8 Dangerous Items Dogs Like to Chew (2023)

Dogs love to chew, and for the most part, pet parents love it too! Chewing is a natural action for dogs. It helps keep their teeth clean and gums healthy and can also be a satisfying activity that keeps your dogcalmand engaged.

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But chewing the wrong objects can be harmful to your pup, leading to fractured teeth, lacerated gums, constipation or blockages in the intestinal tract that require surgery. Not only are these conditions uncomfortable (or downright painful), but they can also result in a large vet bill.

Why do dogs chew?

Dogs like to chew. Often they chew for fun or stimulation. Chewing can help keep your dog’s jaw strong and even clean their teeth (depending on what they’re chewing).

Puppy chewing

Forpuppies, chewing can be a way to relieve the discomfort of incoming teeth (much like it is for infants). Puppies have a reputation for chewing on everything, from newspapers to shoes, but should be carefully monitored and redirected to safer items. If your puppy needs something to chew, you can give them Kong toys, teething sticks, or dental chews as a safer option.

Adult dog chewing

Sometimes, adult dogs chew things they shouldn’t too. Often this is behavior you can gently correct by providing safe alternatives and“puppy-proofing”your home (which you can do for your adult dog too!). Try keeping anything your dog might chew out of reach. If they are chewing on furniture, you may consider seeking help from a trainer to help them re-learn better behaviors. If you notice that they are chewing on themselves (paws, legs, belly, or tail), it could be a sign of a skin condition, and you should call your vet.

8 Dangerous items dog chew

The following items may seem innocent, but may ultimately cause your dog (and your budget) harm.

1. Ice

Hoping to snag a fallen icy treat, many dogs come running at the sound of the refrigerator ice machine. But chewing on ice wears down tooth enamel (the protective cover for teeth). Ice cubes are even more dangerous for small dogs because they can choke on them or can fracture a tooth3.

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2. Sticks and Wood

Playing fetch is probably one of the most iconic activities you can do with your dogsoutside. Many dog owners throw sticks for their dogs to play fetch with at the park or onwalks. The problem with throwing sticks or wood is that many dogs will start using them as toys and many dogs will begin chewing on the stick. Wood splinters easily when chewed on and shards can jam into the dog’s mouth causing an infection. Also, if pieces of wood are swallowed, it can cause intestinal blockage.

Sticks can create very real and painful injuries. Once they splinter, sticks can puncture a dog’s mouth, eyes, throat, abdomen or even heart. They can get lodged in the throat, causing your dog to choke, or get stuck in the digestive tract, creating intestinal blockages.2

3. Rocks

Dogs often utilize rocks as play objects when they’re bored. Additionally, if a rock has food particles on it (for example, rocks near your grill) dogs may try to swallow the rock, thinking it is food. Rocks can cause your dog to choke, or result in an intestinal blockage that requires surgery to fix.

4. Bones, Hooves, and Antlers

Bones, hooves and antlers are often given to dogs by owners who think chewing on them is natural for dogs due to their wolfen predecessors. However, when domestic dogs chew the bones down into smaller sizes, they can be accidentally swallowed. If this happens, the bone can become lodged in the intestines.

Bones, hooves and antlers can also splinter, resulting in fragments wedged in the mouth, throat, or intestines that require an emergency visit to remove. Additionally, they can wear down the enamel of the teeth, causing tooth fractures, broken teeth, and gum infections1.

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5. Water Bottles

Some dogs love gnawing on water bottles, but water bottles aren’t safe for chewing. The cap of the water bottle can come off and the dog can swallow it. Also, dogs can tear off pieces of the plastic, resulting in sharp, rough edges. Your dog may try to swallow these sharp pieces and/or cut their gums chewing on the newly exposed rough edges.

