Choosing the right chew toys for your dog can be a challenge. Every dog is a little different. Every vet has a different recommendation.
So here’s my two cents based on my personal experience with two power chewers:
Nylabone – I’ve always used Nylabones and can’t say I’ve ever had a real problem with them in general. Nylabones, like many products, come in vary degrees of toughness (and safety, in my opinion – more on that below). In my house, we are pretty solidly “power chew” only. One of the complaints I’ve heard about Nylabones is that they are too hard, unnatural, and can break a dog’s teeth. What I know from experience is that my Labrador, Tucker, gave himself pulpitis in both upper canines by chewing on a very natural deer antler. He did break a tooth when he was 7 or 8, but breaking one tooth after chewing on Nylabones for his entire life isn’t going to make me completely shun the product. (He’s now almost 10 with no additional dental issues.) When you have a dog who loves to chew, but can destroy almost anything, you stick with pretty hard chew toys.
Now, that being said – I was not pleased with my last Nylabone purchase. I typically buy, and recommend for my clients, “solid” Nylabones. By that, I mean that I don’t like the fancier styles that are actually separate pieces of bone or other toy locked or hinged together. To me, these can often create a choking hazard because it allows for the potential of the bone to break apart. A few weeks ago, I hastily grabbed a “Power Chew Rawhide Knot – Bacon and Cheese flavor” off of the shelf at the local pet store. I’d bought that shape before – figured this one just had a different flavor and partial coloring, and thought nothing else of it. Unfortunately, I discovered just a few hours later that what had appeared to me to just be dye was actually separate pieces of the nylon material – and Tucker had managed to break it apart and get chunks off of it. That’s no good in my house – so no more chewing on that!
Benebone – I first bought two Benebones a few years ago prior to Ellie’s spay to give her something new and exciting to chew on while she was supposed to be resting. At that time, the product came in two shapes – wishbone and dental chew (looked like a figure 8 in a way). It looked and sounded very much like a Nylabone, but was supposedly a little more natural, so we decided to try it. Unfortunately, it only took a few days for my dogs to chew/break the ends off of the upper part of the wishbone and chew sections out of the rings of the dental chew. The size of the pieces that came off of the bones were choking hazards at best and bowel blockages at worst. We threw them away.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago and I noticed that they had produced a few new shapes. We decided to try the Maplestick shape. Since this design has short but thick offshoots that don’t end in a bulbous tip (like the wishbone), I was willing to try it with supervision. So far, so good. The bone is still intact and the dogs do enjoy chewing it.
What’s the point of this blog post?
To remind you that not all toy brands are created equal – not all toys within the same brand are created equal – and that you should always monitor your dog’s chew toys to be sure they are safe and appropriate. That’s my personal story and opinion – and for now, until Tucker and Ellie tell me differently, I’m sticking to it.