What You Should Know About Dog Chew Toys
Dogs chew, tear and shred toys as they would prey. Proper chew toys can provide stimulation and prevent your dog from taking his chompers out on your shoes or table legs. Always get an appropriately sized chew for your dog. Pick a softer chew toy for puppies and older dogs as their teeth are little weaker. Toys have to have two holes to prevent suction from drawing the tongue into the hole. Look for chew toys that are latex-free, durable, sustainably made and that are safe for pets and the environment.
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How to tell if a chew toy is safe for your dog?
“Dogs explore the world with their mouths—they get into a chew like a person gets into a good book, which benefits their brains” explains Kristen Collins, an animal behaviorist from the ASPCA behavior team. They use their molars and premolars, which are situated farther back in the mouth, and any toy that finds its way into this set of grinders is a potential victim— so if you do not want a dog to chew on a toy, buy toys that they cannot work into the back of their mouth.
There are dangers to chew toys as many of them are filled with toxins and latex based plastic. The chemicals that give plastic its chewy quality are known as phthalates. According to one Danish study that examined the effects of these on pets, found that the grinding, heat, and moisture associated with chewing breaks down the plastics, depositing phthalates into your dog’s body and increasing his risk of liver, kidney, and reproductive problems. There are many companies out there like WestPaw and Kong, that use the only USA made rubber and FDA-approved materials that are routinely tested.
A good test for safe chew toys is to dig your fingernail into the toy. If you can’t make a dent, it’s not safe. Puppies and seniors need even softer surfaces than this for their more tender gums.