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6. Rawhide or Beefhide

While rawhide and beef hide are intended to be gnawed on, once they get soggy, you should really take them away, according to Dr. Fiona Caldwell, a veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. She explains that it’s not safe for dogs to swallow rawhides or eat them quickly because they can cause broken teeth, vomiting, and stomach and GI problems. In some cases, they can also cause choking2.

So, if your dog is a gentle chewer and will just sort of gnaw on the rawhide, let them do so until the rawhide is soggy. If you think your dog may try to eat them, swallow them whole, or just generally chomp them down, you’ll want to avoid them.

7. Tennis Balls

Tennis balls may seem bright, fuzzy, and generally harmless, but they pose a number of safety risks for your pup. That fuzz can work like sandpaper on your dog’s tooth enamel, grinding it down and away. When swallowed, the fuzz can create blockages in the intestines.

Tennis balls are also coated in dye and unknown chemicals that aren’t great for your dog’s health. Ultimately though, what makes tennis balls dangerous is that your dog can break them into pieces and swallow the parts, creating a choking hazard and possible intestinal blockages.

8. Hard objects

There’s a huge variety of hard objects your dog may find and chew, from black walnut shells to compressed plastic togolf balls. Chewing on anything that’s too hard can create dental problems, including fractured, broken, or chipped teeth and bloody or infected gums. If you notice your dog chewing on something very hard, it’s best to take it away. This is especially true if the object is small enough for them to swallow.

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Safe Chew Toys and Treats for Dogs

So, while sticks, bones, and rawhides are out, there’s a host of approved chewing products that have been tested for safety. You can usually find safe chewing options at your veterinarian or pet supply store.

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In general, follow these guidelines when choosing something for your dog to chew on:

  • Provide chewing items that won’t cause a blockage if swallowed
  • Toys should be large enough that your dog can’t swallow them. And if they chew a toy down to small pieces they could swallow, throw the toy away.
  • Chewing items should not splinter.
  • The toys/chewing items should have some flexibility and not be rock hard.
  • As often as possible provide toys/chewing items that promote healthy gums and reduce tartar.

Chewing Emergency

If your dog is wounded from something they’re chewing on or has swallowed something they were chewing, call your vet right away. Your vet will ask you questions about your dog’s health and behavior and advise you on the next best steps. Intestinal issues and blockages are one of the most common reasons for a pet hospital visit and they’re among the most expensive.

Look at dog insurance from Pets Best to help with veterinary costs!

Fortunately, most pet insurance companies have policies in case this happens. However to avoid the visit and stress altogether, choose safe and approved chewing options for your dog.

13 Dangers of Dogs Chewing Animal Bones. (2021, January 27). Retrieved from South Seattle Veterinary Hospital: https://www.southseattlevet.com/3-dangers-of-dogs-chewing-animal-bones

2Racone, E. (2022, May 19). Rawhide vs beefhide: Which is the healthier option? Retrieved from PetsRadar: https://www.petsradar.com/advice/rawhide-vs-beefhide-which-is-best-for-your-dog

3Turner, B. (2021, August 18). Potential Dangers of Popular Dog Chews. Retrieved from Preventive Vet: https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/potential-dangers-of-popular-dog-chews

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What do dogs like to chew on the most? ›

Dogs love to chew on bones, sticks and just about anything else available. They chew for fun, they chew for stimulation, and they chew to relieve anxiety. While chewing behavior is normal, dogs sometimes direct their chewing behavior toward inappropriate items.

What a dog might like to chew on? ›

Healthy chew options for your pup

Our recommendation is to offer edible chew treats or bones like bully sticks.

What materials can dogs chew? ›

Safe Chew Toys for Dogs
  • Firm Rubber Toys. The hollow ones (which are great for holding treats) usually work well for all types of chewers. ...
  • Rope Toys. If your dog is a shredder, make sure they aren't pulling out the strings and swallowing them. ...
  • Durable Stuffed Toys. ...
  • Tennis Balls.

