Every dog is different with what they like to play with. Some dogs love toys and treat them like little babies, carrying them around like a comforter, taking them to bed and occasionally nibbling on their ends.
Other dogs love something they can chew on, they may have very strong jaws and be prolific destroyers and they get great enjoyment from chowing down on the toys that they have. A soft toy is unlikely to last with this type of dog. They may be a dog that is very high energy, particularly smart and needs lots of stimulation. Durable treat dispensing toys can be a great option for keeping them entertained.
Often a toy is advertised as being very tough and when it comes to the crunch, literally, they don’t actually last five minutes with your power chewing dog. You may have invested quite a bit of money on it and that can be frustrating but, more of a worry is the fact that your dog could pull a chunk of the toy and this could present a choking or blockage risk.
Is your dog a regular destroyer of toys? This article will provide you with some tougher dog toy alternatives to try
- No Toy Is Truly Indestructible
- Supervision is Often Still Required
- Some Tough Toys Can Pose a Risk to Teeth
- Tough Toys Can Be Important in Helping Keep Your Dog Stimulated
- Some Dogs Have More Desire to Chew Than Others
- If Your Dog Is Destructive Because of Anxiety Issues, Giving Them Tough Toys Is Not the Solution
- Pick the Right Size
- 1. Black Extreme Kong Toys
- 2. Tuffy Dog Toys
- 3. Orbee Tuff Toys
- 4. West Paw Designs Toys
- 5. Goughnuts
- 6. Kong Wobbler
- 7. Jolly Pets Romp-N-Roll Ball
- 8. Chuckit Ultra Balls
- 9. Nylabone Dura Chew
- 10. Durafoam Ball
No Toy Is Truly Indestructible
You sometimes see a toy branded with claims of being indestructible or chew proof Honestly, there is actually no such thing. No toy is truly unbreakable. If a dog has super power jaws, is a very determined chewer and is left with to their own devices with the toy for long enough, most can end up being destroyed or at least damaged eventually.
Supervision is Often Still Required
Regardless of how tough a toy is there is always an element of risk. The dog could eventually manage to break a piece off or, depending on the size of the toy, there is a small risk that they could get the toy trapped in their mouth also causing a potential choking hazard. Whilst some of the very tough treat dispensing toys may be suitable for leaving your dog with unsupervised, generally, we would always recommend keeping a weather eye on your dog when they are playing with a toy.
You will need to make a calculated judgement based on how well the toy is withstanding your dog’s attention as to whether it seems safe enough to leave them with. If they are not a power chewer it is likely going to be okay to leave a dog with the likes of a Kong unsupervised. If they are an extreme chewer but they are more inclined to try to chew on less safe objects around the home or garden then leaving them with a safer tough toy may be the more sensible choice.
Whilst there is always a risk with any dog toy, these tough brands carry a much lesser risk than those that can be destroyed easily or those items that they shouldn’t be chewing on like a stick
Some Tough Toys Can Pose a Risk to Teeth
Some of the very hard chews that do not have any give, like a Nylabone, can actually pose a risk to your dog’s teeth. They could chip or break a tooth or eventually grind the tooth down if they are aggressively chewing on a hard toy. It can often be difficult to know that your dog has damaged their tooth but it can cause them pain or possibly even cause them to develop gum disease or an infection.
It is important to keep a close eye on them, be aware of the risk and make regular tooth inspections if you do decide to give them this type of toy.
Tough Toys Can Be Important in Helping Keep Your Dog Stimulated
If you have a dog that is particularly high energy or has high intelligence and needs a lot of extra mental stimulation, along with lots of appropriate exercise and training, interactive toys can be extremely useful in helping to stave off boredom and, consequently, potential problem behaviours. If your dog does not have an appropriate outlet, they can turn to your slippers, pillows, duvets or table leg. A bored dog can also start to exhibit other mischievous or attention seeking behaviour.
It is important to remember though that if you have a dog that needs a lot of stimulation, just providing them with a heap of interactive toys and expecting this to be enough is not the solution. It can help but you do also need to consider what other regular exercise and training you are going to introduce. Perhaps you and your dog could start taking part in an organised dog sport, maybe you can both run together, perhaps you need to start integrating a few 5 or 10-minute training sessions into your dog’s daily routines.
Having a selection of different toys that you can rotate can also be important to keep your dog engaged and excited. You don’t want them to get bored if they always only have the same ones day after day.
