I used to think it was normal that I’d be throwing out a dog toy every few days. Stuffing strewn all over the house, bits of plastic and squeakers littered about. Most toys geared for dogs are a joke to the average dog over 60 pounds. Stuffed toys are no match for larger teeth and stronger jaws. Now that I’ve finally wised up, here are the dog toys that have lasted months, if not years, in a home with a Shepherd mix, a Rottweiler, and a Pit Bull.
Big Daddy Unbreakoball
I know you think I’m nuts for paying more than $20 for a plastic ball. That’s all it is. But this thing has lived outside and endured hours upon hours of Kayden’s chasing, chewing, stomping and fetching. It does not deflate, collapse, or go out of balance. You may prefer to spend $2 or $4 on a discount store basketball every once in a while, but you’ll likely by chucking those things within a few minutes of play. While Kayden might not mind playing chase with a deflated soccer ball in his mouth, it’s not very eco-friendly and the game ends much more quickly.
Okay, so we call it the “squeaky squid,” but Ruffians rubber dog toys are a big hit in our house. Our Rottweiler played fetch and snuggled with this toy often. Sure, she did pull the tentacles off after a while, but that didn’t impact the fun at all and didn’t pose a safety issue. I heard about Ruffians from a friend who owns Pit Bulls and American Bulldogs. They have toys in a variety of sizes, so even small dogs that are terrible chewers can be entertained. The only drawback to Ruffians is their obnoxious squeaker, but it was a good toy for a romp in the yard.
West Paw Bumi
A long time ago, someone brought a West Paw Bumi into the Embrace offices. No one even remembers how it got there. But, it’s endured days and days of play over the years and it’s Kayden’s hands-down favorite toy in the office. He likes it so much I bought him one for home and it is the only toy I’d trust him alone with in his crate (I know, you’re really not supposed to leave a dog with any toy) because after a solid 20 months of daily chewing, chomping, and pulling on it, it looks as good as new. It’s fun for fetch or he can sit on his bed and pull at one end while holding down the other. Again, $15 well spent when you look at it as an investment.
If we’re talking strictly chew toys, I cannot overemphasize the need to go with elk antlers. They’re highly durable, all natural, don’t splinter, and do not leave odors or stains behind. They’re great for downtime, car trips, and I frequently use them to keep Kayden chill while I’m trying to handle phone calls in the office. Antlers are naturally shed, so they’re guilt-free. My only piece of advice: some antlers are sold online by length... but that can be deceiving, depending on the width. I ordered a 6 inch piece once, and the seller sent me the antler point, which was thinner than my pinky finger. Be sure you’re ordering a chunk appropriate for your dog’s size.
KONG Goodie Bone
The grand-master dog toy: the “red bone.” Lyger still has his first red bone that he got in 2001! Yes, people. It’s 12 years old. It was his first durable toy and he played with it every day. I bought 2 more eventually, when the first started to show wear and cracks, because I was worried they’d stop making them. No worries. They’re still a popular KONG item. Some of his earlier red bones have been stashed away because they’re starting to dry out and become too brittle for Kayden to use, but old man Lyger still enjoys some peanut butter or a cookie in his KONG Goodie Bone.