When you head to work, do you toss your pet a chew toy to keep them occupied while you’re gone? Or, do you spoil your furry pal with something tasty to gnaw on while you’re relaxing at night? Have you considered that some chews may not be safe for your pet? When it comes to chew toy safety, not all treats and toys are created equal, and many products can harm your pet. Before stocking up on toys and treats to entertain your four-legged friend, check out our chew toy analysis.

The toy: Kong toys

  • The details: Kong makes a wide variety of products, with the rubber chew toy one of their most popular. Rubber Kongs have holes on each side to allow pet owners to stuff the toy with a tasty filling, and to help prevent choking if a small toy is swallowed. These toys come in multiple sizes and durabilities and are safe chewing options for all pets, including cats.
  • The verdict: Durable and safe, food puzzles are a wonderful source of environmental enrichment for your pet, and Kong delivers with their rubber toys. 

The toy: Antlers, hooves, and bones

  • The details: Antlers, hooves, and bones are popular chew options for pets who are powerful, devoted chewers, and who typically shred a toy or eat through a treat in a matter of minutes. However, these tough chews can fracture your pet’s teeth, or pierce their gums and gastrointestinal (GI) tract if the chews break into small shards. The small pieces can also obstruct your pet’s GI tract and require emergency surgery for removal.
  • The verdict: Antlers, hooves, and bones are best avoided to prevent serious health risks to your pet. 

The toy: Greenies

  • The details: While not long-lasting, Greenies dental chews are a great product for helping boost your pet’s dental health. Any product approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) has proven its ability to slow accumulation of plaque and tartar, which are the culprits of painful periodontal problems in pets. By giving your pet a Greenie a day, you can help improve their dental health and prolong the time between professional dental cleanings.
  • The verdict: Greenies are easily digestible, with numerous oral health benefits, and make an ideal chew for your furry pal.

The toy: Rawhides

  • The details: Rawhides are chews made from highly processed animal hides. These products are bleached, and other chemicals are added to strip the flesh from the animal hide, and to kill any pathogens. Flavorings are then usually added to make rawhides taste more appealing, but the sticky substances can grow bacteria and cause GI upset. Rawhides that pets chew too quickly can turn into a slimy, malleable mess that pets can choke on, while large rawhide chunks can cause a GI blockage. 
  • The verdict: Although some pets can chew and enjoy rawhides safely, others should not be given these products if they chew too quickly, and may swallow large pieces.

The toy: Goughnuts

  • The details: Certain Goughnuts products have a built-in safety indicator that warns you when your pet’s chew toy should be tossed away. If your dog chews through the outside layer and exposes the inner red warning layer, Goughnuts will replace the toy. Keep in mind that not all their products are designed for power or constant chewing, so choose the toy that best meets your pet’s needs.
  • The verdict: A replacement guarantee paired with a safety indicator makes this chew toy a great option for pets who love to chew their toys into small pieces.

The toy: Stuffed toys

  • The details: Plush toys filled with stuffing and squeakers delight many pets, but they’re easily shredded. If you’re alright with purchasing toys for your furry pal that they destroy in moments, stuffed toys can be acceptable so long as your pet is supervised. But, if your pet rips apart a stuffed toy, determined to eat the squeaker or pieces of fabric, that is not a good chew option.
  • The verdict: Stuffed toys can allow gentle or senior pets a fun chewing option, but you should still carefully watch your pet with these toys. If your pet is a known power chewer, or has a penchant for eating items they shouldn’t, stuffed toys should be avoided.

When in doubt about the safety of your pet’s chew toy, toss it out, because it’s always better to be safe than sorry. However, if your pet develops GI upset or an obstruction from gnawing on something they shouldn’t, our Urgent Pet Care Omaha team is here to help. Give us a call if your four-legged friend begins vomiting or having diarrhea after chewing on a toy.