The 11 Best Dog Toys for Tough Chewers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
May 26, 2023
These fetch balls, bones, and tug-of-war toys held up against the most destructive dogs
Camryn Rabideau is a freelance writer and product reviewer specializing in home, kitchen, and pet products. In her 6+ years of experience as a product tester, she's reviewed hundreds of items firsthand, and her work appears in publications such as PEOPLE, The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, and more. Camryn is also the proud owner of a small homestead in Rhode Island, where she spends her spare time gardening, tending her many animals, and working through a never-ending list of home improvement projects.
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People / David Hattan
As a pet parent, buying new toys for our furry friends is fun, but if your dog is an aggressive chewer, you may find yourself replacing their toys more frequently than you’d like. Some dogs love chewing so much that they quickly rip apart regular dog toys, and if this sounds familiar, it might be time to upgrade to some heavy-duty toys that can withstand their tough play style.
What should you look for if your dog is prone to destroying toys? Our experts explained that the right material is key. “In general, the toys that I recommend are either the hard rubber toys, sort of like nylon, or hard plastic-type toys,” says veterinarian Dr. Amy Fox, DVM. “Those tend to be hard enough that dogs can't just break them into dangerous-size pieces and chew them up, but they're also soft enough that it's not gonna do damage to their teeth.”
You’ll also want to take your dog’s age and size into account — an adult dog may be able to easily break a toy designed for puppies, while a small dog won’t get much use out of a product made for large breed dogs. To find the best dog toys for tough chewers, we tested 25 popular products, enlisting the help of several adorable pups, and we scored each toy on its ease of use, durability, and how much the dogs liked it.
Here are the best dog toys for tough chewers that People (and our dogs) Tested.
The toy balls stood up to frequent play and heavy chewing, and they looked as good as new after several weeks.
Dogs enjoy chewing on the rubber material, as well as chasing the balls.
The rubber material can be washed off easily if it gets slimy or dirty.
The toy balls are fairly heavy, so you may not want to use them indoors.
Whether your dog likes chewing on toys or playing fetch (or both!), these rubber balls will hold up to even the toughest play styles. We were extremely impressed with their durability — they barely had any marks on them after several weeks of use — and our dogs loved chasing them around the yard and chewing on the rubbery material. Despite being subjected to heavy gnawing, no pieces ever broke off the balls, and we love that they come in several sizes for different dog breeds. Plus, when the balls were feeling a little slimy, we were able to wash them off with water and they were like new again!
These toy balls do have a hollow center where you can place treats to keep your dog engaged, but we found that a lot of treats simply fall out of the hole. You might have to try a few different options to find a treat that will stay put inside the ball, but overall, we think these toys are an unbeatable option for dogs of all ages and sizes.
Price at time of publish: $18.99
Type: Treat-holding ball | Material: Rubber | Suitable For: Dogs of all ages
The toy barely showed any signs of wear after several weeks of use, and no pieces came off despite heavy chewing.
The hollow interior is easy to fill with treats, and it keeps dogs engaged as they work to get the food out.
The toy bounces irregularly when thrown, making for a more interesting game of fetch.
The toy has fairly small openings, so it’s a bit tricky to clean the interior.
Kong toys are beloved among many dog owners and trainers, and for tough chewers, the brand has its Kong Extreme, which is made from an extra-durable rubber. These toys have a snowman-like shape that’s hollow inside, and we found that putting a few treats in the toy kept dogs entertained for longer, as they had to work to get the food out. The irregular shape also made for a more interesting game of fetch, as we never knew which direction the toy would bounce!
These inexpensive toys come in several sizes to suit different breeds, and despite being chewed on regularly, the Kong Extreme didn’t show any signs of wear after several weeks of testing. Just be aware that you’ll likely have to clean out the toy from time to time, especially if you put peanut butter inside it, and you may need a special brush to get inside the small holes.
Price at time of publish: $13.99
Type: Treat dispenser | Material: Rubber | Suitable For: Adult dogs
The bone’s scent proved to be appealing, and dogs were very eager to play with it.
The rubber material is very dense and held up well against aggressive chewing.
The bone is on the heavier side, which could be dangerous if your dog flings it around.
