Chew This, Not That: A Guide to Safe Chew Toys for Your Furry Friend

The Importance of Chew Toys for Dogs

Are Your Dogs Chew Toys Safe?

Dogs love to chew, and it’s a natural behavior for them. Chewing helps to relieve stress and boredom, exercise their jaws, keep their teeth clean and healthy, and even alleviate teething pain in puppies.

In the wild, dogs would chew on bones, sticks, or other objects they found while hunting or scavenging. However, in our modern domesticated society, dogs no longer have access to those natural sources of chewing stimulation.

This is where chew toys come into play. Chew toys provide a safe and appropriate outlet for your dog’s chewing needs.

They can help prevent destructive behaviors such as chewing on shoes or furniture and redirect your dog’s energy towards a positive activity. In addition to providing mental stimulation and physical exercise for your dog, chew toys also promote dental health by scraping off plaque and tartar from their teeth.

Concerns About the Safety of Some Chew Toys

As much as we love our furry friends, we have to admit that they aren’t always the best judges of what’s safe to put in their mouths. As responsible pet owners, it’s up to us to ensure that the toys we give our dogs are not only fun but also safe. Unfortunately, not all chew toys are created equal.

Some may contain harmful chemicals or materials that can be dangerous if ingested or cause allergic reactions in some dogs. Others may pose a choking hazard if they break apart too easily or have small parts that can be swallowed.

It’s important to note that just because a toy is marketed as “all-natural” or “organic” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe for your dog. Always read the label carefully and look out for any warning signs such as choking hazards or toxic ingredients.

Overall, while chew toys offer many benefits for our furry companions’ physical and mental health needs; there are concerns as to whether they are safe for usage. It’s up to us, as responsible pet owners, to choose chew toys that will promote our dog’s health and well-being while also ensuring their safety.

Types of Chew Toys

Dogs have a natural instinct to chew, and providing them with safe chew toys can help satisfy that urge while also promoting good dental health and preventing destructive chewing behavior. However, not all chew toys are created equal. In this section, we’ll explore the different types of chew toys available for dogs and their potential benefits and drawbacks.

Rubber and Plastic Toys

Rubber and plastic toys are popular choices for many dog owners because they are durable, easy to clean, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some rubber toys even have hollow areas that can be filled with treats to provide extra stimulation for your dog.

However, not all rubber or plastic toys are created equal. Many contain potentially harmful chemicals like BPA or phthalates that could be ingested by your dog over time.

When choosing rubber or plastic chew toys for your dog, look for products that are labeled as non-toxic or made from food-grade materials. Avoid products with any strong chemical odors or those that appear to be easily torn apart by your dog’s chewing.

Rawhide Chews

Rawhide chews are a popular option for many dog owners because they provide dogs with something to gnaw on for extended periods of time. These chews are typically made from dried cow hides cut into various shapes like bones or twists. However, rawhide chews have been associated with a number of health risks in dogs.

They can cause choking if swallowed whole or blockages in the digestive tract if broken off into smaller pieces. Additionally, rawhide chews have been known to contain trace amounts of toxic chemicals like formaldehyde that can be harmful if ingested over time.

If you choose to give your dog rawhide chews, make sure to supervise them closely and avoid giving them small pieces that could be swallowed whole. Also, look for products that are made in the USA or other countries with strict quality control measures.

Bones and Antlers

Bones and antlers are another popular choice for dog owners looking for long-lasting chew toys. These items can come from a variety of animals, including beef, pork, deer, and elk. They are typically dried or smoked to make them more appealing to dogs.

While bones and antlers can provide a satisfying chewing experience for dogs, they also pose several risks. Small pieces can break off and become lodged in your dog’s throat or digestive tract, causing choking or blockages.

Additionally, these items can cause dental damage if your dog chews too aggressively or if the item is too hard. If you choose to give your dog bones or antlers as chew toys, make sure they are large enough to prevent swallowing whole and that they are properly sanitized to prevent bacteria growth.

Edible Chews

Edible chews like pig ears, bully sticks, and dental chews have become increasingly popular in recent years as an alternative to rawhide chews. These treats are typically made from animal parts like ears or hooves that have been dried or cooked. While edible chews may be more digestible than rawhide chews, they still pose several risks.

