Dogs, like many other animals, sense and feel the world around them through their nose and mouth, and chewing is an intrinsic part of this behaviour. There are many reasons why dogs chew, ranging from the fact that it simply feels great to more serious behavioural or health issues that need to be checked out.
Of course, chewing can become an issue for us humans when it becomes constant or destructive. While this is natural to some degree, it’s best not to let destructive chewing go uninvestigated.
There are several reasons why dogs chew, whether they are a puppy or fully grown adult. This article will review our collection of the best chew toys for dogs, discuss the reasons why dogs chew, consider the types and sizes of chewing toys and explore some other alternatives to this chewing behaviour.
- Best Chew Toys for Dogs – Our Top 8
- 1. 🏆 KONG Classic Medium Dog Toy
- 2. Benebone Real Flavor Wishbone Dog Chew Toy
- 3. Pacific Pups Products
- 4. Pet Qwerks Bacon Bone
- 5. Nylabone – Dog Chew Toy for Extreme Chewers
- 6. KONG – Tires – Durable Rubber Chew Toy and Treat Dispenser
- 7. Nylabone Stuffable Rubber Cone Dog Chew Toy
- 8. SHARLOVY Dog Chew Toys for Puppies Teething
- Why Do Dogs Chew?
- Why Use a Chew Toy?
- What to Look for in a Chew Toy?
- The 4 Main Types of Chew
- When Chewing Becomes Too Destructive
Best Chew Toys for Dogs – Our Top 8
1. 🏆 KONG Classic Medium Dog Toy
Their toys come in 6 different sizes ranging from XS to XXL, meaning that no matter what dog you have, Kong have you covered.
This is one of their classic toy’s, and it rates as one of the world’s best selling dog chews/toys.
Typically coming in a pack of two, these toys are incredibly durable catering to even the most vigorous chewers and feature an aspherical design that makes them fun for games of fetch or chase.
Lastly, the trademark of these toys is that they can be filled with treats. This augments their fun factor and helps train dogs to go for the chew rather than other objects.
- All dog breeds and sizes
- Filling with food and treats
- Catch, chase and fetch
2. Benebone Real Flavor Wishbone Dog Chew Toy
Owners can pick between peanut, chicken and bacon, all of which are flavoured throughout the chew. These chews are hard, so they’re only suitable for dogs that are sure to have hard teeth, and that doesn’t include all breeds, so you’ll have to check first.
If your dog does meet the profile of an aggressive chewer with super-hard teeth, then you’re onto a winner with this. It’s available in several sizes for all sized dogs, and the wishbone shape helps dogs to grip it for extensive chews.
Like any hard chew toy, you must check the Benebone Wishbone for wear and sharp edges. File down any particularly rough areas and replace when necessary. Do not let your dog chew a cracked or otherwise broken toy.
- Strong chewers with strong teeth
- Dogs that love hard toys with added flavours
- Adult dogs that do not chew for very long periods (as the toy is quite hard)
3. Pacific Pups Products
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This super-high-quality chew set comes with 11 fabric-based toys that cover the full spectrum from chewing to play, chasing and teething.
Each fabric toy is made from plastic-free harmless material that does not break easily. These products suit all dogs including aggressive chewers, some toys are too small for especially large dogs, but there’s something for every breed in there, and between every included toy, you’re unlikely to run out of options quickly!
These variety packs are excellent value. Toys designed for dental flossing and tooth care combine with toys designed for play, fetch and catch or teething to make this set a proper ace-of-spades for dog owners looking to fill their toy cupboard to the brim with quality toys that are high-quality, safe and long-lasting.
- All dogs – there are both large and small toys
- Teething puppies and adolescent dogs
- Dogs that are fussy and like selections of different toys
4. Pet Qwerks Bacon Bone
|Pet Qwerks Dinosaur BarkBone with Real Bacon Dog Chew Toy for Aggressive Chewers, Made in USA||Buy on Amazon|
Made from super-tough dog-safe nylon and infused with either bacon or steak flavour, this bone suits aggressive chewers that enjoy tough chewable objects. Of course, that doesn’t suit every dog, and those with weaker teeth and jaws should avoid this toy.
