What to Give a Puppy to Chew On?

Reviewed By Tom •  Updated: 09/13/20 •  10 min read
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Have you ever had a baby or been around a baby who’s teething? Teething babies are always looking for something to chew on. Puppies are the very same way! You can expect them to chew and you should understand that they have to chew. Let’s take a look at why puppies chew and need to chew. Then we’ll consider the right kinds of chew toys—what to look for, types of toys that are recommended, etc.—and then take a look at some of the best chewies for your puppy!

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Why Do Puppies Need to Chew?

Just like their human baby counterparts, puppies simply have the need to chew. Not unlike human babies, puppies also explore their world with their mouths. They’ll try to mouth and chew anything they come across!

Puppies and Teething

Puppies are born with baby teeth and go through a teething process, just like their baby humans. Teething can last anywhere from 4 months of age to 7 months of age (depending on your pup’s breed and personality). During this process, your puppy will lose her baby teeth. As a pup’s adult teeth are developing in the gums, the pup will experience gum irritations, swelling and pain. As a result, your pup will look for anything and everything to chew on to relieve these teething symptoms. She may try to chew fabric (your favorite dress or pants), carpet and furniture, pillows, anything made of wood (baseboards, furniture legs, etc.), and things made from plastic.

Don’t forget shoes—puppies love to chew on shoes!

Your puppy’s looking for something that’s hard, soothing and satisfying to soothe away pain. Chewing is also a distraction from her irritability caused by teething pain. Not only that, but your pup will try mouthing everything to learn about her world.

During this time. You can help your puppy by providing the right kinds of chew toys—you’ll not only save your home and furniture, but you’ll also lower your own frustration when avoiding and redirecting your puppy’s chewing and teething behaviors.

Puppy Chew Toys to Avoid

You now understand why your puppy needs to chew, but how do you know what’s safe for her to chew? What do you need to avoid when choosing your puppy’s teething toys? There are some important considerations when it comes to your pup’s toys and what to avoid. Let’s take a look.

1). Avoid buying children’s toys for your puppy: kids’ toys are not made for little beings that have sharp baby teeth and strong jaws! Children’s toys are made for kids—not puppies. In addition, the plastic of baby toys can be easily torn, and the pieces swallowed. A stuffed kid’s toy may be filled with plastic pellets, or other materials that are easily swallowed. There are many reasons children’s toys are not right for puppies.

2). Avoid cheap, plastic or stuffed squeaky toys: these toys are easily torn apart, making it simple for you puppy to swallow those pieces. Your puppy could even eat the squeaker, which can be very dangerous for her—she could choke or end up with an intestinal blockage.

3). Avoid small balls: these can also provide a choking hazard to your puppy, especially if the ball is small enough for her to swallow.

4). Avoid toys with small parts, or numerous parts: these types of toys present a choking hazard to your pet, just as they do for babies and young children. Small pieces and parts are easily swallowed and could choke your puppy.

5). Avoid any dog or puppy toys that look like your possessions and furnishings: puppies are not discerning. For instance, if you give them a toy that resembles one of your shoes, you can expect that your puppy will also chew on your real shoe. She hasn’t learned the difference between her toy shoe and your real, expensive designer shoes! So, avoid getting dog or puppy chew toys that resemble your things—you’ll be much happier in the long run!

6). Plastic rubber dog/puppy bones: these have been popular for years—with owners of puppies and adult dogs who love to chew. However, these toys are sometimes flavored, which works to entice your puppy to chew. These bones are sometimes given to puppies to ease the pain of teething. However, if bits of the rubber bone are broken off, your puppy could eat them and become very sick.

7). Long fibers or strips: avoid toys with strings, ribbon, rope toys, etc. It’s very easy for puppies to chew, shred and tear small pieces of string and fibers from a toy. These can be dangerous choking hazards and can cause severe digestive problems.

8). Plastic bags: plastic bags (of any type) can pose a serious choking hazard to your puppy. They could also smother your precious ball of fur. Avoid giving these to your puppy and keep them out of reach at all times.

9). Pantyhose and similar underclothing: pantyhose might make a good tug-o-war toy—you’d think. But stop for a second and consider this. What happens if they tear and your puppy swallows a piece? Think choking hazard, and you’ve got the reason these don’t make a good toy for puppies, or even adult dogs.

Can puppies chew on real bones? Many people believe it’s safe to give a puppy real bones to teethe on. However, real bones are not recommended for puppies. Bones, especially cooked bones, can cause a puppy’s baby teeth to break or fracture, and small bits of swallowed bone can cause serious digestive problems.