Your dog will be able to chew for hours with this durable rubber bone. It comes in a variety of dog-approved scents, and we found that pups were more eager than usual to sink their teeth into it. The bone-shaped chew toy held up extremely well over the course of testing — even against a 95-pound dog who’s known for ripping apart rubber toys — with minimal teeth marks on its surface. When it gets dirty or slobbery, you can rinse the toy off in water, and it’s also available in a smaller size for dogs under 35 pounds.
Price at time of publish: $19.99 (orig. $24.99)
Type: Chew toy | Material: Rubber | Suitable For: Adult dogs 35+ pounds
When treats were inside, the toy kept dogs entertained for long periods as they worked to get the food out.
This toy can also be used for games of indoor fetch, as the rubber makes it bounce.
We love that you can put the toy in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
The toy isn’t as engaging for dogs when there aren’t treats inside.
If you need to keep your pup busy while you hop on a Zoom call, this coffee-shaped treat dispenser is the way to go. It’s made from thick rubber that dogs aren’t able to rip up, and you can put all sorts of treats inside to engage your dog. There are little tabs around the opening that make it more challenging to get the food out, and the dispenser held up wonderfully during testing. Plus, we love that you can put the toy straight into the dishwasher if it gets sticky or dirty, and it comes out looking as good as new. It’s an adorable alternative to a classic Kong, and dogs who like chewing may even want to gnaw down on the squishy rubber material.
Price at time of publish: $15.95
Type: Treat dispenser | Material: Rubber | Suitable For: Dogs up to 60 pounds
The unique shape makes it easier for puppies to hold the ball with their paws to chew on it.
The ball bounces irregularly, keeping puppies engaged when you throw it.
We were able to easily clean slime and dirt off the ball using just water.
Puppies may not be able to squeak the ball themselves, as it requires a lot of force to do so.
You can keep young dogs entertained with this uniquely shaped rubber ball. It has a three-lobed design that makes it bounce unpredictably when thrown, and we found that the shape makes it easier for puppies to hold the ball in place with their paws to chew. There were only a few faint teeth marks in the ball after testing, and it quickly became a favorite toy among our canine testers. Plus, any slime and dirt washes away easily with water, making it suitable for outdoor play.
While the ball does technically squeak, we were surprised at how much effort is required to squeeze it. Chances are that young puppies won’t have enough jaw strength to squeak it on their own.
Price at time of publish: $18.99
Type: Ball | Material: Rubber | Suitable For: Puppies 4-8 months
The large handles are comfortable for both dogs and humans to grab onto during tug.
The material is denser than other rubber toys and doesn’t rip under pressure.
The treat holder in the center of the toy is very large, and most treats just fall out.
This toy will let you and your dog go head-to-head in an intense match of tug-of-war. It’s designed specifically for tugging, and we found that its large handles are perfect for both dogs and people to grip. The textured surface also helps to prevent it from slipping out of your hand. (Because when you have a strong dog, you need all the advantage you can get!)
The rubber construction of this toy is very dense, and we never worried about it ripping, yet it was still surprisingly flexible. There is a treat dispenser at the center of the toy, but it was too large for most treats, so we didn’t use it often.
Price at time of publish: $21.99
Type: Tug toy | Material: Rubber | Suitable For: Medium to large dogs
The fabric material is noticeably more durable than generic plush dog toys.
The inner squeaker made this toy very engaging for dogs, and they played with it for long periods.
The toy lasted for around a week before the stuffing was torn out.
The toy’s legs are easy to rip off, especially if you’re playing tug-of-war.
While it may last longer than regular plush toys, this toy can still be easily ripped apart by aggressive chewers or tough play.
For dogs who prefer squeaky plush toys, these corduroy animals are more durable than your average dog toy, helping them stand up to rough play. During testing, the octopus-shaped toy lasted a full week before our dogs ripped the fabric and removed the stuffing — usually, it only takes them one or two days to rip up a new toy. They also loved that the toy had squeakers inside. It captured their attention right away, and the noise kept them entertained for longer.
If you’re concerned about your dog ripping up this toy, the brand’s other animal options might be more durable, as the octopus’s arms were only attached by a small area and easy to pull off when tugging on the toy. By comparison, an option like the Rainbow Trout has fewer pieces for your dog to pull on.
Price at time of publish: $19.99
Type: Plush | Material: Corduroy fabric | Suitable For: Dogs of all ages
These toys were very engaging, and dogs kept coming back to them.