If in doubt, ask a dog specialist or vet for advice. This bone comes in 4 sizes from L to XXXL that suits dogs up to over 70lbs (30kg) in weight!
The classic nylon feel of this bone massages gums and helps keep teeth in good condition, so long as you know your dog is a fan of tough and chewable items and can hack the hardness.
This exceptionally well-designed chew is designed to remain smooth and not develop sharp edges over time. Still, like with any toy, you will have to check it periodically to make sure it remains in good condition.
- Strong and aggressive chewers
- Dogs who love an extensive chew on a hard bone
- Large dogs over 70lbs (30kg) (for the XXXL bone)
5. Nylabone – Dog Chew Toy for Extreme Chewers
|Nylabone Extreme Tough Dog Chew Toy Bone, Durable, Cleans Teeth, Beef Jerky Flavour, Medium, for...||Buy on Amazon|
This is a no-frills high-quality chew bone for strong chewers, it’s built to last and is hard, so is only suitable for younger dogs and dogs with particularly strong teeth and jaws. This bone is well-designed to massage the gums and comes in 5 sizes for dogs weighing up to 23kg or higher.
Like many modern nylon bones, this chewable is designed to remain smooth without sharp edges or splinters. That said like with any chew toy; you’ll have to inspect it periodically as it cannot last forever. These bones are cost-effective, too, so replacement is not an issue.
- Strong chewers up to 23kg in weight or above
- Fans of beef flavours
- Dogs with strong jaws and teeth
6. KONG – Tires – Durable Rubber Chew Toy and Treat Dispenser
|KONG - Tires - Durable Rubber Chew Toy and Treat Dispenser for Power Chewers - For Medium/Large Dogs||5,615 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
Here’s a cool and original looking chew toy, the Tire from KONG. This is a simple chew toy that is made from natural, durable rubber. It’s a fun shape that can be thrown for play or gripped for games of tug-of-war.
The interior hole makes it an ideal shape for filling up with treats; this is a super-fun toy that suits the majority of dogs of all ages, breeds and sizes.
Like other rubber chew toys, this will last an extremely long period and is nearly indestructible and very safe. It’s a flexible toy for teeth, fun and chewing for long periods. Rubber toys may not have the same effect of massaging the gums of harder chewers, but they’re a jack-of-all-trades that is more-than-worthy of any dog’s toy lineup.
- Dogs of almost any size or variety
- Fun and teething
- Near-endless soft chewing
7. Nylabone Stuffable Rubber Cone Dog Chew Toy
|Nylabone Rubber Cone Dog Chew Toy, Bacon Flavour, Stuff with Treats, Peanut Butter and Food, Small,...||Buy on Amazon|
Here we have another highly-popular and sought after stuffable dog toy from Nylabone. Made from colourful rubber, this intelligent chew toy covers the full spectrum; it’s ideal for treats, chewing and play.
This can be stuffed with your dog’s favourite treats such as peanut butter, cheese spread, fruit or kibble. Your dog will love the challenge of retrieving the treat from within the toy!
This chew comes in 3 sizes, S, M and L, suiting dogs up to weights of 23kg and higher.
Raised nubs on the surface of the chew help massage gums and aid teething issues while the shape of the toy suits dogs with both smaller or larger jaws of all shapes, whether short and stout or long and thin.
8. SHARLOVY Dog Chew Toys for Puppies Teething
There’s something here to suit any dog, provided it is either a small puppy or small dog – these toys are generally not suitable for larger more aggressive chewers, and some of the toys are small enough to be swallowed by larger dogs.
