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Best Chew Toys For Puppies While Teething: Kongs, Bones & More

Last Updated: June 9, 2020 | 15 min read

Best Chew Toys For Puppies Teething

If you’ve ever owned a puppy, then you know that the first 8 months or so of owning them, their teeth are like razors.  They are sure to leave their mark upon your arms, legs and anywhere else they like to nip while you train them.  Finding the best chew toy for a teething puppy is absolutely crucial to save both your body and your sanity.

Training during this stage is important. This is when your puppy will find out what the world is all about and what’s OK to bite and what’s not.  Using a chew toy to keep them occupied while teething is one of the best ways to keep them both distracted and busy.  Using this time to redirect improper chewing behavior to the appropriate toys is crucial.

When puppies are in the teething stage, puppies can get especially destructive.  Your dog can start chewing through your shoes, kids toys, and baseboards of your home.  If you don’t correct it now, your pup can develop lifelong habits that you absolutely don’t want.

Below we are going to go in-depth about puppy toys, and walk you through all the things you should consider when keeping your furry friend occupied.  We’ve laid out our favorites at a glance, and also a mastiff sized load of information if you like to do your research.

Let’s dive in and find out what to look for when getting your puppy their first toys while teething, and then toys for the next step up through 1 year old.  If you are looking for some toys that are exceptionally durable past the one year mark, you can see this article here.

Our Favorite Toys For Teething Puppies:

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Buyer’s Guide (What To Look For)

Puppy Chewing on Toy

Below we are going to talk through several things we think is important when picking a puppy toy for your new fur baby.  There are many things to consider, and you don’t want to buy a toy that’s likely to break, causing a trip to the vet’s emergency room.  You are looking for the right combination of durability and interest from your pup to keep them busy for hours on end.

Toy Construction Material

First and foremost, you need to consider what material the toy you want to buy your pup is made of.  There’s some critical elements that you don’t want to miss, like making sure your puppy chew toy is BPA free.  BPA is known to cause harmful health effects, including cancer – even in small doses.

BPA free rubber or plastic are preferred choices for toy material, and some toys are able to be frozen.  Frozen toys almost have a numbing effect, which is similar to when a human goes through the teething stages.  Make sure you monitor frozen puppy toys though, as you don’t want your pup to chew on them too long.

Toy Texture Must Be Soft but Firm

You want your pup’s toys to be firm, but also have some give.  The purpose here is to be soft so it doesn’t injure the gums, but be firm enough to give your puppy some relief. As your pup presses it’s teeth against the toy, it gives your puppy comfort, so having a harder toy isn’t recommended.

Seeing some blood from your puppy’s teeth is not unusual, so there’s no need to call the vet unless you come across a broken tooth.  All puppy toy time ideally will be supervised, although some non-breakable toys are just fine to leave unsupervised if you are crate training and want to keep a toy inside the crate to keep your puppy occupied.

Flavored vs Unflavored

This is a personal choice, as you can go flavored or unflavored.  Flavored toys may keep your puppy occupied for longer. A favorite pick is to grab a toy that allows you to pick the flavors, like the Kong, where you can put something inside the actual toy and just manage what your pup is ingesting.

When picking a flavored toy, make sure you aren’t picking something that’s been flavored but still contains harmful chemicals for your pup.  If you prefer to avoid artificial flavoring, then again – we’d recommend picking a toy that allows you to put something inside of it (like peanut butter made with natural peanuts or a treat) to keep your pup busy for a while.

Not only will this keep your puppy busy for hours on end, but your furry friend is more likely to keep going back to this toy with the expectation that something yummy is inside.  The more you condition your pup to expect this, the more effective it will be in training.

Teething Toys vs. Regular Toys

There can and will be some crossover here.  There are some toys that are specifically for teething which we’d recommend, but there are also toys that can be used during the teething cycle that your pup can and will use longer term. It just depends on what your pup responds to and is trained with.

We’d recommend picking up a few different toys to see what your dog responds best with. One dog may respond well to a treat that freezes, while another dog may only be obsessed with a Kong.  Pick a few (most are pretty cheap) and see what’s best for your pup.

We’d recommend staying away from toys that are meant for fully grown dogs at this stage, because it’s not going to be as soothing or satisfying as your puppy sheds their baby teeth and looks for relief. One fun dog fact is that puppies actually have two sets of teeth, and they have 42 dog teeth!

