Aggressive chewing is a huge challenge for all dog owners—both novice and experienced alike. Whether it is due to stress, lack of mental stimulation, or bad habits; the fact is, dogs are going to chew. While it can be an annoying habit to deal with—especially if your dog is chewing on something dangerous or valuable—you can train your dog to chew on more appropriate (and safer!) things.
Not all dog toys are made the same. While, aggressive chewers are far more destructive on their toys. In my experience, it didn’t matter whether it was a Boxer or a Rat Terrier; most ‘average’ dog toys can be destroyed in short order. Therefore, over the years, I’ve put together a collection of some of the best “indestructible” toys that kept my dogs happy and safe that may be helpful for you and your canine companion.
KONG is King – “The world’s best dog toy” for a reason
Most dog owners will agree, solid rubber dog toys are the toughest type out of all the toy categories. These are often made for the heavy chewers and meant to be “almost indestructible”.
Among the most well-known, durable, and safest chew toys for dogs are KONG toys. In fact, Kong toys that I purchased over 5 years ago are still in great condition and continues to be used today. Kongs come in a variety of shapes and sizes; but the greatest value of Kong toys is the ability to be filled with treats encouraging your dog to keep his attention on the Kong longer than other dog toys.
For aggressive chewers, I would recommend the KONG Extreme and KONG Blue lines of chew toys. Kong Blue is 25% stronger than regular (red) Kong toys and is made of radio-opaque rubber, allowing it to easily show up on x-rays if pieces are accidentally ingested by your dog. Kong Extreme products, being puncture resistant and the strongest of Kong materials, are made for the most serious chewers.
Some of the best solid rubber dog toys for heavy chewers:
KONG Extreme Dog Toys – The KONG Extreme toys are made in the USA from Ultra-Flex carbon black rubber and is the most durable rubber in the KONG product line-up. Being able to withstand the strength of strong jaws, KONG Extreme Dog Toys are the type often used by police, military K-9 teams, and AKC competition trainers. For the destructive chewer, you cannot go wrong with a black Kong Extreme Dog Toy. However, it may be too tough for some dogs—Spock, for example, found the Kong Extreme TOO tough…preferring the KONG Classic made from a softer rubber material.
Goughnuts Dog Chew Toys – Designed by mechanical and polymer engineers, GoughNuts are virtually indestructible with 2 thick layers of solid rubber. If your pet ever chews through the outer layer to expose the red inner layer, GoughNuts will replace your toy. For aggressive chewers, look for the all black GoughNuts with a yellow dot indicating the strongest GoughNut available. Fortunately, between 5 different dogs of all sizes, I have never had to use their replacement guarantee yet!
Petsafe Busy Buddy Dog Toys – The Petsafe Busy Buddy toy line is quite diverse. However, for aggressive chewers, I recommend the Busy Buddy Squirrel Dude Dog Toy and the Busy Buddy Barnacle Dog Toy. Like traditional KONGs, they both dispense yummy treats to help keep your dog’s attention.
Jolly Balls – Horse Kicking Tough Toys for Dogs
Jolly Pet Jolly Ball Toys are originally enrichment toys made for horses to play with; but eventually made its way into the dog world in sizes and designs specifically for dogs. If it can withstand a horse, it should be able to handle the wear and tear of dogs too right?
Made in the USA from heavy-duty, low-density non-toxic polyethylene, Jolly Balls can float and will never pop or deflate if punctured. Like my KONGs, I still have and continue to use the original Jolly Balls that I purchased over five years ago.
Jolly Balls come in a few different designs and are available in 10″, 8″, 6″, and 4.5″ sizes. Jolly Pet also make outstanding “indestructible” hard plastic balls such as the Teaser Ball and exercise Push-n-Play Ball.
Types of Tough and Durable Jolly Balls Dog Toys:
Bounce-n-Play: The original Jolly Ball, all of our big dogs (and dog friends) always loved trying to destroy it. It was bit, stomped, compressed, tossed, kicked, scratched, tugged. No matter what, it has yet to be destroyed and continues to be used today.
Tug-n-Toss*: Same as the Bounce-n-Play; but made with an attached handle. For some dogs, the handle makes a HUGE difference allowing them to ‘grip’ easier with. While it doesn’t seem much different from the Bounce-n-Play, the Tug-n-Toss is a big hit when used with used with multiple dogs. Every time there was more than one dog, this toy was the target of many games of ‘tag’ or ‘keep away’ because of the added handle. However, for an aggressive chewer, I’d advise checking for excessive chewing around the handle area. Because it is made from a ‘softer’ plastic (polyethylene), teething puppies and unattended chewers may chew the handle off. Leila, our Boxer, was fixated on chewing the handle during her adolescent chewing phase so had to be extra cautious at that time.
Romp-n-Roll: Same as the Bounce-n-Play; but made a sturdy, knotted rope through the ball. This toy has always been a FAVORITE. It is the best of all things most dogs love (rope and ball). It is fun to throw, tug, and carry. Like any other rope, it will wear over time. However, it is easy enough to replace with any standard rope and a few knots to keep it secured. Even Spock, our Rat Terrier, loved carrying it off by the rope while having a pack of dogs chase after him for it.
