Seeking indestructible dog toys

We live with two very heavy chewers, and I’m always on the hunt for indestructible dog toys.

Hard at work

Things that have held up to the shepherd chompers:

  • The black (extreme) Kong products
  • The Planet Dog ball
  • A version of the Kong Wubba that looked like a rabbit (has since died after the head was removed with near-surgical precision)
  • Nylabones

Things we’ve tried and failed with:

  • Rawhides (upset stomachs)
  • Deer antlers (upsets Pyrrha’s stomach)
  • Marrow bones (splinter so easily; also dogs lose interest quickly)
  • Anything remotely stuffed
  • Rope toys (Eden thinks the game is to rip out the threads of the rope and swallow them)

I’d like to try some more products from Planet Dog; I’ve been impressed with the strength of that ball. But I’m always looking for other suggestions!

Do you have heavy-duty chewers in your house? What products have you liked for them?

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14 thoughts on “Seeking indestructible dog toys

  1. The Kong wobbler has held up to some serious abuse from my two, and as an added bonus it’s a fun way to tire them out a bit inside. But beware, it’s LOUD on hardwood, so I only give it to them on the carpet. Also check out the West Paw Bumi, a great toy that’s held up well for us.

    It would be a bit of an expensive gamble, but you could try other types of antler (Elk, for example). I buy mine on ebay for much cheaper prices than storebought.

  2. West paw Bumi, as well as their stuffable toys, have withstood our shepherd’s jaws. I wish ours were bigger, though–make sure you get the biggest size unless your pups are very careful with their mouths.

    We have a very large Planet Dog ball, the soccer ball, that I consider safe enough to fill with kibble and leave down when Nala is alone.

    Have you tried a water buffalo horn? Maybe it would be sufficiently different not to upset Pyrrha’s stomach. We’ve had ours since we adopted Nala; she gnaws on it about once a week.

    JW’s Holee something or other toy has been magical for chasing, thrashing, and tugging. It lives in our backyard but is still going strong.
    We also like anything that is a square-braided fleece toy for tugging (Team Unruly has a tutorial to DIY it. You can also buy them at Clean Run. Ours is from Salty Dog Canvas and has an Orbee ball attached).
    I got her an Udder Tug for Christmas (salty dog canvas, clean run, and helping udders sell variations on this toy). It’s seen some very vigorous play but is so far undamaged–but, fair warning, Nala loves it so much that she becomes a little bit stupid when she smells it (it is very smelly).

    If you want to attempt stuffed toys, we’ve had some luck with Hugglehounds–they’ve consistently survived a month or two of short play sessions?

    Honestly, I just don’t really leave toys down. We leave chewables out all the time, but most of our toys are limited to interactive play only, and otherwise stay locked away in Nala’s toy box. This is largely because Nala doesn’t really play by herself, and I don’t really love being constantly poked with deafening squeakies–she settles much more easily if that’s just not an option.

  3. I also have destructo-dogs and think that West Paw Zogoflex toys give you the best bang for your buck.

    Absurdly priced and overrated, but some people love them: Goughnuts.

    If your girls like softer toys, the ones made out of fire hose are good for fetch and tug, but won’t withstand serious chewing.

    All of my dogs ADORE Benebones (far more than Nylabones) but they aren’t recommended for dogs over 70 lbs, which yours might be?

    That’s all I’ve got for now, but I’m looking forward to other suggestions in the comments!

  4. Your list matches mine exactly and I have two standard poodles, one of which is a champion chewer! We love the planet dog balls, but have not tried the textured ones (only the smooth glow in the dark ones which are great for a game of fetch after dinner). I’d be interested to get your opinion on those. I’m concerned that the bumpy surface will make it easier to destroy!

    P.S. I really enjoy your blog. It is nice to read as a dog owner at a similar stage in life with two active, big dogs!

  5. Our go-to chews a Himalayan chews made of only Yak and Cow Milk, Salt and Lime Juice. The dogs much prefer the light colored ones so I buy them in stores to select the right ones. They also like the dried knee caps (100% beef) but for whatever reason they only like the Petco brand ones. Both last a decent time. They sometimes leave them before finishing & go back for more later.

    They also love bully sticks but I’m not sure how healthy they are so I limit those. And they love hoves but I fear they are too hard on the teeth.

  6. Got to be careful with Nylabones – or any chew item you can’t press a fingernail mark into…. My high-chew Lab has fractured back molars on each side from knawing on them. Broken teeth = big vet bills!

  7. I’m seconding the West Paw toys – we have the Hurley, the Bumi and the disk – and we are also big fans of Planet Dog. I usually leave one or two durable toys down that I rotate, and plushes and tugs are kept in a shoe organizer hanging on the inside of my downstairs coat closet (and Ruby knows this and will sometimes bark at the door when she wants to play tug). Mine love the Benebones, too – I didn’t know that about the weight limit.

  8. To say he’s got such huge GSD teeth, Sam is such a gentle chewer! He prefers soft toys, will hardly entertain hard things, and can have a soft toy for at least 6 months before it gets a hole in! He’s so gentle with them. This means he gets his teeth action from food chews rather than toys.
    I recently found out about Goughnuts (I think they’re called). I don’t know if you’ve seen them, but they apparently come with a lifetime guarantee. They’re like a rubbery looking donut.

  9. We’ve had great success with Jolly Balls. They’ve replaced soccer balls in our house… or our backyard I should say. They aren’t really chew toys, but I wished I’d known about them when we had Isis, the super soccer star. She went through SO MANY soccer balls.

    Mia loves the rubber Chuck-It balls. She would crush a regular tennis ball within seconds, but she really likes to chomp down on the rubber balls, and they last.

  10. I agree with the sentiments on West Paw toys. They possess good design and durability. Our two GSDs love (understated) to play “Frisbee” and so far the only disc to hold up and fly well is the West Paw Zisc Flying Disc.

    Kong classics are great and durable. Put a rope or strap through it and you can play tug and fetch. Not to mention avoiding the slobber factor. The Kong “Traxx” is a great toy and can take a good chewing. And for those early to get dark winter days a Planetdog Orbee Luna ball. Because it glows in the dark we can play “night ball”.

    Ultimately easily destroyed toys should never be given due to being ingested. Evidenced by the remnants deposited in the yard. Really toy play should be with the dog and owner/handler not with toys scattered around the dogs living area. It’s the interaction (movement) between the owner/handler and the dog that the dog enjoys. You don’t see a dog lying down and chewing a toy to pieces during play usually. Destruction of the toy mainly occurs when the dog is alone with a toy. Since the toy is not moving and there is no one about to correct the behavior the dog just destroys it.

    Abby I might add that I really enjoyed your blog. Just stumbled across it. Very refreshing. You have learned a lot.

  11. Durable ropes with closed ends (ex. ropes attached to a tennis ball) might work, since there are no frayed ends to pull at. Kong toys seem to work the best for me, but even those don’t last forever. Not because they break, but because my golden keeps losing them in the shrubbery in the backyard!

  12. I know that this article is bit old. But have any of you tried an Indestructibone? I found them at Bulletproofpetproducts.com and the one I have has lasted almost a year!! Best $20.00 investment ever!!

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