Does Your Dog Destroy Dog Toys Quickly?

The “indestructible dog toy” …some say it is a myth. Others treat it like a Holy Grail of sorts – if you devote your life to seeking it, you may just be rewarded one day with a toy that can go round 10 with a certain set of sharp (um) canines and still give as good as it gets.

Part of the ongoing issue we dog parents face is simply that toys are toys. As such, they are designed to activate our dog’s innate instincts to chew, to tug, to chase, to bring down and mangle, to destroy.

Sometimes we even knowingly become part of the problem, encouraging our toothy furred companions to, “Go get the ball, Joey! Go GET that ball – GET IT!” So our beloved four-legged sidekick goes and GETS THE BALL. He gets it….and then we get to go out and buy another ball.

Another complicating factor is that we want to know the dog toys we are buying are safe. In other words, we don’t want to find out later on (and probably too late) that the reason Joey can’t make a dent in the ball is because it is made out of something six syllables long that sits right at the top of the CDC’s “most toxic” list.

So what we are seeking is balance. And when in terms of dog toys that last at least long enough to make us feel like we’ve gotten our money’s worth, that balance we are seeking is called “durability.”

A Materials Guide to the Toughest Dog Toys

If a dog toy is actually labeled as “indestructible,” it is probably composed fully or in part of the ingredients listed here. Remember that the U.S. FDA (Food & Drug Administration) does not currently regulate pet products (other than a few regulations on pet food, so use your best judgment in terms of safety versus durability.

A Note About Imported Dog Toys

Many of the dog toys sold in U.S. stores are imported from other countries. Some of those countries are known to have fairly lax safety standards when it comes to the types of ingredients and materials used to produce pet products.

Rubber/Plastic
The dog toys most likely to be labeled “indestructible” are typically made of some type of rubber or rubber-plastic composite. The popular “Kong” brand of toy is a perfect example. Made from “black rubber compound,” Kong toys are graded for three chewing types: gentle, average and power.

Rubber/Kevlar
Another popular compound is plastic plus synthetic rubber, such as what you find in Planet Dog’s Orbee-Tuff® balls. And Kevlar-composite material, such as goDog’s own Chew Guard Technology™ is also becoming more common.

Rope
Some rope toys also boast of indestructibility. The key to finding a durable (if not indestructible) rope toy is rope cord thickness plus tightness of weave. If there are intermittent very tight knots in the toy or the rope material is hemp or bamboo, even better. A good example is Mammoth’s Flossy Chews thick-weave rope toys in several sizes.

BPA/Thalates
Toys designed specifically for chewing often contain BPA and phthalates, which can leach out of the toy and into your dog’s gum tissue as s/he chews.

Lead & Heavy Metals
In particularly, be aware that many imported dog toys have been found to contain lead-based paint, heavy metals, flame retardant or stain resistant chemicals (full of formaldehyde) and latex (which often includes lead), [Here, a strong “new toy” chemical smell can be a good warning sign.]

Vinyl/PVC Plastic/Bling
Other imported pet toy no-no’s include vinyl/PVC-based plastic and any type of obvious “bling” (rhinestones, sequins, other small easily detachable bright colored parts).

Durable Dog Toys You Can Trust

This list contains dog toys of varying levels of safety and durability, complete with the company’s own chew ratings for your reference.

Planet Dog

This Maine, USA-based company is best known for their Orbee-Tuff line. Their “Durability Rating” will tell you which toys can withstand the most chewing.

● Pros: The company has made a pledge to sustainability and charitable giving.
● Guarantee: Toys are 100% guaranteed.
● Made in the USA: Most but not all.
● Materials: Recyclable, non-toxic, plastic-based.
Durability Rating Guide
Check out more toys from Planet Dog or Visit Planet Dog

Kong

Kong Company is Colorado, USA-based, and all of its toys are designed to keep the chewing your dog does confined to safe items. Their user guide will help you select the right shape and size of toy for your dog’s chew habits. They even

● Pros: They offer a color-coded, age-relevant, breed-specific list you can use to cross-reference the precise toy that will fit best.
● Guarantee: Toys are guaranteed for 30 days from the purchase date.
● Made in the USA: All.
● Materials: Rubber-based.
Kong’s User Guide
Check our more Kong Toys or visit Kong Toys

Go Dog

Go Dog has offices in Colorado and California. The company is known for their plush toys, which won’t satisfy vigorous chewers, but has recently released a new line of toys featuring “Chew Guard Technology” that are much more durable if your dog prefers softer toys.

