Chew toy

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Dog chew toys made in the USA

Chew toy are toys designed to be chewed on by animals for stimulation and boredom relief.[1] Gnawing on a chew toy can be soothing to an animal. In young animals, such as puppies, chew toys can help relieve pain associated with teething.[2] There are several types of chew toys, including rawhide, wood, paper, and mineral. Chew toys are commonly known as a toy only for dogs; however birds, rodents, and rabbits can also use them.

In addition to providing entertainment, chew toys allow the animal to work out anxiety and boredom by being occupied with chewing a toy. Chew toys can also distract animals from chewing on other "forbidden" items and assist in maintaining healthy teeth.[3]

A similar toy called a teether is given to human children to help soothe inflamed gums during teething.


A dog with a rawhide chew toy.

Rawhide chew toys are most often associated with dogs, though rawhide is suitable for all animals except herbivores, as it's made of animal skin. For example, rabbits cannot have rawhide toys because their digestive systems cannot process them. This is a rather sturdy chew toy as it can take weeks or even months for a small animal or bird to destroy. Examples of rawhide chew toys are twists and rawhide bones. Chew toys made of leather are not recommended for dogs as they cannot be properly digested in the stomach and may cause blockage in the intestines.[4]


Wooden chew toys are made of safe, non-poisonous, softer wood and are often coated in bright, vegetable-based dyes or paints. Wooden chew toys are given in place of the wood that a small animal would find in the wild. They are often recommended if the owner has no knowledge of the trees and shrubs growing in the area. They are generally used by rabbits and small rodents. Wooden chew toys help to keep teeth trimmed down, preventing eating difficulties in pets and unnecessary trips to a vet for teeth clipping. An example of a wooden chew toy is the commercial product toy ropes.


Paper chew toys are made of non-bleached non-toxic paper. They are inexpensive, or often free. One common paper chew toy is an empty toilet paper tube. These can double as tunnels for very small rodents, and can also be used as modified piñatas for larger small animals. Wadded-up newspaper pages, old spineless books, and the commercial product Chubes are other commonly used paper chew toys.


Mineral chew toys are made of flavored animal-safe minerals. These range from flavored fruit-shaped blocks for birds to ice-cream cone-shaped mineral treats for rabbits. They also come shaped like bowls with fluffy minerals inside. A common mineral chew toy is the cuttlebone, a toy for birds that helps to keep nails and beaks trimmed and healthy.


A dog eating treats out of a Kong, a rubber chew toy made by the Kong Company.

There are a variety of rubber chew toys for dogs on the market that are molded into different shapes. Some are hollowed so that treats can be placed in them. This way, the dog has to "work" to get rewarded with a treat. A criticism of rubber chew toys is that some of these chew toys are not hygienic and harbor harmful bacteria.


  1. ^ US patent 5477815, Anthony O'Rourke, "Dog chew toy", issued 1995-12-26 
  2. ^ "How to Prevent Puppy Chewing Problems". Thriving Canine. 2013-02-07. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  3. ^ Lynn Smith, Chandra (2009-04-19). "Use chew toys, leash to help train puppies". The Evening Sun. Archived from the original on 2009-09-03. Retrieved 2009-05-02.
  4. ^ Parent, Lucia E.; Lucia Roesel-Parent (2003). Beagles: Everything about Purchase, Care, Nutrition, Handling, and Behavior. Barron's Educational Series. p. 23. ISBN 0-7641-2002-6.