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How to Choose Safe Chew Toys for Pets

by | September 23, 2020 | Pet Care

White puppy chewing on toy in bed

*This post may include affiliate links

Whether you are a seasoned pet owner or just brought a new four-legged bundle of joy home, it’s important to understand what is considered to be safe chew toys and bones. Both cats and dogs at any age, can choke on items you thought were safe. Old traditions of what is and what isn’t safe for your pet need to be broken. That’s where we come in to save the day!

Choking Hazards for Pets

Grey cat chewing on blue string

For dogs, sticks, rawhides, chicken bones, and squeakers from toys, can easily get lodged in their throat. If you give your pupper something to eat or chew on, you should monitor them at all times to make sure they are safe. For cats, it can be a bit more tricky, especially if your cat is more elusive. However, you always want to make sure your cat is watched when playing with string, yarn, or toys with ribbons, feathers, or plastic eyes. Also, if a toy becomes damaged, the stuffing can be a choking risk as well.

It’s important to understand how the toy or treat can become a choking hazard and minimize that risk by opting for safer choices. If you have a choice, try to choose safe dog toys made in the USA. This is especially important when purchasing dog bones and chews.

Why Choose Toys Based on Your Pet’s Age and Size?

Large dog and small cat with yellow tennis ball

It’s crucial to choose dog and cat chew toys that are right for the size and age of your pet. For example, you wouldn’t want to give your large, 3-year-old German Shepherds small, puppy teething toys and you wouldn’t want to give large, unsafe cat toys to your baby kitten. Thankfully, there are many great online pet stores like Petmate that offer a wide variety of safe pet toys to choose from. The best part, is you can use our exclusive code PRUDENTPET to get 15% off your order of $49 or more* on their site so you can get everything your furry friend needs.

With all the different sizes and chewing styles available, choosing the right size toy can be difficult. Generally, there are three basic chewing styles when it comes to dogs and their toys:

  • Soft Chewers: These dogs are easy on toys and prefer plush to fabric toys. They rarely destroy their toys.
  • Moderate Chewers: These dogs love to play with all kinds of toys. They can be destructive with plush toys but generally not with rubber toys.
  • Strong Chewers: These dogs are usually strong, determined chewers who tend to be destructive with their toys. Choose a durable, interactive toy along with hard rubber toys.

You can check out an easy size and age guide to make sure you’re investing in the right chew toys for your pet. Regardless of chewing temperament always supervise play until you are sure the dog will not destroy the toy. Always replace any toy with rips, tears or cuts in it. Here are a few examples of safe cat toys and safe dog chews to give your pal at various stages in their life.

Safe Puppy Teething Toys

Small puppy teething on blue chew toy

If you just brought home a new furry friend, you may be wondering which puppy teething toys are the healthiest for those tiny, razor-sharp chompers. Here are a few we think are pretty great:

  • Kong toys are awesome and keep pups occupied.
  • Benebones are flavored and great for teething puppies.
  • Toys with ridges and nubs help soothe painful gums.
  • The NWK Freezeable Pet Teether Cooling Chew Toy can numb their mouth.
  • JW Invincible Chains Puppy Toy is fun for them especially if you have two puppies who like to play together.
  • Soft rubber toys that don’t have squeakers are safe for puppies to gnaw on.
  • Frozen fruits and veggies like green beans and blueberries can help puppy’s feel better when teething.

There are so many puppy teething toys on the market, so make sure to consult your vet if you have any concerns about which ones to choose for your new friend. Nylabone Plaque Attackers have recently been recalled for being able to fracture into tiny pieces, especially from sharp puppy teeth. Although, if you’re wondering, “are Nylabones safe for puppies?” the answer is yes, as long as they are monitored. Regular Nylabones are safe and have quite a few options for puppies who need something durable that can’t be eaten.

Kitten teething toys

Calico kitten playing with small toy on ground

Everyone thinks about dog chew toys, but kittens need toys to soothe their new teeth as well. Here are a few safe kitten teething toys you can get for your purr-fect pal:

These are just a few safe kitten teething toys you can invest in to give your cat something to gnaw on. These chew toys for cats can help sore gums and avoid furniture or clothing to be chewed.

Why Monitoring Your Pet While chewing Is Important

Light colored dog with bright blue chew toy

When you watch your dog or cat play or chew on their toys, you will know when one becomes broken or “well-loved”. This is a good time to replace the toy and throw the old one out so pieces won’t break off. Broken toys or bone pieces can be easily swallowed and lead to your pet choking. Also, monitoring your pet while they are playing with toys or treats is important to avoid choking. If you are there to perform CPR, you can help your pet swiftly.

Are Rope Toys Safe for Dogs?

Husky puppy chewing on colored rope toy

They usually are considered to be safe as long as you use them in moderation and the pet is always monitored when they are in their possession. However, rope toys should be thrown away if they become ragged or unraveled. Never keep a rope toy too long as the strands can become a choking hazard. If ingested, the loose strings from the rope toy may get stuck in your dog’s stomach or intestines. Always make sure your pet is not pulling strings out and eating them.

How Chew Toys and Bones Can Degrade Your Pet’s Teeth

Brown and white dog chewing on antler

Have you looked at your dog’s teeth recently? If you notice their canines are flattened instead of pointed, it could mean that your best friend has been chewing on rigid bones too often. A good rule of thumb is, if you can’t break it in half, it’s too hard to be given to your dog to chew. This means you should avoid giving your dog:

  • Antlers
  • Hooves
  • Compressed rawhides

Finding a healthy chewy treat at the pet store can often be difficult, that’s why we suggest a few softer ones you can find on Petmate’s website. Soft, rubber toys with lots of texture are great for dogs to chew and bite. These kinds of toys won’t saw down their teeth.

Are Rawhides Bad for Dogs?

Small puppy with large rawhide bone

Rawhides have been given to dogs for years, so it must be harmless right? Wrong. If you’re wondering, “are rawhides bad for dogs?” the simple answer is yes, they can be. Not only do rawhides pose a serious choking hazard for dogs of all ages, but they can also damage dogs’ teeth and cause digestive issues. Instead of tough rawhides, opt for soft, meaty chews or rubber dog balls that allow you to place yummy treats inside. When compared to compressed rawhides, these durable dog toys are safer for their teeth and throat.

How Accident Coverage Can Protect Your Pet

Couple holds wiggly puppy licking their faces on couch

We all know that even the most well-behaved pets get into trouble from time to time and choking on unsafe pet toys or treats can happen at any age. When you enroll your dog or cat in pet insurance, you’re ensuring their health is taken care of throughout their life. Instead of being faced with expensive vet bills, you can get reimbursed so you can focus on what’s important. You and your pal can be ready for anything in a few simple steps. Give us a call at 888.820.7739 or click here to get a FREE, no-obligation quote today.

*Petmate coupon is valid: 9/23/20 – 10/23/20. One use per customer only. Not valid on sale items, previous purchases, or when combined with other offers.

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Jenna Brashear

As one of the most enthusiastic dog lovers in the Chicagoland suburbs, Jenna spends her free-time snuggling and exploring the wilderness (many dog parks and forest preserves) with her best friend, Rudy. Rudy is an adopted Tibetan Terrier mix who enjoys lounging around the house, begging for table scraps, and receiving his daily butt rub. With his black and white coat, curly tail and smelly toots, Rudy is often referred to as our little skunk. Rudy’s favorite past-time is barking at the waves created by our paddle boat and chasing the pesky rabbits out of his yard. We are enamored with him and can’t believe how lucky we are to call Rudy our furbaby.