Chewing is a natural part of any dog’s personality regardless of his age or breed. Whether he’s exploring his environment, cleaning his teeth, or relieving stress, your pup needs to chew for several reasons. Because giving your canine companion plenty to gnaw on is so important, it makes sense to familiarize yourself with the options before you buy anything.
If you refuse to shop diligently you may end up sacrificing your personal belongings in exchange for responsible pet ownership. Worst case scenario: Your dog chews up something that makes him sick. A handful of chew toys is much less expensive than a trip to the vet. Provide your pup with top-of-the-line toys and you’ll both be happier for it.
Three Ways to Pick Out the Perfect Chew Toy
Well-managed chewing is actually beneficial to your dog’s physical and mental health. Unfortunately, there are a vast number of chew toys on today’s market, and that makes it hard to choose the right one. While no two dogs are the same, the following guidelines should help you figure out what toys to buy and what toys to avoid like the plague.
Determine your dog’s personality.
Before shopping for your dog’s next chew toy, don’t forget to consider his/her unique temperament. Some pups bite off chunks of their toys while others quickly destroy them. Your canine’s general disposition should determine what’s right for them.
Figure out what’s available for that kind of personality.
All dogs may go to Heaven but they’re not all created equally, and neither are chew toys. Once you determine your pup’s personality, look for toys that are designed for that type of dog. Dogs that chew their toys into tiny pieces tend to do well with tennis balls, rope, and stuffed or rubber toys. As for dogs that destroy their toys, it’s probably better to stick with rawhides, edible treats, and bully sticks.
Buy something worth your money.
Don’t waste your hard-earned cash on junk. Use the following buyer’s guide to find a chew toy worth its weight in dollars:
- Check the hardness with a quick fingernail test, looking for a slight “give.”
- Make sure the toy is durable so that it doesn’t come apart easily in your dog’s mouth and cause choking.
- Stay away from toys with flavor coatings, especially if your pup has a sensitive stomach.
- Ensure the size and shape are proportionate to your dog’s jaws.
- Try to find something that can be washed or sanitized periodically.
- Get a toy that your dog actually likes to play with or that shopping trip will be an exercise in futility.
Chew Toy Choices: The Top Five Best Picks
With all that said, it’s now time to hunt down the perfect chew toy for your good boy (or girl). Below are the top five products on today’s pet supply market. Each one has its own PROS and CONS, but overall the toys listed here are the cream of the canine crop.
The Classic Kong
Known for their high-end, durable dog toys, the Kong brand has been making pet-friendly products for several years. Their best-seller, the Classic Kong, is certainly a one-of-a-kind toy. Not only does this product come in a variety of sizes and strengths but it can also be filled with your pup’s favorite soft food. The maker even features a “stuffing recipe” section on their website that gives owners ideas on ways to make the Kong more appealing to their dog.
TIP: To help soothe tooth pain or elongate playtime, slip your Classic Kong into the freezer for 30-45 minutes.
Recipient of the 2017 Global Pet Expo “Best New Product” award, the Qwizl uses a state-of-the-art material that’s been patented by the innovative manufacturer, West Paw. It’s made from 100% recyclable products, contains zero latex, BPA, or phthalates, and can be stuffed with treats like bully sticks and small rawhides to prolong your dog’s pleasure. This puzzle-like plaything stimulates brain function, improves mood, and enhances the health of man’s best friend in a way that no other toy has done before.
TIP: Since the Qwizl is dishwasher safe, be sure to clean it often to prevent bacteria buildup.
Virbac C.E.T. VeggieDent Chews
Especially good for larger dogs and pups that like to destroy their toys, these VeggieDent Chews have an ideal density and texture. Plus, this chew toy has been clinically proven to assist with tartar control (there’s actually a VOHC Seal of Acceptance on the label). Most dogs enjoy pulverizing these edibles into oblivion, which makes their relatively low price quite the convenience.
TIP: Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews are a great alternative to VeggieDent Chews. They contain glucose oxidase which protects against disease-causing bacteria and enamel breakdown.
The Bumi Zogoflex Tug Toy
Even if chew time has to become a team sport, offering your dog plenty of options is vital. The Bumi Zogoflex is perfect for owner-pet games and pet-on-pet playtime. It’s completely non-toxic to humans and canines, 100% dishwasher safe, and although lightweight, surprisingly durable enough to withstand hours of tugging.
TIP: Be sure your dog’s teeth are strong enough to handle a rough game of tug-of-war.
Hailed as the world’s toughest dog toy, Tuffy brand dog toys come in a wide variety of intriguing shapes, sizes and styles. Perfect for idle chewing, tug-of-war or fetch, these toys are slightly more expensive than your run-of-the-mill dog toys but their durability typically makes up the difference.
TIP: Choose a Tuffy Toy using the guidelines listed above, with special considerations given to the toy’s size, shape, material and durability.
The Last Word
Man’s best friend deserves more than a cheap toy to chew on, especially since he usually freaks out as soon as you walk out the door. Instead of watching as your household items get destroyed by a pent-up pup, provide your dog with the best toys on the market. Improve his health and strengthen your relationship at the same time.