Best Puppy Chew Toys for Teething Puppies – Our Top Picks

Best chew toys for teething puppies written beside a GR puppy with chew toy

'New Chew Toy' by Dennis Brekke on Flickr CC BY 2.0

Everyone thinks getting a puppy is all fun and games. You get a cute bundle of joy to play with, she snuggles with you; what more could you ask for? What could go wrong?

Well, let me tell you... 

In complete bliss, you might even forget that you're going to be dealing with those sharp puppy teeth chewing on just about everything within just a few weeks. 

The blissful start of ownership has passed! It's time to get some chew toys!

For many new pet parents, the sheer number of toys on the market can be daunting. What’s worse, you could buy a toy and your puppy may not even like it. How do you choose the right toy that’s both safe and fun?

Quick Links to Top 5 of Our Picks for Best Teething Toys for Puppies

*Some of the above links lead to current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.

Carry on reading to discover why we made these choices, and lots of tips and buying advice to ensure you get the right product.

What Toys Do Dogs Really Want?

By the way, do you know why puppies like cushions and curtains and may ignore that shiny red ball you bought them? Some puppies prefer to chew on their leashes. Why are pups so picky? And how can you buy toys that will hold their interest more than your décor?

We've got an answer:

A study published in the journal “Animal Cognition” examined why dogs loved certain toys and not others. They introduced Labrador retrievers, an especially curious and playful breed, to a single toy for 30-second periods of time until they stopped interacting with it.

Their results probably confirm what you’ve noticed with your own puppy. Knowing this information can help you get inside insight on the canine mind to make it easier to keep your puppy interested in the toys that you want them to chew.

  • Dogs look at toys like wolves look at prey. Therefore, if it tastes good, can be torn apart, or makes a noise like something screaming in terror, it’s high on their play-with-the-prey list.
  • Dogs find harder and quieter toys less interesting. If they bite it and they don’t feel the satisfaction of destruction, or hear a shriek of pain, or taste anything yummy, then what’s the point?
  • Dogs are interested in the newest thing. Actually, humans are too! We like the latest shiny tech toy and dogs love anything that they haven’t already gnawed to death nightly for the past month.
  • Dogs are more interested when you participate. That ball becomes way more fun when you throw it and they get to chase it down with all the cunning killer instinct while it runs away in terror!

Now, do you understand a little bit better why they like to tear up the throw pillows! It’s a lot of fun to pull the down “guts” out of their fallen victim.

Easily Torn Toys Are Unsafe For a Puppy

Toys that are easily torn – while fun for the pup – can pose a huge risk because the puppy may eat or choke on them.

And that's why you should be careful:

While dogs love to destroy things, you won’t find toys that can be torn apart high on any recommendation list due to the safety issues this presents.

Since we can’t give puppies the satisfaction of tearing things up, we must focus on the other incentives to get them to chew, such as taste, interaction and the novelty of a new toy.

Puppy Chewing Goes Into Overdrive During Teething

Puppies lose their milk teeth around 14 to 30 weeks of age. During this time, their regular need to put anything into their mouths will become insatiable.

However:

If you pick something that is especially fun to sink their choppers into, they will be more likely to keep chewing on that instead of your curtains or the soft couch cushion.

Your aim is to give them toys in order to replace the less desirable household items they gravitate toward for chewing.

If you can find toys that better fulfill your pups need during the teething stage and beyond, you won't sacrifice those family heirlooms to the teething totem.

What Makes the Best Teething Toys for Puppies?

When your new puppy is teething, a lot is going on in their mouths. They have an incessant need to chew to relieve the pressure of the new teeth erupting through their gums.

The best teething toys for puppies must be firm and durable or they won’t last long! However, they must also have some give.

Remember these things:

  • Soft toys should be considered! Dogs need to feel like they have victory when they bite down, like they would if they were to bite into prey. If the toy is too hard, it may also hurt their sensitive or sore gums. Soft toys might be better for them and their gnawing.
  • The toy also shouldn’t be able to shatter or break into pieces that the puppy could ingest. Many dogs die this way every year, and they will get destructive with their toys if they can. Many more go through unnecessary and expensive surgery to save them from objects stuck in their esophagus or an obstructed bowel.
  • Keep in mind that puppies will eat anything they can swallow. Just like babies, you have to keep these items out of reach and also make sure any toys you give them cannot be reduced to bite-sized pieces. 
  • Remember that the dog’s size also plays a factor in toy selection. For example, a toy poodle puppy can safely play with a much smaller toy than a golden retriever.
  • Dogs love toys that taste good. If you want to hold a puppy’s interest, a toy that can be stuffed with treats is a perfect solution.
  • It’s also fun to try different shapes and textures to see what your pet prefers. Dogs are as individual as people.  They may seek different ways to alleviate aching gums, and often try several variations to discover what works best. Playtime is more fun this way.
  • Interactive toys can be a fun change. It will keep your dog from being plagued with boredom! They might even stop barking since their toy will distract them. They can even help prevent separation anxiety.