The Best Indestructible Hard Plastic Dog Toys
Even plastic dog toys can quickly succumb to the tenacious chewing of a determined canine. Odin had an uncanny ability to quickly turn any non-toy plastic he could find into shreds. Fortunately, he never had much interest in eating any of it though.
While some of these products may become scratched or abused over time, I’ve had a great experience with all of these durable and tough plastic dog toy products for both chewers and non-chewers. As always, my favorites were the ones that could encourage mental stimulation through a treat/food dispensing mechanism.
Some of the most durable and rugged hard plastic dog toys
OurPets Buster Cube Interactive Dog Toy – This thing is built like a tank. On hard floors, it might sound like your dog is destroying the house; however, this always kept my dogs occupied for 20-30 minutes at a time while he toss the cube around trying to spill the treats/food out.
StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Pet Toy – Dogs seem to always LOVE the “Bob”. It’s quieter than the Buster Cube and wobbles back and forth as treat is dispensed out. While you can control the rate treats flow out, the capacity is rather small…about 1/2 a cup or less. For the most part, this toy is solidly built. Odin once got fixated on chewing the yellow cap off; so it now have some chew marks. Everything else is still in great condition.
PetSafe Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug Meal Dispensing Dog Toy – A durable hard plastic toy that should withstand any abuse thrown at it. Like any rope toy, the rope will probably be short-lived; but the plastic dog toy itself should be able to endure the punishment of small and big dogs alike. The toy is sure to be a favorite with any chaser because it’ll spin around while its being tugged, dispensing yummy goodies along the way!
Jolly Pets Teaser Ball – FYI, I recommend getting the Teaser Ball one size bigger than your dog’s Jolly Ball size. Because of its ball-in-ball concept, the holes will be openings may be a bit small…so sizing up will help ensure your dog’s paw is able to fit properly. If your dog loves popping balls, he will definitely love trying to deflate and destroy the little ball inside of the Teaser Ball!
Best Dog Chew Toys for the Aggressive Chewer
What is there left if your dog has been able to chew through EVERYTHING?! Natural chews such as bully sticks and safe, non-toxic chew toys such as Nylabones!
I’ve always been a big fan natural shed antler chews because they are safe, relatively odor-free, healthy, and long-lasting. However, bully sticks are a great alternative for smaller dogs or less passionate chewers. Nylabones and Benebones has also worked well for me and lasts awhile. Just keep in mind that it is made of non-toxic nylon and should be used with supervision.
Best Natural Chews and Nylon Chew Toys
100% Natural Shed Grade A Elk Antler Dog Chew by Buck Bone Organics – My favorite type of chew for dogs. Eco-friendly and full of rich nutrients for your canine companion! There are not many ‘bad’ brands to choose from because quality antler sheds are naturally odorless and gluten free. But Buck Bone Organics antler chews are also sourced from USA, organic, and contains no chemicals or added preservatives. You will want to get the appropriate size for the dog and chewing temperament. I’ve used medium for Odin (American Pit Bull Terrier) when he was teething and Leila (Boxer) in the past and it has always lasted anywhere from 1-4 weeks. Often times, after they get all of the marrow inside; they start losing some interest…but it typically takes them a week of constant chewing and gnawing to get that far. Great value for your money!
100% Natural 6-inch Bully Sticks Dog Chews by Best Bully Sticks – Compared to MANY bully stick vendors on the market, I personally love the Best Bully Sticks brand for several reasons. Their USDA/FDA approved bully sticks are made from free-range, grass-fed beef from the USA or South America without hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, chemicals, or additives. In my personal experience, bully sticks will have some odor; but these are low (as low as you could get for bully sticks?) compared to many manufacturers and the portions are more reasonable for the price.
Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews – The first time I tried this, I was not expecting much because of its resemblance to rawhide. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how thick and tough the strips are! The enzymatic cleaning benefit was an added benefit! For heavy chewers, you will want the Large size; but the medium should be sufficient for most dogs. Keep in mind that these are originally intended for cleaning so the strips will be smaller in size than most rawhide products. I would estimate each strip would keep your dog occupied for 15 – 45 minutes depending on the size and your individual dog’s chewing temperament.
Nylabone DuraChew Dog Chew Toy – Nylabone is probably one of the oldest ‘chew toy’ in the market. Made in all types of shapes, sizes, and flavors these days, the DuraChew line features a textured design that help clean teeth, discouraging destructive chewing, and promote healthy chewing habits. The textured design has always been a drooling hit with teething puppies!
Benebone Wishbone Chew Toy – Essentially the same as the Nylabone but made in the USA from a combination of nylon and 100% real bacon (or other flavors). Compared to Nylabone, my dogs seem to enjoy the flavor of the Benebone Chew Toys better. Your mileage may vary. Personally, I found Benebones ‘wear’ slightly better, appearing to be less sharp than Nylabones.