Puppies! There’s almost nothing as cute as these roly-poly little furballs. Their playful antics. Their tiny paws. Even their puppy breath doesn’t bother us.
Yes, it’s all fun, games and puppy kisses until your baby chews right through your favorite stilettos or destroys a leg on your French revival chair. Then suddenly your baby doesn’t seem so adorable anymore.
Why Puppies Chew
Though we often think of chewing as bad dog behavior, you have to remember that puppies (just like human babies) go through a teething phase. Somewhere between 3 and 8 months, they lose their milk teeth while their adult chompers come in.
And while they don’t cry all night like a human baby might, puppies are often in pain during this important transition phase. And what brings them relief? Chewing!
For puppies chewing isn’t just a distraction. It actually relieves the pressure of teething and helps the teeth break through their gums.
And if you don’t give them anything proper to chew on? Well, your remote control starts to look pretty appealing.
So if you want to keep your house from acquiring that overly lived-in look, it’s your job to find them something safe and appropriate to gnaw. And yes, the market is flooded with chew toys for dogs and puppies. But some aren’t appropriate, and others are downright dangerous.
To cut through the confusion and find the right chew toy for your puppy, we’ve gathered a list of some of the best playthings for this mouthy phase.
We’ve also included some safety tips and other important information when it comes to chew toys. So let’s get started. We’ve got a lot for you to chew on!
What To Look For In A Puppy Chew Toy
When you’re on the hunt for the right chew toy, there are some important factors to keep in mind. Before we get to a list of our favorites, here’s what to look for in any chew toy for puppies:
A Little Give
When it comes to chew toys, you may think the harder the better. But remember that puppies have delicate teeth and gums. If you give them a toy that’s too hard, it could actually hurt them.
Or they could lose interest in the toy altogether and start in on your kitchen cabinets.
You’ll want to buy a toy with good durability but still has a little bit of a soft feel. Try pressing the toy with your finger. If it doesn’t give a little, it may be too hard.
Puppies come in all different breeds and sizes, so make sure the toy is the right fit. What works for a Chihuahua may not be appropriate for a St. Bernard puppy. If the toy is too small for your dog, it could be a choking hazard.
The general rule of thumb is to make sure that the chew toy is wider than the width of your pet’s mouth.
And of course if you have a toy breed or very young pup, you don’t want to give them anything overly large.
Chew toys with a bit of texture are good for your pup's dental hygiene and help keep them interested. You may want to buy a variety of textures and rotate them to keep your dog interested.
Toys You Can Freeze
A cold toy can help alleviate the pain of your puppy’s teething process. Be sure to include one or a few in your puppy’s chew toy roundup. Gnawing on frozen toys make for great puppy teething toys and happy pet parents.
Not every toy in your puppy’s collection needs to taste like bacon or peanut butter. But rotating in a few flavored chew toys helps to keep things interesting for your pup.
Also, chew toys that can be filled with dog treats or kibble are good ways to help your pet get through teething, stimulate their puppy brains and keep them from getting bored!
Related: The 9 Best Grain-Free Dog Foods
What To Avoid In A Puppy Chew Toy
Harmless as most chew toys may seem, some of them can be dangerous for your puppy. Here are some things to beware of:
Cheap Squeaky Toys (or any Cheaply Made Toy)
Though some quality squeaky toys are perfectly safe, shoddily made ones can be a hazard. If your puppy can chew through the cheap material, they could swallow or choke on the squeaker and plastic.
Even if you think it’s a good buy, a cheap squeaky toy could cost you in vet bills. Not to mention squeaky toys are known to drive dog owners bonkers.
Toys with Small Parts
Anything that can be torn off of a chew toy (like eyes, ribbons or moving parts) could become a choking hazard for your dog. Remember, puppies have small windpipes!
Just because your dog has taken a shine to a kid’s toy doesn’t make it good for her. Keep in mind that a well-made puppy toy is designed to stand up to their razor-sharp teeth.
If your dog tears up a child’s toy, the plastic or stuffing inside plush toys could be dangerous for them.
Most conscientious dog companies no longer make toys with this dangerous chemical.
It’s known to cause neurological, reproductive and immune system problems among others. A good rule of thumb is that if you don’t want to ingest it, it’s not safe for your dog either.
Toys That Look Like Shoes, Remote Controls or Other Household Items
During your puppy’s teething phase, you’re teaching them what they can or cannot chew. Give them a toy that looks like a shoe and guess what? You’ve given them the green light to chew your loafers!
10 Great Chew Toys for Your Puppy
Now that you know a few of the do’s and don’t when it comes to a chew toy for your pup, here a few that you may want to check out.
Kong is king when it comes to chew toys for dogs, and that includes puppies. And to give you peace of mind, the company does rigorous testing to ensure their products are safe.
