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11 Tough Toys for Power Chewers

Veterinary behaviourist Dr Valli Parthasarathy recommends the most durable dog toys for destructive players

by Sean Zucker
31 October 2023
Bullmastiff puppy chewing on a purple ring chew toy
inna_astakhova / Adobe Stock

Imagine it’s Christmas morning. You’ve just given your child a new bike, Xbox or iPhone (whatever kids are into these days). Then moments after opening it, they grab the (very expensive) gift, throw it at the wall and stomp it on the ground until it is rendered useless. This is essentially what I go through whenever I buy my dog a toy.

It is, unfortunately, not an uncommon experience for dog parents. We’ll buy our pups new toys only to see them destroyed in minutes. And forget plush options – all too often they result in a cotton and stuffing murder scene. We asked veterinary behaviourist Dr Valli Parthasarathy why dogs destroy toys and how to discourage destructive chewing.

Why do dogs destroy toys? 

Are power chewers made or born? “Dogs chew on items for a variety of reasons. The most common reason is for self-entertainment and exploration. Dogs explore their environment with their mouths and chewing is an extension of this normal and natural behaviour,” says Dr Parthasarathy. It’s why this habit is especially prevalent in puppies, as they explore their surroundings and form their permanent teeth. But some dogs, like mine, never grow out of this phase. They continue to rip through toys well past their adolescence. For them, there are a few reasons for their behaviour. 

According to Dr Parthasarathy, “some reasons are based on their personality (they just like to chew hard), other times it can be related to anxiety. I have several patients that have exhibited decreased chewing intensity as their anxiety is reduced.” Other reasons include stress from separation anxiety, territorial behaviour like resource guarding or medical conditions that cause increased appetite or nausea. 

How to curb dog toy destruction

There are a few tactics to help discourage destructive chewing (or chewing items they shouldn’t for their own safety). Dr Parthasarathy explains that one helpful trick is to encourage them to play with toys in ways other than chewing, such as licking. But supervision is crucial. Watch your dog as they play to ensure they’re not ingesting any pieces.

Of course, some would argue the simplest way to handle the situation is to buy proper toys that can handle the wear. Dr Parthasarathy agrees: “If a dog is chewing for self-stimulation or exploration, provide appropriate toys that are strong and are difficult to destroy,” she recommends. Here, we round up the best options that meet that criteria.

The best durable dog toys

Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)

Sean Zucker

Sean Zucker

Sean Zucker is a writer whose work has been featured in Points In Case, The Daily Drunk, Posty, and WellWell. He has an adopted Pit Bull named Banshee whose work has been featured on the kitchen floor and whose behavioral issues rival his own.

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