Christine Bauhs, CPDT-KA
Your Ultimate Chew Toy Guide for Puppies
Updated: Oct 23, 2019
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Puppies love to chew. But they also NEED to chew. So it's important to make sure that your puppy has consistent access to appropriate chew toys.
Providing the right kind of chew toys will save your furniture from total destruction while teaching your puppy good chewing habits. Chew toys also provide entertainment and help puppies learn how to settle themselves down.
Think of chew toys as puppy pacifiers - because they are! Give your pup a chew when he is hyperactive, overly frisky, overly mouthy, nervous, fussy, agitated, restless, bored, etc. It will provide him with a healthy outlet for all the pent up energy and keep him entertained for a while.
Before we talk about what toys makes great chews for your puppy, let's first talk about what toys DON'T make great chews. I'm looking at you, plush toys!
Plush toys are great for playtime, but they ARE NOT chew toys. Once dissected and destroyed, these toys can be choking hazard or even cause blockages if swallowed. The same goes for rope toys - these should not be given to a puppy unattended.
In general, plush toys, balls, rope toys, tug toys and squeaky toys are all great for supervised play, but they are not chew toys. So pick those suckers up when play time is over and replace them with a safe and appropriate chew toy.
Before you leave a dog alone with any of these toys or chews, supervise him with all of them just to be sure that they will be safe to leave him with unsupervised. I'll only suggest chews that are generally safe, but every dog is different and some find creative, but unsafe ways, to use their chews.
I've broken this list up into three categories of chew toys. Pick one or two from each category. Chew toys should be provided on a consistent, daily basis and rotated often to maintain variety and pique the dog's interest.
Technically, these are not chew toys as they are not meant to be chewed on, but they do provide the same mental stimulation and entertainment that a traditional chew will provide.
Interactive toys are great because they require that the dog do a bit of problem-solving in order to reap the food reward. They are a great way to keep a dog occupied for short periods of time (under 30 minutes), and are generally safe to leave a dog alone with unsupervised.
OurPets IQ Treat Ball Interactive Food Dispensing Dog Toy - Fill this little guy with your pup's kibble and watch your puppy go town. As with all interactive toys, when you first introduce this toy, show your puppy how to get the food out so that they understand what to do.
KONG Wobbler Treat Dispensing Dog Toy - This is another toy that can be filled with kibble. Feeding your puppy meals through toys, rather than bowls, provides far more entertainment, enrichment and mental stimulation.
Qwizl Interactive - These toys can be stuffed in a variety of ways to provide a fun activity for your puppy. You can stuff milk bones in the slots and holes for your puppy to fish out. You can smear peanut butter or pumpkin in the openings and freeze to make a fun and delicious doggy popsicle. Or you can slide a bully stick or SmartStick through the middle to make a challenging food puzzle for your pup.
Kong Classic Dog Toy - I love kongs, and my dogs do too! My puppies never get fed thought a bowl. Instead, I feed them the majority of their food through training and through kongs. Fill the kong up to the top with kibble, then seal it up with a scoop of canned dog food, peanut butter, pumpkin, yogurt or applesauce and freeze. Freezing the kong will seal it up and make it more difficult (i.e. take more time) for your puppy to get all the goodies out.
SHORT-TERM, HIGH-VALUE CHEWS
These are ideal for times when you want to give the dog something super enticing to help him settle down and relax. These will last for a short period (5-15 minutes), but will provide an attractive diversion when there are lots of distractions or activity present (i.e. guests coming over, out at a restaurant, when dog has "the zoomies", etc.)
Freeze Dried Turkey Necks - This may sound a little revolting to you, but to your puppy a turkey neck will be a welcomed delicacy. This high-value chew (yes, animal parts are highly desirable to dogs) will capture your puppy's interest and keep her quiet while she chews.
100% Natural Cow Ear Dog Treats
These chews are meant for long-term chewing (30 minutes or more) to help relieve a dog of boredom, stress, anxiety, or simply the instinctual need to chew. Chewing is good for the teeth and gums, and for puppies, can relieve some of the pain of teething. These are good to leave in the crate or pen so the dog has something to keep them occupied. Earth Animal No Hide Chews - These No-Hide chews are some of my favorites. They come in a varitey of flavors and sizes. Check out the No-Hide Sticks as well! Dogs love them and they are safe to leave them with unattended. Real raw hide should not be given to dogs or puppies as it is not digestible and can get lodged in their intestinal track, causing expensive and potentially fatal complications.
SmartBones SmartSticks - Another great rawhide alternative!
Cow Hooves - Cow hooves are great for chewing and loved by many dogs. Just be sure to keep an eye on these as they do break down over time and small pieces can break off. Once they start breaking down, I toss them and replace with a new one.
Premium Elk Antlers For Dogs - Antler make great chew because they last a long time. They are very hard, however, and can wear down teeth, especially if your dog is a heavy chewer. You can provide these on a more limited basis if your puppy tends to overdo it.
Braided Bully Sticks - It's great to have a bag of these on hand to give to your puppy when you need some peace and quiet!
Beef Marrow Bones - You can also purchase frozen marrow bones at your local grocery store or butcher. I typically only give these once or twice a week because of the high fat content.
And there we have it! Tons of great options to keep your puppy happy, healthy and entertained!
For more information on puppy training tips and tricks, check back in regularly. If you have questions, please contact our trainer Christine at firstname.lastname@example.org.