Chew Toys–Safe or Unsafe–You Decide

Is your dog a chewer

Our dog Baby Ruth, a min pin that had an extreme chewing problem

From the time a puppy develops teeth, they have a desire and also a need to chew. If you’ve ever had a puppy, you know they are avid chewers and if they don’t have the proper chew toys, they’ll begin chewing up other things like shoes, clothes, cords, and furniture.

There are many chew toys on the market as well as dog bones that manufacturers claim are safe for puppies and dogs. Some even state that they are edible. Can you really trust what you read on the package or is this simply a way for manufacturers to make another quick buck at you and your pup’s expense?

According to an article published at Christmastime by the AKC, American’s spend more money on their dog’s than they do their own kids! Obviously, people love their dogs and want the best for them. On the flip side, manufacturer’s and pet stores are hiking the prices up, but not always delivering the quality products pet owners think they’re getting.

Safe or Unsafe? Edible or Not? Let’s review what manufacturer’s say, versus what consumer’s say:

Nylabones

Manufacturer’s Say: These long-lasting, durable chew toys are designed for aggressive, powerful-chewing dogs, to help keep them busy and discourage destructive chewing.

Consumer’s Say: Although these are mostly good products that will last a long time, many of the bones develop sharp, painful edges that can be a danger to others (other pets and family members–specifically babies). Also, the ones with the plastic centers break apart and are not edible, so larger parts can cause a blockage in your dog’s intestines. BEWARE!

Hartz Chew and Clean:

Manufacturer’s Say: A chew toy and treat all in one. This safe and long-lasting chew has a durable nylon shell combined with tasty bacon flavored treats. Not only does this treat satisfy the natural desire to chew, it also gently massages your dog’s gums while helping to minimize plaque and tartar on his teeth.All 5 Star reviews on their manufacturer’s website, even vet recommended, one consumer states, but yet it has coloring added according to the other ingredients, listed below.

Consumer’s Say: I bought this because of all the favorable reviews. I saw that my dogs had chewed through the nylon, but I thought at the time that it was to be expected, just like with a Nylabone. I was surprised to see the large size of the pieces my dog just threw up 24+ hours after I took it away from her. I disagree with “The non-edible part doesn’t break off so no choking hazard”. I have uploaded pictures of this product with the pieces my dog just threw up. I am now concerned that there could be other pieces that could be causing a potentially fatal blockage.

Other Ingredients: Cornstarch, Sorbitol, Maltose. Rich Starch, Artificial Bacon Flavor, Color Added (Yellow #6) Sodium Hexametaphophate.

Kong Rubber Toys

Manufacturer’s Say: We are committed to quality. Everything we make is the absolute best it can be without any corners cut, ever. Safety is always at the top of our list. We would never make a bad decision for your best friend, period.

Consumer’s Say: I am a consumer of Kong. I have had some of the most powerful chewers as pets. Most of the Kong products I completely trust. Many are great and pretty much indestructible. Still, Kong products are not edible. So in light of this, there is one Kong product in particular I would not recommend–the red rubber bone. It has ridges all over and has holes at each end, which gives leeway for powerful chewers to chew chunks (large chunks!) off from the bone that can easily become lodged in your dog’s stomach.

Skinneeez Stuffing Free Dog Toys

Manufacturer’s Say: This unique, plush dog toy has no stuffing for your dog to pull out! Enjoy less mess on your floors with these super soft, flat friends. Extra-long, extra-floppy body is easy to grab, hold, and carry by almost any sized dog.

Consumer’s Say: Again, I am a consumer. This has been a favorite tug o war and fetch toy for my tea-cup Yorkie all the way to a rescue Border Collie we recently had. Although these toys are not stuffed, powerful chewers can rip and even shred them to pieces if left unattended. I only bring these out at certain times of the day for playtime. I do not recommend dog’s having these to chew on for extended periods of time.

Manufacturer Playtime Recommendations
We recommend that dogs be supervised when playing with all toys. Proper supervision can help prevent accidental swallowing of parts. All toys should be inspected periodically to ensure that parts have not been chewed loose. Do not permit your pet to continue playing with a broken or damaged toy. Remove all tags, stickers, and loose threads before you offer any toy to your pet.

Spinz 100% Edible Chew Toys for Dogs

Manufacturer’s Say: Swivel-style design gives these interactive dog chews a fling-able, twisting challenge your dog will love. Spinz 100% Edible Chew Toys for dogs feature two irregular-shaped legs that are joined in a swivel-like center. Go ahead and swing, fling, or launch them for your pet. Spinz Toys deliver a delicious treat that creates interesting motion to occupy and entertain your dog while also testing coordination and problem solving. Spinz provide a healthy challenge for both mind and body. Each is made with a gluten-free corn and potato starch base, with rich natural flavors and salmon oil. The hard, irregular outer textures help clean your dog’s teeth and added parsley helps freshen breath.

Consumer’s Say: The product is new on the market, so I could not find any reviews as of yet. But they seem to be made of better ingredients than the other chew toys. Still there is a caution to dog owner’s: With all edible treats, you should always monitor your dog’s chewing activity to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Do not leave your dog unattended while chewing, and plenty of drinking water should be available. Spinz is not intended to replace your animal’s daily diet. It is recommended not to exceed one Spinz per day.

Nylabone Healthy Edibles

Manufacturer’s Say: A great choice for your dog! Only the finest ingredients are used in these healthy chews. With no added plastic, sugar, salt or colors, you can feel good about serving these low-fat Nylabones. Bone-hard texture wears down slowly to aid in tartar and plaque control. Specified bones can be microwaved for under a minute to achieve a softer biscuit-like texture. Nutritious and delicious!

Consumer’s Say: 1) My dog loves these bones. He comes running when he sees me with one. They are a great price and I will be ordering them again. 2) My 8 lb dog can eat one of these in about 30 minutes. They are a fan favorite!!! We love them and unlike the long lasting, they do not stain the carpet. (There are many raving reviews on Amazon–both dogs and owners seem well pleased. This is one product I intend to try in the very near future).

Bottom Line: Treat your puppies and dogs like you do your own children. When buying or giving them any chew toy, read all ingredients, warnings, and supervise them just in case. It only takes one chunk or some balled up string of a toy to change you and your pets life forever. Chew toys are much safer when a pet owner is present!

We are free to do all things, but there are things which it is not wise to do. We are free to do all things, but not all things are for the common good. (I Corinthians 10:23 BBE)

Have a great week both you and your canine pal 🙂

Lisa Freeman is a an award-winning author, speaker, and AKC Evaluator, Certified Pet Therapist, and Dog Trainer who specializes in bullying behaviors and behavior modification with people and dogs. She works in rescue and recovery and is the Healing Projects Specialist for the Bully Police USA. She holds anti-bullying seminars in schools, churches, and work places. Contact Lisa

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