Best Types of Chew Toys for Puppies
As a puppy owner, you know all too well the excessive chewing needs of this age group. All dogs have an intrinsic need to chew, but for puppies its often in overdrive!
And I’m willing to bet you want to make sure that chewing is channeled towards a chew toy for puppies and not your newest pair of shoes.
Because puppies chew for a range of reasons, we want to be mindful of choosing toys that meet their unique needs. With new teeth budding and jaws that aren’t as strong as adult dogs, an array of choices is a good idea.
What’s more, your young dog is likely far more playful and curious which is another reason lots of different chew toys for puppies are best. Toys provide an important source of stimulation for your pup as well as relief from painful teething!
Read on to learn about what materials, shapes, and sizes are best for your puppy’s chew toys. We’ll also talk a bit about why puppy’s chew and point you towards some other resources to get it under control.
Why do puppies chew?
In order to pick the best chew toys for your puppy, it’s helpful to understand exactly why they chew in the first place. You’ll be glad to know that it’s not just about touching your last nerve and actually serves an important purpose in their development.
When you understand the why, you can pick toys that meet their needs. For example, a hollow toy with a frozen treat inside may be good for erupting teeth. A tough rubber toy is better for an older puppy, and softer chews are good for baby teeth.
Puppies chew for four main reasons:
To explore their world and have fun: Mouthing and chewing objects helps puppies make sense of their world. Additionally, chewing is an excellent source of mental and physical stimulation for all dogs. It busts boredom and releases pent up energy
To learn acceptable social behavior: Chewing, mouthing and nipping objects, people and other dogs is a way that your puppy receives social feedback. This feedback helps your dog learn boundaries from you, expected behavior, canine hierarchies, and more. Puppies are known to push the limits on behaviors they already know when they’re wanting attention
To ease the pain of new teeth growing: When new teeth are growing in, it can be quite painful for your dog, and chewing is a big source of relief. This generally peaks between 4 to 8 months old.
To strengthen their jaw: Chewing is the main way that dogs strengthen their jaw. A strong jaw is an essential survival mechanism for dogs, which is why they have an intrinsic desire to chew and keep it strong throughout their life
Read more about Surviving the Puppy Chewing Phase
What are the best types of chew toys for puppies?
Now that you know the why of puppy chewing, let’s talk specifics for the needs of your puppy. Most often, when dog owners are seeking chew toys for their puppy, they need toys that will relieve teething pain. Here’s what you need to consider.
The best materials for puppy chew toys
Choose toys with some give: Teething puppies generally prefer toys that have some give to them. This means toys that are made from natural rubber, rope, or textiles (such as cotton).
Avoid very hard chew toys: Very hard toys such as antlers are best saved for adult dogs
Varied texture: Providing your puppy with chew toys in a variety of textures and materials will better keep their interest on chew toys vs. household objects
Make it cold: Making their chew toys cold provides a new level of relief! Toys made from rope or other fabrics can be soaked with water and put in the freezer. For rubber toys, they will get nice and cold after 30 minutes in the freezer which your dog will love. Bonus points: fill a rubber toys (like our treat chew toy) with peanut butter and freeze it. Your teething puppy will be in heaven
Consider human food: There’s a lot more dog-safe human food than a lot of owners realize! Try popping a whole carrot in the freezer, giving your puppy a frozen plain bagel or making very large ice cubes/popsicles out of pumpkin puree for your pup to chew on
Size, shape, and features of your puppy chew toy
Proper size for their jaw: When selecting chew toys for your puppy make sure they are not too big for their size, but also make sure the toy isn’t too small and causes a choking hazard
Varied options: Again, options are key to keeping your puppy engaged with their toys! Opt for toys with different shapes and sizes (all within your dog’s appropriate range, of course)
Ease of use: Make sure to select a few chew toys that are easy for your puppy to position between their paws and really go to town on. Our Frisbee Toy and Ring Chew Toy are perfect for this
Stay away from toys shaped like items they can’t have: Giving your puppy a toy that’s shaped like a slipper or teddy bear can be very confusing and might set your dog up for failure. Stay away from toys that look like items you don’t want them to have
Interactive toys: Interactive toys, like toys with squeakers or other sounds, often pique the interest of puppies. Round toys or ball-shaped chew toys are also a great addition to a varied puppy toy collection
Related Reading: Why Do Dogs Like Squeaky Toys?
Puppy chew toy safety
Always assess for loose parts: Things like detached ears on stuffed toys, loose bits of rubber, or pulled apart balls all pose a potential choking hazard. Be sure to inspect your puppy’s toys regularly
Avoid budget toys: Usually, these toys aren’t made as well and are broken down easily by repeated puppy chewing. This poses a choking risk. What’s more, cheap dog toys are more likely to contain toxic ingredients and known carcinogens
Opt for non-toxic materials: On that note! Choosing puppy toys made from natural, non-toxic materials is always best. Read more about the benefit of all-natural rubber dog toys here
Choose toys that are meant for dogs: It might be tempting (and sometimes cheaper) to get human teething toys, but these are NOT meant for the touch chewing of puppies. Always get your puppy toys designed for dogs
Learn more about puppy chewing and chew toys today!
Dogs and chewing go hand and hand. And while the worst of the chewing is often during the puppy phase, it’s something you’re going to see for the rest of your dog’s life.
For that reason, I want to point you towards some other excellent articles and resources for getting it under control and coping with the chewing once and for all:
As you add to your puppy’s chew toy collection, don’t forget to add some all-natural rubber toys! Check out our full selection here. For large-breed puppies, we love the treat stick and ring toy best.
Most of all-- enjoy the puppy phase and don’t let the chewing drive you too crazy! It’s a good thing they’re so cute, am I right?
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