Household dogs are frequently bored in their daily life and a large selection of toys and bones can certainly help. The more things your dog has to play with the less of your things he will feel the need to chew on. Having one or two dog toys is not enough for the average dog. I typically suggest to clients to find around ten toys or bones that their dog enjoys. This ensures that when the dog becomes bored with one toy, he has another to go play with for a while. It is crucial to pick out toys that are both fun for your dog and appropriate for his chewing habits.
Rawhides and other edible items such as bully sticks, should be considered treats and not toys or bones. These are products that are made to be consumed and generally will not last long. They also aren’t particularly good for the dog and often cause upset stomachs. Limit these types of products to special occasions.
Stuffed and soft toys are great for some dogs, but not for others. Many dogs will just rip them to shreds and possibly eat them. This can be extremely dangerous and can lead to an obstruction in their stomach. If you give these toys to your dog, watch him extremely closely until you are sure that he is not going to rip them apart and eat them. They do make stuffed animals without the stuffing that some dogs are less likely to pull apart since there isn’t the fun stuff inside.
Natural bones are a great option for many dogs, and they come in a variety of styles and flavors. Some come covered in a coating to entice the dog, but this can stain your carpet when the bone is new. I typically recommend giving these bones to the dog outside until the bone is picked clean. Once clean the bone can stay inside as a chew toy for months as your dog slowly chews on it. Watch these bones closely to make sure that your dog is not breaking chunks of it off. They should be grinding away small pieces. Make sure that you purchase a big enough bone for your dog. The bone should be large enough that your dog is not holding it entirely in his mouth and biting straight down. This can place too much stress on the teeth. It is almost always better to get your dog a bigger bone so that he is chewing on an angle instead of straight up and down.
Synthetic bones are another great choice for many dogs. With these bones it is important to pick out the right style. Many clients have told me over the years that their dogs rip Nylabones to shreds and that they need something tougher. This is due to purchasing the wrong strength of bone. Nylabones come in a variety of styles, and there is a specific style for powerful chewers. These bones are usually white, yellow, or off-white. The other colored Nylabones and the translucent ones are usually a softer bone that is not made for powerful chewers. Size these the same way you would a natural bone. The vast majority of the Nlyabones we carry are for powerful chewers.
Deer and elk antlers are becoming popular and most dogs really enjoy them. They tend to last quite a while and hold up well to powerful chewers. Size these the same way you would any other bone. Cow hooves are another natural chew toy that lasts for a long time. Hooves are very inexpensive and last for months with most powerful chewers. When they are new they tend to smell a little as the dog chews them, but in my opinion this is well worth it since the dogs like them so much and they last for quite a while.
Kongs are a great toy that come in a variety of styles and sizes. They come in regular (red) and extreme (black). We only recommend and sell the extreme since they are not much more expensive and are much more durable than the original red Kong. The standard Kong has a hole on one end that is made to stuff with treats or peanut butter. Many clients give this to their dog when they place them in the cage. This gives the dog something to do for a few minutes when you leave home. There are also Kong balls that are made out of a durable rubber and last extremely well, even with powerful chewers. There is even a Kong Frisbee made for dogs. It is not meant to be a chew toy, so don’t leave your dog unattended with it. When used as a Frisbee for a game of catch it will last for years. These are preferable to other Frisbees because they are easy on the dog’s teeth. Most normal Frisbees will crack under the pressure of a dog’s teeth, and the hard ones that are made for dogs are not meant to be caught by the dog. When they are hard enough plastic to withstand the pressure of a dogs bite, they become so hard that they can crack a tooth when being caught. This is why we always recommend either the Kong Frisbee or the Chuckit Flying Squirrel.
The toughest dog toy that I have ever encountered is called a Goughnut. These toys are made out of a special type of rubber and are incredibly powerful. They come with a lifetime guarantee and actually hold up. Many of you are probably thinking, “not my dog, he can destroy anything”. I want to assure you that these toys are like no others. Goughnuts come in the original green color and a tougher black version. We currently only carry the black Goughnuts. I have owned one for about 4 years and it is played with daily by my Mastiff, American Bulldog, and their many dog friends. We have sold hundreds of these to clients and only had one that was chewed apart. This was by a 120 pound American Bulldog that focuses on destroying any toy that comes his way. It was one of the original green ones, not the extra tough black ones. They sent it in for a free replacement and he hasn’t been able to get through it again. They are available in a Goughnut ring, a Goughnut stick, and a Goughnut ball.
I hope this helps explain some of the many great options there are for your dog. This is by no means a complete list, and we are always updating our toy and bone selection as we find new products that we like. If you have any suggestions feel free to comment on this page or send us an email.