pup will probably not be able to carry a reasonable sized ball and a small one could be lodged in the throat of an older dog. There are chews that can be thrown for games of fetch that serve the same purpose and are safe. An Orka Frisbee is a case in point.
The three most popular and well constructed types are Kong, Nylabone and Petstages.
Option #1 – Kong
Kong toys are very strong and usually withstand the most determined chewer but use should still be supervised. A smaller dog can get the jaw caught in the opening of the toy and be unable to free itself. When choosing the best of these chew toys for you pet, match the size of the toy to the size of the dog.
Some of the Kong toys are designed to have treats inside and as the dog plays some of the edible bits fall out as a reward. Of course if the opening is quite large then lots of treats appear and the pup may be eating more than it should. Again match the size of the chew to the dogs and the treats inside.
These are very popular toys and a game of fetch is also enjoyable because the shape of the toy means it bounces in unusual directions and gives the dog a fun time.
Kong make a puppy chewing stick which is solely intended for teething youngsters. This is a stick with grooves that can be rubbed with a paste for tooth cleaning. The grooves close over the paste and the pup works hard at getting through to the tasty covering. These are good for teething and for helping make healthy teeth.
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Option #2 – Nylabone
No chew or toy is indestructible but Nylabone puppy dog chews are also very durable and lots of them are flavored to encourage the pup to chew. The puppy starter kit has three types in different flavors and are very robust.
The three are puppy bone with chicken flavor, Dura Chew which is also chicken and Healthy Edible Bone in bacon flavor. The size and weight are manageable for small mouths and as the older dogs also like them it is easy to buy larger sizes as the puppy grows.
Nylabones do not have any loose parts and the small, rough effect made by the chewing actually helps clean the teeth. The small bone is quite soft and intended for small puppies who are teething, Teething pups need a softer chew as the tiny teeth are small and the gums very tender.
The Dura Chew is for more determined cruncher and the edible one is meant to be eaten and is for older puppies. If the bone becomes too small and might be caught in the throat take it away and start the puppy on a new one.
Nylabone also make teething toys with several movable items on a teething ring- much like a human baby might enjoy. There are keys on a key ring and shapes linked together.
The star shaped puppy chew is chicken flavored and has lots of ridges and little bumps that make it easy for the pup to pick up and play with as well as helping to keep tartar away from the new teeth.
The rhino chew is designed with power chewers in mind and it is amazing how strong the jaws of a gun dog or collie pup can be and how determined they are to tear something apart. The rhino chews are made to withstand these attacks as far a s possible but are still soft enough for the tender gums of a youngster. They are vanilla scented.
These products are made from top quality materials with safety in mind.
Option #3 – Petstages
Petstages make a different type of chew toy. They produce a puppy cooling teething toy and this has an outer shell that freezes and stays cool to sooth the hot little gums.
It also has ribbons and streamers attached which make it very easy for a youngster to pick up and carry around but at the same time these extra pieces can be chewed off by a determined puppy and could be swallowed. Supervision with all of these chews is essential .
Petstages make lots of other attractive toys which are meant for throwing, shaking and as a soft cuddle toy. These are lovely but are not a great help when teething.
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Option #4 – rope toys
Rope toys are also useful as a chewing aid as they are reasonably soft for tender young gums and they are very robust. They can also be picked up and carried easily and dogs enjoy this. You often see two or three grown dogs all holding on to one tug rope and running around having great fun.
I would avoid the ropes that have extra things added such as tennis balls as these are never as strong as the rope and invariably get torn apart. The pieces are then available to be swallowed. Just a rope toy with nothing else is useful and long lasting. Many are available at local pet stores and online.
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What chews are good for an adult dog?
When it comes to older dogs the selection of chew toys for dogs can be much wider but there are also more dangers. Older dogs are stronger and they can soon destroy their toys. It takes only minutes for some dogs to pull all of the stuffing out of a soft toy whilst another dog might keep the same favorite one for years. The answer is again to supervise play and to know your own dog.
Rope toys as mentioned above are often favorites of older dogs and last for a long time. They give lots of enjoyment but maybe not a lot of chewing space. Hovewer, there are some other good options.
Option #1 – Kong
Kong again make a huge selection of toys that serve a dual purpose of exercising the teeth and giving lots of fun. The larger Kong toy filled with treats is a standby and even when the treats are gone will provide hours of chewing without falling apart. Their classic Kong comes in small, medium and large.
Whatever you put inside is up to you but some owners fill the inside and then seal with peanut butter and freeze it. The dog can then have lots of fun playing and licking as the peanut butter defrosts and they reach the extra treats inside. The rubber toy then retains it’s flavor and is used as a chew for may happy hours.
