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Puppies are like children…
When they’re in another room and you don’t hear them, they’re usually up to something.
With puppies, that “something” typically involves chewing…and a nice pair of shoes.
If you’re going through this right now, don’t worry!
This phase will pass quickly.
With a few good chew toys, a little training, and a little time, your puppy will stop chewing shoes and fingers in no time.
In this article, we’ll dive into what makes a good puppy teething toy, what to avoid in puppy chew toys, some tips and tricks to get your puppy interested in chew toys (and not the furniture), and some of the best puppy chew toys out there.
But first, let’s get to the root of the problem…
(Note: want to watch the video version of this post? Click here)
Why Do Puppies Chew?
Puppies chew for several reasons.
One is because they’re teething.
Their adult teeth are coming in and their mouths are sore, so they chew on things to relieve the pain.
Puppy teeth, called “milk teeth”, come in when the pups are around 3-4 weeks old.
They lose them when they’re around four months old and the adult teeth come in (this is also when the puppy biting starts to slow down!).
Another is because they’re dogs, and that’s what dogs do!
When dogs chew it releases endorphins, which makes them feel good.
It also relieves boredom and burns energy (which is one of your main goals as a puppy parent).
All this being said, having some good puppy chew toys is very important for a happy puppy and a happy puppy parent.
What To Avoid In Puppy Chew Toys
Pet stores will sell nearly any toy that they can make money on, no matter if it’s good for the puppy or not.
There are two main things you want to avoid when it comes to choosing puppy teething toys:
1. Toys that are too small.
Toys that are too small can be easily swallowed and or be a choking hazard.
If a puppy swallows a chew toy, she’ll likely need surgery to remove it.
2. Toys that can be easily broken or torn apart.
If a puppy breaks apart a toy, he can swallow it or choke on it, so make sure whatever toy you give your pup is tough and durable.
Also, toys with moving parts are not good for teething puppies.
Puppies are determined chewers and moving parts are easily broken off and potentially swallowed.
This goes for tags and stickers, too, as our friend Lir from PuppyTip.com reminds us.
Always remove tags and stickers before you give a new toy to your puppy.
Finally, be careful with plush or squeaky toys.
Puppies love to tear ears off of little plush bears or pigs, and rip into the seams of plush toys to get to the fluff or the squeaker (or just for the sheer joy of destroying things!).
Always monitor your puppy with their toys.
What Makes A Good Puppy Chew Toy
Not all puppy chew toys are good for all puppies.
There are three things that make a good puppy chew toy:
1. Your puppy needs to like it
This is rather obvious, but if your puppy doesn’t like the chew toy, he won’t chew on it!
Instead, he’ll go for the furniture, and we definitely don’t want that.
In the next section are some tips and tricks to get your puppy to enjoy chew toys if they don’t currently.
2. It’s appropriately sized
Because swallowing or choking is a major hazard, a puppy chew toy needs to be the appropriate size for the pup.
It needs to be big enough that they can’t swallow it, but small enough that they can get a good bite on it.
3. It’s not too soft, and not too tough
If a toy is too hard and has no give, your puppy can get bored with it quickly.
On the other hand, if a toy is too soft, your puppy will quickly destroy it.
Tips & Tricks To Get Your Puppy To Love Chew Toys
Although all puppies love to chew, not all puppies love chew toys.
You may get your puppy the hottest new chew toy on the market that’s the perfect texture and tastes like bacon, but they may not like it at first.
They may prefer the old stinky shoe in the closet.
Here are six tricks to get your puppy to love chew toys:
1. Try different shapes and textures
Some puppies may love nylon toys, like those from Nylabone, while other puppies may prefer rubber toys, like those from Kong.
There are lots of different shapes and textures for you to try for your puppy.
2. Rotate toys so your puppy doesn’t get bored
There’s nothing like seeing the joy on your pup’s face when you give her a new toy.
In order to preserve some of this joy, don’t let your puppy get bored with the toy.
You can do this by keeping a rotation of toys, and not allowing your pup access to all toys all the time.
We do this by keeping a toy bin that our pup can’t open.
He has access to usually one or two chew toys at a time, and we’re constantly rotating them so he doesn’t get bored.
3. Rub some peanut butter on the toy
If your pup is not interested in a new chew toy, rub a little bit of peanut butter on it.
Typically that will get him to start licking it, then he’ll start chewing it.
After doing this several times, he’ll realize that he loves chewing this toy.
4. Stuff treats in the toy
Kong toys, like this bone, are great for getting puppies interested in chew toys.
Stuff them with some treats and your pup will be all over it.
5. Put chew toys in the freezer
The adult teeth are breaking through the gums and your puppy’s mouth is hot and sore.
Putting a chew toy in the freezer will help alleviate some of their pain just a little bit more.
6. Praise them for chewing on chew toys
Once your puppy starts chewing on a toy, praise them!
Let them know that they’re doing a great job and positively reinforce this good behavior.
The Best Puppy Chew Toys
Below are some of the best puppy teething toys.
You’ll find a variety of shapes, brands, and textures here.
The best thing to do is to get a few, see what your pup likes, and then get a few more based on that knowledge.
Note: make sure to get the appropriate size for your pup, as some of the toys below are offered in different sizes.
Kong Goodie Bone
This Kong Goodie Bone is great for stuffing treats or peanut butter in, and is soft enough for tender puppy mouths.
Kong Teething Stick
This toy is perfect to slather peanut butter in the creases and keep your pup busy as they try to lick and chew it out.
Just make sure to clean the leftover peanut butter out when your pup is done.
Nylabone Teething Ring
This was Oliver’s absolute favorite toy as a puppy.
The soft rubber keys allowed him to chew for hours, while the fact that the keys are on a ring made him love running around the house shaking them.
West Paw Puzzle Toy
Like the Kong goodie bone, this bone from West Paw is great for stuffing with treats and keeping your pup’s attention.
Rope Mini Pack
Your puppy will love chewing on all of these rope toys, and it will clean their teeth as they’re doing so.
Just make sure to retire the rope toy before your pup can tear little pieces off of it.
Your puppy will initially bite fingers and chew shoes, but if you give her the right chew toys, she’ll learn to love chewing on those instead.
When picking a chew toy, make sure it’s tough, the right size, and not too hard or too soft.
And if your puppy doesn’t love chewing on chew toys at first, rub some peanut butter on it, stuff it with treats, or put it in the freezer.
Have any questions about puppy chew toys?
Let us know in the comments below!