By in Animals

Why Dogs Chew On Toys

With so many dog toys on the market, it's easy to see that dogs love to play with and chew up toys. If the owner is lucky, the desire to chew will be limited to toys provided to the dog and not household items. Understanding why they chew may help owners select appropriate toys to satisfy the dogs needs.


The main reason why dogs chew is instinct. Until dogs became domesticated, they needed to practice chewing on items to prepare for hunting. They learned how to shake and tear prey by practicing on toys found in nature. These maneuvers also helped build the jaw muscles used for killing and eating it's prey. This instinct has been passed on to domestic dogs as well. While most don't need to hunt for their food anymore, they still enjoy the thrill of the hunt.

Teething and exploration

Like human babies, puppies cut teeth for the first six months of life. Chewing on toys helps the teeth cut through the gums while relieving some of the discomfort the dog is feeling. Dogs also use their mouths to explore their world, like babies do. They learn what is and isn't allowed to be chewed on as well as what tastes or feels good.


Dogs will often use chewing as a way to express their emotions. A dog is more likely to chew on toys if he's bored, scared or lonely. Being home all day while the family is out may cause him to act out through chewing. Toys that squeak or roll provide entertainment for him when the owners are at home. However, they may not be safe when home alone. Toys that are hard to completely chew up or break parts off are a safer choice during those times when he's by himself.


Whether the dogs know it or not, chewing on toys benefits them. Chewing on toys provides a simple way of cleaning their teeth, keeping them healthy and free from dental pain. Because the teeth are cleaner, the breath is usually fresher because there's less bacteria growing in the mouth.

Providing toys for the pet dog to chew on helps provide entertainment, keeps them healthier and happier. They'll be less interested in chewing things they shouldn't, making everyone in the household happier. Watching them play with toys designed for dogs provides entertainment for the whole family while offering them opportunities for exercise.

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gidget wrote on July 11, 2014, 1:54 PM

Thanks for this article. I keep my Coco Chanel in lots of toys or else she will chew everything in sight.
I have found holes in the walls behind furniture and I just found where she bit a round circle in the carpet in my room.
I have to keep on top of her. Or she will destroy everything.

simone425 wrote on July 27, 2014, 5:10 PM

I have a dachshund who loves her toys. The only problem is she will demolish all the plush toys within a few hours. She loves to pull the stuffing out. She never eats any of it and I always watch her closely but she really loves to tear them all apart. Luckily she has never chewed on anything but her toys.

madhavan_as wrote on August 26, 2014, 10:57 AM

nice and fine things about dogs and its teeth. things. Happy hours at pp.

TonyaM wrote on August 31, 2014, 2:43 PM

I wish my Morkie liked to chew on toys; she did when she was a puppy, but has outgrown it. If she did, maybe her teeth would be better! She does love rawhides, though :)

oldies909 wrote on September 7, 2014, 1:05 PM

I have a black lab and he chews toys till there is nothing left then we have to vacuum up all the pieces lol.

somedsatisfied wrote on October 20, 2014, 3:57 AM

Good, interesting info. MY dog loves to chew on things all the time.

keishafaye100 wrote on December 6, 2014, 10:44 PM

i usually don't buy squeaky toys for my dog, because i dislike the noises, however after reading this article, i think i will purchase a couple of squeaky toys tomorrow.