We love to spoil our dogs, and there is no better excuse to do this than the giving of gifts for the holidays! Two years ago I rescued Stitch, my Chihuahua/pit bull mix, and since his arrival have spent hundreds of dollars to find the best and safest toys available. I bet you’ll be buying your dogs toys for the holidays, so I want to share my findings with you.
Stitch came to us from our local animal shelter as an aggressive chewer. Not the kind who eats shoes or remote controls (although he might if we didn’t supply him with other options), but the kind who must constantly have a ball or bully stick in his mouth to keep him calm and satisfied. If he’s not chewing on a rubber ball, then he’s thrashing a stuffed toy or pulling the squeaker out of a squeaky ball. He can destroy a squeaker in a stuffed animal within minutes of it arriving home. After throwing away many of what I’ll call “disposable” toys, I’ve created a list of the toys which we have found are made to last. (The list is not in any particular order.)
Please Note: While all toys mentioned are durable, use at your own risk. Remember to read all packaging instructions and never leave your pet unattended while playing with toys. Inspect all products before giving to your pet. No toy is indestructible, and any toy can become a choking hazard. Always use pet products with care and supervision.
These can be purchased in five different sizes to fit your pooch. These toys are acceptable for some aggressive chewers because they do not have stuffing and do not easily pull apart at sewn joints. Stitch has had these for over a year and has not pulled off any parts (yet). The squeaker wears out after a short period of time, but has not punctured or become a hazard internally within the toy. The toy is advertised for aggressive chewers, but they also caution owners to watch for aggressive chewers who may pull out the squeaker. These are also a good stuffer for the beehive interactive toy (see below).
Arm & Hammer Super Treadz toys are soft rubber with “treadz” for teeth cleaning and gum stimulation. They also claim to be infused with baking soda. They have a pleasant smell, and I can’t tell if Stitch notices an adverse flavor or scent. This toy is advertised as being “sturdy enough for tough chewers,” and are available in multiple sizes and shapes for different breeds. They have a little bounce to them, but are not much of an interactive toy. Stitch does not use his as a go-to chew toy, but he’ll give it attention when he hasn’t seen it for awhile.
Furballz fluff ball is Stitch’s favorite shake-until-you-die toy! He has shaken and thrown this thing all over the house for months and it hasn’t lost any fur yet! (See photo below.) It is made with “reinforced seams and chew-resistant lining” which really makes a difference. They acknowledge that “no toy is indestructible,” and offer a “one-time replacement” for their product. This toy is available in four sizes and a variety of colors. Be careful which one you order. I bought one too big for Stitch, but he loves it anyway. The only caveat with the larger one is Stitch can’t get the squeaker to work as it’s deeply embedded and his mouth is comparably small. Definitely a favorite though.
Gliderz discs drive Stitch nuts! He loves rope so this gives him the satisfaction of playing tug o’ war while still being able to chase after a flying disc. He enjoys sticking his nose through the loop and flinging it over his face. The company calls it durable and we’ve had wonderful results with the loop staying intact. However, the fabric eventually begins to shred as would be expected. (See below photo of a well-used disc.) This disc is available in one size and three different colors.
Outward Hound's interactive beehive comes with three bees but can be filled with additional shapes (sold separately). The small-through-large durable housings include three toys, and the XL housing includes six toys. Housings come in the shape of a beehive, various logs, a bird house, a barn, a rainbow, a taco truck, and other forms for stuffing full of squeaky plush toys! The plush toys are also durable and do not easily tear. The squeakers wear out eventually, but the toy itself lasts a long time, even for an aggressive chewer. (See below photo.) There is room for more than three toys in the larger shapes, and replacement toys are available for purchase. Your dog can shake all the bees/plush toys out and watch them fly across the room, then hunt them down and make them squeak!
This sturdy rubber ball is great for aggressive chewers as well as for dogs who need stimulating activities. (It can be fun for cats, too.) The ball is made from safe, non-toxic rubber and has a decent bounce to it - but is a little heavier than most rubber balls. Treats go in the center hole which is a tube that runs through the center, then additional treats can be stuck into the outer wall teeth. The only caveat is that treats get stuck and make it difficult to clean out. Otherwise, it presents a good challenge for an over-active pup. It is available in 2” and 3” sizes for small and medium dogs.
This disc is made of KONG’s durable soft rubber and is pliable for a “forgiving” catch. It doesn’t throw like a standard well-known disc or fly as far, but is durable and will last indefinitely. It is available in two sizes: small and large. Not a favorite of Stitch’s, but he won’t turn down an opportunity to play outside with someone!
KONG classic is reliable and well-known in the K-9 community. Most dog shelters keep KONG’s in-house for playtime and for snack time, as well as for the dogs who are anxious chewers. KONG’s are made of soft and durable natural rubber, are easy to clean, and are a fun treat dispensing puzzle toy. Its unusual shape also makes it less likely to become a choking hazard. The best thing about a KONG Classic is they bounce unpredictably, so your dog never knows where it’s going to go! Fill a KONG with pumpkin or peanut butter, freeze for 4-6 hours, then give it to your doggo for a long-lasting added challenge!
Stitch’s No. 1 TOP PICK!
Another durable ball for aggressive chewers. This ball has an excellent bounce and is a perfect size for dogs who catch well. Available in four sizes: 2’ Small though 3.5” X-Large. Also available in a squeaker model. Stitch lives for this ball. He even takes it on walks with us. (Photo was taken as I was writing this blog.) Chuckit! rubber washes well and has a textured surface for better gripping. It is soft and pliable for constant chewers. It’s well worth the investment to keep your little chewer happy.
If you have a safe toy pick which you’d like to recommend, send us the information and a photo of your dog to email@example.com and we’ll share them on Sit & Stay Pet Care Services’ social media and future blogs!
Stitch and I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season!