I have a puppy (well, he's almost a year old) that destroys everything because when he's not crated, sleeping, or being entertained by nature, my other dog, or me, he wants/needs to be chewing on something.

We do a lot together (honestly), and he's very smart (probably why he's so easily bored), but I had a serious fracture of my lower leg a few months ago (two surgeries and more to come), and I'm still on walking/weightbearing restrictions, so I can't entertain him endlessly.

Bully sticks last only maybe 10 minutes; beef tendons last about two minutes. He has destroyed Tuffy toys, Kong products, and other things described as "indestructable".

And he swallows. Everything. When I was immobile, he found a very heavy-duty plastic bag and as I hobbled frantically to get it from him, he swallowed it. I thought for sure he was going to die of an obstruction (not for the first time.) A couple of days later, he passed the entire thing intact. Nothing will slow this dog down. I've even given him frozen marrow bones; they last about 15 minutes.

I'm thinking of rawhide, but I have never given rawhide to any of my dogs because I read bad things about it.

Is rawhide safe? Can someone suggest anything else?

  • 1
    Hi, nice to hear from you and about your puppy again! I'm afraid that the description of certain toys as "indestructible" is just their marketing mumbo-jumbo, I think it should be labelled as "long lasting" instead. All toys, even the toughest ones, could ultimately get worn and reduced to miserable, inutile, chewed mess, it's just the matter of time. I'd just focus on safety rather than durability in that case. And about rawides I've also heard bad things. Apologies I'm not writing a full answer, but it's too late where I live (Eastern Yurop) and my brain is already shutting down. – lila May 22 '20 at 20:16
  • 1
    what is a marrow bone? – user6796 May 22 '20 at 20:53
  • 1
    Marrow bones are ring-like or tube-like bone sections of thick bones, with the marrow still left in them. They are made by cutting the bone perpendicular to its length, and in the manner that their width is similar to their diameter - it's made like that so the dog could somewhat easily get all the marrow from the inside. Please think about something like Sicillian cannoli. @Yvette – lila May 22 '20 at 21:12
  • Rawhide is best if you never read anything about it. I also used to give my Husky some rawhide, from time to time, during first year. That lasted only few months till I accidentally read more about it... – 3D Coder Jul 1 '20 at 16:15

Raw beef soup bones and long bones. The dog will spend days chewing them and not be able to finish them. You can keep them as long as you can tolerate having bones lying around. They're not ideal to have lying around the house, however. It may be possible to have one bone in the house at a time after any meat has been chewed off it.

Also things like pigs' trotters and ears (not processed).

The problem with rawhide is a lot of the packaged products are not natural and processed to a point that is alarming to make them look desirable to the owner. Also, if he's chewing through things rapidly, too much rawhide may cause him to become constipated. It was something I did feed decades ago. I'd be cautious now because of the processing and feed no chew that comes out of a package.

If you want a chew that can be chewed reasonably quickly, then brisket bones are ideal, depending on the dog they can last for 2o minutes to an hour (or longer for small dogs). The other thing is raw chicken pieces, but they are eaten quickly, but still good for teeth.

Disclaimer: avoid giving dogs cooked bones as they tend to splinter. Especially chicken bones.

  • 1
    Yvette, I saw a video on how rawhide products are made. I agree it's very chemical-heavy! Pig's feet is a great idea. He's "meh" with the ears, and will go for just about anything before them. I've stuffed hollowed out marrow bones with peanut butter and frozen them. Time: about 10 minutes. :( – anongoodnurse May 22 '20 at 22:24
  • 1
    @anongoodnurse how big are the marrow bones? I'm talking big bones - a foot long – user6796 May 23 '20 at 0:38
  • 2
    Marrow bones are about 3-4 inches long, and wider at one end than the other. And filled with what seems to be ambrosia for dogs. :) – anongoodnurse May 23 '20 at 5:40
  • 3
    @anongoodnurse get the long bones - whole if possible - it will drive him nuts trying to get to the marrow and keep him busy - it's just they can get smelly. I did feed my dogs pigs' heads cut in half at one point when I had access to a pig farm. But I thought that would just gross people out. They had trouble getting through them though – user6796 May 23 '20 at 7:38
  • 2
    I bet a half a head would keep him occupied for at least an hour! But I will try to get my hands on longbones. It won't be easy; we don't have many real butcher shops left. But I like the idea of him happily occupied for a long time. :) – anongoodnurse May 23 '20 at 15:16

My German Shepherd is similarly destructive with her toys (luckily only with those and not with stuff that isn't hers). I found that the best toys for her are a rope from the pet shop for playing tug of war and a ball with a hole in it and gills on the inside. You can put treats into the ball and the dog has to roll it around to get the treats out. And because of the gills this can take a while, especially with bigger treats. This ball has become her favourite toy and sometimes she'll even chew on it if it's empty. And because it's hollow, has a hole and is made out of rather thick rubber, it's really sturdy.

  • Thanks. The dog has both of these. While he loves tug of war, he ignores the ropes when not 'animated', and gets bored with the ball. But thanks for answering. – anongoodnurse Jun 30 '20 at 15:12
  • That's why the balls squeak. You can literally make 50 different sounds from such ball. Every time my Husky gets bored with the ball, I compose a 30-second cacophony, she will always tilt her head to the side and gets mental with the ball ! – 3D Coder Jul 1 '20 at 16:17

In addition to an existing great answer, I would also suggest trying frozen, raw carrots.

