Indestructible Dog Toys - Fact Or Fiction?

Several years ago, we owned a Dalmatian that went through normal dog toys faster than rain water through a down spout. We would buy him toys and buy him toys but they never seemed to last much more than a month. In some cases they would be gone in a week.

This got me into what's called indestructible - or tough dog toys - capable of keeping your pooch happy and gnawing away for months.

What I eventually discovered is that, to be honest, no dog toy is completely indestructible except maybe one made out of cast iron - assuming your dog would be happy with a cast iron chew toy. The fact is aggressive chewers like our Dalmatian will eventually chew up even the toughest of toys.

However, "indestructible" dog toys are better than standard ones simply because they end up costing you less because they last so much longer.

Here are the costs of three typical tough dog toys:

Stone Bone Durable Toy -- $12.95

Hurley Indestructible Toy -- $8.99

Kong Original Red Tuffy -- $8.99 for the large size

While that may seem a bit on the high side vs. toys that can cost $2.00 or less, these chew toys are really a bargain when you consider how long one will last versus cheap plush toys.

What to look for in a tough dog toy

Round dog toys are better than flat ones because it's just more difficult for a dog to destroy a round one than a flat one. Second, look for a toy made out of polyethylene as this tends to be stronger and harder to destroy - even by strong dogs such as our Dalmatian or a German Shepard. Also, make sure it won't splinter or fall apart and cut the dog's mouth or get swallowed and cause a gastric obstruction

Third, consider what your dog thinks is fun. Does it like to play tug-a-war or does it like to fetch things? If so, look for a toy that's chewable but also easy to throw. If your dog likes the water, get a toy that will float. On the other hand, if your dog likes to just lay around and chew, then the toy's durability should be your number one priority.

Also, the toy shouldn't be so small your dog could swallow it but not so big he or she can't handle it. You might also ask yourself how easy it would be to clean or wash.

If your dog is big into chewing, like our Dalmatian, you should consider a rubber toy like the Kong or the Nylabone or the Hurley Indestructible Dog Toy. While these toys are not truly indestructible, they will keep your dog chewing happily for many months.

What not to give your aggressive chewer

If your dog is a heavy chewer, you should stay away from stuffed dog toys or rope toys. These will eventually come apart and your dog could end up swallowing loose bits of rope, stuffing or even plastic eyes. And believe me, some dogs will swallow just about anything. Our Dalmatian once swallowed one of my wife's knee-high stockings and it plugged him up like a cork in a bottle. It cost us more than $500 to get him "unstuck."

Finally, be sure to check the dog toys from time to time for signs of wear. If the toy is looking frayed or seems ready to fall apart, just throw it away. You might also remember to rotate the dog toys from time to time to keep your dog interested.

Douglas Hanna is a free lance writer who has written articles on a wide variety of topics including dog heartworm and heartworm symptoms
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