● Pros: All toys are double-stitched/reinforced and machine-washable. Chew Guard is a liner that toughens the toy from the inside out.
● Guarantee: Applies if the new toy doesn’t outlast your dog’s other plush toys.
● Made in the USA: No.
● Materials: Plush fabric.
● User Guide: N/A
Check out more Go Dog toys or visit their website

West Paw

West Paw Design is Montana, USA-based. The company uses 100% recyclable materials to produce its patented Zogoflex materials. Zogoflex is very durable yet pliant and some toys include a treat-hiding component. Tux is the most durable line of toys.

● Pros: The company certifies its toys are free from all known toxins and are 100% recyclable with minimum waste created during the manufacturing process.
● Guarantee: Yes.
● Made in the USA: Yes for Zogoflex and bedding (hand-sewn only).
● Materials: Recyclable, non-toxic, FDA-compliant.
User Guide
Check out more West Paw Toys or visit their website

Mighty Toys

Mighty Toys is one of the VIP Products Company’s dog toys lines. It is accompanied by the DuraScale to match the right toy to your dog’s chew style. The company also says that the materials used in its dog toys meet or exceed all state/federal guidelines for non-toxic, safe materials.

● Pros: Toys are multi-layer, free from hard edges and quadruple-stitched for durability. There is an under-layer of fleece which is credited for keeping the toy from shredding during vigorous tug-of-war games.
● Guarantee: For 5 days after purchase date for defects in workmanship/materials only. Squeakers that have stopped squeaking are not covered under the warranty.
● Made in the USA: No, but toys are safety tested when they arrive in the USA to ensure no hazardous materials have been used in their construction.
● Materials: Industrial-strength material layers with a fleece interior plus stuffing.
Check out more Mighty Dog Toys or visit their website:

Tuffy Toys

Tuffy Toys are another line made by VIP Products Company. Their Mega toys are the toughest. Here, the goal is to combine durability with softness, which is accomplished with seven-layer stitching, multiple tough outer layers of material and a fleece inner lining.

● Pros: Super-cute toys – probably the cutest of the bunch listed here!
● Guarantee: For 5 days after purchase date for defects in workmanship/materials only. Squeakers that have stopped squeaking are not covered under the warranty.
● Made in the USA: No, but toys are safety tested when they arrive in the USA to ensure no hazardous materials have been used in their construction.
● Materials: Industrial-strength outer material, fleece inner lining, a protective pouch around each squeaker and non-toxic stuffing.
● You can see more Tuffy Toys or visit their website

How To Promote Safe Chewing

In my own family’s long line of dachshunds, we can attest that even the laziest canine may rise to the occasion with vigorous chewing (and even total ingestion) given the right toy as motivation. And then there are other dogs that seem born to chew, and chew, and chew, and chew, and chew.

What is most intriguing here is that, regardless of your dog’s size or breed, the chewing that can lead to swallowing is typically achieved with the molars, which are placed in the far back of the mouth. So if a toy can fit that far into your dog’s mouth, a few chews may be all it takes before you hear a hearty gulp.

In this situation, size can be your ally. In other words, what you may actually need is not a tougher toy, but a larger toy.

In the same way, if the toy you select contains delicious stuffing, look out. It takes a self-disciplined canine to resist this level of temptation. If you don’t want your dog to swallow (any more) dog toys, steer clear of stuffing or remove it before you give your dog the toy.

While dog toys are typically called “toys,” the truth is that domestic pet dogs need toys in the same way that they need food, water, rest and exercise. Toys satisfy dogs’ need to follow their natural inclinations, whether those instincts lead them to burrow and dig, jump and chase, gnaw or chomp. A playing dog will be a happier and healthier dog in the long run, and you as your dog’s parent are the best possible person to choose the toys that will be the most fun and satisfying. Here’s hoping this list gives you a great introduction to the variety of safe yet durable dog toys available today!