Chewing is a favorite doggie pastime and -- depending on what the dog is chewing -- a less-than-favorite habit from an owner's perspective. Rather than have a bored pup chew up something that's expensive to replace, give that four-legged pal one of these safe edible or non-edible chews.
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Non-edible chew toys cost more than edible chew toys but have the advantage of lasting longer. Still, a non-edible toy may meet its demise quickly and have to be replaced if it isn't sufficiently tough, so shelling out a bit more upfront might be easier on the wallet over the long haul. Most $5 chew toys just won't pacify an aggressive chewer for long.
Dog owners have few bones to pick in online reviews of this non-toxic, recyclable, and easy-to-clean toy made from leftover material. Consumers commenting on various sites say it's near impossible for even a heavy chewer to destroy, and they appreciate its durability and mess-free structure. At the time of writing, it's on sale for $7 at SitStay.
Another non-toxic, non-edible chew toy, the Kong Classic (starting at $7 on Amazon) may become a dog owner's favorite diversionary tactic. Better yet, put peanut butter or other treats inside and watch the dog really go at it. The material is soft and pliable but seemingly impervious to even the most fervent chewer. One dog owner from Columbus, Ohio, reports that other toys billed as surviving hours of chew time were pulled apart within minutes by her 20-pound pet, but she can fill the Kong Classic with dog food and freeze it to keep her dog busy for hours.
A fun twist on the more traditional Kong or bone, Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff toys shaped like produce range in size (and price) from a raspberry to an eggplant (starting at $6 on Amazon). Like a Kong, these Orbee-Tuff toys can be filled with a treat to provide a dog with hours of chewy fun. Owners can also bounce them to play with their dogs.
Fans of Nylabone products (and their dogs) tend to be very big fans. Reviews on the website of the pet supply company Doctors Foster and Smith say Nylabone's DuraChew toys seem to last forever -- one says longer than six months. They even have little nubs designed to clean teeth as the dog chews. The toys come in different sizes and shapes, ranging in price from $5 to $14.
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There's some debate about what constitutes a good edible chew toy for dogs. Veterinarians worry about the digestive tract's ability to break them down, damage to teeth, and small bits that could pose a choking or perforation risk. Some experts prefer rawhide to chews such as greasy, high-calorie pigs' ears but advise buyers to look for rawhide made in the United States, which is likely to be fresher and free of extra chemicals.
Wholesome Hide rolls (starting at $7 on Amazon) have long been available only at select online and bricks-and-mortar retailers, but scarcity hasn't deterred fans who like their durability and safety. Several say the chews don't cause stomach upset, as other brands do, and appreciate that the products are made entirely in the United States.
Bully sticks are considered safer than rawhide chews because they're softer and less of a choking risk, but they generally don't last as long as rawhides or other dog chews. Bully sticks are relatively cheap, though (starting at about $3), so dog owners can buy several for the price of one non-edible toy. Several brands win a thumbs-up from reviewers, including Pet Expertise. Amy McWhelpley, a dog owner from Cleveland, Ohio, says she regularly gives her two dogs bully sticks because they're safe and digestible.
Himalayan Chews come highly recommended at prices of $8 and up. Although some dogs can finish with a chew in a half-hour, even a dog of 50 pounds or more could take up to a few weeks to finish one off. Pet owners like that Himalayan Chews have little to no smell and don't leave marks or grease stains on the floor. They're made with yak and cow milk, and free of binding agents and preservatives.
With just one ingredient -- catfish skin -- Beams dog treats from the Honest Kitchen are healthy and chemical-free. Starting at $11 for a box of "smalls," that's an estimated 20 to 30 substantial dog chews with one drawback: the smell. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that dog owners report a strong fish smell, but most customer reviewers say they are able to get past it, because their dogs go gaga for these treats.