Q. I have a dog that is mostly Golden Retriever, with some Chow mixed in. She is one and a half years old. I cannot find anything for her to chew on. She constantly wants to chew something. When I buy dog toys, she chews them up in a matter of minutes. She has a very strong grip and bite. Any suggestions? Thanks — Liz, Oakland, MD
A. Oh, yeah–large dogs and their chew toys. I haven’t met a dog yet, especially a large-sized one, who doesn’t love to chew on something, at least for part of the day. Of course, the problem with larger dogs is that most “chewable” items, including plastic or cloth toys, rawhide strips or rings, and beef bones, are easily splintered and shredded by those big, toothy jaws. Shredded toys and splintered bones are a source of concern for pet owners, because there is a chance of these small pieces becoming lodged in the dog’s throat or digestive tract.
And the cost of all these toys is a factor, too. Big-dog toys don’t come cheap, so you want something that lasts more than five minutes.
One of the most impressive chew toys I’ve seen this year is the Kong Toy, an oddly shaped, hard rubber chew toy that comes in a variety of sizes. The toy’s creator developed it for his German Shepherd, a peculiar pooch who liked to chew – get this – rocks. For fun. So you can imagine how tough a healthy chew toy had to be. The Kong is available at pet stores, and you can find out more about it at www.kongcompany.com.
Another toy you can try, in a supervised environment, is a tug toy. These are now made of several materials, including cloth and nylon. Playing tug-of-war with this product will give your dog extra attention as she satisfies her urge to chew.
Originally published nationwide the week of April 12, 2004.