They can cause choking if swallowed whole or blockages in the digestive tract if broken off into smaller pieces. Additionally, some edible chews may contain high levels of fat or salt that could be harmful if consumed excessively.

If you choose to give your dog edible chews as a treat, make sure to choose products made from high-quality ingredients and avoid giving them too frequently to prevent excessive calorie intake. There are several types of chew toys available for dogs.

However, it’s important to choose products that are safe and appropriate for your dog’s size and chewing habits. As with any product you give your dog, always supervise them closely to prevent potential hazards.

Potential Dangers of Chew Toys Chew toys are a great way to keep your dog entertained and mentally stimulated, but they can also pose some risks. Here are some potential dangers that you should be aware of when it comes to chew toys.

Choking Hazard

One of the biggest concerns with chew toys is the risk of choking. Dogs can get pieces of the toy lodged in their throat, which can be a life-threatening emergency. This is particularly true for small dogs or those that like to swallow things whole.

To minimize this risk, choose chew toys that are sized appropriately for your dog and supervise them while they play. If you notice any signs that your dog is having trouble breathing or swallowing, seek veterinary care immediately.

Dental Damage

Chew toys can also cause dental damage if they’re too hard or if your dog chews on them for extended periods of time. This can result in cracked or broken teeth, which can be painful and require expensive dental care.

To avoid this, choose chew toys that are appropriate for your dog’s size and chewing habits. Soft rubber toys may be a better choice for dogs with sensitive teeth or gums, while harder nylon bones may be suitable for dogs that really like to gnaw.

Digestive Issues

Some dogs may experience digestive issues after consuming pieces of a chew toy. This could include vomiting, diarrhea, or even an intestinal blockage if they swallow a large piece.

To minimize this risk, choose chew toys made from non-toxic materials and avoid ones that are easily broken apart or have small pieces that could be swallowed. Additionally, always supervise your dog while they play with their toy and take it away if you notice any signs of distress.

Chemical Exposure

Some chew toys may contain harmful chemicals such as lead or phthalates. These can pose a risk to your dog’s health if ingested over time.

To avoid this, choose chew toys that are made from non-toxic materials and avoid those that have a strong odor or chemical smell. Additionally, look for products that have been tested by independent labs to ensure they’re safe for your furry friend.

While chew toys can provide hours of entertainment and mental stimulation for your dog, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks. By choosing the right type of toy and supervising your dog while they play, you can help keep them safe and happy.

How to Choose Safe Chew Toys for Your Dog

To ensure that your dog’s chew toys are safe, it is essential to choose them wisely. The following are some tips on how to select safe chew toys for your furry friend.

Look for non-toxic materials

The first thing you should look for when selecting a chew toy for your dog is the material used in its construction. Some materials can be harmful if ingested, so it’s essential to choose non-toxic ones.

Avoid toys made with PVC and vinyl, as they often contain phthalates and other chemicals that can cause harm. Instead, look for toys made with natural rubber or nylon.

These materials are durable and safe for your dog to chew on. If you’re unsure about the safety of a particular material, consult with your veterinarian.

Avoid small or easily breakable pieces

Chew toys should be appropriately sized for your dog. Avoid small toys that could pose a choking hazard if ingested.

You should also avoid any toy that has easily breakable pieces since they can become lodged in your pet’s throat. Choose large-sized toys that are difficult to swallow whole and are sturdy enough not to break apart quickly during playtime.

Consider your dog’s chewing habits and size

It is essential to consider your dog’s size, age, breed, and chewing habits when selecting a chew toy. For example, aggressive chewers need durable toys made of tough materials like hard rubber or nylon that won’t fall apart quickly. Puppies may prefer softer rubber or plush toys designed explicitly for teething puppies since their teeth and gums are still developing.

Large dogs may need larger-sized chews than smaller breeds as they require more force while chewing. Similarly, senior dogs may need softer chews since their teeth tend to become brittle with age.

Rotating Toys

It’s important to rotate your dog’s chew toys regularly. It not only keeps them interested but also helps reduce the risk of boredom and destructive behavior.