Some Dogs Have More Desire to Chew Than Others
Some breeds often have a stronger desire to chew, some have stronger jaws than others so can more easily destroy toys and there are some dogs that are just so determined that they will pick away until they make some headway in doing damage.
Terriers often love to ‘rag’ soft toys. This relates to their instinct to hunt vermin and, once caught, they will shake them violently to kill them. They can often make quick work of soft toys as a result and may need something a bit tougher to keep them going. Sometimes, if they cannot ‘rag’ the toy though they may lose interest meaning some of the more solid toys in this list may not necessarily be as attractive for them.
There are breeds that just have extremely powerful jaws, so when they do bite down on a toy it can cause much more damage than the bite of other breeds. Some of the Bully Breeds are known for their toy destroying ability.
Some dogs are super smart and they quickly work out where the weak points are in a toy. They find the loose stitching and pull all the fluff out of a soft toy in super fast time or know how to hold onto a tennis ball and pull all the fluff off faster than other dogs.
Busy dog breeds that always like to be occupied can be prolific chewers. Breeds like the Australian Shepherd or the Malinois are known for their destroying capabilities.
The retrieving breeds that like to have something in their mouth can also often be enthusiastic chewers so it is important to give breeds like Labradors and Golden Retrievers plenty of appropriate toys to satisfy any urges they may have. Sometimes they may just want to ’baby’ the toy with a soft mouth but sometimes they may turn to chewing. You need to teach your dog what is appropriate for them to hold, play with and chew and if they don’t have any acceptable alternatives they may turn to your slippers, cushions or table legs!
Every dog is an individual though and there may be some trial and error (and a few destroyed toys) whilst you work out what your dog likes to play with and how destructive they can be.
Some breeds and individual dogs are more inclined to chew whereas others may just like them as a comforter or to collect and protect!
If Your Dog Is Destructive Because of Anxiety Issues, Giving Them Tough Toys Is Not the Solution
Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety can also be known for being destructive when they are left alone. Generally though just giving them a chew toy will not be enough to solve the problem unless their anxiety is very mild. You will likely need to work on a behaviour modification programme to treat the problem and get your dog feeling more relaxed being left on their own.
Pick the Right Size
It is really important that when you pick a toy that it is the right size for your dog, this is even more so true when you are selecting a tougher toy.
If you go too small this poses a choking hazard if the whole toy gets stuck in your dog’s mouth, or even swallowed. Picking a toy that is too small also makes it easier for your dog to damage it. If they can get their chops right around it they can often exert more pressure or get a better grip. Selecting a bigger tough toy minimises the chances of your dog managing to damage it.
Below are some of the best reviewed tough toys on the market along with some information on their pros and cons.
1. Black Extreme Kong Toys
Kong Dog Toys are known for their quality and durability. The Classic Kong, which is red in colour, is an extremely versatile and very durable toy. It is usually strong enough to withstand an average dog’s rigorous chewing. For the real power chewers, there is an even tougher Kong option which is referred to as the Kong Extreme. This black version of the Classic Kong is made of an even denser material and is one of the toughest toys on the market.
Make sure you select the right size for your dog’s weight and don’t leave them unsupervised initially until you see how the toy is handling the dog’s chewing capability.
Kongs can be stuffed with food, they can be frozen and they are extremely versatile. We would recommend always having at least one in your doggy toy arsenal.
2. Tuffy Dog Toys
If you have a dog that really likes soft toys but manages to chew their way through every one that you have ever bought, then the Tuffy range may be worth a shot. For the most aggressive chewers a Kong Extreme or another very durable rubber toy may still be a better option but, in terms of soft toys, these are one of the most respected on the market. The toys are graded in terms of their durability, from 5 right up to the toughest option at 10.
They are made with multiple layers of very tough materials and they have extra stitching and then a cover over this stitching to minimise the chance of the dog picking at it to loosen the material.
Don’t forget that, at the end of the day, these are still a soft toy so, if you have a real power chewer they will not be likely to last. But, if they love a soft toy and you want to try the toughest one out there then it could be worth the money. Make sure that you pick one of the toys that is graded a 9 or 10 to have the best chance of it surviving. Some of the lower graded toys come in novel animal shapes. They can be a good option for a dog that is not a destroyer but you just want one that will last a while and wash well but they are not designed to withstand any proper chewing really.
The Tuffy Mega Ring is a 10 on their chew scale.