The set of four includes different shaped toys that lend themselves well to different play styles.
The toy that got chewed on the most did begin to fray around the edges.
These toys aren’t big enough for large-breed dogs.
You can play tug-of-war, fetch, and more with this four-pack of rope toys. Designed for small and medium-sized dogs, the toys are made from 100% cotton, and they’re tightly knotted at the ends to minimize fraying. We love that the set comes with different toy shapes — the handled toys were perfect for games of tug, and the knotted ball was perfect for fetch. They quickly became a go-to toy, and they’re well suited for both solo chewing and interactive play.
Like most rope toys, we don’t think this set will last forever. The toy that got played with the most was starting to show signs of fraying after a few weeks, so you’ll want to supervise your dog when they play with these toys and throw them away if the strings start coming loose.
Price at time of publish: $9.87 (orig. $15.99)
Type: Rope | Material: Cotton | Suitable For: Small to medium dogs
The shape of the toy makes it easy to play tug-of-war with your dog (without worrying about them grabbing your fingers).
During testing, we felt confident that dogs couldn’t rip pieces off the toy.
It comes with a lifetime-guarantee.
This was the most expensive dog toy we tested.
The rubber toy is quite heavy, so it may not be as usable for small breeds.
If your dog likes playing tug-of-war with you, this product definitely deserves a spot in their toy box. It’s made from heavy-duty rubber and shaped like an 8, providing areas for both you and your dog to grip. You won’t have to worry about your pup accidentally nipping your fingers as you play, and we found that the material is extremely durable — it looked just as good as the day we got it after several weeks of testing.
While it is notably more expensive than many other dog toys, we felt confident that the dogs wouldn’t be able to rip pieces off it, and if your dog tends to be destructive, that peace of mind is priceless. Plus, if your dog ever does destroy it, the brand offers a lifetime guarantee and will send you a replacement.
Price at time of publish: $39.95
Type: Tug toy | Material: Rubber | Suitable For: Dogs up to 100 pounds
The thick rubber construction didn’t rip or puncture, even when aggressively chewed on.
The groove inside the tire makes it easy to hide treats, and it’s challenging for dogs to get them out.
We found that dogs don’t frequently engage with the toy unless there are treats inside.
Even the larger size may be too small for large dog breeds.
These heavy-duty rubber toys are another great treat-dispensing option for tough chewers. There’s a groove around the interior of the tire where you can hide treats, and we found that pups loved working to get the food out. Plus, the durable rubber material didn’t rip or puncture, even with a large American Staffordshire Terrier gnawing on it!
We do think this toy is best for smaller breeds, as the large size is only around the size of your palm, making it a bit too small for bigger dogs. It’s also not the most engaging option when it’s empty — you may have to keep treats inside it to entice your dog to play.
Price at time of publish: $11.99 (Small size)
Type: Treat dispenser | Material: Rubber | Suitable For: Adult dogs
The hard nylon material only showed a few teeth marks after several weeks of use.
Active chewers enjoyed chowing down on this toy, even though it doesn’t have any additional features.
Because it’s made from such a hard material, it makes a loud noise when dropped — watch out for your toes!
Even if you have an extra-large dog breed, they’ll be able to safely chew on this steak-shaped toy. It’s made from an extremely hard nylon — we initially thought it might even be too hard, but our dogs still loved chewing on it — and it has various grooves and score marks to make chewing more interesting. After weeks of testing, the material only had a few teeth marks on it, and we never worried that pieces were going to break off of it. We also liked that you can easily wash off the toy if it gets too dirty. Just be careful if your dog likes to fling their toys around, as it will definitely hurt if it lands on your toe.
Price at time of publish: $18
Type: Chew toy | Material: Nylon | Suitable For: Adult dogs
You’ll want to take your dog’s play style into account when shopping for new toys. Some dogs may prefer regular chew toys, which are ideal for independent play, while others might prefer a tug toy or treat dispenser, which are a bit more interactive.
If your dog loves to play tug-of-war, toys like the Goughnuts Maxx Heavy Duty Tug Toy or BiteKing Natural Rubber Dog Toy can stand up to being yanked and bitten. For dogs that love fetch, a toy like the Chew King Fetch Balls will provide hours of entertainment.