Keep a few toys handy and change them every few days. This way, your dog will have something new to chew on, and it can help maintain their interest in the toys.

Supervision is Key

Always supervise your dog while they are playing with their chew toys. It is essential to observe how they use the toy and determine if it is safe for them to continue using it.

Remove any toy that starts breaking apart, or if pieces start coming off during playtime. It could pose a choking hazard, and you will need to replace it with a new one.

Choosing safe chew toys for your dog requires careful consideration of their size, age, breed, chewing habits, as well as the materials used in construction. Avoiding small or easily breakable pieces is crucial, while rotating your furry friend’s toys can keep things interesting for them.

Remember that supervision is key when it comes to keeping our pets safe. By following these tips on choosing safe chew toys for dogs and taking appropriate safety measures during playtime, you can ensure that your furry friend stays healthy while enjoying their favorite activity – chewing!

Common Misconceptions About Chew Toys Safety

Myth: Rawhide chews are natural and safe.

Rawhide chews are a popular choice for dogs and are often marketed as natural and safe. However, there are several concerns about rawhide chews that dog owners should be aware of. Rawhide is actually not easily digestible by dogs, which can lead to digestive issues such as vomiting or diarrhea.

Additionally, some rawhide chews may be treated with chemicals like bleach or formaldehyde in order to preserve them, which can be harmful to dogs if ingested. Furthermore, rawhide is a choking hazard for dogs as it can become soft when chewed on and may break off into small pieces that can get stuck in their throat.

In serious cases, this can lead to emergency surgery or even death. Alternatives like real bones or durable rubber chews may be a safer option for your pup.

Myth: All bones are safe for dogs to chew on.

While bones may seem like a natural choice for your dog’s chewing needs, not all bones are created equal. Cooked bones, especially chicken or turkey bones, splinter easily when chewed on and can cause serious harm to your dog’s digestive tract if swallowed.

Additionally, any kind of bone can crack your dog’s teeth with enough pressure while chewing. If you want to give your pup the experience of chewing on a bone without the risk of injury, consider giving them specially-made bone-shaped toys made from materials like nylon or rubber.

Myth: If a toy is marketed as “indestructible,” it must be safe.

Many companies market their toys as indestructible for heavy chewers in order to appeal to pet owners looking for durable options. However, just because a toy claims to be indestructible does not mean it is completely safe for your dog. In fact, some of these toys may be made from materials that can break apart over time or have small parts that can become a choking hazard.

It is important to carefully research and choose chew toys for your dog based on their size, chewing habits, and potential risks. Always supervise your dog while they are playing with toys to ensure their safety.


It is important to educate yourself on the potential dangers of certain chew toys for your furry friend. While some myths may suggest otherwise, rawhide chews are not always safe, not all bones are suitable for dogs to chew on and indestructible does not necessarily mean safe.

Take the time to carefully choose chew toys that are appropriate for your dog’s size and chewing habits, and remember to supervise playtime in order to prevent any accidents or injuries. By doing so, you can provide your beloved pet with a safe and enjoyable chewing experience while ensuring their overall health and well-being.


Choosing safe chew toys for your dog is crucial for their health and wellbeing. While it can be overwhelming to navigate the market, understanding the potential dangers of certain types of chew toys and knowing what to look for when selecting toys can help keep your furry friend safe. When choosing chew toys, consider your dog’s size, age, and chewing habits.

Avoid toys with small or easily breakable pieces that could pose a choking hazard or cause dental damage. Look for non-toxic materials and avoid toys that are marketed as “indestructible.”

It’s important to note that even safe chew toys should be used under supervision.

Always monitor your dog while they are chewing to ensure they don’t accidentally ingest any pieces or suffer injury from aggressive chewing. By following these guidelines and doing research on specific products before purchasing them, you can provide your dog with enjoyable and safe chew toys that promote healthy behaviors like chewing instead of destructive ones like digging or biting.

Remember, providing appropriate chew toys not only benefits your dog’s physical health but also their mental wellbeing by reducing anxiety and promoting mental stimulation. So go ahead and spoil your furry best friend with some new, safe chew toys – they’ll thank you for it!

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