Dogs love toys. It’s an undeniable fact. (Well…for most dogs anyway.) Toys are a great way to bond with your pup, keep them busy, and to exercise their energy out of them. Pups enjoy a good game of fetch, challenging their strength in tug-of-war, and searching out the prize in hide-n-seek. Some even love to rip open plush toys – it’s not unusual to find a trail of fluff leading to an empty toy carcass – or see it as their life’s goal to chew chunks from their rubber toys. To completely dominate and conquer their toys is a part of the canine nature. That’s totally understandable. Tear apart toys is one thing, but why do they eat the toys?
When dogs find something they want, they go all out with their teeth and claws to get it. Squeaker Seekers shred, bite, and eviscerate the toy until the squeakers are found. De-fluffers claw, chew, and pull at the seams and fabric until they make the fluff fly. Shredders love to rake their nails through long hair toys and pull out tufts of hair so much that you’ll sometimes find it stuck between their teeth. There’s a wide range of toy options made of a growing selection of materials. Pups don’t stop to think about what they’re putting into their mouths, that’s a job for the human, and they don’t consider if it’s edible or safe. Pup parents always want their canine companions to have the maximum amount of fun during play time. The best way to make sure your pal is happy and safe while playing with their toys is to find out what causes them to ingest the parts and how to get them to stop.
Why Do Dogs Eat Toys?
Dogs have such a strong sense of smell and they’re attracted to just about everything. They’re curious (AKA nosy) creatures that love to explore. Our four-legged friends experience everything with their noses and mouths. Eating and chewing thing is how puppies learn what is edible, what’s acceptable, and what is off-limits. It’s called Neurosensory Exploration. Some dogs phase out of trying to eat everything in sight or picking up random items with their mouths as they leave the puppy stage. Those that don’t – generally Labs, Pit Bulls, and Golden Retrievers – will continue to eat their toys until the end of time.
Boredom, lack of stimulation, and loneliness can lead your pup to destroy and eat their toys. The excessive chewing and shredding can be your little one telling you they are in need of something more. More exercise, more attention, more stimulation. The problem is that some dogs don’t know when to stop. They’ll shred, rip, and chew until they end up in a troubling situation, like swallowing a squeaker. That is a situation pup parents want to avoid at all costs!
Another reason your pal may want to eat everything is Pica. This eating disorder causes your pup to have cravings for specific items that have absolutely no nutritional value, and not just toys. Underwear, socks, and rocks have been noted to be top cravings for dogs who experience Pica. If your pal shows a strong preference for ingesting anything other than their food and treats, don’t hesitate to bring it up to your veterinarian.
Is It Bad For Dogs To Eat Toys?
Absolutely! Small amounts of fluff can be easily passed through your pal’s system and T-Shirt rope is softer on their little stomach if mistakenly ingested. However, it’s best to avoid the situation all together with human supervision and taking the toy away when the fluff starts to fly or if you notice puncture marks on the rubber toys. Anything that is unable to be dissolved in the stomach could create a very serious blockage and result in a lot of trips to the vet’s office, and possibly even surgery.
If you know your destroyer has tendencies to eat parts of toys, always keep an eye on them. These symptoms indicate that your pup may have swallowed a part of a toy or has a blockage:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Behavioral changes
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
Take your pup to the vet as soon as possible to discuss treatment options if you think your pup has swallowed any foreign objects.
How To Stop My Dog From Eating Toys?
You can’t watch your pup all day every day, so you may not know what they’re up to while you’re at work. If your pup has a history of massacring stuffed toys while you’re away, the easiest way to stop that behavior is to cut off their access to the toys. If your pal loves to actually eat the fuzz on a tennis ball, hide the ball before you leave. Preventative action is the best way to stop this behavior.
Human supervision is extremely important with aggressive chewers and dogs that like to destroy softer toys. It’s never fun to pick up after your pup’s latest destruction sessions and find out that only 3 of the 4 squeakers are accounted for. Toys meant to encourage interaction between the dog and the owner. Participating in your pup’s play time can make a big difference. These are moments you can use to bond with your furry friend, make sure they’re burning off energy, crushing their boredom, stimulating their minds, and making sure nothing foreign gets swallowed!
Are There Toys So Durable They Can’t Be Eaten?
Although there’s no such thing as an indestructible toy, it will help if your pup faced more of a challenge by stepping up to the next level of durability. If they easily conquer soft plush toys, try plush toys covered in nylon or made of fire hose material like the Outward Hound Fire Hose Squeak N’Fetch.
For those more aggressive chewers who take chunks out of KONG-like rubber toys, consider toys with more resilient materials. Toys mixed with rubber and nylon, like “Oakley the Acorn” and “Ilana the Iguana,” are a great step up in durability. There’s also the Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Diamond Plated Orbee Ball for more of a challenge! The Goughnuts Original Dog Chew Ring claims that’s it’s virtually indestructible, has no weak spots, and is guaranteed for months (or years) of chewing! If your determined chewer gets through the outer layer, GoughNuts will replace your toy.
Super Chewer BarkBox
Take the trouble of finding the right toy for your chewsy pup with The Super Chewer BarkBox! Keep your fur friend busy with innovative toys and drool-worthy treats. If there’s a super chewer in your home, you need to make sure they’re getting toys with the right level of durability…and plenty of treats. So why not get them a subscription to the Super Chewer BarkBox?
Each month a carefully picked selection comes straight to your door with a new theme. You pup will get 2 durable toys (never any fluff), 2 bags of all natural treats, and 2 tasty chews. Starting at $29 a month, the Super Chewer BarkBox allows pup parents to tailor the boxes to best suit their aggressive chewer. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the BARK Happy team with any questions on Barkbox.com or with email at [email protected]. BARK is always happy to help you spoil your pup!