Toy Sizes

Do you have a Shih Tzu or a Pomeranian? Maybe you have a smaller mixed breed dog, like a chihuahua cross bred with a Pug? Maybe you have a giant breed pup like the managing editor here at Love Your Dog?  Dog size matters, so you should keep that in mind when buying a teething toy for your furry friend.  It also matters because smaller toys can go along for the ride if you plan to travel with your pup.

A smaller toy sized dog is not going to do well with a Dane sized toy.  The good news is that most toys come in different sizes, and aren’t just “one-size fits all” situation.  If your dog is going to grow into a larger breed, you can generally grab a toy that’s slightly bigger than if you have a small breed that won’t get bigger than 10 or 12 pounds.

In our detailed breakdown below, you’ll find which toys are better for teething smaller breeds versus larger breeds, and everything in between.

Using Toys in Crates

Are you crate training your teething puppy or planning to?  This is something that’s important to consider.  When you initially crate train, you shouldn’t leave your pup alone for more than a couple hours at a time.  If you plan to keep a toy in the crate to keep them occupied, ideally you’ll pick something that’s on the softer side.

The goal here is to give your puppy relief while teething and chewing constantly, but also not have to worry about a broken tooth.  Broken teeth can happen on toys that are excessively hard.  You also don’t want to have them chewing on a toy that has the potential to rupture if it’s a toy that can be frozen.

For crate training your pup, toys like Classic Kongs are great because they are soft enough to provide relief.  They are also durable, so you’ll have little to worry about as you crate train your dog.  Again, you’ll want to keep time in crate to a minimum early on, and make sure to supervise when you initially start.

Toys by Age Range

Puppy Chew Toys By Age Range

Smaller puppies have the advantage here, as while their growth is rapid, the scale at which they grow is not.  A smaller dog toy will likely last your puppy a while, and your smaller breed dog may even be likely to keep the same teething toy for the first several months it’s alive.

Giant and large breeds unfortunately will likely need a variety of toys.  When your puppy is smaller, you’ll want a toy they can wrap their mouth around during the teething process for relief.  As they grow, you’ll not want them to have smaller toys so they don’t ingest them as they grow.  Your dog swallowing the wrong sized toy can lead to costly vet bills, or even worse.

Let’s look at what you should be thinking about as your puppy ages through the teething cycle as each stretch of time is a little different.

6-8 Week Old Puppies

Puppies that are 6-8 weeks old are just starting the teething process.  Usually no matter what the breed, smallere toys are your best bet in this age range.  You can find budget friendly toys, like the Nylabone starter back that will help soothe your pup’s teething needs. We don’t recommend using toys like this inside the crate if you are crate training.  Get a small Kong in that scenario and call it good.

2-4 Month Old Pups

As your pup ages, this is when teeth start getting sharper, and your arms start getting a little more carved up.  At 2-4 months, this is when we’d start really thinking about introducing some type of flavored teething toys.  Kongs are always a winner, but something like the N-Bone Puppy teething ring is also a great option.  Your pup is likely starting to grow in flavor and taste, so this is a quick win if you want something that your puppy will go nuts over.

4-6 Month Old Pups

Towards the 6 month mark, your puppy may start to lose some teeth.  This is also the time your puppy is starting to grow rapidly, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve replaced any smaller toys with medium sized toys, or larger toys.  This is especially true if you have a large breed like a labrador who’s toy needs grow as they age.  Your pup may also be growing tired of a single toy, so it’s always good to experiment with other options to keep them busy.  It’s also a good idea to make sure you are training avoidance on other behaviors, like keeping your dogs out of the trash can.

7-9 Month Old Pups

Months 7-9 are critical growth periods, and what worked at months 2-4 will definitely not hold up unless you have a smaller dog.  You’ll want to find larger toys, and if your dog hasn’t lost any teeth through month 6, you’ll definitely start to see them grow out of puppy teeth during this timeline.

10-12 Month Old Pups

Your pup will be almost finished with teething, and should have lost most of their puppy teeth by the time they reach 10 months.  Your arms, legs and household furniture should be out of harms way by this point if you’ve trained your puppy appropriately.  This is when you can start considering more adult sized dog toys.

1 Year Plus

Congratulations! Your puppy is a year old and you can now start looking at larger toys that will have a much longer shelf life.  You can get an equal lifespan out of toys for bigger dogs versus smaller ones depending on when you buy the toys, and as long as your dog doesn’t destroy them all.

Our Favorite Chew Toys For Teething Puppies

Next we look at our favorite dog toys for teething puppies.  These are some of the best options as your puppy starts to grow, and are sure to help during the training process.  This list is not all inclusive by any means, and we are sure that there’s some toys out there that could fit into this list that we’ve not included.

