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Size Matters: An important warning about choosing the correct size toys for your dogs, including when you have multiple dogs of different sizes. This photo (inset) is an X-ray of a dog’s abdomen. The three snowman-shaped objects you see in the middle of the image are Kongs within the dog’s stomach! They wound up there, not because the dog’s owner intentionally gave their dog the wrong sized Kongs, but rather because their kiddo didn't supervise closely enough while this dog’s puppies were playing with their food-stuffed Kongs! Mom perhaps decided that her pups were having too much fun and wanted in on the action. Or, maybe it was as it so often is, the kids just left their mess laying around for mom to clean up … and clean up this mom did! She had to be taken to surgery to have these three Kong toys removed from her stomach. She’s doing well and lesson learned for everyone.
Some chews and toys can provide additional benefits for your dog; like mental stimulation or help with keeping their teeth clean. However, it's also true that chew toys have the potential to cause problems. Always closely observe your dog the first few times they’re playing with a new chew toy or eating a new type of chew. And, even in the long-term, keep watch and if you’re at all worried about a particular toy, don’t leave your dog alone with it, or just take it away and try another.
Provide your dog with plenty of his own toys and inedible chew bones. Pay attention to the types of toys that keep him chewing for long periods of time and continue to offer those. It’s ideal to introduce something new or rotate your dog’s chew toys every couple of days so that he doesn’t get bored with the same old toys. (Use caution: Only give your dog natural bones that are sold specifically for chewing. Do not give him cooked bones, like leftover t-bones or chicken wings, as these can splinter and seriously injure your dog. Also keep in mind that some intense chewers may be able to chip small pieces off of natural bones or chip their own teeth while chewing. If you have concerns about what’s safe to give your dog, speak with his veterinarian.)
Give him a chew toy instead. If your dog attempts to chew on an inappropriate item while in your presence, simply interrupt the behavior and re-direct him to an appropriate chew toy. It can be helpful to have a stuffed Kong toy in a Ziplock bag in your freezer – so you can quickly produce it when needed. Many pups have certain times of day when they are more likely to chew, so you can head this behavior off at the pass if you choose this time of day to give the dog an approved chewie.

Some dogs lick, suck and chew at fabrics. Some experts believe that this behavior results from having been weaned too early (before seven or eight weeks of age). If a dog’s fabric-sucking behavior occurs for lengthy periods of time and it’s difficult to distract him when he attempts to engage in it, it’s possible that the behavior has become compulsive. If you think this might be the case with your dog, please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, for information about finding a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB), a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB) or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) with specialized training and experience in treating compulsive behavior.
Patience and consistency are the key factors leading to success. You need to ensure that each and every time your dog heads for your wood coffee table you correct him promptly and hand him a chew toy. This may be pretty annoying at first, but gradually you should notice the attempts tapering off. It is vital that you and your family members are all on the same track, ensuring that everyone will correct in the same correct matter. All it takes is a couple of episodes that are not corrected promptly to positively reinforce the behavior and return. If you are unable to watch your dog it would be in your best interest if you would crate him until you can trust him alone. Remember: corrections must occur within 5 seconds in order to be fully effective. Dogs do not have the same attention spans as humans do. If it takes longer than 5 seconds your dog may no longer know what he did wrong and will not be able to associate the correction with the wood chewing.
There is no doubt that puppies are tiny bundles of enormous cuteness, but, when it comes to training, you will definitely have your hands full. From excessive barking to doing their business on your bed, trouble can sometimes seem to follow your adorable pup. Add chewing to the mix, and you’ll spend all your free time learning how to discipline a puppy and not go crazy at the same time.
Beware of poor-quality and cheaply constructed stuffed toys, lest the covering or stuffing winds up in your dog's intestines, where surgery might be necessary to remove it. The same caution applies to any stuffed toys that have buttons, eyes, bells, and any dangly bits. These are often the first things dogs try to rip off and possibly swallow. Regardless of what type of "stuffie" you get your dog, be sure to take it away and either fix it or throw it away if your dog manages to start "gutting" it.
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE VETERINARY ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your pet’s health. Never ignore professional veterinary advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think your pet may have a veterinary emergency, immediately call your veterinarian.
Give him plenty of exercise. Exercise is vitally important for dogs prone to inappropriate chewing or other destructive behaviors. A tired pup will be less likely to get into things. Exercise also produces endorphins, which have a calming effect. In fact, it is these endorphins that are stimulated by chewing, so if your dog is not getting enough exercise, he may unconsciously be seeking to replace needed endorphins by releasing pent-up energy through chewing.
Many dog owners swear by these chews, which can be stuffed into certain interactive toys and provide hours of chewing distraction (though some dogs will polish one off in mere minutes!). Bully sticks may be OK chew treats for your dog, it just depends on how many you give, your dog’s chews-onality, and how sterile the sticks are. Bully sticks contain a lot of calories, so don’t give too many; they can also harbor some pretty nasty bacteria, which is covered in this article in the Canadian Veterinary Journal. And they have been known to cause tooth fractures and digestive upset. (Lastly, in case you didn’t know, bully sticks are just processed bull penises … so you might not want to let your dog chew them on your bed.)
It’s natural for a dog to greet people by jumping up. But that can scare away guests. Turn away if your dog jumps on you. Don't give your dog attention unless he has his front paws on the ground. Then you can greet him and pet him. Or tell him to sit and wait until he does before you pet him. Try to keep your greetings low-key. That helps your dog learn to control his own excitement. Make sure he doesn’t bother or scare people who aren't used to him.
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE VETERINARY ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your pet’s health. Never ignore professional veterinary advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think your pet may have a veterinary emergency, immediately call your veterinarian.

Other animal parts: These may be good or bad depending on the source. When in doubt, ask your vet about the safety of a chew. As a general rule, safer animal part chews include aortas, tendon, gullet, and tripe. Ears are more controversial as they are closer to rawhide as far as digestibility goes (plus, pig ears especially tend to contain a lot of fat). Some animal horns will soften when chewed and fray into small pieces that are digestible, but these should be used with caution.
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