A general idea behind this is to freeze a big, fat, juicy carrot and take advantage of its high water content. Water has relatively high enthalpy of fusion - which means that high in water content, frozen products - like vegetables - would require a lot of "effort" (in terms of heat transfer) to get melted, thus will remain hard and resistant for a longer time than fat-based ones, like the peanut butter you've mentioned in your comments.

Water ice is relatively hard, but it has low toughness - in other words, it's brittle. But in frozen vegetables like carrots, it's structurally similar to reinforced concrete - water ice is strengthened by the long fibers of plant tissue, thus making it both hard and tough / resistant to fracture - and, unlike frozen fat, it doesn't soften near it's melting point.

But it won't last forever, of course. The idea is that carrots are both cheap and low in caloric content, so they might be a good choice to buy you some cheap and safe chewing time for your pup.

However, regarding the safety - if you wanted to use this advice, please take into account the general chewing modus operandi of the pup in context of stick-shaped things. I guess that if he handles Bully Sticks fine, there wouldn't be a problem - but you've also mentioned that he tends to swallow a lot, so it is a little concerning for me. For that reason I'd advise to avoid small or baby carrots, which potentially could be instantly swallowed as a whole. In essence, if you wanted to apply this solution, please consider it in the context of potential choking hazard and supervise it in action.

  • 1
    Thank you, lila, for this answer. I have to smile; this dog chokes on nothing. I made the mistake of crating him once with his leash (a good, thick, solid one) still on; I was taking a nap. When I woke up, half of his leash was missing. It reappeared in his poop the next day, and one of the pieces was 7 inches long! I once pulled about three feet of cording out of his stomach by the little piece still hanging out of his mouth. You wouldn't believe the things this dog has swallowed, and how many times I thought he would get an obstruction. – anongoodnurse May 24 '20 at 16:54
  • 1
    It's not that I haven't wanted to dog-proof the house; before my broken leg, I was always there (and he was smaller). But it wasn't dog proofed when I fell, and cleaning/organizing from a wheelchair is a herculean task. And he is extraordinarily gifted at finding things that I thought were completely out of his reach (he found butter on top of my refrigerator once.) Enough semi-excusing myself, and again thanks for this. I actually didn't know about water's enthalpy of fusion. He loves ice cubes, so I will try frozen carrots, maybe sweet potatoes, etc. I'll keep you posted. :) – anongoodnurse May 24 '20 at 17:01
  • 1
    @anongoodnurse I'm slowly starting to fall in love with that little chewer after repeatedly reading his stories :D oh and your idea about sweet potatoes is also great, they don't have to be specifically carrots. I've read about your broken leg in the chat, I'm so sorry for you and this accident. Thanks for response! – lila May 24 '20 at 19:06
  • 1
    He scares me half to death sometimes, but he is a lovable little bug! Thank you for your response. :) – anongoodnurse May 24 '20 at 23:45

The cited times certainly look familiar to me...

Some more timings:

  • pig ham bone: completely gone after about 1.5 h, except a mess of slobber and tiny bone chips. Not recommended (and in case of the organic free-range pig be careful because of pseudorabies). Eating the whole thing leads to an additional long digestive nap.
    These can be gotten here dried in a vacuum pack at a pet store.

  • cow feet bone with joint capsule: intensive professional treatment for about 1.5 h: eating the sinews and joint capsule and peeling off the periosteum. Chewing off large parts of the joint cartilage. Over the next days, he'll get back to chew off some more of the cartilage into the bone - after the next 2 or 3 chewing bursts, the bone is not interesting to him any more (but it is to other dogs).
    This procedure is surprisingly clean (we still keep it outdoors), but loud if done on concrete or tiled underground. Wooden or laminate floor may be damaged in the procedure.

    Also available dried in a vacuum pack at pet stores.

  • Whole cow feet as sawed off by the butcher (I'm in the lucky position that the butcher around the corner still actually slaughters himself). For me, this is the way to go:

    cow foot

    This is the state after a few hours of working time (2nd "session"). Dewclaws get chewed off early, but the foot has otherwise hardly any protruding ends at the beginning. Opening the hide and peeling the bone is substantial work for the dog :-)

    The dog may decide that the food would profit from underground seasoning, leading to the foot vanishing for a couple of weeks and then reappearing (to be found out by human nose...)

    Leftovers again go to fertilize the garden - though the small bones usually vanish (not sure whether he eats them - he did learn as pup that too big bones unchewed give a belly ache and need to be spit out again. Really. (= 2nd try failed as well)).


Consider buying a Recliner Chair for couple hundred bucks.

It sure kept my Husky busy for over 3 months! After 3 months:

  • recliner was completely chewn through;
  • all fabric ripped;
  • all corners smoothed;
  • the wood structure that holds whole thing together, took longest as that wood was about 5" thick;
  • eventually, she chewed through that and recliner collapsed on itself.

The proud look, she gave me when she brought the 5" (12.5 cm) wooden piece was colossal. Little did I know, I would get same look few months later when she would chew through the door when I got the genius idea to lock her into bedroom for 15 minutes...

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.