With that being said, here are some of our favorites that we have personal experience with.  We’d recommend that you buy several of them and see what your pup responds to best.  There likely is no perfect solution as every dog is different and will likely have a preference of one toy over others.

Classic Kong (Natural Rubber)

KONG - Classic Dog Toy - Durable Natural...
  • Mentally stimulating toy, offering enrichment by helping satisfy...
  • KONG classic red rubber formula for average chewers
  • Unpredictable bounce for games of fetch
  • Great for stuffing with KONG Easy Treat, Snacks or Ziggies

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What’s not to love about the Classic Kong? These toys are practically indestructible, and you can fill them with whatever you want.  Almost all dogs love them, but there are some that may not be as keen on them based on the shape of the toy.  You can fill them with peanut butter or other frozen treats to help soothe your puppie’s teething and mouth pain.

Kong products are made in the USA, and all their toys are BPA free. What we love most about the classic Kong is the fact that the toy can be used well beyond puppyhood.  They are also very budget friendly, so there’s nothing wrong with grabbing a couple of them at different sizes so they can be used as your dog grows.  The cone shape makes them a smart design because even if you have a giant breed pup, it’ll be a while before your dog can swallow them.

N-Bone Puppy Teething Ring (Chicken Flavor)

N-Bone Puppy Teething Ring Chicken Flavor (1...
  • Made In The USA
  • Helps Relieve Teething Pain And Soreness
  • Edible And Digestible
  • Added Calcium For Healthy Teeth And Bones

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We like the N-Bone Puppy Teething Ring (with chicken flavor) because it’s specifically made for teething puppies.  The ring itself is small enough for your puppy to be able to get its mouth around, and it’s both edible & digestible.  It’s also fortified with Omega 3’s and fatty acids, making it healthy for your fur baby.

The teething ring helps relieve teething pain and soreness, and this is a great option as long as you plan to supervise your pup’s chew time.  They are easier to tear apart than some rubber toys, but their shape also lends itself very well to relieving tooth pain.

Kong Puppy Goodie Bone (Teething Rubber)

KONG - Puppy Goodie Bone - Teething Rubber,...
  • Teething Puppies: The natural KONG Puppy soft teething rubber...
  • Appropriate Chewing: This toy promotes positive chewing behavior...
  • Great For Stuffing: The KONG Puppy Goodie Bone is even more...
  • Small Puppy: For puppies up to 35 lbs / 16 kg. This toy is...

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The Goodie bone was created specifically for teething pups.  There’s space at the end of the bone to slide in your puppy’s favorite treat or frozen substance, to help keep them both interested and occupied.  The rubber shape at the end of the bone is also helpful in massaging the gums of your puppy.

The rubber material that the goodie bone is made of, is the same rubber that the classic Kong is made from.  They are budget friendly enough that you can grab a few of them so your pup has several of them as they age.

West Paw Zogoflex Chew Toy

West Paw Zogoflex Tux Treat Dispensing Dog...
  • INTERACTIVE CHEW TOYS FOR DOGS: If you have dog or playful pup...
  • STIMULATING DOG CHEW TOYS: Prolong play with this mentally...
  • EASY TO GRASP DOG CHEW TOY: The durable, treat-dispensing design...

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The Zogoflex interactive treat dispensing dog chew toy is a great option that will grow with your puppy as they age.  They come in small and large, so keep that in mind if you have a smaller pup.  They are similar to the Kong, but the design is different, allowing your puppy to have a hold on the toy while they investigate the inside for their treat or frozen goodie.

The Zogoflex Tux is made in the USA, and is also dishwasher safe.  It’s BPA free and and guaranteed by West Paw against dog damage, which is a huge plus.  This is a great chew toy that will keep your pup occupied for hours and also help satisfy their needs as they grow.

Benebone Flavored Wishbone

Benebone Wishbone Durable Dog Chew Toy for...
  • DURABLE, LONG-LASTING – Super chewer? Bring it on. Benebones...
  • REAL BACON! – We use only 100% REAL BACON for flavor. Trust us,...
  • EASY TO PICK UP AND CHEW – The Wishbone is curved for a...
  • USA MADE – We make and source everything in the USA. Chew toys...

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The Benebone flavored wishbone is more of a set it and forget it treat.  It’s similar to the N-Bone in that it comes already flavored.  It’s made in the USA, and only contains real flavors.  The wishbone design is clever, as it allows your dog to firmly grasp the chew toy while they chew. Dogs seem to love the scent and flavor which is a plus in keeping them interested.