What is the safest chew bone for dogs? ›

The only safe bones for dogs are raw. They are much safer than cooked bones because they don't splinter easily. There are two types of dog bones: edible and recreational raw bones. Edible raw bones include chicken wings and neck and turkey neck.
Some raw bones you could consider include:
  • Chicken.
  • Turkey.
  • Lamb.
  • Beef.
  • Bison.

Why do dogs lick you? ›

Licking is a natural and instinctive behaviour to dogs. For them it's a way of grooming, bonding, and expressing themselves. Your dog may lick you to say they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves if they're stressed, to show empathy or because you taste good to them!

What is too hard for a dog to chew on? ›

There are some things that you should avoid for your dog's teeth, such as bones (as they can shatter and hurt your dog's teeth and possibly cause a blockage), sticks, rawhide, antlers and large ice cubes are all things your dog should not be chewing on as they can damage teeth.

Why do dogs lick their paws? ›

When you think of pets dedicated to self-grooming, dogs might not be the first animals that come to mind. However, dogs regularly lick their legs, paws, and tail to remove debris. This is a normal, healthy behavior and sign your furry friend wants to be clean (even if their antics suggest otherwise during bathtime!).

What is safe for my puppy to chew on? ›

If your puppy needs something to chew, you can give them Kong toys, teething sticks, or dental chews as a safer option.

Are pig ears good for dogs? ›

CDC and FDA are now advising people not to buy or feed any pig ear dog treats to pets, including any that may already be in homes. People can get sick after handling the treats or caring for dogs who ate the treats. Dogs might get sick after eating them.

What colors can dogs see? ›

Human eyes have three types of cones that can identify combinations of red, blue, and green. Dogs possess only two types of cones and can only discern blue and yellow - this limited color perception is called dichromatic vision.

Are carrots good for dogs? ›

Raw and cooked carrots are healthy options for dogs and make a nutritious add-on to meals. While carrots are generally safe, it is important to cut whole carrots and even carrot sticks into bite-size chunks before feeding them to your dog.

What is the best natural bone for dogs? ›

Bones from cows, moose and other large animals are good for large, aggressive chewers. Some options for large dogs include beef neck bones (my favorite), beef rib bones and pelvic bones.

What are the best bones to give dogs? ›

Hard Beef Knuckle Bones and Beef Marrow Bones are ideal and the safest for dogs. Chicken, Turkey, and Pork bones are too soft and dangerous for dogs. Dogs love the sensation and taste of chewing bones. Chewing bones releases feel-good endorphins for dogs.

Are antlers safe for dogs? ›

Here's why antlers are NOT safe for dogs: Antlers, regardless of how they are cut or what animal they come from, pose a hazard for dogs for three reasons: Antlers can cause painful fractured teeth. Smaller antler pieces could pose a choking hazard.

What is the thing that dogs hate? ›

Generally, dogs dislike hugs, not being allowed to sniff, a lack of routine, and more. Even the most laid-back dog will hate some of the things we humans do—if they tolerate it, it's just because they love you or don't want to be dominant. Yes, certain things are unavoidable, like vet visits or grooming.

Why do dogs follow you to the bathroom? ›

If your dog follows you into the bathroom, it's likely a result of their animal instinct and pack mentality. Canines who do this are referred to as “Velcro dogs,” due to their desire to be attached to your side. They may follow you around, even to the bathroom, to protect a part of their pack.

Why do dogs tilt their heads when we talk to them? ›

A dog tilts his head to show that he is engaged much the way a human would nod during a conversation to indicate that he is listening. Social dogs that enjoy human interaction usually tilt their heads more often to encourage the continuation of the conversation and prolong the human contact.

Why do dogs get the Zoomies? ›

Goldman explains that dogs engage in the zoomies when, “they have some form of excess energy that's been contained such as physical energy, like when they've been crated, or nervous energy, like when they have tolerated an uncomfortable situation.” The chance to finally release that energy can lead to seemingly wild ...

