Are Hard Chew Toys Bad for Dogs Teeth?

Are Hard Chew Toys Bad for Dogs Teeth?

I’m sure you’re one of those dog owners who ask – Are Hard Chew Toys Bad for Dogs’ Teeth? Well, this article has all the answers you need.

It is typical for your dog to want to chew things; it helps keep them busy. Apart from keeping them occupied for long periods, it is also necessary for puppies to chew, especially when they are teething, as this helps them to relieve pain and discomfort. 

Some adult dogs can also find chew toys helpful as they help keep their jaws active and strong while their teeth improve. 

Chewing objects can also relieve boredom while your dog finds it interesting and exciting to exercise its jaws and teeth. However, not all things are best for your dogs to chew. You should select the best chew toys for your pets. You can introduce the best chew toys to them.

What Are Chew Toys?

Chew Toys are play objects designed to be chewed by dogs and other animals. It relieves your dog’s boredom, frustration, and anxiety while stimulating its jaws and teeth. It is also given to young dogs to help them during their teething period. It is also the best alternative to your dog chewing on your furniture and other objects. 

There are many types of chew toys for your dog, and they include:

  • Wooden chew toys
  • Rawhide chews
  • Bamboo chew toys
  • Paper chew toys
  • Mineral chews
  • Rubber chew toys
  • Rope toys
  • Tennis balls
  • Durable Stuffed Toys
  • Bone chew toys
  • Nylon chew toys
  • Antlers
  • Cow hooves

Are Hard Chew Toys Bad For Dogs Teeth?

Chew toys are meant to be strong as they should be durable; however, some manufacturers make it very hard for your dog to chew on. You should know that these hard chew toys are bad for your dog’s teeth. 

The effects of hard chew toys on your dog include:

1. Fracture of the Teeth

Your dog’s teeth are solid and hard, but some of these hard chew toys are stronger. While chewing on these hard chew toys, there is a chance that your dog may break its teeth, inflame a tooth’s pulp or even damage the tip of any tooth root. 

The most common teeth that are broken when a dog chews hard chew toys are the carnassials. – The carnassials are the most powerful teeth of your dog; they are found close to their molars.

 Your dog has two on each side of the mouth – the upper and lower. A fracture on any of these teeth can lead to extraction, which can be painful for your pet.

2. Wearing Down the Teeth’ Enamel

Some hard chew toys like tennis balls have a coarse and abrasive coating that can wear down your furry friend’s enamel if it is constantly chewed on. 

Other than the fuzzy coating, tennis balls are likely to collect specks of dirt, thereby making the ball more abrasive and easier to wear down the enamel.

Wearing down of the enamel occurs slowly and sometimes goes unnoticed till it becomes severe. This wearing out of the enamel can lead to sensitivity and pain in the teeth.

Chew toys like nylon can have their pieces ripped off, especially if the dog is an aggressive chewer. It is also possible for your dog to swallow these pieces, leading to obstruction in the digestive tract or even diarrhea. 

The more time these pieces of nylon stay in your dog’s stomach, the more its body tries to break them down and dissolve them. With time, your pet may have pancreatitis (a health condition where inflammation causes enzymes to activate themselves in the pancreas).

Hard Chew Toys That Are Bad For Your Dog’s Teeth

Some chew toys are too hard and harmful for your dog’s teeth, and it is not advised to be used by your dog consistently to avoid damaging the teeth or even ingesting some of the pieces. These chew toys include:

1. Antlers

Antlers are gotten from elk and deer, and they are sold in pet stores as chew toys for dogs and other pets. Some dog owners prefer antlers to bones as they are hard as well. 

However, these antlers are so hard as deer use them as a weapon while defending themselves against other bucks. Chewing on these hard toys will lead to tooth fractures.

Antlers are known to have some soft spots that may look like bone marrow cavities, and dogs usually try to chew this up, including the bone surrounding it. Continuous chewing of this can lead to the ingestion of small pieces, thereby causing constipation.

