List of Chews and Chew Toys You Should Not Give Your Dog

Chewing is an innate drive and necessity in dogs. It is their method of exploring the world around them and a completely natural doggy function.

dog chewing treat

Chewing assists dogs in a variety of ways. Chewing relieves discomfort in teething pups, much like it does in newborn babies. Chewing can help older dogs maintain their jaws strong and their teeth clean.

Chewing can also be a means for dogs to work through and release tension, irritation, or boredom. Unfortunately, they aren’t always skilled at selecting the greatest foods to chew on. This is where you come into play!

As with anything else, there may appear to be as many different sorts of toys as there are dogs to chew them on. Everyone has a particular choice for their dog based on their experience, good or negative.

There is always something potentially harmful in our dog’s world — so we must watch out for them.

Some chews and chew toys should be avoided to keep your dog safe or reduce the risk of veterinary emergencies or dental expenditures. Even if you decide to continue giving your dog cheap chews and toys, being informed of all dangers and risks is vital.

The FDA regulates the pet business, but many low-quality manufactured treats, toys, and chews are not developed with or by health professionals, nor do they consider medical or holistic ideas.

Like us, Every dog is an individual- and life may change instantly — unpleasant events can permanently alter things. So it is best not to get stressed but to get prepared instead! And avoiding these chews can be a great starting point for a safer life with your pet. 

You shouldn’t give your dog these chews or chew toys

While these toys might be safe one time or for a friend’s dog, that doesn’t mean they are any less dangerous. Then you can make the decision for you and your dog. However, the more often a dog chews on these items, the higher the risk. 

The Most Important Safety Considerations When Choosing Dog Chews

When assessing the safety of dog chews, we check the following factors:

Hardness – Tooth injuries are possible if the chew is harder than the teeth.

Obstruction risk in the gastrointestinal system – The possibility of indigestible pieces falling off and being eaten.

Choking danger – As described above, except in this situation, the chucks become trapped in the trachea or esophagus and do not reach the stomach or intestines while blocking airways.


If dogs could manifest their dreams, bones would probably rain from the sky. However, If you spend enough time online, you’ll find many blogs and websites that warn you to be cautious when giving your dog something to chew on. 

Never give your dog cooked bones! Bones aren’t safe since they readily splinter and can cause stomach discomfort or punctures.

On the other hand, you may give your dog raw bones. However, you’ll want to make sure they are sturdy enough for chewers. Beef knuckles and white bones are excellent choices. 

The other downside of raw bones is that they can be too hard for puppies, seniors, and dogs with bad teeth. So they might not be for your pup.

Keep in mind these facts about bones:

  • Splinter of the Bones

Bones can and do splinter, whether cooked or uncooked, solid or hollow, and are still strong enough to break teeth.

  • Bones Can cause Constipation

Small bone fragments can pass through the small intestines before accumulating in the colon, causing constipation, and larger pieces do not digest and can cause blockages. 

  • Dogs can choke on bones

If a bone fragment breaks off, it might lodge in the esophagus on its trip to the stomach. Bone shards can penetrate the neck or esophagus. When anything becomes trapped there, the region might enlarge, making breathing difficult.

Even the FDA has issued a bone caution to pet owners.


Rawhides might seem like a popular choice for dog chews, but rawhide is notorious for breaking down into smaller tiny pieces over time. These pieces can become detrimental to your dog’s health, getting caught or puncturing internal organs.

Stronger chewers can break off large pieces of rawhide, which can then become a choking hazard. 

Rawhide might seem natural, but it can and has caused potential life-threatening instances for dogs. Furthermore, rawhide is processed with dangerous chemicals and alarming additives.

Hooves from cows

Cow hooves were formerly popular dog chews on the farm, but they appear to have fallen out of favor. Of course, they are still widely available.

Cow hooves, like bones and other hard chew toys, provide the two-fold risk of shattering or splintering your dog’s teeth, which might result in puncture injuries to your dog’s mouth or digestive tract.

Because they are circular, they can become entangled in the lower jaw, directly beneath the lower canine teeth. As you may expect, causing your dog serious concern. Unfortunately, this frequently necessitates your dog being sedated by its doctor in order for the hoof to be removed from its mouth.

Because of a lack of regulations, many of these dangerous chews are still covered in bacteria from the feedlot. This can include manure, parasites, and other things that could make your dog sick. 

Antlers of Elk or Deer

Antlers are among the most popular natural dog chews. Pet owners frequently see them as “natural” and “sustainable harvested” (elk and deer shed their antlers naturally). However, they do come with some serious risks.

●Antlers are sturdy enough to withstand the strength of another deer’s antlers in conflict, so they can break your dog’s teeth.