Do antlers damage dogs teeth? ›

Antlers and Dental Health

You should consider, though, that antlers and other excessively hard chews are a common cause of broken teeth in dogs. Broken teeth are extremely painful and can lead to abscesses and infections.

Are Bully sticks good for dogs? ›

Bully Sticks are Good for All Dogs

Dogs of any breed, age, or size can enjoy chewing on a bully stick. They're even perfect for puppies, as long as your puppy can chew hard food/treats on his own. Bully sticks provide the same high protein and dental health benefits for puppies as they do for adult dogs.

Can I give my dog cheese? ›

Yes, dogs can eat cheese. In fact, cheese is often a great training tool, especially for puppies.

Why does my dog sit and stare at me? ›

Just as humans stare into the eyes of someone they adore, dogs will stare at their owners to express affection. In fact, mutual staring between humans and dogs releases oxytocin, known as the love hormone. This chemical plays an important role in bonding and boosts feelings of love and trust.

Why does my dog follow me everywhere? ›

If your dog follows you everywhere then it's a sign that they trust and love you and that you make them feel safe. Following you very closely can be a sign that they're bored, they want something, they're feeling scared or are just being nosy.

Why do dogs shake? ›

Some of the most common reasons for your dog's shaking & shivering are cold, excitement, stress & anxiety, seeking attention, pain or illness, and old age. It's important to recognize the difference between normal shaking vs. signs of a seizure.

What toys should you not give a puppy? ›

Top 4 Most Dangerous Dog Toys
  • Marrow Bones. Marrow bones are often a favorite, inexpensive dog toy. ...
  • Rubber Balls. There have been several instances lately where rubber or latex balls with only one hole have become stuck on a dog's lips or tongue. ...
  • Small Toys. ...
  • Rawhides.

Can dogs eat peanut butter? ›

Don't keep your pup in suspense any longer. Yes, dogs can eat peanut butter as long as it is fed in moderation and does not contain xylitol, so get out that pet-safe peanut butter jar and share the good news.

What is a healthy treat for a dog? ›

Recommendations include fresh veggies like carrots, sweet potato, zucchini, and cucumber, as well as pet-safe fruits such as blueberries (my Shadow-Pup loves fresh orange and apple slices).

Are greenies good for dogs? ›

They're Safe for Dogs

The lack of harmful ingredients means Greenies Dental Treats are a safe, healthy pet food that is easily digestible. Just make sure your pet chews them thoroughly before swallowing.

Are cow hooves good for dogs? ›

Never give your dog cow hooves! They splinter and sharp pieces have killed many dogs. Better alternatives are pig ears, Nylabones, and American made bully sticks - however always be with your pet when they are eating these as there is always a danger of a piece breaking off and splitting.

Can dogs see TV? ›

Dogs absolutely can see TV, and many seem to enjoy it. There are a number of features about television shows that dogs find attractive. Some of these are visual, such as motion, while others relate to the sounds coming from the TV. Dog eyes are very different from human eyes, so they see things on TV differently.

What do humans look like to dogs? ›

Using fMRI scans, the research team discovered no difference in dogs' mental activity when looking at human faces or the back of human heads. This suggests that dogs lack the specific face recognition functions found in the brains of humans and other primates.

Can dogs see TV color? ›

Dogs only have two, which means they perceive fewer colors with less saturation than the average human. Your furry friend's color range includes dull blue, yellow and green tones. Although limited, this range of vision dispels the notion that pets can only see in black and white.

What vegetable dog Cannot eat? ›

No, dogs should never eat onions. Onions, leeks, and chives are part of a family of plants called Allium that is poisonous to most pets, especially cats. Eating onions can cause your dog's red blood cells to rupture, and can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and nausea.

Can dogs eat popcorn? ›

Plain, air-popped popcorn is safe for dogs to eat in small quantities. Buttered popcorn or popcorn with other toppings is not safe for your dog on a regular basis, although eating a few dropped pieces here and there probably won't hurt them.

