A little over a year ago, I adopted an adorable little dog from the Humane Society here in Southwest Florida. The staff at the shelter reported her age as 2, but after a visit to the vet and a little time together, it was obvious that she was still a puppy — a year old at best. Not that it mattered to me. She was cute as a button and as sweet as all get out…all 13 pounds of her. But she had one habit that had me completely dismayed. As tiny as she was, she was Cujo with toys, ripping everything I bought her to shreds in record time. And so shortly after she came to live with me, I set out to locate the most indestructible dog toys I could find.
Don’t let your dog’s size fool you! A little chihuahua can destroy a dog toy almost as quickly as a Great Dane!
One thing I learned early on in my quest was that a dog doesn’t need to be an aggressive chewer to demolish a dog toy. Nor do they need to be big. A little JRT mix can do as much damage as a pit bull under the right circumstances. As I quickly learned with my little girl, tearing a toy apart one string at a time is just as effective as chewing it to bits. And it doesn’t take long! In the first few weeks I had her, my little Moana turned at least a half dozen cute little plush toys into rags.
Once I learned Moana’s habits, I set out to find the best dog toys for a fabric-shredding little puppy I could. In the process, I discovered many other almost indestructible toys for dogs of all kinds. Here’s a look at what I found.
- Almost Indestructible Rubber Toys
- Nylon Toys and Chews
- The Bottom Line
Almost Indestructible Rubber Toys
Natural rubber is a wonderful material for dog toys. For one thing, it’s extremely tough and durable, and because it’s derived from plants it’s virtually toxin-free. Natural rubber toys are also great for your dog’s dental health, since they have no sharp edges and can be designed with all kinds of nubs and ridges that stimulate the dog’s gums and help keep teeth tartar-free.
Here are the three that I like the best.
No.1 The Kong
Perhaps the best known of all rubber dog toys on the market, the iconic Kong, comes in four strengths, Classic, Puppy, Senior and Extreme. Available in a full range of sizes, from extra-small to extra-extra large, these oddly shaped natural rubber toys do triple-duty, serving as bouncy balls for play time, food puzzles to keep crated dogs occupied, and very sturdy chew toys. And they really are virtually indestructible.
But the Kong isn’t perfect. Its odd shape and erratic bounce pattern make it rather unsuitable for indoor play, especially in a small space. And while its large, hollowed out center is great for stuffing with yummy treats that will keep your crated dog busy for a while, it can also create quite a mess. Still, on a toughness scale, it is definitely a 10. I’ve had Moana’s Puppy Kong for over 12 months and it’s still 100% intact.
No. 2 The EASTBLUE Tornado
EASTBLUE makes a few tough rubber toys that can withstand a lot of punishment. One of my favorites is the Tornado, a solid rubber ring that has lots of small bumps and ridges on the surface that help to stimulate the dog’s gums and teeth while she chomps away. Sized for medium to large dogs, the Tornado can also be a great distraction for a smaller dog with a lot of chewing energy to spare. It also makes a sturdy tug-o-war toy and can double as a Frisbee for outdoor play.
No. 3 Rmolitty Squeaky Dog Toy
Being from Southwest Florida, I have an affinity for gators, but most of the alligator-shaped dog toys I’ve come across are flimsy plush items that come apart in about 60 seconds flat. That’s one reason I like this alligator-shaped squeaky toy from Rmolitty. It’s made of tough 8-millimeter natural rubber that can stand up to aggressive chewing from almost any type of dog. It’s also got lots of ridges and grooves to stimulate the dog’s teeth and gums, and grooves along the sides where you can squirt a little toothpaste (if you don’t mind the mess!) Plus it’s just a little bit softer than the Kong and the Tornado, so a determined pup can actually make it squeak.
Your dog may love chewing sticks, but most vets recommend against letting your dog chew on wood, which can splinter and damage their mouth and gums.
Almost Indestructible Fabric Toys
Fabric toys are a big favorite of a lot of dogs — including mine. But finding a fabric toy that will stand up to aggressive chewing or biting (or in Moana’s case, shredding) is quite a feat. Plush toys are adorable and inexpensive, but they pose no challenge whatsoever to a dog determined to rip them apart. And rope toys shred, leaving hundreds of little strings all over the house (and in the dog’s G.I. tract.) In fact, I bought and threw away so many cute toys when I first got my puppy that I had almost given up hope. Then I discovered these!
No. 1 Kong Floppy Knots Toys
Some of the cutest, almost indestructible fabric toys on the market today, Kong Floppy Knots are Moana’s favorite by far. They’re fitted with a squeaker inside the “tummy,” which is made of a fairly durable nylon blend. The arms and legs are made of fabric-wrapped knotted rope, so it’s almost impossible for the dog to pull them off. Sadly, the cute little faces (they come in fox, elephant and bunny rabbit styles) are the toys’ Achilles’ heels. They’re stuffed with a little bit of some kind of polyester and tend to fall apart much more quickly than the rest of the toy.