The Kong Puppy comes in three different sizes so that you find the right fit for your fur baby. And it’s special teething rubber formula cleans their teeth and soothes their gums. For even further relief, you can throw the Kong in the freezer before playtime.
Plus, you can fill the kong with treats and play fetch with it. This is one smart toy!
Pups love the taste of this bacon flavored chew. It’s made from durable nylon, and its curved shape makes it easier for them to hold (which is pretty important when you don’t have thumbs).
Do keep in mind that while this toy is flavored, it’s not edible. It’s extra durable, but if it starts to break apart, it’s time to toss it.
These brightly colored keys are made from a soft thermoplastic that’s safe for puppies without permanent teeth. Chewing on this toy raises bristles that stimulate their mouth and clean their little chompers. Plus it tastes like bacon!
Be aware that this toy is not for heavy chewers, adults or puppies with adult teeth. Always supervise your puppy when they’re playing with a chew toy and take it away if any parts break off to avoid choking hazards.
This conscientious company holds their dog chews to the same high standards as children’s toys. Made from 100% natural rubber, it’s non-toxic and contains no BPA, lead or phthalates.
The durable textured rubber is soft on your dog’s mouth. Even the squeaker inside has been toned down for delicate puppy ears.
This is a great toy for chewing and engaging all of your pup’s senses!
This durable bone contains a non-toxic gel that allows it to freeze quickly and stay cool for one to two hours. It’s very soothing for your puppy and promotes healthy teeth and gums. It even comes with its own freezer bag.
This textured butterfly is made from non-toxic nylon and is designed to soothe your puppy’s teeth and gums. Its unique shape makes it easy for your pet to hold and it can also be put in the freezer.
This ball toy from Gnawsome is best for large puppies like Great Danes, St. Bernards or other giant breeds. Made from non-toxic, BPA-free rubber, the bristles will massage your puppy's teeth and gums while not being too hard on his mouth.
Plus it lights up, bounces around and has a squeaker inside, making it a great interactive toy. It’s a whole lot of fun rolled up into one ball!
Another option from the reputable Kong brand, this bone-shaped chew toy is easier for your pup to get a grip on and can be stuffed with treats on either end. As with other toys from this line, the rubber is durable but not too tough on your dog’s teeth and gums.
It can also be frozen for further relief of aching teeth and gums.
This flying disc is great for both chewing and playing a game of fetch with your puppy. Made with durable plastic and a softer outer fleece, it’s tough but not too hard on your pet’s mouth.
It even floats! All and all a great way to mix up your puppy’s chew toy collection.
Another way to mix it up for your puppy is with a rope toy. Just be sure to invest in a quality product, so the fibers don’t come off in his mouth.
This rope chew from Mammoth is made from cotton with non-toxic dye and will massage your pet’s teeth and gums. It can also be thrown in the freezer for further relief and is also machine washable. Convenient when the slobber factor gets too high!
More Tips About Chew Toys
Now that you know about some great chew toys for your puppy’s collection, here are a few more tips to keep in mind.
Always Supervise Your Puppy
A well-made chew toy should be safe for your dog. But even if it’s described as tough or extra durable, a puppy can sometimes manage to tear a toy apart. Always keep an eye out to see if your pup has chewed a piece off of a toy and immediately take it away if it’s falling to pieces.
Those small bits can be a choking hazard for your fur baby.
Keep A Variety of Toys Around
Dogs get bored with the same old thing all of the time, just like humans. To keep your puppy’s interest in his toys (and away from your furniture), be sure to include a variety in his collection. Different shapes, sizes, textures and styles will help to keep him engaged.
Plus, you never know what will spark a pup’s interest. What one puppy loves, another puppy ignores. You may have to experiment a bit to see what toys spark joy in your little dogger.
Again, this is another way to maintain your puppy’s interest in her toys. Instead of leaving all of her toys out, try rotating them. When you bring one of her favorites back after a few days or a week, it will be like having a new toy again.
Aggressive chewers will get bored with toys, so if they have options they won't ruin your shoes or electronics! Rotate toys like antlers, kong toys, teething rings and rounds of tug-of-war to keep them fully engaged.
Fill Them With Different Treats
Just like a variety of shapes and sizes will engage your pup, so will different flavors. Choose a mix of flavored toys or fill them with different flavored treats. Keeping a pup’s tastebuds engaged is another way to keep your chair legs in one piece.
Though teething can be a tough time for puppies, remember it’s a phase that will pass.
It’s also an opportune time for you to teach your dog what they can chew on and what’s off-limits. The right dog chew toy will not only bring your pet relief but will also keep him from getting bored and into trouble.
Be sure to keep a variety of chews in your puppy’s collection and always supervise him when playing. With the right chew ploys and a little patience, you’ll both survive the pains of teething!
You might also be interested in: The 9 Most Interactive Dog Toys [For Your Playful Pup]
The 10 Best Chew Toys for Puppies: