As the gift-giving season approaches, you may be perusing rows of chew toys online for your pet, or testing out the squeaker or chew factor in stores. But, what makes a chew toy a good option for your furry pal? Before filling your pet’s stocking with treats and toys, find out which chews our Belmont Animal Hospital team put on our nice list, and which ones ended up on our naughty list.
Pet chew toy qualities that earn a spot on the naughty list
Nobody wants to be on the naughty list, but a few pet chew toys have qualities that land them there. If your pet’s chew toys have any of the following characteristics, it’s time to upgrade to safer toys:
- Too hard — Chew toys that are too hard can fracture your pet’s teeth, or at least cause serious wear and tear. A good rule of thumb—if you can’t comfortably tap a toy against your knee without pain, that toy is probably too hard for your pet.
- Too soft — On the opposite paw, your pet can easily destroy and ingest a chew toy that is too soft. So, if you have a power chewer, stay away from plush toys.
- Too processed — Those brightly colored red and green rawhides that are popular around the holidays are chock-full of chemicals that can cause your pet severe gastrointestinal upset. Rawhides are essentially animal skins processed with chemicals like bleach, and then made appealing with a cover of artificial colorings and flavorings. Ditch these chews in favor of a more natural product.
- Too brittle — Although your pet is eyeballing your turkey drumsticks or ham bone this holiday season, cooked bones are especially brittle and do not make good chews. Brittle chews can splinter and pierce your pet’s mouth and gastrointestinal tract, so keep your four-legged friend away from bones.
Pet chew toy qualities that make the cut for the nice list
While you may feel like Goldilocks as you evaluate each chew toy for your pet—“this one is too hard, this one is too soft”—you can certainly find one that has good qualities. Here is what you should look for in your pet’s chew toys:
- Durability tailored to your pet — Some chew toys come in a wide range of durabilities that cater to all chewing strengths. If you have a pup who’s more of a nibbler than a chomper, you can find a softer chew toy that’s appropriate for their chewing style.
- Appropriate size for your pet — Although you may think giving your pint-size Chihuahua a giant-size chew that will last forever is a good idea, the toy or treat should be appropriately sized. A too-large toy can cause discomfort while chewing, and a too-small one can be easily swallowed and create an obstruction.
- Edible, but healthy, treats — If you’re handing out edible chew toys, check the ingredients, fat content, and calorie count carefully. Many chews are laden with fat and calories, and can have hidden ingredients that trigger food sensitivities and gastrointestinal upset.
Pet chew toys: The naughty list
When choosing chew toy gifts for your furry pal, leave the following on the shelf:
- Pig ears
- Tennis balls
- Rope toys
- Plush toys
While the first few items should be avoided at all costs, tennis balls, rope toys, and plush toys can be given to supervised pets. Never leave your four-legged friend alone with these items. Tennis balls that are chewed extensively can wear away the enamel on your pet’s teeth. Rope toys can disintegrate, and the strands can cause a blockage. Plush toys can be easily shredded and ingested, particularly if a squeaker is inside.
Pet chew toys: The nice list
The following chew toys should top every pet’s most-wanted list this holiday season:
- Chews accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council
- Planet Dog rubber toys
- GoughNuts chew toys
- Kong toys
- Zogoflex toys
Whether you’re looking for a chew proven to battle plaque, tartar, and stinky breath, or one that is virtually indestructible without being too tough, you’ll find it on this list. Some of these toys, like the Goughnuts brand chew toys, have a built-in safety indicator that lets you know when your pooch has gnawed too much on their toy, and the company will send you a replacement. Others, like the classic Kong toys, can be stuffed full of your pet’s favorite treats to provide a long-lasting, tasty chew. The chews on our nice list are the perfect blend of durability and flexible texture that your pet can safely enjoy.
Did your furry pal already get their paws on an unsafe holiday chew toy and chip a tooth? Or, did that red and green rawhide upset your pet’s stomach? Whatever the case, count on your Belmont Animal Hospital team to help your pet feel better in time to enjoy the holidays. Give us a call to schedule an appointment.