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Chew Toys for Dogs

Updated on February 11, 2018
Teeuwynn Woodruff profile image

Teeuwynn has owned dogs her whole life. She has enjoyed the companionship of everything from Pugs to Newfoundlands.

Lots to Chew On

When it comes to chew toys, you're faced with a lot of options. Some toys work better for some dogs than others. Do you have a delicate nibbler or an enthusiastic chomper? You'll probably need a different chew toy solution for each.

Keep in mind to never give your dog a chew toy small enough for her to swallow or with small pieces that break off and aren't meant to be swallowed by a dog.

Keep reading to learn about many types of chew toys for dogs.

Give a Dog a Bone?



These are actual bones, not bone-shaped toys. (We'll talk about those below.)

  • Cooked Bones: You should not give your dog a cooked bone. The FDA issued a consumer update in 2010 warning of the dangers of cooked bones including bones splintering in your dog's mouth, broken teeth, and intestinal blockage.

  • Raw Bones: Some people give their dogs raw bones. Raw bones are more flexible and less likely to splinter than cooked bones. Dogs chew up and eat some bones such as chicken wings or turkey necks. Bigger bones such as femurs don't chew up easily, but some dogs enjoy gnawing on them. Some vets still discourage the use of raw bones as chews.

If you do choose to give your dog raw bones only give fresh ones. Also, only do so while you watch. Bones can still get caught in your dog's throat or cause an obstruction and if you have more than one dog around they could also cause a jealous fight.

Bully Sticks

These natural creations are actually made from the dried pizzle of a bull. A pizzle is the bull's penis. Yeah, it sounds a little gross, but dogs love them. For most dogs, a bully stick will last a long time and they will get a lot of good chew out of it. Bully sticks can start to get a little smelly so try to purchase ones that say they're low odor. You might want to go the organic route as well to avoid putting extra chemicals in your dog's diet.

Although, as always, you have to keep an eye on your pup's toys, a bully stick does not have any pieces that might splinter in the dog's mouth. It is possible for the dog to chew off a piece and get it caught in his mouth, though.

Corn Starch Chews

These chew toys are made of compacted starch. They often come in the shape of a bone, but you can find them in many shapes. Corn starch toys take a while to break down, but a vigorous chewer can get the job done pretty quickly. Although corn starch is natural, it can take a while for your dog to digest it causing stomach upset. Dogs can also break teeth chewing these toys. Personally, I wouldn't recommend a corn starch chew as a good chew toy option.

Cotton Rope Knots

Cotton rope knots are a classic doggy chew toy. They are made, like most rope, from long cotton fibers. These ropes have built in knots for your dog to chew and tug on. If the cotton strands break they can catch in your dogs intestines, but they are designed to be broken down in your pup's gut.

Cotton rope knots are good toys for helping to keep your dog's teeth clean. When your pup chews on the rope it slides a bit through the teeth with a dental floss effect.

Kong Chews

Kong is a specific brand of chew toy that specializes in creating very tough toys that are almost indestructible. They are made of a natural rubber compound. A Kong is hollow inside and you can slip treats within this hollow area to make the toy even more exciting to chew on. Many dogs will spend a lot of time trying to chew and lick treats out of a Kong.

Unlike many chew toys, Kong toys are designed to be tough enough to leave with your pet when you aren't around. Although Kong now makes chews for smaller dogs, their tough toys are particularly good for large dogs or to leave with dogs who get bored easily at home or anxious while you're away.

Happy Dog with a Kong

Dog Chews

Which chew toy does your dog prefer?

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Nylabone is a company that makes several types of chew toy for dogs. Their classic product is made of a tough plastic or rubber. Many nylabones have textured bumps around them to massage the dog's teeth and gums. Nylabones are washable. The company recommends you replace your pup's Nylabone once the ends are worn down.

Kong Cozie Plushies


Plushies are made of fabric or wool. They are often made to look like stuffed animals – but ones made tougher for dogs. Doggy plushies shouldn't have buttons for eyes or other bits a dog could easily bite off and swallow. Kong's Cozies line makes some good plushies for dogs. Plushies are best for mild to moderate chewers used under supervision.

Don't leave your dog alone with his plushie. Although he may love it, it could become dangerous if the dog manages to tear it apart. When the plushie does tear you need to throw it away. You also may want to put your dog's plushie through the wash regularly if you don't want it to smell.


Rawhyde chews are made from the inside lining of cow or horse hides. Most rawhyde chew toys are shaped into knotted bones or twisted sticks, but rawhyde can be pressed into many forms. Companies also flavor rawhyde.

An aggressive chewer can get through a rawhyde bone fairly quickly – although the size of the bone and how hard it was compressed during creation make a difference. Chunks of rawhyde can break off. If they do, they can be dangerous, even causing intestinal blockage. Dogs should only chew on rawhyde while supervised. Rawhyde can also be treated with chemicals you might decide you don't want your pup ingesting.

Chewing on a Chicken


These dog toys are made from polyvinyl chloride – vinyl. They come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Some are hollow inside while others contain squeakers or other noise makers.

Vinyl cannot generally make it through a lot of strong chewing. These toys do not last as long as some of the other toys on this list if you have a dog who likes to chew hard. Vinyl toys can come apart and dogs could swallow pieces of the vinyl or any squeakers inside so these chew toys should only be used under supervision. Some people worry that vinyl, a man-made substance, isn't healthy for dogs.

Still, a lot of dogs enjoy playing with vinyl toys, chewing and squeaking away at them. But make sure if your dog plays with vinyl toys she does so safely.

Chew On This

There are many different types and brands of chew toy on the market today. Use this list to help you pick the ones that are best for your dog and, in most cases, supervise your pup while he's playing.

© 2014 Teeuwynn Woodruff


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