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The Best Chew Toys for a Teething Puppy

Helena Ricketts is a blogger, freelance writer, and artist. She hatches, raises and sells chickens and quail as part of her monthly income.

Wondering how to choose the best toy for your teething puppy?

Wondering how to choose the best toy for your teething puppy?

How to Prevent Teething Puppies From Chewing

Puppy owners become quickly aware of the fact that puppies chew on things. Most pups do not discriminate on what they choose to chew on—they are equal opportunity chewers. Furniture, shoes, electrical cords, and clothing can all bear tiny teeth marks and holes and can be literally destroyed by puppy teeth.

It's Simply Instinct

Chewing is something that a puppy needs to do. Scolding them for the action of chewing is not an effective method to protect your belongings. Having toys readily available for them to chew on will save the items in your home and your sanity. Simply replacing an item that your puppy is chewing on with a safe, chewable toy will teach the puppy which items are acceptable for them to chew on.

The Importance of Training

Dogs have a built-in desire to please their human companion, so the puppy will learn quickly what is acceptable chewing behavior. When you catch your puppy chewing on a table leg, give him a firm no, then place the chew toy in front of him to show him that he needs to chew on the toy instead of the table. Before you know it, your belongings will be safer and your puppy will be happier.

Why Do Puppies Chew?

Puppies have puppy teeth just like human children have baby teeth. Starting at about 16 weeks of age, your puppy's baby teeth will start to fall out and be replaced by larger, permanent teeth. The urge to chew in puppies is the same as the urge to bite down in human children. It helps the new, larger teeth break through the gums and provides some relief.

Puppies will literally chew on anything they can get into their mouth when they are teething. It is important to keep an eye on your puppy because he will not only chew on things, he will swallow them too. Coins, sticks, and rocks are not good for a puppy's digestive system and can lead to metal poisoning and blockages in his system.

Puppies have the built-in desire to chew on things. They know that it will make their gums feel better, so they do it. Eventually, the behavior will stop, but if you aren't on your toes, it can be a long, expensive, miserable ride.

15 week old Spudward chewing on a stick he found in the yard.

15 week old Spudward chewing on a stick he found in the yard.

Can Puppies Have Bones?

Chew bones specifically designed for teething puppies are a good choice. Some of these bones are edible and some are not. The edible versions are flavored with chicken, beef, and other yummy flavors that will encourage your puppy to chew on the bone versus the table leg. The edible chew bone is actually edible, so the amount of time that they last will depend on how strong the puppy's jaws are and how often he has the urge to chew.

Important: Always go with a reputable company, as some edible (and inedible bones) can become fragmented or splintered and lodge in the esophagus or GI tract.

The non-edible versions of the puppy chew bones will usually be viewed as toys by your puppy. He will still play with them but it may take a bit more incentive to get your puppy to choose the bone instead of a more tempting item in the house. Unless your puppy is a powerful chewing breed, the non-edible version will last for quite a long time.

Are Soft Toys for Puppies Safe?

Another option for teething and chewing puppies is soft toys that are made out of heavy-duty fabrics. These toys are NOT for breeds with stronger jaws because those puppies will be able to destroy them quickly. Most of these softer fabric toys have poly-fiber stuffing that can block the digestive tract if the puppy swallows it.

The benefit of giving your puppy a soft toy to chew on is that puppies can get pretty rowdy with these. They are lighter weight, so he will usually be able to carry them around from room to room and it can help start that game of fetch. Just like human baby toys, soft toys made for puppies usually have some sort of added squeaker or texture to the inside of the fabric to make them more interesting and increase the length of chew time or playtime.

Treats for Chewing Puppies

A good occasional option for teething puppies is the edible treat. These are treats that can be given to the puppy when the puppy does something good, like going to the bathroom outside. Choosing treats along this line helps puppies with their chewing urge in addition to rewarding them for doing something good.

Avoid Feeding Too Many Treats

Just like you would with your adult dog, do not give the puppy too many treats in a day! It can cause constipation and puppy may not be as inclined to eat as much of their regular food. Choosing the best treats for your puppy is important and you will want to pick the one that is as natural as possible while at the same time, helping relieve the gum pain and discomfort associated with teething.

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Good Toys for Puppies That Are Strong Chewers

It can be difficult to find the right chew toy for your puppy if your puppy is a member of a breed that has stronger jaws and heavy chewing tendencies. You never want to give your puppy a chew toy that he can easily take chunks out of! If your puppy swallows those chunks it can cause problems with digestive blockages that can be dangerous to the health of the puppy.

Giving your harder chewing puppy a toy that is specifically designed for hard chewers is imperative. Stronger chewers can be more destructive to the items in your home because it takes them less time to cause more damage. Choose a toy specifically made from a harder material or rubber that will withstand the pressure of a prolific chewer.

What Puppy Toys Are Not Safe

There are certain types of toys that you will want to stay away from when choosing a chew toy for your puppy.

  • Anything that is shaped like the items you do NOT want the puppy to chew on! Toys shaped like shoes, your cell phone, or the remote control to the television.
  • Toys that resemble stuffed animals.
  • If you have a baby in the house, stay away from anything shaped like any of the baby's items such as bottles, dolls, etc.

The main reason is that the puppy will not be able to tell the difference between their toy and the real thing. So it is important when teaching your puppy what is acceptable to chew on that the confusion is kept to a minimum!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Helena Ricketts


cami on September 03, 2014:

I am thinking of getting a Labrador when I am like 17 and before I read this, I had no clue how to to care for a puppy. Now I am so glad that I got to read this. Thank you.

Barrel Racer on February 19, 2012:

Thank!We are bout to get our first inside dog and we were looking for some training help!!

Helena Ricketts (author) from Indiana on September 07, 2011:

LOL! @Kayla68508- That comment made me smile! Very cute.

MattyLeeP- I just got a Red Tick Hound mix not too long ago that has really been successful in not chewing on anything he isn't supposed to... yet by me following what I wrote here. Hopefully it will help! :)

kayla68508 on September 04, 2011:

ok theni hate puppyes i relly do ahhh...........aha jk i like then so much

MattyLeeP from Tucson, AZ on August 26, 2011:

Thanx for posting this. I want to get a basset hound puppy soon and will keep this in mind.

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