Choosing Chew-Friendly Toys for Your Dog

When your dog settles down with a chew toy, he’s not only exercising his jaws and cleaning his teeth—he’s getting a mental workout too. Supervised chew time will keep your pooch engaged, and it will help stop him from turning to less appealing objects (such as your TV remote) to satisfy his gnawing needs.

But with dozens of options in every toy aisle, picking the right chew toy can be overwhelming. The possibility that your dog will bite off and swallow pieces presents a real health concern. Furthermore, the dangers of the toxic chemicals that some toys are made of. In an industry not directly regulated by the government, it’s up to you to make the best choice for chew-friendly toys. Let the chomping begin!

The Plastic Problem

Many chew toys are made from polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC or vinyl—a cheaply manufactured rubbery plastic. While the texture may be ideal for chewing, what lurks inside is not: the chemicals that give this plastic it’s chewy quality are known as phthalates. The grinding, heat, and moisture associated with chewing breaks down the plastics, depositing phthalates into your dog’s body and increasing his risk of liver, kidney, and reproductive problems.

The Recommended Choice: Look for toys designated “phthalate free.” Planet Dog’s Orbee-Tuff RecycleBone is not only made without phthalates but also uses FDA-certified nontoxic dye.

For a super chewer who rips toys in minutes, try Honest Pet Products Eco-Fetcher . The dye-and chemical-free ultra durable hemp is soft enough for any dog but tough enough to take serious chomping.

Beware of Bones

Rawhides may seem like a natural choice, but don’t be fooled: this animal skin is often put through processing that involves dozens of chemicals, including bleach for color, before hitting stores. They can break into small pieces that are a choking hazard. Fresh bones from the butcher have drawbacks too—biting the hard exterior can crack teeth, and sucking marrow can cause pancreatitis.

The Recommended ChoiceTry Kong Classic – the nontoxic, natural-rubber cone has a hole for stuffing treats, food, or peanut butter. For more chewing time, add food and then freeze.

Fit to be Chewed

A too-small toy is too easy to choke on. Before you buy, look for sizing guidelines by weight on packaging.

The Recommended Choice: For an ultra durable option with three sizes, check out the nontoxic West Paw Design’s Jive Dog Ball.

Squeaky Toys

Take note of any toy that contains a “squeaker” buried in its center. Your dog may feel that he must find and destroy the source of the squeaking, and he could ingest it. Supervise your dog’s play with squeaky toys.

The Recommended Choice: Kyjen Invincibles has a line of products that are worth a woof. On the outside, they have reinforced, double-layered seams, and a super-tough exterior lining. On the inside, they’re stuffing-free. Each invincible dog toy contains anywhere from 2 to 6 of Kyjen’s patented squeakers — that continue to squeak even after being punctured!

For the more aggressive chewers like my pup, Rory – here are a few other recommended toys:


The Swedish company- Nina Ottosson has a line of unique wooden puzzles that operate on the principle that dogs actually enjoy working for their grub. Power chewers may also discover that brute force isn’t as effective as using noggin and nose.

Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug

While the rope itself won’t last long, the durable hard plastic dog toy itself will withstand the test of time. There’s hardly any way that a dog can sink his teeth into it, so it just keeps spinning across the floor and the dog keeps chasing it. The best part about this one is the ability to put dog treats inside!

StarMark Everlasting Treat Ball

This heavy-duty treat dispenser is made in the USA, composed of a Vinyl, Latex and phthalates- free material that’s dishwasher safe.

Does your dog love to chew? Share your recommended chew-friendly dog toys below!

Amy Johnson

is UDR’s budding social media guru, and has been instrumental in constructing the brand’s content strategy. After graduating from University of Colorado- Boulder, she started working for UDR as a marketing intern. When she isn’t perusing the web for the perfect pins and Facebook posts, she can be found hiking somewhere with her dog Rory.

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