●Antlers, like bones, may shatter and splinter. These splinters have the potential to become trapped in your dog’s mouth, throat, or intestines.

Even die-hard antler collectors admit that there are varying grades of antlers. They talk about how these lesser grades can be dangerous to pets, and they generally only favor Grade A antlers since they are “softer” and fresher.

PVC Toys

Soft plastic or PVC toys are dangerous for dogs for a variety of reasons. Firstly, many toys made from soft plastic or PVC can contain chemicals that can be toxic to pets if ingested. These chemicals can cause damage to the organs and nervous system in dogs, particularly when found in higher concentrations, leading to severe health problems such as seizures or even death.

In addition, soft plastic toys can easily be broken down and swallowed by dogs, which carries the risk of choking or other internal injuries. Furthermore, if not properly cleaned and maintained, these toys can accumulate bacteria that could make your pet sick. 

It is best to avoid soft plastic or PVC-based toys for your pup and opt instead for those made of more durable materials like Collagen Chews. That way, you can ensure your pet’s safety and keep them entertained too!

Plush Toys

Also, sometimes called “stuffies,” these plush toys are pretty hazardous to your pup. Many of them contain squeakers that can become a choking hazard. Furthermore, there are no regulations when it comes to the stuffing inside them. This stuffing is typically made of poly or plastic and is often treated with chemicals.

Cubes of ice

These are less dangerous, but they still can cause problems for dogs with delicate teeth because they are hard. Puppies should be able to enjoy these during teething, but they may cause some bleeding if they lose their puppy teeth. Senior dogs should just avoid ice cubes. 


While sticks may appear to be a free and easily accessible chew-and-fetch toy for your dog, they may be a quick way to terminate their fun. They frequently result in painful and devastating puncture wounds to the lips, eyes, abdomen, and even the heart! 

They can also cause blockages and can easily transfer germs to your pup. 

Sticks are not free toys and are exceedingly harmful to dogs. Sticks should never be used for fetch or chew toys to safeguard your dog’s health and safety.

dog eating treat

How to Tell whether an Edible Chew or Chew Toy is Safe for Your Dog

Most chews and chew toys listed above are some of the most popular items for your dog to chew on, but, they may also be rather harmful. They aren’t the only hazardous chews and chew toys for dogs. Every day, new chew toys for dogs are launched. 

So let’s talk about:

How to Check Your Dog’s Chew’s Safety

To evaluate whether an object is safe for your dog to chew on, you can try these “tests” listed below:

Apply the thumbnail test to determine hardness. If the toy does not “give” slightly when pressed with your fingernail, it would be considered hard, and your dog might shatter its teeth.

Softness and Durability: The toy should also not be so soft or poorly made. These types of chews can easily be destroyed by your dog and consume fragments, chunks, or stuffing within.

Coating: Chews should not be coated or treated with flavorings that might induce digestive discomfort or promote bacteria development before and while chewing.

Size and shape: Toys should not be too little for your dog to choke on. Certain forms, such as circles or rings, make it easier for your dog to get their tongue or snout trapped in it. It should also not be so large that they strain or hurt their jaw while working on it. This can be tough in households with numerous dogs of varied sizes, but it’s critical to consider the size of the toys you bring into your home in relation to the different-sized dogs you may have.

Long Lasting: It should be able to give hours of chewing fun and diversion since it will last a long time, you can load it with treats/food, or your dog just likes playing with it.

Chewing Style: Every dog has their unique “chewsonality.” Some prefer to demolish, while others prefer to nibble. Knowing your dog’s chewing style might help you choose the ideal chew.

Please keep in mind that even if some chews are safer and more lasting than others, you must still exercise caution:

  1. Before giving your dog a chew, always check it for damage or wear.
  2. Do not expose toys and treats to direct sunlight or harsh heat. 
  3. Examine your dog’s teeth for signs of wear, chipping, or fractures.
  4. Keep an eye on your dog when they are playing and chewing on toys. If they become too agitated or are chewing too violently, have them stop. This may assist in avoiding a tooth fracture or your dog breaking off a huge chunk and choking or being obstructed.
  5. Consider creating a daily chewing schedule for your dog because they love repetition and look forward to something satisfying in their day. 
  6. Make it a habit to clean or switch out pet toys regularly.


It’s important to be aware of the type and size of chews you are offering your dog. Hard, soft, or stuffed – all have pros and cons regarding safety for your pup. Remembering the thumbnail test can help determine if a chew is too hard for older dogs or those with dental problems. 

In addition, regular cleaning and checking for wear will ensure your pet is always safe with any chew toy they use. If you’re looking for top-notch quality chews that are both safe and reliable, look no further than Barking Buddha! 
Our selection offers premium natural products with no artificial ingredients designed specifically with dogs in mind – so check us out today!

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