What other chews toys can I give to my strong-jawed dog?
July 8, 2013 12:28 PM   Subscribe

My 14-month-old Akita female,Bailey, is a champion chewer. Elk antlers seem to be the only thing she can chew on that lasts any amount of time. She likes them okay but I'd like to give her more variety.

I've tried:
Rawhid bones - Cheap, she likes them a lot, consumes even the largest ones in under an hour and I'm worried about chunks breaking off and creating a choking hazard

Compressed rawhide - Still pretty cheap and more safe, goes through a 12" bone in about three hours

Churpi Chews (Himilayan yak-milk thing) - Loves the taste but they're expensive and she consumed about half the large one I got her in half an hour so I'm using it as a super special reward instead of leaving around for her to work on whenever she is in the mood

Bully Sticks - Loved them, went through a 12-inch stick in half-an-hour

Nylabone - I had some manner of nylabone and she really wasn't interested for a long time. The one time she did go to work on it she created little bits that stuck up and cut her gums so they went into the trash

Hooves - Had one when she was a puppy but it kind of stank

Rope bones - Pulls them apart with ease and I'm worried about strings passing through undigested that might force me to...uh...intervene. These just get used to play tug

Elk Antlers - The only thing I've found that's worthwhile. I got her one six-months ago and she has barely made a dent in it. She will pretty much choose to chew anything else if she has the option. It's a bit of a problem because she will chew on her non-chew toys and if I try to re-direct her with an antler, she just isn't interested. So, I have to keep any of her toys not meant to be chewed on out of her reach to keep them from getting torn apart instead of letting her decide what she wants to do.

She gets plenty of exercise, plenty of mental stimulation, and doesn't really chew on anything she isn't supposed to (except for her toys). Sometimes she is just in a mood to chew on something all night and I can't think of what else to try.

I'd like to find something that won't stain my carpet, won't break the bank (or at least gets a lot of use for the money), and will last more than a week. Bonus points if it doesn't stink. She will go to town on just about anything else I give her but she goes through them so fast I don't feel like I'm getting any value out of it.
posted by VTX to Pets & Animals (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The family West Highland White Terriers loved ... Rocks.

Lots and lots of largish rocks.

Get them everywhere, they smell like new fun places ....
posted by tilde at 12:34 PM on July 8, 2013

I have a surprisingly strong jawed Corgi. I know you say the hooves stink but they are what she loves the most, and they're cheap. She also likes knuckles and femurs that are clean, like these.
posted by Requiax at 12:35 PM on July 8, 2013

My Great Dane has similar toy issues, almost to the letter of your descriptions. In addition to his antler, he was recently gifted a cow horn which, although similar to an antler, has lasted several weeks already. A bit less permanent (a few weeks per), but loved by him, are Himalayan Chews made of Yak Milk.
posted by Crease Lambada at 12:39 PM on July 8, 2013

Keep in mind that "variety" is mostly something we crave for our pets; many of them seem to be happiest with the exact same smelly old toy, blanket, or chewable they've been loving for years.

They're mentally rather like toddlers, not college students.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:53 PM on July 8, 2013 [6 favorites]

My Black Mouthed Texas Cur Dog, (120 lbs.) loves the large cow femurs and knee joints. They last quite a while and are his most prized possessions.
posted by txmon at 1:10 PM on July 8, 2013

Bailey is beautiful! I also have a champion chewer at home, and his favorite chew toys IN THE WORLD are antlers and especially cow femurs, but I do have to keep an eye on him while he has them or he'll chew on the sharp edges until his gums start bleeding.

For safety's sake, I'd recommend KONG Extreme heavy-duty rubber toys. The XXL version can be stuffed with peanut butter, squeezy cheese, etc. and frozen for maximum enjoyment, although it can be a bit of a mess, so you can either leave the filling out altogether or put a towel down to minimize the slobber.
posted by divined by radio at 1:13 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sterilized beef bones from the pet store - not the meaty ones that can splinter. These are white and hard as rock and either filled with dog-enticing goo or hollow (my preference so the goo doesn't get on the floor/rugs)
posted by cecic at 1:24 PM on July 8, 2013

Be REALLY careful. I manage an animal hospital and we end up having to extract MANY teeth from dogs allowed to chew things which are too hard (my own dog lost two teeth because of antlers, they are NOT safe chews). I agree with the Kong. Just about everything else suggested here is too hard for safe chewing, no matter how aggressive a chewer your dog is. If it's too hard for them to destroy in an hour or two, it's too hard for safety (unless it's a Kong).

(Rocks? Seriously? Not unless you want a dog with a mouthful of abscessed nubs instead of teeth, and would like to spend a lot of money having them extracted)
posted by biscotti at 1:28 PM on July 8, 2013 [7 favorites]

(Rocks? Seriously? Not unless you want a dog with a mouthful of abscessed nubs instead of teeth, and would like to spend a lot of money having them extracted)

In my experience, it was fine. None of them had teeth problems; only one of them was very fanatical about the rocks.
posted by tilde at 1:42 PM on July 8, 2013

I guess more than variety I'm looking for something that will last like the antlers but she'll work on as enthusiastically as she does everything else.

