Do Indestructible Dog Chew Toys Exist?
on January 24, 2013
So, you want something indestructible, right. You only want to buy that one miracle dog chew toy. Spending money on something to see it destroyed before your eyes seems almost cruel. It’s like writing a love letter & watching it get ripped up in front of you (especially if you have a penchant for the dramatic).
If you know me at all, you know that while marketing is part of what I do for a living it’s also a point of frustration for me as a consumer, pet owner & human. In my 20 years of experience, I have seen the word INDESTRUCTIBLE [insert flashing lights, jazz hands & whatever other attention grabbers you can think of here] thrown around by virtually every dog toy manufacturer under the sun. Admittedly, it’s such a readily used term that I use it as a keyword/tag because undoubtedly there are a lot of people out there who are going to use it to search with.
Here’s the trouble with the word indestructible as it relates to dog toys. Dogs like to be destructive (ie. to destroy things). Your dog is a dog with no regard for the amount of human attributes you’d like to recognize in him/her. When humans are stressed or bored we do things like crossword puzzles or stare at a computer screen reading blogs about dog toys. We find these types of behaviors at the least distracting and at the most soothing. Dogs hate crossword puzzles and blogs (no matter how witty or intelligent they appear to be). Dogs love to chew. They are wired for it. They have jaws that can crush bone. Even your itty bitty chihuahua can crush bones, albeit itty bitty bones. Chewing releases endorphins into their brains. It makes them feel better.
Now, of course, that doesn’t mean they should be permitted to chew indiscriminately or to the extent that furthers anxiety. Some dogs can actually develop a form of OCD called . What I’m talking about here is your average, every day dog who’s got a natural thing for chewing. You have to let them chew.
The TWO S’s: When it comes to a dog chew toy there’s really only two things you need to know.
Indestructible somehow implies that if it cannot be destroyed then it poses no danger. Regardless of the claim made about how sturdy a dog chew toy is, you will always find some kind of warning on the packaging.
…swallowing pieces or fragments of the toy can be harmful to your dog. If you think your dog has swallowed a portion of a toy (or if you notice that a fragment of the toy is missing) remove the toy from them and promptly inform your veterinarian. – Bionic Pet Products, toy use & care statement
Supervised use only. Inspect toy frequently – Remove toy if damaged. – Kong Extreme, label warning
You know what, we humans really need to heed these warnings. Keep an eye on ANY dog chew toy. Especially if you have a power chewer. Your dog isn’t going to stop chewing on something because it’s unsafe. It’s our responsibility as their caretakers to remove damaged toys, purchase appropriate toys based on their chewing habits & .
(ie. will my dog play with it and/or chew on it?)
Here’s a little story for you. I bought my rat terrier, Dexter, (the most dedicated of chewers in my household) a hard plastic toy that could be put in a blender & come out unharmed. WOW! I thought I had found the holy grail of dog toys. I brought it home with unabashed enthusiasm. I threw the toy. Waved it around while singing a little song. Put peanut butter on it. Each time my rat terrier started to engage the toy, but then after one or two gnaws he’d wander off. Ugh! C’mon! Thing is, the toy was too tough. I like to think of it this way – Jolly Rancher vs. Bubbalicious. Both taste awesome, but nobody wants to bite into a Jolly Rancher & nobody wants to suck on a piece of Bubbalicious. Neither sounds very satisfying, right? That’s because Jolly Ranchers are made for sucking on & Bubbalicious is made for chewing. It’s all about design. The toy I had bought was designed more for the human who was hell bent on buying their dog the absolute most indestructible dog toy on the planet (me). It seemingly was not designed to offer any real chewing satisfaction for the dog (poor Dexter).
What I Suggest
After buying & selling many, many, many dog chew toys there has honestly been only one that I have been completely satisfied with. Be warned – I’m about to get a little preachy here, but know that’s it coming from a place of true experience & enthusiasm. GoughNuts are Glorious! I describe it below in the form of a clever little video.
To summarize the video,
are made in the US (Modesto, CA), contain a red safety core to serve as a visual indicator that tells you when the toy is no longer safe, and are made of rubber that can withstand up to 3900 psi (pounds per square inch) yet has enough give to be satisfying. In addition, they float, bounce & roll.
When , I decided that I would focus on one line of toys that I could really get behind.
is my choice. After selling them for two years online & in the shop I would get customers who would come in, hear me out about how sturdy
are, laugh at me, buy one as a challenge & return a month or more later to tell me how shocked they were that their dog(s) still had not destroyed it.
Glorious, but still NOT indestructible
That being said, it’s important to realize that , while sturdy, are not indestructible. I’m all about being clear & honest when it comes to what you should expect. However, it took a very bully american pit bull terrier ten months to expose the red in his . The owners said he chewed on it nearly every day & that he had destroyed every other toy they had bought him in less than a day. I checked my numbers. In 2011 I sold just over 100 . Of those, 6 were brought back & replaced. In most cases, we upgraded the toy to a larger size or different shape & they were not returned a second time.
So, my point is this. The term INDESTRUCTIBLE is often times purposely misleading when it comes to dog chew toys. Plus, the toys that are designed with only being indestructible in mind will likely be pretty boring for a dog who loves to chew because it probably isn’t real fun to chew on (like a Jolly Rancher), even if it makes you feel like a savvy consumer.
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