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Dog Toys for Tough Chewers
It seems like there are two types of super-destructive dog chewers. One type will nibble and tear at a toy until he shreds it to pieces (this is my dog), and the other will chomp down as hard as he can until the toy yeilds and shatters.
They both need the same types of toys, though: durable through the toughest of times.
I feel like we've tried most everything out there trying to find something that Prucha won't try to ingest. (For the record, we found out early that ropes and plushies don't do great with him, so most of these toys are neither of those things.) So here's a review of the toys that we've tried for my destructo-pup and why they've worked... or haven't.
Not processed, and nothing is slaughtered. Deers shed their antlers, hunters pick 'em up, and your dog chews on them! They have calcium and other great nutrients, and they seem to last forever. You can even find them for free if you hike in an area that deer frequent!
They naturally won't splinter or anything, but if you get the pre-cut kind, be careful about how your dog deals with the sharp corners on the edges. Otherwise, they're the perfect toy for a strong-jawed pup to exorcise some energy!
Also called: twizzles, bull chews.
Basically? I love 'em. They're much safer than rawhide (which causes blockages, often contains bleaching agents, and is unnecessarily processed), and they seem to last longer.
Bully sticks are dried bull penises (I know). I've never heard of a dog that didn't love them, and even though they're more expensive than other "disposable" toys (if you have a hardcore chewer, do not expect these to last long!), you can buy them in bulk for much cheaper.
While most Kong-brand toys are excellent for big-time chewers (we'll look at other toys Kong makes later), I wasn't overly thrilled with the Air Kong toy we got. But there's an important reason why:
Prucha likes to nibble and tear at toys, and since the Air Kong toys are like tennis balls, he tries to eat the fuzz off of them. This toy became a mommy- supervised- playtime- only toy very quickly. When I leave him alone with it, he tries to eat it, molecule by molecule!
Hurley and Huck Dog Toys
These have been spectacular, and I think they'd be perfect for both "categories" of destructive chewers. The company offers a lifetime guarantee that your dog won't destroy their toys, or your money back! Seems like it's worth the risk to me, as we've had these for months now, and they still look just like the day we got them.
The only (small) complaint I have is that they are heavy for rubber toys (no doubt part of the indestructible structure). I live in an apartment, so we don't let Prucha play with these at night because he drops them on the floor, and they're loud!
While Prucha has a regular red Kong, he loves his black Goodie Bone Kong toy, and if his chewing ever progresses, we'll switch to a regular "black Kong," too.
Kong has developed the greatest, simplest dog toy, and though I've heard of terrible chewers destroying a black Kong, I've never seen it myself. I say it's worth a try. They stand up to chewing and they're intellectually stimulating. I don't know what more you could ask from a dog toy, really.
I imagine these toys would work great for the chomper chewers -- the ones who bite down hard with big, indiscriminate bites.
But it didn't work for Prucha. He carefully ripped out the durable stitching on one of the claws (I imagine with one of his tiniest, most precise teeth) and pulled all the stuffing out of this toy. The rest of the toy was untouched, but we had to throw it out so he wouldn't ingest the stuffing.
Other than that, these seem durable to the dogs that just want to bite hard. And they squeak!
A great toy for playtime, but not something I'd leave with your dog for more than a few minutes. While we still use it, Prucha has chewed open the end of his Wubba so the edges of the canvas are frayed. We left him with it when we weren't supervising, and he found some way to undo some more tight stitching. Is someone teaching these dogs an anti-sewing class or something?
Nylabone is another great brand with a lot of good products for light- and heavy-chewers alike. You might want to opt for the edible brands if you have a chomping chewer because some of them can bite through even the toughest inedible Nyla. Prucha gets both edible and inedible because he doesn't destroy and ingest the edible ones. I would supervise the edible ones especially, though, because dogs can bite off chunks that are too big to digest and swallow them.
Another favorite amongst power-chewers is the Cuz balls. They're made of very thick rubber and have a squeak in them, and they seem to last forever.
Be warned, though, that some dogs seem to be intent on chewing the feet off of these toys. You don't want your dog to ingest that rubber, so some people just cut the feet off before they even give them to their dogs. They don't last as long this way, but it's much safer for your dog!
Made by Planet Dog, these balls are great. They come in all shapes and sizes, and there's not much for a dog to chew off or anything (especially on the smooth ones).
Keep in mind that this will stand up to your chewer because there's not much they can chew on (or chew off...), so it won't allow them to exorcise their need to chew. It'll last forever and is a great toy to play with that you don't have to worry about, but if you gave your chewer only these toys, you'd probably end up with a chewed-up shoe or two.
These tough canvas tug toys are durable and great if your dog's jaws seem to tear through average ropes or other toys like that.
I wouldn't get these for Prucha, though, because I know the outcome would be similar to that of the Tuffies toys. For dogs that nibble and nibble until they can finally ingest parts of the toys, these are a supervision-only toy. But for a dog who just has super strong jaws, these are sure to last though plenty of games of tug.
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A Few More...
Here are some great tips from other owners of destructive-chewer dogs that I haven't tried myself but sound great!
- Frozen marrow bones (from your local butcher) and knuckle bones will tire out any destructo-dog. Just make sure you're not feeding weight-bearing bones, which are too hard for most dogs' teeth.
- In the summer, stick a tennis ball or some treats into a water-filled tupperware container. Freeze, punch out the frozen block, and let the dog go at it! (Obviously this is an outdoor activity.)
As I try more products, I'll keep reviewing them here. Have any product you love that you think I should try? Anything you've tried and recommend I avoid at all costs? Leave a comment and let everyone know!