Bad Teething Chew Toy Choices

Some toys can be dangerous for your puppy. Toys for dogs as precious as yours should be safe!

Here are some of the main things to watch out for when buying your pup a toy.

  • Any toy that’s too small for the dog. A good rule of thumb is the toy should always be bigger than the pup’s mouth. A dog with a small mouth has an easier time with this.
  • Toys that can be broken down into bite-sized bits or with detachable parts that the puppy could swallow. Dog bone dog chews are dangerous because they can break down, so be mindful of this.
  • Chewable treats – use with supervision. These are helpful when your dog is teething, but you must watch to make sure the pup doesn’t swallow too big a bite. You also need to make sure that the ingredients are safe and won’t cause intestinal blockages.
  • Toys that were made for children. While they may be cheaper, they are not being used as intended. They often can contain unsafe fillings or dangerous parts. Some toys may even have lead or other toxic materials.
  • Avoid products containing BPA.
  • Stuffed toys that contain plastic, squeakers or batteries are also not a good idea for more than a quick, supervised play session. If your pup tries to de-fluff the toy and ends up eating the batteries or squeaking mechanism, it could become a dangerous situation for them. Squeky can be fun, but it can also be dangerous.

You're careful about choosing dog treats, right? Then be careful about toys, too!

Tips To Prevent Chewing Snobbery

The worst thing in the world is if your puppy decides they're bored with what is theirs and decide to focus on what is yours! Part of avoiding this scenario lies in picking a good teething toy.

We will go into some good toy choices in a moment. However, let’s also examine some general ways to keep the teeth and focus on the right things, in addition to the specific toy utilized.

  • Rotate your puppy’s toys so they always stay new and exciting. If you keep a toy out of rotation for about a week and then give it back to your puppy, they will think it’s a brand new score! Make sure to take the toys out of rotation if they are showing signs of becoming unsafe – such as evidence of wear or breakage.
  • Find toys that give your puppy a job to do! This is where toys that can contain treats are a great bonus! They have to work to get to their reward, and pet toys can do that for them.
  • Give your puppy cool toys. Well, they can be cool as in hip, but also cool as in cold. Teething gums can become inflamed. Putting a toy in the freezer is a great way to help your puppy feel better and make the chewing process more fun!

To satisfy your puppy's urge to chew, you need to follow these important tips about dog chew toys.

Best Puppy Chew Toys for Teething - Our Top Picks

While all of these brands recommended are safe for teething puppies, it’s still important to do your own due diligence.

Here's what you should pay attention to:

If you notice your puppy is tearing up non-edible toys, remove them before they can break off bite-sized pieces. Even with edible chews, always make sure you take the treat away when it becomes a choking hazard. You can also hold it to ensure your puppy takes small enough bites and doesn’t try to swallow it whole.

Kong Puppy Chew Toys

KONG Puppy KONG Toy, Large, Assorted Pink/Blue

Kong is a well-known industry leader for chew toys – known for its durability. It is a rubber dog toy that will endure years of tough chewing.

While it does happen occasionally, it's very rare that this toy will tear into pieces to become a choking hazard. Just make sure to size the toy to ensure it is too big for your dog to swallow whole.

It’s a toy choice that's safe and it lasts!

Pros:

  • Tough rubber makes it safe for even the most aggressive chewers when properly sized
  • The hole in the center can be filled with treats or peanut butter to entice chewing
  • It’s interactive and can be used in a game of fetch
  • It has an unpredictable bounce when it hits the floor, keeping the dog guessing
  • Can be frozen with food inside providing cooling effect to gums
  • Can be left in dog crate to chew unsupervised unless it becomes too worn (unlikely)
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Some dogs may grow bored of it if it isn’t filled with food since they can’t tear it up and it doesn’t taste good or make noise.

Click to learn more or buy

Puppy Key Ring - Nylabone

Nylabone Just For Puppies Medium Key Ring Bone Puppy Dog Teething Chew Toy

The Nylabone brand is also an industry leader in safe and durable chew toys.

