So long as they’re not too flimsy, rubber chew toys often represent the safest options for many dogs. The best rubber chew toys are those that are firm enough to stand up to serious chewing, yet have enough “give” so they don’t cause tooth damage. Just make sure that the size of the toy is appropriate for your dog—the better toys come with a handy “size guide” on their packaging or on their website. Giving your dog a toy that's too small could lead to choking, while too large could lead to excessive strain and damage to their jaw and chewing muscles.
Available everywhere and relatively inexpensive, rawhides can be a good chew option for some dogs. Plenty of dogs chew rawhides without incident. However, some dogs end up with bits of rawhide lodged in their “windpipe” (trachea), causing choking; or big pieces in their stomach, causing a digestive obstruction. If your dog actually chews the rawhide, rather than biting off and gulping large chunks, they’ll likely be OK — they may even get some teeth-cleaning benefits. This is especially true if you pick up a VOHC-approved “dental rawhide.”
When you can’t supervise your dog, you must find a way to prevent him from chewing on inappropriate things in your absence. For example, if you work during the day, you can leave your dog at home in a confinement area for up to six hours. Use a crate or put your dog in a small room with the door or a baby gate closed. Be sure to remove all things that your dog shouldn’t chew from his confinement area, and give him a variety of appropriate toys and chew things to enjoy instead. Keep in mind that if you confine your dog, you’ll need to give him plenty of exercise and quality time with you when he’s not confined.
CHEW Dog Rescue is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to rescuing abandoned dogs, dogs scheduled for euthanasia due to shelter space limitations, and other dogs who need us. We are always looking to find additional foster homes and acquire funding for veterinary care and other essential elements of dog rescue to allow us to help more dogs in need. CHEW (Canine Health Education and Welfare) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization.
Some conditions cannot be prevented but some can.  Dogs should be on monthly flea and tick preventative medication. This will prevent flea allergy reactions and irritated skin. It is important to prevent your dog from being exposed to toxic chemicals. If you spray your lawn with pesticides, your dog should not be allowed to walk on the grass until the chemical is dry. The same thing goes for recently cleaned floors or carpets. Dogs should be provided toys, attention and daily exercise.  Additional activities may help prevent a dog from feeling bored or anxious.
The desire to investigate interesting objects and the discomfort of teething motivate puppies to chew. Much like human infants, puppies go through a stage when they lose their baby teeth and experience pain as their adult teeth come in. This intensified chewing phase usually ends by six months of age. Some recommend giving puppies ice cubes, special dog toys that can be frozen or frozen wet washcloths to chew, which might help numb teething pain. Although puppies do need to chew on things, gentle guidance can teach your puppy to restrict chewing to appropriate objects, like his own toys.
Because chewing is good for your dog’s mental and physical health, it’s important that you provide them with plenty of safe and appropriate things to chew on. Fail to do so and they’ll come up with their own chew “toys,” which often wind up being your most expensive pair of shoes, the legs of your dining room chairs, the nearest electric cord, or even your arm! None of which are desirable, and several of which are downright unsafe!
Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.
Rope toys are generally safe for the right types of chewers. However, plenty of dogs have undergone surgery to remove strands of rope from their stomach or intestines. All “foreign body” digestive obstructions are dangerous (and distressing) for dogs, but the linear foreign body type that comes from strings that make up rope toys is particularly dangerous. That’s because linear foreign body obstructions can saw through a dog’s intestines with severe, painful, and expensive consequences. If you let your dog chew on a rope toy, never let them do so without observation, never leave it laying around, and always take it away if you see the dog pulling out and eating the strands.
There are many chews on the market today that can be considered safer for dogs because they are digestible and not too hard for teeth. It is important to remember that even large chunks from digestible chews can still cause GI upset or blockage. Always supervise your dog after giving it chews. If the dog seems to be swallowing large chunks, take the chew away. Furthermore, if the dog develops vomiting, diarrhea, or other signs of illness, see your vet right away.
×