I do have a pair of Kongs (the normal red ones, XL size) that I stuff with various things (mostly peanut butter). She doesn't ever chew on them though, just lick out the inside so I don't really think of them as chew toys.
posted by VTX at 2:01 PM on July 8, 2013

If she'll take to something squishy, my heavy chewer LOVES her Chuck-It balls. The Ultra have stood up to 9 months with zero wear, and the glow in the dark one has some whitish marks but is otherwise good after about 6 months.

We'll also get undyed cotton rope and tie it into knots for her to peace out chewing on. It's not indestructible, but it's fairly cheap per foot and she loves the smaller and smaller pieces.

Try freezing the Kongs with stuff inside if you don't already, and she may chew more on them trying to work it out.
posted by bookdragoness at 2:07 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding sterilized beef bones, but I'd also like to add that once your dog has finished the filling, you can clean them out and refill them with peanut butter or whatever. A lot of bang for your buck. Those bones last a long time. I think I broke one by dropping on the street, but they can withstand a lot of chewing and they don't have that inherent, gross smell that hooves do. (My dog loves the hooves too much for me to take them away forever, though).
posted by ablazingsaddle at 2:19 PM on July 8, 2013

My friend uses the Everlasting Treat Ball and she loves it. Because of the diameter of the ball, pup can't get his whole jaw wrapped around it so he sort of scrapes away at it with his teeth. The treat part is refillable, and while some flavors smell really bad (liver...), others aren't obnoxious.
posted by Weeping_angel at 2:23 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

I really love the Best Bully Sticks website (Crease Lambada linked to them above). You might find their elk antlers (they have different types) interesting -- if you buy in bulk, their prices are super cheap. Also, search for the words horn and hooves on the site for other options.

I am not affiliated with the site, I just find they have good quality products (for my strong, but not super strong, chewer).
posted by OrangeDisk at 3:12 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

I never had a dog who was a heavy chewer, but our Brittany Spaniel at one point loved to munch on ice cubes. I imagine these would not be a good replacement for bones due to a variety of reasons.
posted by graxe at 3:55 PM on July 8, 2013

Have you tried the split antlers or antler rings? Those are more appealing to my dog than the whole antler and a bit softer to chew.

I make frozen kongs stuffed with chicken and rice (cooked into a mush). A medium or large frozen kong can last an hour and he is VERY enthusiastic about it.

With the big beef bones I sometimes stuff a little cheese in there when he loses interest because he's not a peanut butter eater.
posted by rainydayfilms at 5:06 PM on July 8, 2013

Have you heard of "Anco roots"? They are some sort of tree root that are appearing in all the pet stores right now. We have one, all our dogs enjoy chewing on it from time to time and it seems quite tough, while not being as hard a surface as antler bones (which we also have in abundance).

Possible downside: may teach your dog that wooden objects are for chewing and prompt him to move on to furniture next (although this has not happened to any of mine!)
posted by primer_dimer at 3:26 AM on July 9, 2013

I just got my order from Best Bully Sticks. I got her a Bull Horn, Knuckle Bone with Tendon, Stuffed Shin Bone, and a Wrapped Pig Femur.

The knuckle bone looks promising but might be a little messy until she's worked at it for a bit. I offered her one each of the remaining three and is tearing into the pig femur as I type. It's about half gone and it's been about half an hour. I kind of thought she'd go for the shin bone first and that looks like it will hold up better.

The cow horn looks like it will last about as well as the elk antlers but since it's tapered I think it's less likely that she'll break a tooth on it.

I'll still need to give the chuck-it balls and the everlasting treat ball a shot but the kunckle bones and shin bones are cheap enough that they'll probably be winners.

Aaaannnndddd, pig femur is gone.
posted by VTX at 12:09 PM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Okay, one last update for posterity's sake.

The knuckle bone stands up well and isn't really a mess but once the tendons are gone it breaks into the joint's parts only one of which is big.

She likes the bull horn okay, it looks like it will wear about as well as elk antlers but it's kind of small. She doesn't seem to like it anymore than the elk antlers.

I looked at the Chuck-It ball. It's fabric covered and has some ridges wear she would be able to grab it and work at it so I'm sure she'd tear it apart if it was a toy she had access to all the time.

I talked to an employee at the pet store who had an everlasting treat ball that she gave to her pit bull who proceeded to tear it to pieces within a month.

So, the stuffed shin bones are the big winner but even better is the link to Best Bully Sticks. A lot of the stuff that doesn't last as long seem like a much better value at the prices on that site and they have a lot of other cheap things to try.
posted by VTX at 5:36 PM on August 8, 2013

I'm glad to see your updates! I recently tried out an antler, which was a huge hit for the roughly 24 hours it took her to completely consume.

There are a couple different kinds of Chuck-It balls, and I wanted to clarify that the type I'm specifically recommending are the Ultra, which are made out of rubber and have no fabric. They have both Medium and Large sizes, depending on your pup's jaw size.
posted by bookdragoness at 10:10 AM on August 10, 2013

I came across this post yesterday.

My sister owns a kennel and recommended the deer and/or elk antler. I tried an elk antler with my champion chewer and so far it's been much more durable than rawhide. I have also read that antlers are digestible.
posted by zzazazz at 10:18 AM on August 24, 2013

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