When it comes to owning a dog, we always want to make sure our dogs are safe and happy. As frustrating as Fido might be at times, we can’t imagine life without them! One thing that can really help with your dog’s behavior and boredom in the house is dog chew toys.
The thing is, you don’t want to make the mistake of giving your dog just any old dog toy without learning about how to supervise them properly. This is because some toys pose choking hazards, increase territorial behavior, or just aren’t safe.
Here we’ll talk about what you can to do to supervise your dog with chew toys to make sure they are entertained and happy, but most importantly—safe!
Know your dog’s unique chew toy habits
When it comes to dog toy safety there isn’t really one set of rules that applies to every dog. This is because dogs have unique habits in how they interact with chew toys and dog toys in general. Knowing your dog’s tendencies towards toys will help you choose dog toys that are safe for them. It will also help you learn what toys need very close supervision and what ones your dog can be left alone with.
For example, knotted ropes make excellent chew toys for some dogs, but others will just pull it to shreds and ingest the fibers. Some dogs love to carry around, toss and play with stuffed toys that can last for months of years. Other dogs will have that stuffed toy de-stuffed and completely destroyed in just a few minutes. I think you get the idea here.
Lastly, think about what kinds of toys your dog enjoys or what motivates your dog. Does your dog love retrieving? Maybe they love mind work? Or perhaps they are just straight-up chewers? Considering how they act with their toys plus the types of toys they enjoy can help you make safe choices that your dog will love.
Well-made rubber toys are best for chewing
While knowing how to supervise your dog with chew toys does have variation, there is one blanket statement that can be made. Dog toys that are made from natural rubber are considered one of the safest chew toy options out there by many experts.
This is because natural rubber is tough and non-toxic. It will not break down into small bits that your dog can ingest or choke on, and can withstand even the toughest chewers. The best part is that you can get natural rubber chew toys in a variety of shapes and designs to fit your dog’s interests. In the Monster K9 collection we offer rubber balls, rings, Frisbees, chew sticks, and a hollow chew toy that can be filled with treats or peanut butter.
When utilizing well-made natural rubber toys, like the ones at Monster K9, you will take the guesswork out of ‘supervising’ your dog with their chew toys altogether. That’s because they are virtually indestructible. You can rest assured that your dog will not put themselves in an unsafe situation when chewing or playing with these.
Try antlers instead of raw hides and bones
If you choose to give your dog rawhides, pig’s ears, or more traditional dog bones, it’s very important to do so when they are being supervised. All dogs, but especially aggressive chewers and food-driven dogs, may break these types of chews apart quickly and ingest pieces far larger than are safe or intended. This can pose a serious choking hazard for your dog. We actually had to stop giving our black lab these types of chews completely after more than one choking incident.
Another thing to keep in mind when supervising your dog with these types of chew toys is the way they can bring out aggressive or territorial behavior. Extra tasty treats can cause dogs to become defensive of what’s theirs, even towards humans.
A great alternative to rawhides and bones are deer or elk antlers. We have found these to be far, far more durable and last many months in our home with three large dogs. They are more expensive, but you are paying for a quality, but still tasty, chew that will last. I feel a lot more confident leaving my lab to chew an antler unattended.
Inspect dog toys for loose parts
Another important aspect of supervising your dog with chew toys is to inspect toys regularly for safety. Make sure their toys do not have any small pieces or loose parts hanging or dangling. This might include eyes or other decorations on stuffed animal-type toys.
Likewise, you can check ropes for loose parts, rubber and plastic toys for cracks or wear, and chews for splintering or unsafe size. Read more about choosing the safest and most durable dog toys to make this easier on yourself!
Pay close attention to certain kinds of toys
Certain kinds of dog toys should be supervised more carefully than others. One of the biggest culprits is stuffed dog toys with squeakers inside. These squeakers are often perceived as a challenge that your dog will not stop going for until they find the source. The squeaker itself is a small plastic item that poses a significant choking hazard for your dog.
Additionally, particularly delicious chews can pose a territorial threat, and toys with many small details need to be constantly checked for loose parts and safety.
Learn more about dogs and the need to chew
Here we’ve discussed what you can do to properly supervise your dog with their chew toys, but there’s a lot more to the chewing conversation.
If you’re here, you must have a chewer on your hands, and hopefully, they’re chewing what they’re supposed to…but continue learning as much as you can by checking out:
- How to Stop Destructive Chewing
- Is Your Older Dog Suddenly Chewing?
- Common Dog Behavior Problems and What to Do About Them
- How to Dog Proof Your Home?
- How to Survive the Puppy Chewing Phase
Don’t forget to drop a comment below with any additional dog chew toy safety and supervising tips!