Best Things for Dogs to Chew On

AS PET OWNERS, knowing the best things for dogs to chew on is (arguably) equally important as learning what food they should eat.

You probably already know about this, but nearly every dog you care for or will in the future is going to chew.

Especially as a puppy. It's a rite of passage for them!

But to be fair, dogs really need to chew.

It's how they explore the world, says Brian Collins, DVM of the Cornell University Companion Animal Hospital.

Puppies chew. It’s how they explore, just like human babies. [Older dogs do it, too, and] they may do it just to pass the time.

-Dr. Brian Collins

For puppies, it helps with teething.

And for adults, it keeps their teeth cleaner and provides them with mental stimulation.

So what exactly are the best things for dogs to chew on?

Different Types of Chews that are Best for Dogs to Chew On

Our dogs' chewing habits vary.

Some grab onto an item and gulp it down as fast as possible.

Others want to tear it up into pieces before considering eating it, if at all.

There are also dogs who just like to nibble on their chew toys with no desire for consumption.

My dog, Lily, is more like the third type, thankfully.

It's important to keep your dog's chewing habit in mind when shopping for a chew toy.

It will also help you determine how to make your own homemade dog toy should you go for the DIY route.

So, is your dog a gulper, a tearer, or a nibbler?

Here are the different types of chews you can get for your dog.

Rubber Chews

Some dog chews are generally safe for a majority of dogs, such as rubber chews.

These work just fine for all three types of dogs and their habits.

They're usually sturdy and would give your dogs something to focus on for hours on end.

Rope Chews

Rope toys may not work for all dogs but will be good for nibblers.

This is my dog, Lily's personal favorite.

Edible Chews

Dogs that tear things to shreds need only edible chews.

These chews are completely safe to swallow and will be easy to digest (and nibblers like these too).

Tennis Balls

Tennis balls can be dangerous to dogs that need to swallow things.

But if you have a calm Fido, then tennis balls could be great for them!

It's best to observe your dog during his first few interactions with a new type of chew toy.

See how it holds up and how much your dog enjoys it.

If possible, watch your dog whenever they're chewing anything at all.

Homemade Chews for Dogs You Can Easily Do

I know.

The best things for dogs to chew on can be quite expensive.

Especially if your dog makes light work of it within a day or less!

Good thing there are recipes for chewy dog treats you can easily do at home.

And what's more, they're perfectly safe, tasty, and (hopefully) will take some time for your dog to work through.

Take a look at our video below, where Samantha teaches us how she makes Bullystick pupsicle chew treats for her dogs.

If the above is too much for you, no worries!

You can also do a bone broth pupsicle if you like!

My dog Lily personally likes frozen chicken bone broth, especially during summer.

It takes her some time to finish these, so I hope your pup does, too, if you decide to make it.

If you have a puppy, the cold eases teething, too.

Oh, and just make sure to use low-sodium broth when making broth pupsicles.

Another option you can do is make dried sweet potato chews.

These should be a little chewy but mostly dry.

If you made a large batch, you can just freeze them and take out a few at a time as needed.

These are likely to be done much quicker, but it depends on your dog.

sweet potato fries for dogs

For something more time-consuming to keep your pup occupied, there's always an old-fashioned hemp rope.

Just make it long and add knots!

These ropes will last nearly forever, and it's an interactive tug toy for your dog that's safe.

Best Commercial Chews for Dogs to Chew On

By far, sturdy chew toys are what you want for the dog.

They provide jaw exercise and mental stimulation for longer.

Some have space for stuffing treats, including breath fresheners and teeth cleaning products.

Here are some of my dog's personal favorites:

Kong KONG Toy - best thing for dogs to chew on

Kong toys are incredibly durable.

They come in different sizes and strengths so that you can choose one suited to your dog's needs.

The product line includes freezable toys too.

The Kong website gives creative pet chefs a chance to try their hand at Kong stuffing recipes too.

What's neat about the hidden treat design is that it puts your dog's mind to work!

Overall, Kong combines diversity, good pricing, and availability into a consumer-friendly line.

Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound

This is an interactive treat that's both a chew, a dispenser, and a puzzle.

Nina Ottosson is strong and stimulating, making for independent or mutual play.

I like that it's easy to clean too.

Even during those “seasons of mud” or when it just starts looking dirty.

These toys are suitable for dogs of all ages.

Greenies/Dentastix/Brushing Chews 

These options are very popular.

In fact, we did a review on Bite Brite Dental Chews.

These are not long-term fixes for your dog's chewing passion.

They're also not a substitute for brushing either.

However, they are a good short-term alternative that can target your dog's dental health, particularly in fighting tartar.

The only downside with Greenies and Dentastix is that they often have a high caloric content.