3. Orbee Tuff Toys
Planet Dog is a wonderfully philanthropic, ethical company that also just happen to make fantastic, durable and high-quality dog products. Their flagship Orbee-Tuff range of toys are extremely popular. They are made from safe non-toxic, environmentally friendly rubber, manufactured in the USA and they have a reputation for being very robust. They all have a unique scent that can encourage your dog to show more interest and the rubber is very pliable. Their Orbee Tuff Balls come in three different sizes and in a variety of styles (globe, snowball, coal etc). They are more expensive than your average ball but, check out the reviews and you will see that it will likely be worth the investment. They are not totally indestructible but they can survive rigorous chewing.
4. West Paw Designs Toys
West Paw Designs, like Planet Dog, are another groundbreaking pet brand that are leaders in environmentally friendly products. Their range of toys is also well known for being extremely durable and suitable for some of the most powerful chewers. They have a lot of great interactive, stuffable treat toys and many of them float in water. They are all made from a safe, non-toxic rubber and are recycled and recyclable. They even accept toys that have seen better days to be returned back to them so that they can be recycled again.
Again, they are not cheap, but they are usually robust enough to justify the price tag.
West Paw Designs are so confident in their products that they also offer a guarantee.
Goughnuts are often heralded as being the toughest dog toys on the market They are a super tough, heavy dog toy that only the most serious aggressive chewers are likely to make a dent in. The company offer a guarantee on their products and, if your dog manages to chew through the very tough outer layer to expose the inner red layer, they will replace the toy.
The Goughnut Max 50 is regarded as the toughest of all their toys. It is a black ring and it has a little yellow spot on it.
Because it is so hard with practically no give and no option to use as a treat toy, some dogs may lose interest.
6. Kong Wobbler
Another tough Kong toy option, but this one offers something a little different for keeping your dog entertained and stimulated. The Kong Wobbler is the same shape as the Classic and Extreme black Kong but it is a lot bigger and made from a harder plastic with a weighted bottom. It can be unscrewed so that treats or kibble can be put in the base and then the dog has to work knocking the wobbler from side to side to dislodge the treats from inside through a small treat dispensing hole.
It offers a different challenge for your dog. Because it is made from hard plastic it can be noisy if it bangs against walls or furniture and some more sensitive dogs may find this a little unnerving and need some guidance and encouragement to start with. It is also not a suitable one for using in a crate or confined space.
It comes in two sizes, the bigger one will likely be too heavy and difficult to topple for smaller breeds.
7. Jolly Pets Romp-N-Roll Ball
These Romp-N-Roll Balls from Jolly Pets are a football-sized ball made from tough hollow plastic and with a rope attached making it easier to pick up and throw. Because of their size and the material they are made from they are very difficult for a dog to get their teeth into them meaning they are very durable. They are not ideal to leave your dog unsupervised with if you want the rope part to remain intact though and they would likely be too big for the smaller breed dogs. This brand is even sometimes used for the big cats in zoos so that gives you an indication of how tough they are!
8. Chuckit Ultra Balls
The Chuckit Ultra Balls are not as tough as some of the other products on the list but, if you are looking for a more durable option in place of a tennis ball then these are a great alternative. They are much more durable, don’t gather the moisture and dirt, are super bouncy, float in water and are very bright so easy to spot in the grass and they come in three sizes.
There is also a squeaky version of the ball too although it is not quite as durable as the standard Ultra ball.
9. Nylabone Dura Chew
The Nylabone Durachew range is exceptionally tough and long lasting. The range comes in a variety of shapes and they have ridges that offer different textures for interest and to help promote dental hygiene. They are made from durable nylon and they are usually infused with a flavouring. For dogs that are not big chewers, they can often lose interest in this toy but, for those that enjoy chewing they can be a popular option. The dog will gradually wear down the edges of the Nylabone and small grain of rice size pieces may break off but they are small enough that, even if they are ingested, they will pass through the body without any risk.
The biggest drawback with this product is that, because it is so tough there is a small risk of a dog damaging or breaking a tooth because of the pressure that will be exerted when the dog bites down on it.
They also come in a variety of different sizes. It is important to pick the most appropriate size to avoid any choking hazard.
10. Durafoam Ball
If you are looking for a ball that is soft enough for safe indoor play and one that floats well, the Durafoam Ball could be a good option. Again, not as hard wearing as some of the real power chew toys like the Extreme Kong, so perhaps not so good for leaving your dog with unsupervised, this is still a very durable ball option that can withstand a lot of attention.
It is made from a densely pressed foam and available in a couple of sizes.
There is also a version that is on a rope and this can be great if your dog likes to play tug of war. The rope is obviously not chew proof!