When you leave your four-legged friend behind while you go to work or run errands, you may toss them a chew toy on your way out the door. But, when you’re treating your pet with new toys, are you sure they are safe? Many popular pet chews pose a health risk, so follow the Scripps Ranch Veterinary Hospital guide on some of the most common chew toys. 

The pet product: Bones

The details: Whether commercially produced, or purchased from your local butcher shop, most pets find bones particularly appealing. Bones can be coated in a tasty substance that encourages chewing, or they may be stuffed with a peanut butter or cheese filling. People may also choose to give their pets leftover dinner bones, or a raw bone straight from the butcher shop, believing that uncooked bones are safer. 

The verdict: Unfortunately, not a single bone type is an ideal pet chew. Although your pooch may find commercial bones tasty, especially if they’re covered in a sticky, flavorful coating, they can chew on these to excess, causing gastrointestinal issues, or pancreatitis. Raw or cooked bones can splinter as your pet chews, depositing splinters along the gastrointestinal tract, and potentially causing a blockage. Additionally, bones can be coated with bacteria, especially raw ones with chunks of tissue left attached. Choose a different chew option for your furry pal for a safe and healthy treat.

The pet product: Kong toys

The details: A variety of Kong products in a variety of sizes and strengths are available for cats and dogs. Puppies and kittens have their own product line, while power chewers are given a highly durable category. One of the favorite Kong products among pets and their owners is the stuffable, rubber Kong toy. 

The verdict: With a wide range of Kong products designed for multiple species, ages, and chewing types, a Kong is guaranteed as the ideal chew for your pet. Plus, these products are safe to chew and fairly durable, without being too tough on your pet’s teeth. Additionally, stuffing a rubber Kong with your pet’s favorite treat concoction provides excellent enrichment.

The pet product: Antlers and hooves

The details: If you have a power chewer on your hands, you want an indestructible chew, so you may turn to antlers and hooves. These chews are incredibly durable and up to doing battle with your pet’s teeth. Although typically not flavor-coated, pets are still drawn to these chew types.

The verdict: Items that hurt when you tap the product against your knee are best avoided, since they are much too hard for your pet’s teeth. Antlers and hooves can easily fracture a tooth, causing your four-legged friend extreme pain. 

The pet product: VOHC-accepted chews

The details: While you typically offer your pet a chew for entertainment or as a reward, VOCH-accepted chews perform double duty. These chews, which the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) awards with their seal of acceptance, are proven to slow plaque and tartar accumulation.

The verdict: Dental disease affects almost all pets age 3 or older, so a chew that can keep your pet occupied while helping battle periodontal problems is the perfect product. Look for the VOHC seal of acceptance on dental products, or check out their list.

The pet product: Rawhides

The details: Rawhides are a popular pet chew, since they are typically long-lasting, and they appeal to most dogs. Available plain or flavored, rawhides are made from a variety of animal skins that undergo extensive processing.

The verdict: Rawhides can create a host of health issues in your furry pal, from pancreatitis, vomiting, and diarrhea, to choking and gastrointestinal obstructions. The chemicals used to treat the animal hides can be hazardous to your pet’s health, and bacteria can coat rawhide surfaces. As your pet chews, the rawhide becomes pliable and slimy, and can easily be swallowed, and become lodged in the throat, stomach, or intestinal tract. Although rawhides are a popular chew, avoid them for your pet.

The pet product: Goughnuts

The details: Goughnuts chew toys provide a safety guarantee, and the company will replace your pet’s toy if they chew through the outer rubber layer, exposing the red safety indicator inside. These toys are ideal for pets who enjoy chewing chunks off their toys, because they prompt owners to replace the toy when it becomes too damaged.

The verdict: Touting the claim, “The world’s safest dog toys,” Goughnuts are a great chew for your furry pal. Keep a close eye on the toy, so you can replace it as soon as the red indicator appears, which will help prevent the chew from becoming too small for your pet, and avoid gastrointestinal blockages.

A ton of chew toys designed to cater to all types of chewers are on the market. If you’re unsure about the safety of a particular toy, contact our Scripps Ranch Veterinary Hospital team for advice.