All dogs love to chew. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more orally fixated animal. Ranking second only to their hyper-acute sense of smell, a dog explores the world with their mouth. For canines, chewing is a source of stress relief, comfort, entertainment, and exercise—for the jawbones, at least. Chewing is also a form of mental stimulation akin to a human reading a book.
Overall, chewing is a satisfying experience for dogs that prevents problematic behaviours and promotes feelings of satisfaction and contentedness. Given all of the above, you can likely see why a chew toy is not a luxury item for a dog, but rather a necessity. If you have a pooch, you should get them something to occupy their mouth, stat. But what exactly should you consider when selecting a chew toy? Are some toys better than others?
The short answer is yes. Not all chew toys are created equal, and there is a checklist of criteria you should factor into your purchase(s). If you only take one piece of advice from this post, then resist the temptation to go for something cheap. This could cause more problems than a few extra dollars. Read on to learn how you can make chewing safe for your dog.
‘Chews’ something from the following criteria
Without further ado—or should we say ‘a-chew’? (No, perhaps save that pun for the posts about canine senses of smell)—here is a list of things to look out for when buying a chew (there we go!) toy for your pooch:
- Made from a safe, non-toxic material—Cheaper chew toys tend to be made from cheaper plastics, which can be toxic to dogs. Not only that, but these poorer-quality plastics tend to weaken and dislodge beneath a powerful set of canines. This means that, in a worst-case scenario, you may require some emergency surgery to remove any ingested fragments. We would hate for this to happen to your dog, so we recommend you purchase a chew toy made from a sturdy, non-toxic, food-grade material—such as plant-based rubber. This material is mouth-safe and substantially less likely to disintegrate—however, that doesn’t mean that it’s completely canine-proof. Whatever the purchase, you should always supervise your pooch as they play with their favourite toys.
- Chew-friendly, but not bite-sized—Intellectually, your dog is on par with a two- or three-year-old human. If you’re giving them a toy intended for humans, it follows that the toy should be suitable for children under three. In a way, this warning should go double for doggos, because they will be putting this toy in their mouth. Make sure the toy is a) large enough to prevent swallowing/choking hazards, b) not filled with anything dangerous to doggos, and c) not adorned with any toxic paints or small parts that could dislodge in a dog’s mouth.
- Easily washable—It’s better if the toy is easy enough to wash, in the interests of general hygiene. Getting grime out of every nook and cranny can be frustrating and time-consuming. However, it’s important to note that this is a ‘nice-to-have’ rather than an essential criterion. Dogs can enjoy the physical stimulation of textured toys, so sometimes the grease is worth the extra elbow grease. Use your judgement here.
- Flexible—You would think this would be a no-brainer, but chew toys need to be flexible enough to withstand a dog’s jaw. Give them something made from harder plastic and they risk breaking a tooth. So, do avoid the doggy dental bill and go with something firm yet flexible. We said it above, but it may bear repeating that we recommend a non-toxic, food-grade material like plant-based rubber.
Stylish Hound’s Hercules chew toys are so food-grade, you can actually stuff them with food.
You wouldn’t think that something as simple as choosing a chew toy could be such a delicate endeavour. As you can see, though, there are factors to consider, from material type to durability. If we had to give a recommendation, it would be the tug toys and Hercules chew toys from Stylish Hound. Not only are these toys high-quality and sustainably made, but they are made from the sort of material we recommend.
Stylish Hound’s tug toys.
Above all else, ensure that your furry friend can unleash their tensions on an outlet that is mouth-friendly and safe. Let’s do everything we can to make chewing safe for your dog. Say no to cheaper chew toys and spend the extra dollars for extra peace of mind. All of that aside, though, doesn’t your dog deserve the best? Of course, they do. So let’s choose wisely and get something top-dollar for your top dog—stat.