How do we decide if our dog’s chew toy should be on its way to the trash barrel?
Let’s start with a short review of just some of the chew toys offered for sale across the country. There appears to be an unlimited number of possible chew toys available in the pet stores and on the Internet. I will focus on my own experiences and why I select certain chew toys. These are all my own personal opinions.
While I believe that any chew toy suitable for a big dog could be okay for a small dog, both the dog and owner may disagree. It really is a personal preference as chosen by you the dog owner and in the final analysis, the dog himself or herself. I’m assuming, of course, that the chew toy you would choose is large enough to be safe for your dog’s breed.
Young puppies seem to want to chew on the biggest bone they can manage to grab when they’ve been watching the big dogs chew away on them. I think that’s fairly typical of most little children who also want to do whatever big brother or big sister is doing, right? Once that tiny puppy can manage to stretch his little jaw wide enough to make contact on the bone with at least one tooth, he seems to think he has succeeded and becomes pretty proud of himself. At least that’s what I imagine he or she may be thinking. As difficult as it may be, they keep attempting to gnaw away on the bone but in a couple more weeks they’re managing to get more and more of that bone in their mouth. Success!
“All chew toys need supervision. As dog owners, we always need to be vigilant of the condition of each new and aging toy. Even the new toys can break when you don’t expect it.”
Through my experience of raising nearly 40 dogs over as many years, I have found that the chew toy(s) I introduce in those earliest days of puppyhood (8-9 weeks) will continue to be one of the dog’s favorites throughout his or her lifetime. I refrain from introducing little pups to plastic bottles, jugs, rags, or soft toys unless their breed has shown a soft mouth and no desire to tear up the soft toys. Of course there are always exceptions. A little puppy never forgets what they have been allowed to enjoy as a tiny pup. That’s for certain.
Many years ago, while traveling home after picking up our eight-week-old service dog puppy, we introduced her to a water bottle. Seemed innocent enough, right? It was a long trip in the summer time. The puppy was curled up safely in a soft plush towel positioned into the bottom of the deep basket, sitting solidly on the car floor between the bucket seats. There wasn’t much room for anything like a water dish in the basket with the puppy, and we were only stopping for gas and potty breaks. Of course, a little puppy needs water. The easy answer to providing the needed water for this little puppy was from one of our water bottles. Truth is, that puppy loved the idea of getting her water straight from the bottle. It appeared to be a great answer for our 1000-mile drive home. The pup had no problems taking water from a dish, too, so the transfer over to food and water by dish was perfectly normal. It was several months after settling in with our newest pup at home that we discovered she now thought all similar bottles, be they water or pop, were fair game for her pleasure. That became an added lesson for this young pup and us. No bottles now, whatsoever!
My favorite dog toys are what I believe to be as safe as any dog toy can ever be. All chew toys need supervision. As dog owners, we always need to be vigilant of the condition of each new and aging toy. Even the new toys can break when you don’t expect it. I’ve purchased toys that were meant for fetch and made of super tough fabric so they could not be torn apart easily and were triple stitched all over. For some dogs even those seemingly tough toys don’t last more than a few weeks before they get a puncture and begin to tear apart. Always remain watchful.
I will admit that through my own experience I have come to omit many chew toys, particularly the soft ones of all sizes. That’s a choice I make for my Labs and Goldens. Some Goldens can handle soft toys for a limited time—my Goldens are limited to a very short amount of time, so usually soft toys are not even a part of the collection in our house.
There is debate about dog toys,and again, that can be weighted by personal preference. I would emphasize however that safety should always be your No. 1 concern.
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