Chew toys and treats may be the highlight of your pet’s day, but you want to ensure they are safe to enjoy, especially if you offer them to your pet when you’re walking out the door. Many pet owners rely on long-lasting toys and treats to entertain their pet while they’re at work, so they choose the toughest, most durable options. However, these items may not be the best choice for your furry pal. Before loading up on chew toys and treats, check out our list of safe and unsafe chews for your pet.

Safe chew toys and treats for pets

Some toys and treats are designed with your pet’s safety in mind. Here are a few of the top choices:

  • VOHC-approved chews — The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) awards their seal of approval to dental treats and chews that have demonstrated the ability to slow plaque and tartar accumulation on pets’ teeth. So, VOHC-approved chews are not only tasty, but also provide dental benefits for your furry pal.
  • Goughnuts Goughnut toys are made from 100% natural rubber and have a built-in red warning indicator—if your pet gnaws through the outer layer and exposes the indicator, the company will replace the toy. 
  • Kong rubber toys — Rubber Kong toys toys come in all sizes and strengths, making them great food puzzle choices for any pet. Better yet, you can stuff Kongs with your pet’s favorite food or treat, like peanut butter or yogurt, freeze them overnight, and give your pet a long-lasting treat the next day.
  • Tuffy dog toys Tuffy dog toys aren’t your average plush chew toy. They’re made from a much more rugged material, and they’re rated based on durability. If your pet loves plush toys, but mangles them too quickly, Tuffy toys are an excellent alternative.

If you are looking for pet-safe chews and treats you can purchase from the comfort of your couch, check out our online store and search for our dental chews. Wrapped up as a single, tasty chew, they will not only entertain your pet but also benefit their oral health.

Unsafe chew toys and treats for pets

Have you considered that some toys and treats hiding in your pet’s toy basket may be unsafe? Here are several that could endanger your pet:

  • Rawhides — A rawhide has the potential to become a slimy choking hazard as your pet chews away. Also, most rawhides are chemically treated to remove animal hair from the hide, and to provide flavor and color. 
  • Bones, hooves, and antlers — The toughest of chews, bones, hooves, and antlers would seem the ideal chew toy for power chewers. However, these rock-solid chews can fracture your pet’s teeth. 
  • Rope toys — Rope toys are fun for a tug-of-war with your pet, but should be used only under direct supervision. If your pet chews on a rope toy, they can shred the rope, and ingest the strings, which would require emergency surgical removal.

How to tell if a chew or treat is safe for your pet

Setting your dog loose in the pet store toy aisle may help ensure they find a chew they like, but not necessarily a chew that is safe. Consider the following criteria when evaluating your furry pal’s toys and treats:

  • Hardness — Apply the thumbnail test. If the toy doesn’t give a little when pressed with your thumbnail, it’s likely too hard for your pet’s teeth.
  • Softness and durability — The toy should not be so soft that your pet will be able to chew it apart and swallow pieces of toy or the stuffing inside.
  • Coating — Chew toys and treats should not be coated with flavorings that can cause gastrointestinal upset or support bacterial growth, such as the coatings found on rawhides and pig ears.
  • Size — Choose an appropriately sized toy or treat for your pet. Although larger chews may last longer for your small dog, they can strain or injure their jaw while chewing. Conversely, smaller treats are more cost-effective, but they can easily be swallowed whole by large-breed dogs. 
  • Shape — When trying out a chew for your pet for the first time, ensure they cannot get their tongue or muzzle stuck. Hollow bones and toys with holes in the center can lock tight around your pet’s jaw and require emergency removal.
  • Entertainment value — The toy or treat should be able to withstand hours of your pet’s playing and chewing. Many pets like toys that can be stuffed with food and provide long-lasting entertainment, while others may prefer a stuffed toy they can toss around. 

Did your furry pal tackle a treat too tough for their teeth? Accidents happen, and pets can fracture their teeth on treats and chews designed for power chewers. If your pet seems uncomfortable and refuses to eat after chewing on a too-hard toy, they may have developed a dental issue. Contact our Gentle Touch Animal Hospital team for an appointment.