13 Dog Chew Toys That Are Safe and Vet-Approved
Dogs love chewing. They just really, really love it. Chewing on stuff makes teething easier for puppies and keeps jaws strong for aging dogs. Canines also explore the world through sniffs, licks and nibbles, chewing their way to a better understanding of their surroundings. Chances are the first toy you bought Olly was a chew toy! News flash: Some are safer than others.
Unfortunately, many dog toys contain nasty toxins like arsenic, phthalates, lead, formaldehyde and more that can cause illness (womp womp). Checking the materials and manufacturing website can give you an idea of what’s in your dog’s toys. You can also browse this handy Archived Pet Supply Data list to see if Olly’s stuff has already been tested for harmful chemicals.
Another thing to consider is your dog’s size and chew style. First, any toy that can fit completely inside your dog’s mouth is off-limits (big choking hazard). Second, if your dog loves to rip soft things apart and eat the remains, steer clear of plush and rope options. Third, anything too hard may break your dog’s teeth, so opt for durable rubber that gives a little. Finally, the Humane Society strongly advises checking with a vet before giving your dog rawhide. Depending on the pup, rawhide can be dangerous.
To get you started, here is a list of items Olly will love—mostly because they are formulated by pet experts or have gotten the OK from veterinarians.
1. Kong Classic
Honestly, the Kong pretty much does it all, which is probably why it’s been a best-seller since the 1970s. This toy is made from strong rubber and comes in various sizes, depending on your dog’s needs. The goofy snowman shape makes playtime fun and chewing on it can relieve stress. Plus, you can fill it with treats and give their brain a puzzle to solve.
2. StarMark Bob-a-Lot
StarMark Training and Behavior Solutions develops dog products based on the preferences of the thousands of dogs its experts observe and train every year. This Bob-a-Lot treat dispenser is perfect for entertaining Olly and rewarding him with a snack. It’s made to be played with and chewed on while offering up some mental stimulation.
3. StarMark Chew Ball
For rough chewers in need of a treat dispenser that’s a little heavier duty, go for the StarMark Chew Ball. This one is dishwasher-safe and boasts its indestructibility right on the packaging.
4. West Paw Zogoflex Quizl Treat Dispenser
Introducing the Zogoflex Quizl, Best New Product winner at the 2017 Global Pet Expo! This toy is made for tough chewers and comes in several sizes and wild colors. The manufacturer, West Paw, makes eco-friendly dog toys (which is great, because dogs can go through them quickly) and is one of the founders of the Pet Sustainability Coalition, an organization dedicated to making the pet industry better for the planet, people and pets.
5. Kong Extreme Goodie Bone
In the market for something more…intense? The Kong Extreme Bone is made for hard core chewing—and lots of it. Part of the brand’s extreme line, this bone is super durable and cleans teeth while your dog plays. You can add treats to most Kong products, and this is no exception.
6. Nylabone Power Chew Dental Dinosaur
While this dino won’t dispense treats, it does taste like chicken. It also massages gums and cleans teeth as your dog chews (two things that are incredibly important to doggie health). Nylabone’s products are vet-recommended, so any chew toy from this brand will be a solid bet.
7. Leaps & Bounds Romp and Run Spiny Ring
According to Dr. Whitney Miller, director of veterinary medicine at Petco, this spiny ring supports healthy gums and is a great choice for dogs constantly on the prowl for a game of tug-of-war. Whether you give in and play is up to you.
8. Playology Dual Layer Bone
This bone activates your dog’s sense of smell as he chews. Scent options like chicken, beef and bacon last up to six months (even after washing). It’s meant to be treated roughly by dog jaws and is manufactured with animal-friendly materials.
9. Beco Pet Rubber Bone
Another rubber bone built to last, free of toxins and eco-friendly is the Beco Bone. This one is made from rice husk rubber (who knew?) and is vanilla scented. Chew away, Olly!
10. Preventive Vet Fetch Toy
Preventive Vet, a cohort of vets and animal specialists, developed the Best Fetch Toy. This sounds like a bold statement, but check it out because we’re convinced this is better than sliced bread. It floats (hello, dog beach), is light enough to throw but heavy enough to mimic a real stick, doesn’t splinter, is washable and is soft on teeth. Let your dog sit and chew or toss for interactive fun!
11. Leaps & Bounds Rope Tug
Rope toys can be tricky. Some dogs—especially chew maniacs—can rip them apart and ingest the fibers, causing upset stomachs and digestive issues. Avoid rope toys if Olly falls into this category. If ropes are good to go, Dr. Miller at Petco suggests this knotted toy due to its exceptional durability.
12. Leaps & Bounds Plush Donut Toy
Similar to rope toys, and as mentioned above, plush toys and stuffed animals aren’t great options if your dog shreds everything to pieces. You don’t want Olly eating this stuff, even if it’s eco-friendly material. But, if you’ve got a light chewer who wants something to snuggle with post-playtime, go for this sweet doughnut with internal squeakers, as recommended by Dr. Miller.
13. Tartar Shield Soft Rawhide Chews
Check in with your vet before buying rawhide, as it’s also not for all dogs. Banfield Pet Hospital states you must buy high-quality rawhide and monitor your dog while he’s chewing it. Rawhide tends to crack and can get lodged in throats or stomachs. If you want to try some for your pup, try Tartar Shield’s chews (be sure to purchase the right size for your dog!). This brand has earned a seal of approval from the Veterinary Oral Health Council for tartar control, which is a huge plus.