Most dogs and many cats love to chew! This behavior is totally natural, but it can be frustrating when an enthusiastic chewer decides to demolish your furniture or shoes.
One of the best ways to keep this from happening is to provide your pets with safe, engaging chew toys and chewy treats.
The right chew toys (and treats, in moderation) provide an appropriate outlet for pets’ natural desire to gnaw, and they're a great reward for good behavior. They're also the perfect choice for when you need to keep your pet occupied for several minutes at a time.
Great chew toys also provide critical mental and physical stimulation, which is important to your pet’s overall well-being. And chewy treats, when chosen carefully, can be a healthy supplement to your pet’s diet.
But with so many toys and treats on the market, how do you know which ones you should choose for your pet?
Choosing the Best Dog and Cat Chew Toys
There are so many chew toys out there, and some are definitely better than others. When I’m looking for something for my pets, I like to choose a product that’s durable, made with high-quality materials or ingredients, and fairly easy to clean when needed.
Safety is also an important consideration. I want toys and treats that are beefy enough to stand up to heavy chewing. Anything with small pieces that break off easily could cause a choking or health hazard.
Even sturdy toys should be inspected regularly for damage or missing pieces, which can happen with normal wear and tear.
In addition to all that, the toy also needs to meet with my pets’ approval! And because my pets enjoy and 'play with' some treats as much as their chew toys, I’ve included them in my roundup of the best dog and cat chew toys below.
I selected these top toys and treats based on recommendations from veterinarians and trainers, what my own dogs and cats have tried and enjoyed, as well as feedback from friends about their pets’ favorites.
The Best Dog Chew Toys
Best Overall Dog Chew Toy
Paws down, my absolute favorite chew toy/treat combo for dogs is the Bully Stick. I've never met a dog who didn't love them! They are definitely favorites with both my dogs, Chilly and Tulip. Bully sticks are all-natural, single-ingredient, high-protein beef muscle chews that are long lasting and easy to digest.
Because they're edible and provide extra calories, it's best to give your dog Bully Sticks only a few times a week. I give my lab mix Chilly two 6-inch bullies a week and my little 10-pound terrier mix Tulip gets a 4-inch stick, which lasts her most of the week.
Bully Sticks are somewhat stinky, but you can cut down on the smell by purchasing the odor-free variety.
In addition, if you have an electric chop saw or a hand saw, you can save money by purchasing chews that are 12 inches or longer (which are often less expensive) and cutting them into shorter pieces to accommodate your dog's size.
Best Chew Toy for Big Dogs
The West Paw Qwizl is a chew toy that can hold a Bully Stick or other small treat. If you insert one end of a bully into the Qwizl toy, it helps the stick last longer and promotes safe chewing, since the toy keeps your dog from swallowing the stub once they’ve chewed it down most of the way.
You can also put in smaller treats and watch your dog spend several minutes rolling it around to dislodge them.
The Qwizl is durable, easy to clean (just pop it in the top rack of your dishwasher), and it's recyclable, too!
Best Chew Toy for Medium Dogs
I love the Knots of Fun tug toy because one or two dogs can play with it, so it's great for both multi-dog and single-dog families. This toy is safer than typical rope toys because the ends don't fray and tear off in pieces, which can pose the risk of intestinal blockage if swallowed.
The fleece fabric comes in fun colors and is woven tightly enough to clean your dog's teeth as he chews. These toys are soft, washable, and affordable.
I also love to support a company with a cool story, and this one has a great history. It was originally started by a dog parent whose pup had a habit of chewing on anything fabric. So she designed a toy to keep her dog happy and her possessions safe!
Best Chew Toy for Small Dogs
The Puppy Kong is perfect for small dogs and puppies. It comes in a couple of smaller sizes you can choose, depending on how tiny your dog is. I love the Kong for small dogs (and any dog, really) because you can fill it with healthy and yummy stuffers. I like to keep my dogs guessing about what's inside by alternating their favorites — plain yogurt with real bacon bits, peanut butter, or just a healthy, crunchy biscuit treat for them to work free from the center.