One thing to note is that these bones are not edible.  This is not a toy you’d want to leave along with your dog in the crate.  We’d recommend supervising your dog with ANY toy during playtime, and Benebone also recommends the same.

What We Don’t Recommend

Cheap toys: You get what you pay for! Don’t buy cheap toys!  You’ve spent money on your furry friend, possibly even thousands of dollars if you got him or her from a breeder.  Now is not the time to save a few bucks on toys as a cheap toy which could break and put your pup in the Vet’s office.  You don’t have to break the bank, but do your research before you buy.

Toys that can break: Don’t buy toys that are likely to break.  If you do, and your puppy ingests something, it means a trip to the vet or worse.  Buy something that’s durable and provides your pup some relief from the pain of teething.  Chew toys shouldn’t break as their sole purpose is to stand up to at least some mildly aggressive abuse.

Toys not meant for specific breeds or sizes: Your teacup poodle isn’t going to be able to fit their mouth around a toy that’s meant for a giant breed puppy.  Your great dane pup shouldn’t have access to a toy that it could ingest.  Make sure you size the toy appropriately for the breed you’ve selected.

Toys with BPA: BPA is an acronym for bisphenol, which is a chemical used in manufacturing some plastics.  Dog toys aren’t regulated like human toys are, so there’s a chance that some toys use this chemical.  BPA has been linked to several health issues in humans, but less is known about the reaction with dogs.  We’d still recommend you steer clear of any toys that don’t specifically state they are BPA free.

Toys resembling your children’s toys: If you buy toys that look like the toys your children play with, there’s a chance your dog will mistake their toys for the same and you can kiss those toys goodbye.  This means you run the risk of those toys breaking apart and putting your pup in the vet’s ER or worse. Try to buy a toy that doesn’t look like it’s for your kids, and make sure it’s in a special location in your home.

Most plush toys: Let’s be clear – we aren’t saying plush toys are bad.  They just aren’t ideal for teething puppies.  Your puppy needs toys that are firm with some give, that allow them to chew and get relief.  Plush toys are fine for playing and throwing around, but they don’t accomplish what your pup needs during teething times.  Keep in mind that plush toys may also look like a child’s stuffed animal, so you could end up losing a child’s toy as a casualty to your puppy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are puppy toys breed specific?

A: Puppy toys are not really breed specific.  While there are certain toys that we think do well for more active breeds like huskies or less active breeds, in general – toys can be used with any breed.

Q: Can I use a toy with my puppy while I’m crate training?

A: Yes, and we actually recommend you do.  Crate training your puppy can be a difficult task in and of itself.  You want to make sure you set yourself up for success and giving your puppy a treat that it can be comfortable with in their crate is a smart thing to do.

Q: What are the best chew toys for puppies in their crates?

A: We like toys like the Kong while puppies are crate training.  These toys are durable, provide teething puppies relief from the pain and urge to chew, making it less likely they will chew on themselves or their crate as they get comfortable inside their crates for longer periods of time.  Kongs can keep your teething puppy busy for hours.  Frozen peanut butter is a fantastic snack to allow your pup to lick away at.

Q: Which chew toy should I get if I have a small dog?

A: Remember that dog toy size should mirror the size of your pup.  If you have a smaller puppy, get a small or extra small dog toy.  A Pomeranian is going to have different size needs than a german shepherd, so make sure you plan accordingly.

Q: Which chew toy should I get if I have a large breed puppy?

A: Same thing applies here, although you will have a little more freedom seeing as larger dogs can tend to keep medium sized to larger toys for longer periods than smaller dogs.  Make sure the toy size matches your dog size and you should be in good shape.  Stay away from smaller toys if you have a larger dog so they don’t have the danger of swallowing it.

Final Thoughts

Finding the best chew toy for your teething puppy is no easy task.  Puppies can be sassy and arrogant during their teething phase, and they will definitely test your patience.  To keep your own sanity, you need to make sure you are well equipped to handle the battle of wills that is sure to ensue.

If you stick to our recommendations, or our buying guide at minimum, you should be in good shape.  Welcoming a puppy home is one of the most rewarding and enjoying experiences you can go through, but dealing with a destroyed home or personal belongings is not.  Make sure your puppy has the right toys to satisfy the teething urge, and you are likely to form a lifelong bond and understanding as your dog continues to grow into adulthood.

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