I AM A DOG GEEK » Tips & Tricks


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    Tue, 19 Nov 2013 03:47:03 +0000





    Do Indestructible Dog Chew Toys Exist?



    Thu, 24 Jan 2013 22:29:47 +0000


    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.




    Chew Toy vs. Play Toy – Is There Really a Difference?



    Sun, 30 Dec 2012 01:18:20 +0000


    This post was written in April 2011 for our old Blogger site. I thought it was worth re-posting here, as it is a common misconception that all toys are designed for or appropriate for chewing. Enjoy!

    Is There Really a Difference Between Chew Toys & Play Toys?

    Absolutely. Without question. A Chew Toy is specifically designed for chewing. I know this sounds obvious, but most dogs will try to turn anything into a chew toy. It’s your job to make sure that only chew toys are used for chewing. A Play Toy is designed specifically to call on other doggie instincts, such as retrieving or chasing. It’s important to also point out that mouthing & chewing are two different things. Mouthing is where the dog holds the toy in his/her mouth or even grooms the toy, but it is not damaging to the toy. Chewing is a soothing behavior for dogs or can be a result of teething.

    Another important point is that NO TOY IS 100% SAFE UNSUPERVISED. Leaving your dog with a Kong or a Nylabone while you’re away is a calculated risk. Light to moderate chewers are typically okay, but aggressive chewers are at greater risk for obstructions (where undigested pieces of the toy get stuck in the intestinal track). If you are going to leave your dog alone to chew, then make sure that there is plenty of fresh water available to aid in digestion. Always check the toy for damage when you return home and if you suspect that your dog has swallowed pieces of the toy contact your veterinarian especially if you see vomiting, constipation, lethargy or any other signs of abnormality. Remember, your safest bet is to call the vet.

    Examples of Each

    Plush toys with and without stuffing and/or squeakers are Play Toys. Once the tossing and mouthing is done, the toy goes back in its place.

    Rubber toys such as Kongs or GoughNuts state on their packaging that they are designed for chewers and are considered Chew Toys. However, their disclaimers still state “Supervised Use Only”.

    Digestible Toys such as Nylabones or Greenies are really more like a treat than a toy, but some dogs will play with them. They would be considered Chew Toys. However, their disclaimers also state “Always supervise the use of chews and toys”.

    Rope and/or Tug Toys are Play Toys. Once the tugging is over, the toy goes back in its place.

    Things That Confuse the Issue

    While it’s not necessarily irresponsible of companies to name their toys “Invincible”, “Ruffians” or “Tough One” it does confuse the issue. Some dog owners might see those names & think that the toys are tough, rough or invincible enough for their chewer. However, they are usually just sturdier than your average toy in that they are double stitched, lined with canvas or other tight fibers, virtually seamless or devoid of the dangly bits that temp most dogs. Basically, these types of play toys are designed this way to extend their use by slowing your dogs ability to damage it during play.

    Toys Should Be Fun, Not Scary

    When humans understand the best way to use toys with their dogs, then all of the above concerns go out the window. Use your dogs toys to engage him/her in play with you or another dog. Try not to use toys as a diversion from attention, but instead as fun addition to attention. Have a toy box or basket where toys live and only come out at play time. Pay attention to what toys last with your individual dog. Know when to throw away a toy so there is never need for concern.

    Live, Play, Bark. WOOF!




    Cooling Kong Recipe



    Tue, 14 Aug 2012 20:13:25 +0000


    Your dog loves a Kong & it’s a super hot day.  Here’s a simple way to cool your pup down while limiting his/her calorie intake.

    What  you need:

    Kong, tiny dab of peanut butter, kibble, bowl, spoon, water, solo cup or pint glass, freezer

    Step 1: Plug the tiny end of the Kong with a dab of peanut butter to seal it (you’ll see why in a few more steps)

    Step 2: Determine how much kibble fits in your pup’s Kong. Soak that amount in a bowl of water & let it sit until the kibble has absorbed most of the water.

    Step 3: Once the kibble is fully soaked use the spoon to scoop & pack it into the big end of the Kong.

    Step 4: Pour some of the remaining juice (the water the kibble was soaking in) into the big end of the Kong until it begins to overflow.

    Step 5: Place the packed Kong into the solo cup or pint glass with the big end up as not to pour out any of the juice.

    Step 6: Place in the freezer until frozen.

    Step 7: Give this wonderful Kooling Kong to your grateful pup.

    I recommend giving this treat in a crate, on tile floor or any other spot you don’t mind a little mess. As the contents melt a little mess is made that your pup will gladly clean up & leave no trace of.

    Need to BUY a Kong?




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