Dog Chews and Chew Toys

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) recognizes that chewing is a natural behavior for all dogs in every stage of life. In order to provide dogs with an appropriate outlet for these behaviors caregivers should supply their dogs with toys, treats or commercially available bones/ chews. Additionally, these products can help reduce unwanted chewing of household items, help to train, provide mental stimulation and an outlet for excess energy and maintain dental health. Therefore, these items should be a regular part of a dog’s care. Being careful to supplement a dog’s diet with dental chews, treat dispensing toys and rawhides/ bones without adding too much caloric intake is important to avoid obesity.

Many products commercially available as chew toys, food-dispensing toys and consumable chews have the chance of causing intestinal blockage if consumed in larger than intended pieces. For this reason caregivers should read all instructions and labels on any product before choosing it for their pet.  Making appropriate choices for their dog’s size, life stage and ability to disassemble a product is paramount but should also be accompanied by supervised introduction of any new chew to their pet. Watching their dog to ensure the pet does not consume products in significantly large pieces will help to reduce the risk of intestinal blockage.  In addition, some hard chew toys (like marrow bones) also have the risk of fracturing teeth and should be avoided. It is also important to be aware of the source of the chew toys, feed-dispensing toys and consumable chews.  Certain countries have had safety concerns in the past and consumers should do their own research.

Therefore, the Animal Rescue League of Boston will:

  1. Provide owner education through the Behavior Helpline, community outreach, canine training program and our adoption program.
    • Highlight the importance of this behavior and appropriate outlets to all dog owners that the ARL reaches.
  1. Ensure all shelter dogs are provided with appropriate chews and chew toys.

Click here to read more ARL Policy and Position Statements.