Don’t give your puppy real bones without your veterinarian’s advice and recommendation

Can puppy chew on sticks? Some people wonder about puppies having a stick to teethe and chew on. However, there’s a danger that tiny bits of wood and bark can splinter off, becoming jammed in a puppy’s mouth or throat. Not only can this pose a choking danger, but small bits of wood and bark can stick inside the puppy’s mouth causing infection. These same small bits can also cause intestinal blockage. So, ask your vet can puppy chew on sticks—before giving your sweet fur baby a stick to chew on.

Safe Chew Toys for Puppies: What to Look For

Safe chew toys for puppies are a must. You need to protect your puppy from chewing on the wrong things—things that could injure her or make her sick (if accidentally swallowed or eaten). So, what do you look for when searching for safe chew toys for puppies? Look for these types of safe puppy chew toys:

a). Hard, firm rubber toys: toys should be firm and hard, but not too hard. If they’re too hard, your puppy may easily shatter then and swallow any small pieces that have come loose. Look for rubber toys with some give, but that your puppy can’t shatter or chew up.

b). Puzzle toys: puppies enjoy toys that keep them engaged! Look for puzzle toys that dispense treats. This is a great way to keep your puppy entertained and keep their attention a little longer. Plus, the treats will also keep your puppy’s interest. What puppy doesn’t like an extra bit of food now and again?

c). Teething toys you can freeze: some puppy teething toys can be frozen! These are a great way to soothe the pain and swelling of your pup’s gums during teething. Another idea is to take a wet washcloth, tie it in a knot and freeze it. This will provide the same soothing action for your puppy’s sore mouth.

d). Odd-shaped and textured toys: not only are puppies teething, but their exploring the world with their mouths! They love toys that have odd shapes, knots, etc., and toys with different textures. Just make sure these toys have parts that can be chewed off and pose a choking hazard.

e). Size matters: make sure that all toys are the right size for your puppy. If something is too small, it could be swallowed. Some breeds’ puppies are smaller and more delicate, while other breeds’ puppies are more robust. When it comes down to it, they’re all smaller than adults of the same breed. However, a toy made for a very small puppy could pose a swallowing/choking danger for larger puppies. Be sure to look for toys that fit your puppy’s size.

Now that we’ve taken a look at what makes for a safe teething toy for your puppy, let’s review some of the best puppy chew toys to help you and your pup through the teething months as she grows!

Chews for Puppies Under 3 Months

Here are some ideas for chews for puppies under 3 months of age:

Kong Puppy Rubber Toy: you’ll find these are recommended for younger and older puppies. For puppies under three months, be sure to consider the toy size. These toys come in x-small, small, medium and large. Choose the one your puppy won’t be able to swallow. These toys come in pink or blue and can even be stuffed with enticing puppy treats! This toy is not only for teething—it bounces—making it easy to keep your pup’s short attention.

Nylabone Just for Puppies Key Ring Bone Puppy Dog Teething Chew Toy: this teething toy by Nylabone is perfect for young puppies. The chew toy comes in different sizes: x-small, small and medium. This puppy key ring is made from material soft, yet tough enough for little puppy teeth. This toy offers various textures, too, that sooth your puppy’s gums, which also keep your puppy’s interest. The Nylabone puppy key ring can be frozen, providing additional comfort to puppy’s sore gums. But be careful—this toy isn’t really tough enough for puppies who are strong chewers.

Kong Puppy Flyer Dog Toy: puppies love to chase—you can also get your puppy interested in learning the game of fetch with this flying disc toy! The Kong Puppy Flyer is made of Kong’s dog-safe rubber and comes in blue or pink. This particular flyer is made so that it’s soft enough for puppy’s teeth and is safe for puppies under 9 months. Reviewers have said this flying disc is tough enough for puppy teeth, and that their pups thoroughly enjoy chasing and fetching the Kong Puppy Flyer.

Best Chew Bones for Puppies

In addition to toys, you also have the option of treating your puppy to the best chew bones for puppies. We found Blue Buffalo Dental Bones for Puppies to be a great chewy bone treat for your puppy. These treats are textured to ease sore gums when your puppy’s teething. In addition, they taste great and will offer a healthy, natural snack! Blue Buffalo only uses natural ingredients, and these best chew bones for puppies don’t include wheat, soy, or corn—they’re made with all-natural ingredients. These chewy bones are best for puppies between 5-15 lbs.

Puppies are going to chew—that’s guaranteed! You can help your puppy learn what’s appropriate to chew by providing her with the best in puppy chewing toys and treats. Follow our guide and you’ll find just the right chewies for your puppy!

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Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!

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