Kong also make a ‘stuff a ball’ which has cracks and crevices to fill with treats and they also make ‘Wubba’ Dog Chews that are encased in a strong canvas that covers a tennis ball and a squeaker. The tails attached make it easy to throw and the canvas preserves the chew ability.
When you buy from a reputable supplier like Kong, most toys will be safe but I would not buy squeaky toys at cut price sellers because it is so easy for the dog to take out the squeaker and swallow it.
The same advice would apply to toys like teddy bears with eyes. There are safety eyes and there are eyes with nasty pins that can be fatal if swallowed. Care must always be taken and again, play should be supervised, the toys checked and if damaged, thrown away.
Option #2 – Petstages
Petstages produce a slightly different way of exercising jaws and giving enjoyment as they make a tug toy with wooden acorns made from real wood. The acorns are quite large and as they are manufactured there is less danger than a dog picking up real sticks from the garden.
They also make chews that look like twigs that are very durable. These are non toxic and they float in water so for dogs that love to retrieve they are very popular.
This company also produce synthetic, blue toys called Orca that dogs seem to enjoy. They come as tires, Frisbees, a ball or a many sided jack that bounces in various directions. These again are very durable and very safe.
Option #3 – Nylabone
Nylabone provide flavored, strong bones for all sizes and some of them are really large to suit the biggest of breeds and the most determined of chewers. They come in exciting flavors, like turkey and bacon and are very much appreciated by older dogs. There is even a ‘ham steak’ and a ‘textured, chicken ring’.
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Option #4 – Antlers
These can often prove to be long lasting and useful chew toys for dogs. There is a natural flavor to them that the animals like and they usually last a long time and become firm favorites. They should be naturally shed antlers and they should be sterilized by the supplier.
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Option #5 – Bones
Lots of people give raw bones on which to chew and they can be useful but are very hard. They are too hard for a puppy’s teeth and older dogs should be checked as they can break a tooth as well. There are so many alternatives on the market nowadays that they are probably best avoided.
Dental chews aren’t the only way to keep your pup from getting bored. You can find a list of products in our article about interactive dog toys. Your pooch could be learning a few new tricks in no time!
Dental treats that clean your dog’s teeth
The best dental chews for your dog again is to buy the size that suits your pet. They are usually very popular with the animals and are made by many suppliers. The best known is probably Dentastix by Pedigree and these are made in the shape of an x which is said to help remove tartar build up from the teeth.
The dogs will certainly enjoy cleaning their teeth with these as opposed to a toothbrush. They are a very popular treat as well as a teeth cleaner. This brand is made from animal and vegetable derivatives with cereal and they are available in different sizes. There are other makes on the market and most of the local dog supermarkets have their own brand.
Another quite popular one of good quality is by High Life and these are made of rawhide flavored with spearmint. With rawhide products you should always check to see that the piece is not chewed down to the extent it could be a potential choke hazard.
Take away broken, sharp edged or small pieces of chew or toy and provide newer ones. These pieces do last for quite a long time with pups but disappear quickly when older dogs find them.
Dogs always seem to enjoy these sticks but too many, of course, can cause upset tummies. It is sensible to read all of the manufacturer’s instructions.
Overall there is a multitude of products from which to choose and your local pet supermarket or your general superstore will have most of them. Online Amazon are able to supply most makes worldwide and there are countless other internet suppliers.
It pays to be very selective and never buy when you are not sure of the maker. Safety is paramount with your precious pet. No loose parts, bells, none safety eyes or sharp edges and always renew the toy of chew when it is damaged or becomes very small. Supervise play at all times and when your pet is in a crate and you have to be away for a while do not leave anything that could be a potential hazard.
Do not buy thin plastic or rubber toys. Plastic breaks easily and the sharp pieces, if swallowed, can pierce internal organs. Thin pieces of rubber can also cause internal damage. Tennis balls are not a good idea as the pup usually rips up the furry part and then tears the rubbery inside. All of which can be eaten and cause problems.
If you want to save a bit of money, we have a great article on the kinds of dog toys you can make at home, for a fraction of the price of those in the store.
It sounds as if life is full of hazard and danger but it is as well to be aware of this before you purchase anything. Your pup will have endless hours of fun with the right chew toy or teething stick and keep him safe and happy at the same time.
Please buy carefully and read the manufacturer’s instructions and ingredients.
If you happen to have a dog that is blind or has difficulty with their sight, we have a great article about toys for blind dogs. There’s no reason they can’t have fun too!