This is my dog, Stevie.
A very good girl. (Pictured: The author’s dog, Stevie, a lab, boxer, pit bull mix.)
Credit: Dylan Haas / Mashable
She’s a lab, boxer, pit bull mix who likes cuddles, sleeping in, saying “hello” to strangers, and, probably more than anything else, chew toys.
To some, picking out a toy for a dog is a pretty low-effort task. It’s understandable. Who would want to scrutinize something that seems so mindless? Most people would pick something off the rack at Petco that squeaks and move on with their life.
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But, dear reader, I am one of those people. And by “those,” I mean “person who treats their pet as if it were their human child.”
Because I am this way, I get really particular about the stuff I buy my dog. I just want the best for her, you know? And that’s honestly good news for you, because this protective pet parent sourced and tested 10 diverse chew toys — from frisbees, to bones, and everything in between — and I’ve gathered my (and Stevie’s) definitive thoughts on each of them.
How did we test them?
Stevie and I started our review process knowing we’d give each toy a few weeks of testing. She played with each of the 10 toys for a short session each day over the course of the month, and I took careful note of how she interacted with them — and more importantly, if and when they started to deteriorate. With each one, I made sure to play both fetch and tug-of-war to test their durability and ease of use, but mostly I just let her gnaw away, seeing which ones could withstand her powerful jaws.
A lot of chew toys claim to be “indestructible,” which is really misleading.
Keep in mind, though, that dog breed, preference, and the type of chewer your pet will definitely have an impact on your final result. My dog happens to be an aggressive chewer, and she tends to rip her toys to shreds relatively quickly, but if one option didn’t work for her, that doesn’t mean it’ll be a bad fit for your dog.
Another note: A lot of chew toys claim to be “indestructible,” which is really misleading. No chew toy is truly indestructible, so you should always take special care to remove the toy from the lineup if pieces start to break off. Ingesting chew toy pieces is a hazard for all dogs, and you should generally supervise them during playtime to circumvent a possible choking risk or future digestive issues.
Rawhide: It’s a “no.”
One type of toy — or treat, I suppose — that I specifically left off of this list was anything made from rawhide, which is a widely used substance that comes from the inner layer of cow or horse hides.
Rawhide is super common in your classic dog bones (some are even flavored to make them more enticing to chew on), and it’s really easy to find in almost any pet supply store. The thing is, it’s actually really dangerous to let your dog play with rawhide.
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The biggest problem with these types of treats is that they can easily break off in large chunks and be ingested by your dog, proposing a high risk for those pieces to become stuck in their esophagus or digestive tract.
Depending on the size, a veterinarian may be able to remove rawhide pieces from your dog’s throat, but anything past that could require invasive surgery. If not resolved, it can kill your dog. So, you probably should stay away from it.
What chew toy should I get for my dog?
It’s important for dogs to have a trusty chew toy that they can always turn to, and it’s your duty as their owner to provide them with a good one. Chewing is a very natural behavior in all dogs, no matter their size or breed. Not only does chewing help reduce their stress and anxiety levels, but it can also be a helpful distraction from bad behaviors like barking and digging.
So, embrace your dog’s natural need to chew, and make sure to offer them the best toy for their personal play and chewing styles. Here’s what Stevie and I thought about the 10 chew toys we tested. Hopefully, it’ll give you some insight into how your dog might respond to them.