Your dog’s age and size should also be taken into account when you’re shopping for toys. “Different toys would be appropriate for puppies, compared to an adult dog and a senior dog,” says Dr. Fox. “Senior dogs' teeth may already be in not so great shape or they may be missing some teeth already, so they may need a different kind of toy than a young adult dog who's a really enthusiastic chewer.” Toys like the Playology Puppy Bounce Ball are specially designed for the small mouths of puppies.
Similarly, dogs need toys that are appropriate for their size — if you give a 100-pound mastiff a toy meant for a chihuahua, chances are they’ll be able to rip it up in a matter of minutes and may even swallow some of the pieces.
If your dog is an aggressive chewer, you’ll want to avoid toys made from certain materials. “Some of the really soft toys like stuffy toys, anything that has stuffing material inside, or that has long strings on it — even the rope-type toys — I usually recommend avoiding because of the risk of them ingesting it and that causing blockage if it were to get stuck,” says Dr. Fox. If you do choose to give your dog these types of toys, you’ll want to supervise them during playtime.
Hard rubber, plastic, or nylon is generally the best option for aggressive chewers, as these materials are durable but still able to be chewed. If a toy is too hard, it can lead to cracks or chips in your dog’s teeth: “Some of the natural materials, like antlers, can be just too hard, and they can crack their teeth trying to eat it, so we try to look for the toys that are in between,” she explains.
We enlisted the help of several adorable dogs to test out 25 of the most popular dog toys for aggressive chewers. Our testers ranged in age from 11 weeks to 14 years old, and they came in all shapes and sizes, from a tiny 9-pound Yorkie-poo to a 95-pound lab mix.
To test the toys, we let the dogs do their thing for several weeks, encouraging them to chew on and play with the products — and they held nothing back! We asked their parents to score each toy on its ease of use, durability, and engagement (or, how much the dog liked it), and we combined these scores to create the final ranking. The top performing products included the Chew King Fetch Balls, SodaPup Coffee Cup, and Playology Dual Layer Bone, all of which earned a perfect 5 out of 5.
There are a variety of reasons why your dog may chew on toys aggressively. “Some dogs are just very excited by toys, and it's not necessarily that they're intending to destroy them, but they're just so excited,” explains Dr. Fox. “[This often happens with] toys that have something inside that rewards them for getting it open, like a squeaker. It gives them a job, basically, and a determination to try to get in there and get that out.”
However, chewing can also become a compulsive behavior. “Even if they don't have a toy, they might chew on sticks, they might chew on their crate, they might chew on things they find in the house, so sometimes they can border on something that's not so healthy if it becomes compulsive,” she says. If your dog gets to this point, consider talking with your veterinarian about how to manage the behavior.
Puppies are also more prone to chewing than adult dogs — often on things they shouldn’t: “Puppies are just known for chewing more,” Dr. Fox says. “That's how they explore the world: They put things in their mouths, and that's how they taste things, test things, figure things out.”
Dr. Fox explains that you may want to speak with your veterinarian if your dog “isn't easily satisfied by having a foreign object replaced with a safe toy, and they're continuing to seek out and chew on things that are dangerous.”
It’s also worth seeking medical advice if your dog hurts themselves while chewing, whether it’s a broken tooth or swallowing something they shouldn’t. “Anytime it goes that far to where it is definitely having detrimental health effects, it's worth looking into it more and trying to get to the bottom of why they're doing it and how that can be avoided in the future,” she notes.
Rawhide chews, which are made from untanned animal hide, are a popular treat for dogs, but they can be dangerous in certain situations. “The thing that's not great about rawhides is that [dogs] can swallow pieces that are a little bit too big, and they can get stuck either in their esophagus or digestive tract and cause an obstruction,” explains Dr. Fox. “There are some dogs that have chewed on them their whole lives and have been totally fine, so it's not to say that no dog should ever have one, but I definitely wouldn't give it to a dog who is a very aggressive chewer or a dog who has a tendency to scarf their food.”
Camryn Rabideau is a freelance writer and product tester who specializes in home and pet products. She’s owned large breed dogs her whole life, and she’s currently the proud parent to two golden retrievers who have never met a plush toy they didn’t want to rip apart.
While writing this article, she carefully reviewed all the testing notes from the People Tested team, evaluating the performance and value of each product. The team also interviewed veterinarian Amy Fox, DVM, during the review process for expert insights on how to select safe and engaging toys for tough chewers.
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