For teeth puppies, this set is excellent, though, and the diverse selection covers every base. You have cord and rope toys for play, rubber toys you can fill with treats and play chase or fetch with and toys that can be easily gripped between the paws.
These toys are designed for safety, not for aggressive chewing and durability, so they won’t last forever. However, that does mean they pose little risk to dogs and their teeth.
- Puppies and small dogs
- Dogs that can’t decide on one toy or like a selection
- Dogs with weaker teeth or softer jaws
Why Do Dogs Chew?
Before we continue, let’s take a closer look at the various reasons why dogs chew.
For Fun and Curiosity
Even in the presence or absence of other causes, dogs will always chew for fun and curiosity. It helps them sense the form and taste of objects, learning about their characteristics while playing.
There needn’t be any other reason for chewing other than this, and in most cases, chewing is a natural and healthy behaviour that shouldn’t be punished or challenged.
To Alleviate Stress and Anxiety
Humans should be able to relate. Not only do we chew our own nails, hair or things we have in our hands like pens and pencils, we also scratch ourselves to alleviate itches, wriggle when we should be sitting still and fidget when we’re nervous or bored.
Many of these activities fall under the same behavioural categories and have similar motivations; they’re responses to anxiety, tension, boredom and nervousness.
Dogs may chew particularly severely when they’re alone or separated from their owner, when they’re around lots of new people or when they’re hungry, cold or otherwise unhappy. Chewing in these circumstances occupies your dog to take its mind of negative emotion, it’s very similar to why we engage in the same habits.
Chewing is only more destructive because a dog’s jaw is strong and its teeth sharp, but still, humans can bite the skin off their fingertips, pull their hair out and destroy stationary – we’re not so different!
To Receive Attention
If we tell our dog off for chewing without providing an alternative, then it’ll create negative reinforcement around the activity that may lead to increased chewing.
A dog will learn that this guarantees a reaction from the owner and may be drawn into feeding the habit rather than resisting it. You should never tell a dog off for chewing without being able to substitute the urge with a chew toy.
Poor Diet or Malnutrition
If a dog is not consuming enough macro or micronutrients through its regular diet, it may resort to chewing. Dogs in this scenario may also turn to chew and bite on stones, dirt or sticks with the aim to swallow them rather than just chew.
This can be a sign that your dog is craving food and is not being fed enough, at the right times, or the right foodstuffs for its breed, size, health and age.
To Relieve Teething Pain
Teething human babies behave exactly like teething puppies and adolescent dogs; they salivate a lot while craving something to bite on and chew to relieve the pains of teething and take their mind off the unpleasant sensations.
By compressing the jaw, dogs effectively divert their attention from jaw aches. This may also apply when a dog has a jaw injury or infection, so increased chewing should prompt you to take a look at your dog’s teeth to check for any immediately apparent problems.
Why Use a Chew Toy?
Chew toys have the immediate advantage of deflecting your dog’s attention away from inanimate objects around your home.
They’re also purpose-made for dogs, so won’t break easily, are safe and non-toxic and are shaped in such a way to avoid causing harm while maximising fun and satisfaction.
What to Look for in a Chew Toy?
Not all chew toys are built the same; they vary based on size, shape, material, quality and purpose.
Some chew toys are softer and designed for short bursts of play whereas others are much more durable, designed to keep a dog occupied while you’re out.
Chew toys may also vary based on your dog’s age; older dogs may have stronger jaws but also a diminished urge to chew.
The 4 Main Types of Chew
You could divide chews and chew toys into four broad categories. Within each, the toys will primarily vary based on the size of your dog.
Softer toys aren’t particularly durable, but they are fun to play with and typically take the form of plush animals, funny shapes and novel themed foam-filled toys.
Soft toys are designed to be played with, e.g. by wrestling them with your dog; they’re not intended for intense chewing or teething. Soft toys should be able to withstand some wear and tear, but extensive chewing might break the seams, and the interior may be filled with piling or filling that can get down your dog’s airway if left unattended.
