Best (and safest) toys for your dog - and the one toy you must avoid

Chew toys are essential for helping to keep your dog happy, active, stimulated and healthy. But with such a vast array to choose from, how do you know which is the best for your pup? Let’s start with the ones you should avoid at all costs, then have a look at the best – and safest – options for your pooch.


Rawhide toys and bones: potentially the deadliest toys for dogs

It might be one of the most popular types of chew toys available in the world, but rawhide poses a real and significant threat to your dog.


Rawhide treats are made from the inner layer of an animal’s hide – usually a cow or horse. A complicated manufacturing process turns them into different shapes, sizes, colours and even flavours to make them appealing to your pooch. They’re the perfect texture for chewing and, since dogs love to (and need to) satiate their natural instinct to chew, rawhide has long been a go-to for dog owners the world over. It’s easily available and affordable – and of course, preferable to furniture, leather shoes or the couch!


But rawhide also poses serious risks to your dog, including:


  • Contamination: there’s a small but real chance of contracting salmonella or E.coli due to the bacteria present in rawhide treats. Even humans face this risk, simply through handling these toys.
  • Choking and blockages: pieces of rawhide, bitten off by your dog, can become lodged in the oesophagus or other parts of the digestive tract. Sometimes surgery is needed to remove these pieces, and in severe cases, they can cause choking, or blockages in the stomach that can lead to death.
  • Digestive irritation: some dogs are sensitive to the ingredients used to manufacture rawhide, which can lead to side effects like diarrhoea.

While these risks may be small, there’s no need to take them – especially when there are so many great, safer options on the market. Of course you hear of lots of people who safely and effectively feed rawhide to their pets – and perhaps even you – but this is a risk you need to weigh up and decide for yourself.


Fun, healthy and safe toys for small dogs

As we mentioned above, chewing is a natural instinct in dogs, and even small dogs like to have a good gnaw. If you’re not sure what your little fluffball would like to chew on, you can buy her a mini chew starter kit with a range of fun toys to get her started.


We love the Mini Chew Starter Kit by Petstages, which helps ensure better chewing and dental health at all stages, and the Jolly Doggy multi-texture ostrich, which offers various fun bits for gnawing at, plus a cheeky squeak!

Great, safe toys for big dogs


There are great alternatives to rawhide for big dogs too – without having to sacrifice your favourite pair of shoes.


The Rosewood Tough Twist will keep your large dog entertained for hours as he tugs, chews and plays with these hardy balls. Your pooch will also love the Rosewood Tough Toys Meaty Bone Takeaway – it’s bacon flavoured! – and the Jumball Soccer Ball, perfect for hours of ‘fetch!’. These toys are made to stand up to the strength of even large dogs, while offering hours of safe entertainment.


Why not add a healthy, edible doggie treat to the mix so your pooch gets a great jaw workout while still enjoying a yummy treat? You’ll find plenty of delicious, healthy options in our online shop.


If you’re unsure about your dog’s chewing needs, chat to your vet. They’ll be able to advise you on the best, safest and most effective toys to keep your baby entertained – and your precious possessions safe! Happy chewing… and chewing, and chewing!


Disclaimer: Always consult your vet for professional advice. The Zuki.co.za blog is provided as an educational tool and should not be used to diagnose illness or treat an animal.

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