For young or small dogs, the Puppy Kong is made from a softer rubber than the traditional Kong, so it's easier on their little mouths. And it makes pet parents’ lives easier because it's durable and easy to clean.
Best Teeth-Cleaning Chew Toy
My dog Chilly has had a Buddy Bristle bone since he was just a pup! They come in four sizes, so they're great for any size of dog. The nylon bristles and rubber nubs clean your dog's teeth while they chew the yummy rawhide disk in between.
This toy is also very durable, though I've had to replace mine a couple of times due to heavy use.
The Best Cat Chew Toys
Normally, dogs come to mind when we think of chew toys. But cats love to chew, too. And in addition to toys that encourage pouncing, hunting, and chasing, many cats also like chew toys and chewy treats. Here are the best toys for cats who like to chew.
Best Overall Cat Chew Toy
Like many cats, my cat Olivia is rather finicky. But she loves hand-rolled Salmon skin twirls. They’re made from freeze-dried, human-grade raw salmon. They’re also rich in natural Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils, so they’re great for her skin.
Best Kitten Chew Toy
They may not look appealing to us, but for a kitten, there’s nothing better than all-natural, dehydrated Chicken Feet! Not only will they keep your kitten busy chewing, but they also provide important health benefits.
Chicken feet contain an ingredient that supports joint health, and they also promote dental health by helping reduce plaque build-up.
Best Adult Cat Chew Toy
If you’re looking for a toy to provide mental stimulation for your cat, Doc & Phoebe’s Indoor Hunting Feeder is definitely the way to go! You fill three plastic mice with dry kibble and hide them around the house for your cat to 'hunt'. They’ll enjoy the challenge of sniffing them out and then pouncing, playing, and chewing to get the food inside.
Cats in the wild eat multiple small meals each day, and this toy was designed by veterinarian Dr. Liz Bales to mimic that natural instinct for your house cat.
Best Catnip Chew Toy
Catnip is great entertainment for everyone involved! Most cat parents love watching their cat’s antics as they go crazy over a good catnip toy, and there’s no denying it’s a good time for the cat.
SmartyKat’s Fish Friends Crinkle and Catnip toy includes three feline favorites -- crinkly sounds, feathers, and catnip. It’s a chewy trifecta for cats! These adorable fish-shaped toys are filled with catnip that’s produced without chemicals or pesticides.
Best Teeth-Cleaning Cat Chew Toy
Poor dental health in cats can cause discomfort and also contribute to other health problems. One way to improve oral health in cats is to use dental chews. Organic CatTwig Silver Vine Sticks are, well, the cat’s meow!
These chews are made from the wood of the silver vine plant, also known as “the catnip of Asia” because it attracts and stimulates cats the same way catnip does. As an added benefit, the silver vine bark helps to remove plaque as your cat chews, keeping their teeth and gums healthy.
Best Chew Toys for Cats and Dogs
I like the natural protein category when it comes to chews that both cats and dogs will dig. This type of chew can be mentally engaging and offer some health benefits too.
For example, the Chicken Feet (my top choice for kittens) are great for both cats and dogs of any age, and they are a good natural source of chondroitin, which is good for joint health.
Anchovy snaps also make a tasty, chewy treat for both species.
If you want to add more mental and physical enrichment to either of the above, hide them in a Kong toy and watch your dog or cat bat it around to eject the tasty morsels!
Chewing is a great pastime for both dogs and cats. Giving them something safe and healthy to chew on can provide hours of fun and engagement, as well as keep them healthy.
As a pet-parenting expert and a pet advocate, Kristen Levine speaks everything pet — and loves to help translate between brands, veterinary professionals, and pet parents. Find her at her website, Pet Living with Kristen Levine.
Disclaimer: Our content is for informational purposes only. Product recommendations are the opinion of the author, not 24PetWatch. 24PetWatch does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.