So my advice: give them to your dog in moderation.


This is a fairly inexpensive option, and you can buy it nearly anywhere.

Pet Factory's Beefhide is a healthy, digestible option for your dog.

Just make sure to keep watch on your dog.

As long as they chew on it and do not bite off big bites, this is a fine choice.

But for a gulper, you probably need a different approach.

Stuffed Toys

Some dogs like these as chews and as cuddle buddies.

The problem is safe construction.

Some have bells, buttons, eyes, etc.

Some have squeakers that dogs adore taking out.

Tuffy Dog Toys are one option in this category that can handle rough play.

When the going gets really tough, there is a product called a Goughnut.

Designed by polymer engineers, it's nearly impossible to destroy this toy.

For safety, different colors in the toy's layers alert you if you need to replace it.

The Goughnut floats on water, and it works for fetching too.

It is a little more costly than some other products but is worth a try for larger, enthusiastic chewers.

Get the Best and SAFE Things for Dogs to Chew On!

If you've been buying chew toys for a while now, you must've known that not everything labeled as such is good for your dog.

And you certainly don't want them gnawing at your favorite shoes.

Step one in buying chew toys for dogs is knowing what is safe and what's not.

Even if a dog chew toy is popular, and your friend has never had an issue with a product, it doesn't mean there won't be any inherent issues.

Some dog chews to be very careful about picking, or to avoid them completely, are:


Cooked or uncooked bones can still splinter.

Domesticated canines do not need the minerals and vitamins provided by bones because all of that must be accounted for in their diet.

The FDA has issued warnings about bones to dog owners, and it's advisable to ignore these products completely.

Cheese Blocks

If the cheese block does not show a thumbnail print in it when you test it, that product could break your dog's teeth with regular chewing.

Also, if you pick the wrong size for your pet, they can choke when big pieces are swallowed.

Elk Antler

While much better than rawhide nutrition-wise, elk antlers still have a very hard surface that can break your dog's teeth or even puncture a dog's mouth.

With products like these, you don't have to avoid them completely.

However, supervision is required when your pup's chewing on them.

Nylon Chews

Another very hard surface and these chews must be picked out carefully.

If you have a dog with strong teeth and bite force, they may gnaw pieces off of it and swallow them.

This is more dangerous than other chews since this stuff is synthetic.

Wood Sticks

That bit of wood picked up outside can have mold and all kinds of insects and parasites tangled within.

Little pieces can break off and cause puncture wounds in your dog's mouth.

Playing fetch is likely fine, but make sure your dog doesn't treat wooden sticks as their chews.

dog chewing on tennis ball

FAQs about the Best Things for Dogs to Chew On

Are there any natural or organic chew toys for dogs?

Yes, there are natural and organic chew toys for dogs.

One example is rawhide, made from natural ingredients.

What are some chew toys that also clean a dog's teeth?

Some chew toys that clean a dog's teeth include dental chews, rope toys, and rubber toys with ridges and bumps.

These toys help remove plaque and tartar buildup while the dog chews.

Are there any chew toys that can help with separation anxiety?

Yes, there are chew toys that can help with separation anxiety.

Some examples include puzzle toys, interactive toys, and toys that dispense treats.

These toys can keep the dog occupied and distracted while the owner is away.

What are some chew toys that are safe for puppies?

Chew toys that are safe for puppies include soft rubber toys, plush toys, and toys made specifically for teething.

It is important to supervise puppies while they are playing with toys to ensure they do not swallow any small pieces.

What are some chew toys that are good for mental stimulation?

Chew toys that are good for mental stimulation include puzzle toys, interactive toys, and toys that dispense treats.

These toys can challenge the dog's mind and provide mental stimulation, which can prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

How often should I replace my dog's chew toys?

It is recommended to replace a dog's chew toys every few months or when they become worn or damaged.

Regularly inspect toys for any signs of wear and tear to ensure the dog's safety.

Best Things for Dogs to Chew On: Take Your Pick!

The commercial market is replete with toys for your dog.

You can also make them yourself at home!

I know it could be a little overwhelming to choose.

But when you're not certain about your options, ask your vet or the trained people at your local supply store.

The internet can also offer you hundreds of reviews from real people who have tried different things.

Don't be afraid to utilize that resource!

Speaking of, we also have a pretty huge selection of helpful articles you can read about chew toys for dogs and dog chewing behavior.

You can check some of them out below!

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Best Things for Dogs to Chew On (Store Bought and Home Options)

Shelly lives in Iowa with her husband and Australian Shepherd named Tex. She's been an animal lover since she was a child. Currently, she enjoys reading and writing about dogs, and spending time with her family and getting involved in all things pets.