Dogs will always be dogs, and they will chew whatever they want to chew! Chewing is part of being a dog, especially when they are puppies. Dogs usually chew on things when they are bored. In fact, dogs are willing to put their paws and sink their teeth into anything they see!

Be mindful though, there have been many instances where dogs get poisoned, shocked, or injured by chewing on things they are not supposed to. Some items are too sharp that can cause gum injury or small items that may be a choking hazard. You need to keep an eye on those as choking from toys has been a common cause of death for dogs, usually in small dog breeds and young pups. This is exactly why giving them proper toys to play with is vital for their health and well-being. 

We all love our dogs, and we always want the best for them, don’t we? So next time you go shopping or when looking for safe dog chew toys online keep the following things in mind.

Entertainment Value

First and foremost, you should check whether your dog likes the toy or not. The toy should be able to distract and entertain your dog for hours long. Buying one that they do not like defeats its purpose as your dog would resort to chewing other things (maybe your expensive leather shoe) than the toy you purchased for them. Often, dogs love toys that squeak a little or are very squishy when bitten. Although dogs are essentially colorblind, they can recognize shades don’t disregard the color of the toy altogether. Bright colors such as pink or yellow are very attractive to dogs and they usually get their attention.

Material

When choosing for the perfect chew toy for your furry animal, you should also check what material the toy is made. Avoid toys made out of easily degradable materials such as pigskin or feathers as these can contain bacteria that can harm your dog’s health. You should avoid buying toys that have artificial flavoring and fragrance as these may upset the stomach of your dog.

Make sure it also does not contain toxic chemicals such as lead, which may cause severe medical effects such as seizures, balding, or even death. Before buying the toy, check the label of the product. Safe chew toys for dogs should openly disclose what the toy is made of.

Size and Shape

If you have a big dog such as a German Shepherd, avoid giving them small toys as they may get lodged in their esophagus and become choking hazards. Meanwhile, for small dog breeds, avoid handing toys that are too big as these can strain or damage their jaws. In fact, one common condition in dogs is the inflammation of the jaw muscle due to improper chewing or masticatory muscle myositis. So, when looking for toys, you should consider the relative size of the toy compared to your dog’s size. Feel the toy with your fingers to ensure there are no sharp edges that may cause gum injury.

Hardness

You would not want your dog’s teeth to break, do you? Some toys are too hard for your dog to chew. These can potentially harm their dental health and may cause their teeth to chip. To check whether its hardness can injure your dog, do the thumbnail test by pressing the tip of your thumbnail to the toy. A good chew toy should allow your thumbnail to sink every so slightly. Toys that are too hard, on the other hand,  have not give.

Washability

According to veterinarians, 1 in 2 dogs usually contracts bacterial infection or campylobacteriosis. Dog toys need to be regularly disinfected as they can be a breeding ground for bacteria and germs. Good chew toys should ideally be easy to wash with dishwashing soap or by just putting it in the dishwasher.

What should not be used as a chew toy?

In the absence of a chew toy, pet owners usually give their dogs DIY toys to play with. Here are some of the things you SHOULD NOT give them:

  • Raw Pig’s ears: While they can be satisfying chew toys for your dog, pig’s ears can be harmful as they often contain bacteria and fungi which may upset your dog’s stomach.
  • Bones: Contrary to common knowledge, bones are actually bad for your dog’s health. Bones break down into small fragments that may tear your dog’s esophagus or mouth.
  • Wood or sticks: If swallowed by dogs, wood can cause intestinal blockage. Stray wood can also cause oral infection as they often contain hidden fungi and bacteria.

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