This key ring has the benefit of containing several moving parts so it’s fun to shake and makes noise as they drag it around, but it also has different textures.

The multiple-textured surfaces give puppies a choice on their chewing experience, while also cleaning tarter off their teeth.

Pros:

  • Soft material is designed for chewing puppies
  • Raised bristles can clean teeth and prevent tarter while providing engaging chewing textures
  • Interactive toy – can be a tug toy or used in fetch
  • Can be left in dog crate to chew unsupervised until it becomes too worn
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • No place to hide treats to make it taste better
  • Dogs may lose interest because they can’t taste anything and can’t tear it up. You can solve this by rotating it with other toys so it appears new after a break!

Click to learn more or buy

Puppy Goodie Bone – Kong

KONG Puppy Goodie Bone Dog Toy, Small, Assorted Pink/Blue

Also from Kong, this bone is shaped so the dog can easily grip it between the paws for effortless chewing. It’s durable and can withstand heavy teething.

The great thing about this chew is you can hide treats in each end of the bone to keep it enticing. Dogs love a good puzzle, and this gives them two problems to solve – one on each end!

Pros:

  • Tough rubber makes it safe for even the most aggressive chewers when properly sized
  • Holes on the ends provide access for treats or peanut butter to entice chewing
  • It’s interactive and can be used in a game of fetch
  • Can be frozen with food inside providing a cooling effect to gums
  • Can be left in dog crate to chew unsupervised until it becomes too worn
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Some dogs may grow bored of it if not filled with food since they can’t tear it up and it doesn’t taste good or make noise.

Click to learn more or buy

Ring Bone – Nylabone

Nylabone Puppy Chew Teething Rings Chew Toy

Another fun toy from Nylabone, this chew has the added benefit of multiple textures and links, giving your puppy extra fun with different surfaces. Yet, it’s durable enough to withstand aggressive chewers.

The rings also give it a rope-like feel without the dangers of ingesting the fibers. They also make noise when the puppy shakes them, adding to the excitement.

Pros:

  • Soft material is designed for chewing puppies
  • Raised bristles can clean teeth and prevent tarter while providing engaging chewing textures
  • Interactive toy – can be a tug toy or used in fetch
  • Can be left in dog crate to chew unsupervised until it becomes too worn
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • No place to hide treats to make it taste better
  • Dogs may lose interest because they can’t taste anything and can’t tear it up

Click to learn more or buy

Teething Ring Pack of 6 – N-Bone

N-Bone 6-Pack Puppy Teething Ring, Pumpkin Flavor

These don’t last as long as chew toys, but do bring the added benefit of the puppy actually succeeding in the natural predation instinct and eating the item. They also require a lot of chewing to ingest them; and help teething puppies fulfill the need to eat and chew in one package.

These rings also have some nutritional value, with added vitamins and minerals.

As with all edible toys, make sure to supervise your puppy to ensure they take small bites - even if you have to hold it for them.

Pros:

  • Soft texture that the dog can actually eat – albeit slowly as they chew off pieces
  • Softer surface soothes gums
  • Contains calcium to help with teeth and bone growth
  • Added DHA Omega 3 to promote cognitive development
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Doesn’t last as long as rubber puppy teething toys with many dogs eating it in one sitting
  • Requires supervision to ensure they chew off bite-sized pieces

Click to learn more or buy from Amazon

Romp and Chomp – Nylabone

Nylabone Romp 'N Chomp Wolf Chicken Flavored Freezer Bone Dog Treat and Chew Toy

This toy from Nylabone combines many benefits into one toy.

A durable chewing surface, multiple textures to chew, the ability to hide a treat, or freeze a semisolid treat within to add a cooling sensation to the chewing experience.

It also cleans your pup’s teeth with multiple surfaces, gives them a challenge to work at getting the treat out, and can help cool down inflamed gums.

Pros:

  • Soft material is designed for chewing puppies
  • Raised bristles can clean teeth and prevent tartar
  • Interactive toy – can be a tug toy or used in fetch
  • Can be frozen with food inside providing a cooling effect to gums
  • Can be left in dog crate to chew unsupervised until it becomes too worn
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Some dogs may grow bored of it if it isn’t filled with food since they can’t tear it up and it doesn’t taste good or make noise.
  • It is for moderate chewers; reviews stated that it didn’t last long with more aggressive chewers

Click to learn more or buy

Bully Sticks

Free Range 6' Bully Sticks (12 Pack)

I’m not gonna lie, the source of bully sticks isn’t the most appetizing for humans to think about, but dogs love them!

