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Chew Toy Dangers

Most dogs like to chew on things, so we offer a substitute to our shoes and furniture by giving them doggie chew toys.  But find the right alternative that protects your belongings and also is safe for your best friend.  The  nylon chew bone pictured here caused digestive problems for my friend's sweet little dog.


A dear friend of mine has a sick dog. She was having trouble keeping her food down, and did not feel well, so a visit to the veterinarian was in order. The vet examined the dog, talked to my friend about what her pet had been eating, and considered the possibility that it may be a popular chew toy that is the culprit.

Dog owners know their furry friends like to chew on things. The pet supply store aisles are filled with so many options, but not all chew toys are created equal. So I did a little research and was surprised that some of the most popular chew toys are not only unsafe but may actually be dangerous for your pet.

Most folks know not to give their dogs things like chicken bones that can splinter, but beef bones are fine, right? Actually, large heavy bones also can splinter, and may even break your pet’s teeth.

Rawhide chews may pose a choking hazard and a risk of blockage if swallowed.

Some owners give their dogs ice cubes to chew on, but an ice cube is hard enough to break a dog’s tooth.

What about those seemingly indestructible nylon chew bones? Those also can be too hard for your pet’s teeth; but what’s worse, a dedicated chewer with sharp teeth can actually chew small bits of plastic off the end of the bone, then swallow them. Those pieces can cause serious harm to the digestive tract, and may result in a digestive obstruction. It was a name-brand nylon chew bone that is the suspected cause of the problems my friend’s dog is having.

If you want a good chew toy for your furry buddy, there are two brands that come highly recommended. One is Kong and the other is West Paw. Both companies manufacture rubber chew toys that seem to be safe and durable. Other options include some of the dental chews for dogs.

If your pet has been chewing on one of the toys I listed as “unsafe”, keep a close watch on your pet, and take it to your veterinarian at the first sign of trouble. Better yet, avoid the risk and choose a safer option. You might avoid some costly vet bills, and keep your furry friend happy and healthy, when you’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
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