We all love to spoil our pets by buying them new toys to play with. Toys keep dogs occupied while we’re away from home and—hopefully—distract them from chewing on our favorite shoes! Dogs have an innate urge to chew and love destroying toys by chewing on them, but some toys can be dangerous. At Animal Care Center of Castle Pines, we are often asked for advice about safe chew toys for dogs.

Why do dogs need to chew on things?

Chewing is a normal behavior that is important to the dental health of all dogs and puppies. Teething puppies need to chew in order to relieve the pain of growing new teeth. Chewing is a healthy habit for full grown dogs as well. Chewing helps to keep a dog’s jaws strong and their teeth clean. Gnawing helps scrape tartar buildup off of their teeth, and shredding things acts like flossing to maintain healthy gums. Chewing also helps to soothe mild anxiety and combat boredom in dogs of any age.

How do I choose a safe chew toy?

Make sure to buy toys that are the appropriate size for your dog. Toys come in many sizes, and the packaging should state whether they are best for small dogs, large dogs, puppies or elderly dogs. Check the labeling to find the right size for your pet. Always read the ingredients and check the quality of the materials before buying toys. Avoid toys and chews with dyes, preservatives, and chemical ingredients that can be ingested as your dog licks and chews. Some soft toys can have dangerous fillings like nutshells and polystyrene beads. Watch out for toys made with BPA or phthalates, and choose toys made of natural rubber instead.

What types of toys can pose choking hazards?

Some toys are a lot of fun, but should only be used under observation. Remove any decoration or detachable parts from soft toys, and discard them after they’re torn or shredded. Be careful with tennis balls—they’re great for a game of fetch, but if they get chewed up, the pieces can be dangerous. Some dogs will destroy squeaky toys in order to ingest the squeaker inside, so it’s best to restrict squeaky toys to supervised play time.

Which toys can cause tooth fractures or other injuries?

Stay away from Nylabones and rawhide! These types of chew toys are especially dangerous because they can cause cracked teeth, choking, and internal injuries. Bones, hooves, and antlers are equally dangerous. We have seen too many dogs with cracked teeth from these types of chew toys. Always ask your vet to recommend the best chew toy for your dog.

Give us a Call!

If you have questions about safe chew toys for dogs, contact us here at Animal Care Center of Castle Pines. We love seeing happy dogs with healthy teeth and muscles from active play!

Image credit: The Digital Way via Pixabay.