Can dogs eat oatmeal? ›

It is a great alternative carbohydrate for dogs that may be sensitive to wheat or grains.” Oatmeal contains vitamin B, which helps maintain a healthy coat, and linoleic acid, which is a type of omega-6 fatty acid that helps to maintain the strength of dogs' skin.

How can I satisfy my dogs urge to chew? ›

Some dogs simply chew because they're bored, so providing something else to do can prevent chewing. Interactive dog toys, such as puzzle toys and treat-dispensing toys, keep the brain occupied.

Does chewing make dogs happy? ›

Chew toys can relieve dogs of stress and anxiety.

If your pup gets stressed at the sound of fireworks and storms or suffers from separation anxiety, try giving them a chew toy during those times to help keep them calm and happy.

Is chewing mentally stimulating for dogs? ›

Chewing and Licking

Unlike physical stimulation that a run would provide, chewing gives dogs a mental stimulation. The act of chewing on a bone or working to get treats out of a toy keeps her mind busy and her taste buds happy. When dogs are puppies they chew to help them explore the world.

Can I give my dog a chew every day? ›

How Often Should I Give My Dog A Chew? It's reasonable to allow your dog to chew daily depending on which long term-chew you are offering. If a long-term chew is high in calories, it's best to limit the frequency to only a few times a week.

What games do dogs like to chew? ›

Playing tug is definitely a way to put your pup's mouth to good use. Playing tug is also a great way for you to have fun with your dog. Together you can pull and play for as long as you'd like! Inside, outside, with a rope or with something simple like a towel, playing tug with your dog can be done anywhere, anytime.

Why does my dog bite my hands when I pet her? ›

Dogs usually bite your hands to get your attention and as part of play. Puppies can chew on your hands while teething, and sometimes dogs can nip out of excitement. Usually, it's nothing to worry about, but it one does need to shape appropriate behavior to teach dogs not to be mouthy.

Do dogs cry? ›

There are many different causes for excessive watering of the eyes in dogs, so it's imperative to consult your veterinarian for an official diagnosis. If by crying we mean whimpering, howling, mewling or whining, then yes, dogs most certainly do cry.

What is dog nooking? ›

Nooking is when a Weim gently sucks on a toy or blanket to soothe themselves, much like a child with a pacifier! Let them nook. It calms separation anxiety and keeps them happy.

Why do dogs eat grass? ›

Dogs need roughage in their diets and grass is a good source of fiber. A lack of roughage affects the dog's ability to digest food and pass stool, so grass may actually help their bodily functions run more smoothly.

What is the dog calming code? ›

More specifically, a well-behaved pup should respond to seven directions in order to become a good canine citizen: Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Heel, Off, and No.

How do you tire a dog out without walking? ›

How To Exercise Your Dog Without Walks
  1. Try challenging your dog at meal times. ...
  2. Play, play, play. ...
  3. Learning a new trick or command is great mental stimulation for a dog. ...
  4. Get them sniffing: scent work can be a great way to keep them busy for ages.

Should I limit my dogs chew time? ›

Set a time limit — Allow your dog to chew for no more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Propose a trade — Offer your dog a tasty treat in exchange for their chew. Toss the new treat to encourage them to drop the chew. Reaching directly for a chew may cause a dog to bite or gulp their treat.

Are antlers good for dogs? ›

The short answer – yes, antlers are safe and dogs can chew on them! Deer andelk antlers are considered safer for dogs than rawhide, primarily due to the fact that they don't easily splinter and are an all-natural chew. Antlers are also an extremely long-lasting treat in comparison to other dog chews.

What dog chews won't break teeth? ›

Rubber Chew Toys (Best for Inhalers, Destroyers, and Nibblers) So long as they're not too flimsy, rubber chew toys often represent the safest options for many dogs. The best rubber chew toys are those that are firm enough to stand up to serious chewing yet have enough “give” so they don't cause tooth damage.


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