The Best Toy For Your Chew-Happy Dog

You want your dog to be happy, or at least you want it to chew contentedly on a toy without annihilating it — because then it moves to the shoes. Here are some options for your personal Fido the Destroyer.

There is a lot of debate over what you can let your dog play with that isn’t a designated “toy”, but that’s because dogs are almost as varied in their taste and capabilities as humans. A post from omfgbecky on LifeProTips has gotten a very heated comment section after they suggested replacing tennis balls with racquet balls:

I have a Maltese that can devour a tennis ball in 5 minutes flat and a Duck Toller that likes to drop them in the water bowl. We switched to racquet balls a couple years ago and still have the original 3 we purchased. Their teeth can’t penetrate the material and they clean up and wipe off super easy. Plus they stay bouncy!

Reader, beware! A Maltese is tiny as heck. Duck Tollers are medium. If you have a big boy, a racquet ball could go down the hatch, as Irvingmike wrote:

Be careful with larger dogs, a friend of mine took a dog that they adopted two years prior into the vet for an x-ray. The x-ray happened to be in the area of the stomach looking at another issue. The x-ray showed a strange mass in her stomach. After removing the mass surgically, they are pretty sure it was a racquetball the dog swallowed before they adopted her. Everyone was shocked she could even have swallowed the ball, but there it was.

Here’s some chew toy suggestions for dogs of all sizes who make it their mission to grind everything that stays still long enough into tiny pieces.

Durability

Within the Reddit thread, there were a number of testimonies about dogs who destroyed everything from tennis balls to lacrosse balls, and ended up with pieces of them floating around in their guts. In some cases, they had to have invasive surgery.

Though sports balls are often used to entertain pets, that isn't really their purpose. It’s worthwhile to invest in dog toys that are built for dogs, even if they seem more expensive. They’re more likely to last and not involve a doctor bill — thus, they are cheaper over time.

Several people recommended Goughnuts, a company that advertises itself as being about safety first.

There are also Kong balls, which are extremely strong, and good for games of fetch.

Of course, some dogs chew because they want to break things apart, which might make these options less appealing, as perfectlycrispy added:

My pit shepherd mix destroys all his toys. Anything he can’t destroy is boring to him. I got him a Goughnut (lifetime warranty) and he is bored with it.

He ate a box of crayons once and had tie dye poo for a day.

Lovely. It’s tough to give dogs stuff to destroy that is not also dangerous for them to swallow, but in another thread about dog-chewers from 2015, waldo0 recommended this Pogo Plush toy, which allowed their pup to pull hard on the fleece, but didn’t break. Perhaps that provides a similar feeling of accomplishment? Unfortunately the Pogo Plush toy isn't currently available in Australia, but it gives you an idea of the sort of thing to look out for.

Materials

You’ll want something non-toxic, in case it does end up inside them. Hard rubber, like the Goughnuts, is best, according to Labrador Training HQ.

The next best choice is rope, which will last a long time. It can also help with those dogs that get bored with rubber toys, as long as you get up and play tug-o-war with them once in a while.

Rope toys make for fun interactive games. And they’re also good for cleaning teeth, are easy to wash (which you’ll want to do after they clean your dog’s mouth), and swallowing a few fibres will likely not be an issue. They’re pass right through.

What To Look Out For

Whenever you get your dog a new toy, be sure to observe them with it. If it seems as though pieces are disappearing or the toy is getting smaller every time it’s dropped at your feet, trash it: Your dog needs something stronger.

And for goodness’ sake, consider the size of the ball. They should not even be able to come close to swallowing it, no matter how big they are.


Comments

    Of course, some dogs chew because they want to break things apart, which might make these options less appealing, as perfectlycrispy added:

    This is the problem I have with my pair or Tenterfield Terrier/Maltese/shihtzu crosses. They love to "kill" a toy. So soft toys and rope toys are great for them. But the hard rubber ones don't hold their interest at all. I got a couple Kong and other similar toys and the dogs just ignore them. They have various dog toys all the time, but what I really want is about a three quarter size tennis ball. Regular ones are a touch too big but they love the fuzzy texture.

    Interestingly when it comes to rope toys opinions vary. My vet said to be very careful about the threads because they're usually indigestible and while one or two might "pass through" it's certainly possible that they'll consume too many and wind up with an obstruction. It's also important to make sure they don't wind up with fibres from the rope stuck in between their teeth as that can cause problems. So it's definitely important to keep an eye on how frayed the rope is.

    If you do go with rope toys it's worth considering a trip to Bunnings and buying a coil of rope and using it to make your own toys. It's possible to buy something like 10m of rope and make a dozen toys out of it for the same price as a single rope toy from the pet store. Just make sure the rope is non-toxic.

    My Staffies destroy pretty much everything and have a fetish for plastic. The longest lasting toy has been one of those red plastic cones like they use on the roads, and it works out much cheaper than the so-called tough toys that aren't.

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