Still, for fabric toys, Floppy Knots qualify as “almost indestructible” in my book. The only caveat is the ease with which a dog (at least my dog) can tear into the little pouch that holds the squeaker. Since that can be a choking hazard, I just cut it out on Day 1 before I give the toy to her.
No. 2 Kong Wubba Toys
Also made by Colorado-based Kong, the Wubba is another fairly durable fabric toy. Actually part ball and part tug toy, it’s made out of a soft rubber ball with a squeaker inside wrapped in durable nylon fabric. The toys come in three sizes (small, large and extra-large) and a variety of styles, including plain ones with just a round ball-shaped top, and more elaborate designs fashioned to look like animals. (There’s a fish, a dog, a zebra, a cheetah, and even a caterpillar.) I personally prefer the plain style, since there is less loose fabric for Moana to chew through and rip apart.
Not marketed as a chew toy, the Wubba still stands up to fairly aggressive chewing, as well as quite a few games of tug-o-war. Another plus: When the fabric cover finally gives up the ghost, you’re left with a nice little squeaky ball to throw for your dog!
No. 3 Tuffy Brand Toys
As the name suggests, Tuffy makes durable fabric dog toys that are made to last. Manufactured by Philadelphia-based VIP products, they’re a combination of soft fleece, industrial grade luggage material and nylon. The reseller who markets the toys, Tuffy Toys.com, says in its marketing materials that they contain “up to” seven layers of fabric, and they certainly feel at least that thick. With that being said, they are not sold or intended to be chew toys, and will not stand up to aggressive chewing over the long term.
Tuffy’s dog toys come in a variety of shapes and sizes, all of which are almost indestructible as long as they’re used as intended — that is, as interactive toys. They also have the fringe benefit of being submersible in water — and they float. So they make excellent fetch toys for black labs and other water-loving dogs.
Check out our article, The Best Tuffy Toys for Dogs for some ideas for specific Tuffy toys that your dog may enjoy.
This huge cotton rope toy may look sturdy, but the strings are flimsy and easily chewed off. It may be a good tug-o-war toy, but it’s far from indestructible.
Nylon Toys and Chews
Nylon dog toys are actually constructed from a thermoplastic polymer such as that used to make toothbrushes, plastic cups and pipes. Strong enough to stand up to aggressive chewing, the best known of these are the Nylabone brand, which come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes for dogs of all kinds. They also make great chew toys as long as you choose the right size for your dog and you supervise him at all times. According to Nylabone’s website, the “right” size is a toy large enough that the dog must chew it from the side rather than the top. This will prevent the dog from accidentally shattering the bone and possibly ingesting it.
In addition to Nylabone, here are a few more nylon treats that both I and Moana like.
No. 1 BULLYMAKE Horseshoe Nylon Dog Toy
Made for medium to large dogs, the BULLYMAKE horseshoe shaped toy is very durable and flavored with a touch of mint to help keep your dog’s breath nice and fresh. With that being said, it’s made from hard nylon-based plastic — it doesn’t have any “give” to it and doesn’t make any noise, so it’s not suited to every dog. I offered it to my niece’s Border Collie with a little bit of peanut butter, and she chewed it just until the peanut flavor was gone. But her other dog, an old tripawd named Jet, loved chasing and retrieving it, and seemed to have a lot of fun chomping on it afterwards.
No. 2 Super Chewer by BarkBox
Another almost indestructible toy for dogs large and small, the Super Chewer from BarkBox comes in a variety of unique shapes that dogs really seem to enjoy. Made from a combination of sturdy nylon and rubber (some are just nylon), they are styled to look like everything from a simple ball to an iguana, to (my favorite) the Lochness monster. The outer layer is made of natural rubber, so it’s a little more pliable than 100% nylon toys, but the firm nylon core makes them very hard(though not impossible) to destroy.
No. 3 Benebone Flavored Dog Chews
Available in a number of shapes and sizes, Benebone dog chews are made from durable nylon infused with real chicken, bacon or peanuts. Unlike some nylon chews that claim to taste like this or that, they actually smell like what they purport to be (although I stopped short of tasting one!) Made and sourced from ingredients in the U.S., they come in sizes ranging from tiny (chihuahua size) to giant (think Great Dane). Moana loves her bacon-flavored Zaggler toy, which has a disc in the middle that makes the whole thing roll around for a nice game of chase.
No dog toy is truly indestructible, but you may be able to avoid coming home to this if you choose toys made from high quality materials and supervise your dog while he plays.
The Bottom Line
No dog toy is truly indestructible, as anyone who has a dog who’s an aggressive chewer already knows. What’s more, dogs “attack” their toys in very different ways, so one that might last a long time for my pup may be gone in an instant with yours. Still, it is possible to find almost indestructible dog toys if you stick with high quality materials and well known brands, and keep in mind your dog’s personal preferences and chewing style. And, of course, always inspect his toys regularly for signs of excessive wear and tear.