I find myself obsessing over which toys and chews I should give to my dog. Through trial and error I have found the toys that work, and the toys that do not. Here is a synopsis of what I have found. I am always looking for new toys and chews to add to this list, so I will keep you updated with future finds.
My all time favorite dog toy is the Chuckit! balls. My dog is unable to destroy these (with the exception of the ones with a squeaker in it, which I will discuss at a later date), and plays with them non-stop in the house and outside. I don’t think he could survive life without them! Coupled with a launcher, this toy is endless entertainment for retrievers.
These are great. I am going to be ordering a few more of them. I have two of the red ones already. I stuff the toy with treats such as apples, bananas, dog snacks etc. and then freeze them. Prior to leaving the house, I give my dog one of these frozen kongs. It occupies him while I am gone and keeps him from causing trouble. He may actually look forward to my departure now that he knows he is going to get a treat!
Nylabone Dura Chew Knot
This bone has lasted for a couple of months now, and my dog still chews on it. It is a good alternative to real bones, and is not as hazardous as some of them can be. He has made some scratches on the surface, so the pieces that break off are very small and pass right through him. I am looking forward to trying other Nylabone products.
Himalayan Dog Chew
These chews are more of a food treat than a toy. My dog loves them and they can last a few hours. They are pricey ($10-$14 unless you buy them in bulk), but I would buy them again. Be sure to take it away from your dog when it gets to be too small. Take that small leftover piece and microwave it for 45 seconds. It turns into a popped-dog chew! Allow it to cool down completely before giving it to your dog, as it gets extremely hot.
My dog loves playing with this ball because it squeaks. I like throwing it too, so we are both having fun! I have not given it an indoor chew test, but as an outside toy it is great.
Chuckit!® Amphibious Fetch Dog Toy
Initially I thought my dog was an atheist, but I now think he might be practicing a religion I am unfamiliar with, because he likes to swing this toy around and slap himself on the back with it. After his initial burst of excitement of receiving, he tires of it. This is definitely an outside toy and would be destroyed quickly if brought indoors.
(These toys are actually mediocre; not bad)
Chuckit!® Amphibious Flying Ring
My dog will play with it for a while, holding it so his nose is coming through the centre and his eyes are blocked by the toy. One of these days he will run into a tree! Perhaps if he was more of a frisby dog he would like this toy. It would not last a minute as an indoor toy.
Top Paw® Firehose Snake Dog Toy - Squeaker
This toy lasted two weeks with my dog and he really liked it. This is the longest lasting fabric toy in our home. I would buy this firehose type toy again, perhaps a different style without a squeaker. There are a variety of options out there to choose from. Try to find ones without too many things hanging off it. Also, it seems that any toy I purchase with a squeaker in it has a short life span, so perhaps the ones without a squeaker would be a better choice.
Elk Antlers and Deer Antlers
These chews have been good for me in the past, but the last couple of times I purchased them they did not last and they splintered into sharp pieces, which could be hazardous to a dogs digestive tract.
My dog loved this toy. It lasted for 4 months. I would get one again, but take it away when it wasn't stuffed with food. Just when I was marveling at it's durability, he decided to chew it into pieces.
I will never give another dog a rawhide bone; they are treated with harsh chemicals, are choking hazards, and may actually cause death. Check out the warning on some of the rawhide packages: “Choking or blockages. If your dog swallows large pieces of rawhide, the rawhide can get stuck in the esophagus or other parts of the digestive tract. Sometimes, abdominal surgery is needed to remove them from the stomach or intestines. If it isn’t resolved, a blockage can lead to death.“
Kong Tug Toy
My dog snipped the product in two within 5 minutes. Luckily I was able to return it for a refund. This was very disappointing for a Kong product. They are not priced cheaply, but this was definitely made cheaply.
I have tried a variety of rope toys and they always end up the same. String plucked out and toy destroyed within a day or two. I worry about the threads in the dogs gut and intestine, this stuff cannot be easy to digest. Rope toys are a no for me.
Goughnut Maxx 50 Ring
These chew toys are supposed to change colour if your dog has broken through the first barrier. The company will give you another toy if your dog does this...my dog has no interest in this toy. It collects dust; complete waste of money.
Stuffed Dog Toys
This might not be the worst dog toy for everybody, but for aggressive chewers like mine they are a waste of money. Eyeballs and ears litter the floor whenever I bring these toys home. My previous dog was also an aggressive chewer, yet he managed to keep his stuffed "Bunny" for many years. Know your dog and watch them with the stuffed toy prior to rejecting this option.