Make sure you do not leave these out when you’re not around your dog for long periods.
Edible chews aren’t toys as such; they’re made from natural materials that can be eaten. They aid in chewing while also providing a nutritious and tasty treat to a dog.
Bully sticks are an example of edible chew made from hardened beef muscle, as are trachea and protein bars. Not all natural chews are edible, rawhide, for example, is non-digestible and can get lodged in a dog’s throat or stomach.
Rubber / Synthetic Chews
Natural or synthetic rubber is virtually indestructible, non-toxic and won’t break down naturally over time. Thus, it makes an excellent long-term chewable for dogs of pretty much any size and breed.
Rubber chews come in all shapes and sizes ranging from larger chews that are physically impossible to chew to smaller bone-shaped chews. You can also find fillable chews that you can add peanut butter or cheese to, your dog will lick and chew the toy to get the food inside.
Fabric and cord chews are cheap, strong, safe and fun to play with. They are great for a game of tug-of-war, a firm canine favourite, but they’re also pretty useful for serious chewing and come with multiple sections and textures to keep dog’s occupied. They’re also long enough so your dog can pin them to the ground to chew them properly.
When Chewing Becomes Too Destructive
Chewing for puppies and adolescent dogs may be full-on and very difficult to stop. You might find it very hard to avert your gaze even from your dog for just a few minutes, as soon as you then go to check on your dog it’s jumped up on a sofa or table and is chewing the living daylights out of anything it can get its paws on!
As mentioned, this is mostly healthy and necessary behaviour. After all, a young dog is mainly untrained and prone to disobedience. Over time, you’ll be able to train your dog out of destructive chewing if he or she doesn’t grow out of it, but at the start, you need to remain patient and calm with your dog’s chewing.
1) Dog-proof Your House
Puppies need to be continuously supervised unless they’re in a play area or pen. Still, larger breeds will quickly outgrow any confined space, and then, you’ll have let them a bit more loose so they can get some exercise and burn energy.
Dog-proofing your house is pretty crucial here, virtually every breed will undergo a period of chewing, licking and sniffing around and almost nothing is safe! Obvious dangers are electrical wires, sharp objects and swallowable items, all of which should be removed from the vicinity.
2) Avert and Direct Your Dogs Attention
You must try and avert your dog’s attention away from items you don’t want them to chew and towards their chew toys.
To do this, you’ll need a chew toy they enjoy. You might have to go through loads of chew toys before your dog picks a favourite, some are much pickier than others.
Once you’ve found a toy they like, directing their attention towards it by dangling or throwing it should be reasonably straightforward. Toys that taste good or can be filled with food are great to avert your dog’s attention during a particularly relentless episode of chewing.
Once your dog begins to go to the toy without too many encouragements successfully, you can reward them for doing so.
Conversely, this is when you can use some obedience training for when your dog returns to chewing objects they shouldn’t. Calmly but firmly tell them ‘no’ before returning them to their toy, reward the behaviour positively to reinforce.
3) Check their Health
Particularly aggressive chewing might be indicative of a gum injury or infection or other psychological and behavioural issues that require professional attention.
You can check your dog’s teeth, gums and jaw yourself for any noticeable swelling or wounds. Consider your dog’s diet also to make sure they are being fed appropriately.
There are dog chews for all here. No matter the size, shape, breed or personality of your dog, with some effort on your part, you can make chewing safe and fun for them while keeping your shoes, socks, furnishings and other household ornaments free from savagery!
Plush toys, squeaky toys or even a faithful tennis ball can keep your dog entertained for hours.
Remember, chewing is natural for dogs and no matter their age, some chewing will always be necessary to maintain gum and teeth health.
That said, aggressive or relentless chewing can be a sign that you need to intervene and check your dog’s health. The absolute worst thing you can do is punish your dog unnecessarily for chewing without providing them with an alternative. Love your dog and respect their need to chew!