Dog Toys

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What’s Your Dog’s Chew Style?


shutterstock_368731 ImageThrough the years, my dogs have taught me how to select dog toys. Each of my dogs has a different chew style that meant each enjoyed (and destroyed) toys in particular ways.

Pip is a Chomper. She plays noisily but harmlessly with squeaky and plush dog toys. Her toys tend to last a long time, though she crushes the squeakers quickly.

PJ is a Ripper. The point of any dog toy is to shred it. Buying her plush toys is an expensive habit. So now I  a) buy her dog toys that cannot be ripped, b) buy her toys that I don’t care if they are ripped or c) supervise toy use and remove when ripping begins.

Knowing  your dog’s Chew Style allows you to buy dog toys that will work (and last) for your dog. There are the five canine chew styles, listed here from gentlest to most intense:

The Romper

Identifying Characteristics: Toys you’ve had for months (even years) without damage.
Chew Style: The Romper doesn’t destroy things. They happily play – tossing the toy into the air, pouncing on it, flipping it around, shaking it.
Recommended Toys: Any. Go Wild! Have fun! On your list is, well, everything (you lucky person) including: Softer KongsPlush ToysSoft Puzzle ToysBully SticksMoo Tubes
Don’t Bother: You’re lucky, buy whatever you and your dog enjoy!

The Chomper

Identifying Characteristics: Constant Squeaking of a new squeaky toy. My Pip is a Chomper. Chomping down gleefully on balls and Kongs, she has the telltale sign all hard-core chompers carry: Flattened canine teeth.They don’t bother her a bit and there’s no stopping her anyway. Chompers chomp.
Recommended Toys: Resilient Dog BallsPlush Toys (though they will break the squeaker quickly and you may well be glad they did. 😉 ), Softer KongsClassic KongsBully SticksMoo Tubes
Don’t Bother: Toys that are brittle or fall apart quickly, but you won’t find those here anyway. May not be keen on toys they cannot compress like the hard rubber toys or toughest Kongs.

The Gnawer

Identifying Characteristics: Shifts things to the back of the jaws to gnaw. Slices through plush toys (and the thickest nylon or leather leash).
Recommended Toys: Hard Nylon ToysLarge Tough KongsSterilized BonesTough Dog BallsOrbees, Bully SticksMoo Tubes
Don’t Bother: Anything made of any fabric, no matter what the manufacturer says. Here’s what people with Gnawers end up posting in those product reviews: “My dog put a hole in this in under 2 minutes. An absolute waste of money!!

The Ripper

Identifying Characteristics: Places feet on toy and, with a mighty upward pull, rips toys into smaller parts in minutes. And they have a fantastic time doing that!
Toys to Try: Hard Nylon ToysLarge Tough KongsTough Dog BallsSterilized BonesOrbeesSacrificial ToysBully SticksMoo Tubes
Don’t Bother: On anything fabric unless you plan to use them for 100% supervised play after which you put the toy out of reach or you don’t mind the destruction. Sometimes I just bought PJ sacrificial cheap dog toys so she could “play” with them the way she liked.

The Picker

Identifying Characteristics: Uses the front teeth to pick at toys. Can pick apart even the toughest toys. The Picker looks innocent but is one of the most destructive chewers.
Toys to Try: Hard Nylon ToysSterilized BonesTough Dog BallsSacrificial ToysBully SticksMoo Tubes
Don’t Bother: With…well….most dog toys.



Author: Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, Dog Expert, offers experienced-based dog info with humor. Author of 8 books, seen on PBS, Sarah knows all about dogs. {Pip} is her rescue dog.

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