2. Tennis Balls

Dogs love staying active, and one way to keep them busy is by playing fetch with them using a tennis ball. They can also chew on these balls to keep their jaws and teeth alive. 

However, it is not advised always to allow your dog to chew tennis balls, as these balls have a fuzzy coating that can wear down enamel. 

Also, tennis balls collect sand and dirt, which causes more abrasiveness to the enamel and can cause dental sensitivity. If your dog chews tennis balls, you can always inspect the teeth for any damage.

3. Cow Hooves

Cow hooves are appropriately dried and sold as dog chew toys in pet stores. They may be very hard, but constant chewing on them can break the dog’s teeth or even injure the mouth. Some little pieces of these hooves can be ingested into the digestive tract, thereby causing puncture injuries.

Also, since these hooves come circular, they can get looped around the lower teeth and jaw. Your dog may be in pain from these hidden cow hooves and may even require surgery to remove them.

4. Nylon Chew Toys

Nylon chew toys may seem like the best as it is also hard, but they may not be better than other hard chew toys. Other than causing fractures on the teeth, some dogs may chew off some parts of these nylon chew toys and swallow them, thereby obstructing the digestive tract or even leading to diarrhea.

It is also possible for some nylon chew toys to cause seizures as they may be made with toxic substances.

5. Rawhides

Rawhides are popular hard chew toys for dogs as they are hard. However, constant chewing can cause some parts of these rawhides to break off. Bits of these rawhides can accumulate in the windpipe, intestines, and even stomach, leading to constipation, choking, and obstruction of digestion.

How To Choose The Best Hard Chew Toys For Your  Dogs

There are some factors every dog owner should consider when choosing hard chew toys for their furry friend. These factors include:

1. Hardness

A dog needs to chew a hard toy as soft chew toys will get it easily bored or even last for a short period. However, the chew toys should not be too hard as they may cause fractures and damage to your pet’s teeth. 

Before choosing a hard chew toy, press it with your thumbnail. If the toy does not bend a little, then it is too hard for your dog.

2. Durability

Choose a chew toy that will last for a more extended period, as this will prevent you from buying chew toys now and then. Your dog will easily chew apart soft toys, chunk them, and swallow them. 

3. Coating

Your dog’s health should come first when choosing a chew toy. Some coatings are made with flavors that may cause digestive issues or other health problems, and some may even cause bacterial infections. The best way to avoid this is by choosing chew toys whose flavorings are suitable for your pet.

4. Size and shape

The size of your dog will determine the size and shape of the chew toys you can get. Buying small chew toys for a giant dog may lead to choking and swallowing, while huge chew toys can injure their mouth or jaws when they try to gnaw on these toys. 

Also, some shapes of chew toys are not recommended for dogs; chew toys with circular shapes make it very easy for your dog’s mouth to be stuck. Go for the best size and shape of chew toys, and you can go for bone-shaped toys.

5. Washability

Chew toys can accumulate dirt if used from time to time without washing, and bacteria and other infections can find their way into the nooks and corners of these toys. So, it is imperative to get a chew toy that you can easily wash. Look for toys that can be cleaned by the dishwasher or washing machine.


Chew toys should be hard but not hard enough to injure your dog’s jaws or fracture its teeth, and the goal is to keep your pet busy and not harm it. 

There are many hard toys that are not recommended for dogs, and if your dog is to chew them, it should be under supervision. There are also factors you should consider when choosing a chew toy. These factors can be size, shape, durability, coating, and hardness.

Dr. Rebecca Black

Dr. Rebecca Black is an absolute gem of a Veterinarian. She brings decades of experience to Handy Pets Guide and has overflowing talent and passion for breeding and caring for pets, their people, and the team around her. Dr. Sophia was born and raised in Columbiana, Ohio. She completed her undergraduate studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. After earning her DVM from The Ohio State University in 1980. She has experience of over 3 decades and is very happy to share them. Her goal is to give pets all over the world a better life and to recommend the best tips, advice, and also recommend the best product for every pet owner.

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