Bully sticks are bull penises that have been rinsed and dried. They have the benefit of being a natural source of nutrition. They are tough and keep your puppy busy chewing from 30 minutes – for the most aggressive chewers – to several weeks for the lighter chewers.

Make sure to look for the bully sticks that haven’t been chemically treated. Like all edible chews, remember to remove them when they become a choking hazard or hold them for your dog to make sure they bite off small pieces.

Pros:

  • All-natural source of nutrition
  • Softer material promotes a soothing effect on gums
  • Non-staining
  • Available with low odor

Cons:

  • If you don’t buy the low-odor sticks, they will have a slight odor (we've linked to a low odor brand)
  • Will not last as long as rubber puppy teething toys with many dogs eating the treat in one sitting
  • Supervision is required, as with all edible chews

Click to learn more or buy from Amazon

Elk Antlers

JimHodgesDogTraining Brand - Grade A Premium Quality Elk Antler Dog Chew - Whole and Split Antler Bone Treat - Made in USA - Natural Shed - No Preservatives (Whole, Medium 2-Pack)

Another natural source of nutrients, especially calcium, are elk antlers. They contain all the ingredients of any meat-bone product. These also tend to last longer than the bully sticks.

Most dogs take weeks to chew them down to a size that could be swallowed, which should then be removed.

These chews can follow the puppies into adulthood, where they can still benefit from the natural ingredients.

Try to limit the chew to just an hour per day to ensure there is no tummy trouble and to give their teeth a break. Just like with all edible chews, remove any pieces when they become a choking hazard.

Pros:

  • All-natural source of nutrition
  • Non-staining
  • Long-lasting chew
  • No preservatives

Cons:

  • Harder material than other teething rings
  • Doesn’t last as long as some of the rubber teething toys for puppies
  • Supervision is required, as with all edible chews

Click to learn more or buy from Amazon

Himalayan Dog Chew

Himalayan Dog Chew, Mixed Pack 10.5 Oz. (contains 3 pieces)

If you’re looking for a good-tasting, all natural edible chew - this is a great buy.

Himalayan chews, as the name suggests, are made from a very hard cheese from yak and cow milk. It’s high in protein and calcium. While many dogs have trouble digesting cow milk, once it’s turned into cheese they have very little tummy trouble.

These chews don’t last as long as the antlers, with some pups devouring them in one sitting. As with all edible chews, supervise your puppy and remove the chew when it is small enough to become a choking hazard.

Pros:

  • All-natural source of nutrition
  • Non-staining
  • Long-lasting chew
  • No preservatives

Cons:

  • Harder material than other teething treats
  • Doesn’t last as long as rubber teething puppy toys. Some determined chewers may eat the treat in a single sitting
  • Supervision is required, as with all edible chews

Click to learn more or buy

Benebone Wishbone Chew Toy

Benebone Peanut Butter Flavored Wishbone Chew Toy

This chew toy is flavored with either a peanut butter or bacon-flavored nylon material; which means it will last for some time before it needs to be replaced.

Many reviewers claim it lasts as long as the Nylabones. The unique shape also makes it very easy for dogs to hold by themselves.

Since this is not an edible chew, make sure to replace it as it begins to wear out.

Pros:

  • Patented curved wishbone design makes it easy to grab and bite
  • Flavors make the dog enjoy the chewing experience
  • Benebone supports canine welfare
  • Can be left in dog crate to chew unsupervised until it becomes too worn
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Harder material than other teething treats

Click to learn more or buy

Conclusion

While it may feel daunting trying to find that perfect chew toy to help your puppy through the teething stage, the good news is there is a lot of selection.

With a bit of trial and error, you're bound to find a match to meet your pup's unique teething tastes while saving your home and sanity in the process! Next time they get the urge to chew, they'll have the right toy around.

Product images: © Amazon.com

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About Sarah Hansen

Sarah Hansen

Sarah has loved and trained both dogs and horses from a very early age. Her Staffordshire bull terrier, Mona, is trained as both a therapy dog and disaster stress relief dog. In addition, Sarah has trained her German Shepherd, Soren, as a service dog. Before starting her full-time writing business, Sarah worked with a top pet food company as a consultant to veterinarians conducting weekly classes on canine and feline nutrition for the doctors and staff.
Read more posts from Sarah…

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