Beyond performing their regular jobs around the office, our dogs–namely Rusty and Hobbes–also demand serious playtime with their toys. So when we suggested they be the principle testers in our Petswelcome Dog Toy Review, they were very game.
Both dogs really enjoy bringing a toy with them when they travel–it reminds them of home and keeps them calm and less distracted–so we chose 4 soft cloth chew toys, ones that can easily be packed in a bag or played with in the car and/or hotel room without causing damage to the surrounding environs. Our testing criteria was to see how the toys fared overall, how safe they were, and how long it took a 60 lb. Vizsla and a 90 lb. Bracco Italiano to eradicate them from the face of the earth. Not long it turns out.
Keep in mind that if you have a smaller or less tenacious dog, these toys could last significantly longer.
Initially, Rusty and Hobbes loved this toy. Because the duck is so long and limp, it functioned well in their game of tug of war, and managed to withstand this without ripping in half. However, Hobbes quickly learned that he could stuff the entire toy in his own mouth, and proceeded to trot around with his mouth closed, thus ending the team activities.
After fifteen minutes, the squeaker stopped functioning, and sizable holes had started forming in the toy. Not long after, the squeaker fell out of one of these holes, and we had to pry it out of Rusty’s mouth, as he’d started gnawing on it.
After 48 minutes, the dogs had torn the head off of the duck, and there was stuffing scattered all around the office.
Description: A limp, stuffing-free fabric duck with a squeaker inside
Advertisement: “long lasting play,” “flip flopping action”
Destruction Time: 48 minutes
Petswelcome Safety Rating: 1 out of 5
The flexibility of this toy makes it easy to fit in a medium-sized dogs mouth, and it in conjunction with its long, slim shape, we consider it a choking hazard. Additionally, the squeaker was very quickly torn out of the toy, presenting an even more prominent choking hazard that we encountered as a problem very quickly in our experiment.
Although we disregarded Bottle Buddies’ warning and gave this toy to two very aggressive chewers, this chew toy lasted the longest of the bunch. It’s lack of stuffing made it possible for the dogs to chew it aggressively and even tear holes in it without making a mess. Although the squeaker stopped working early on, it appeared to be stuck inside the water bottle, so it didn’t become a choking hazard for the dogs. The empty water bottle inside compensated for the lack of squeaking, make a constant crunching noise that Rusty and Hobbes appeared to like and inspired impassioned gnawing.
The fabric covering the water bottle was not very durable, and consequently one of the toy’s ears was ripped off after 40 minutes, and large holes began forming soon thereafter. This didn’t cause much of a mess, though, so we continued to let the dogs play with it until a hole in left side of the toy became so large that the water bottle started to fall out.
Description: A fabric stuffing-free dog-shaped toy with a water bottle and squeaker inside.
Advertisement: “Designed for supervised play only. Not designed for aggressive chewers”
Destruction Time: 3 hours
Petswelcome Safety Rating: 5 out of 5
This toy was soft and consequently didn’t present any threat of of scratching the dogs or causing discomfort. It was also very difficult to tear apart, and encased its primary choking hazard (the squeaker) inside a water bottle, making it inaccessible to the dogs.
American Wildlife admits that the toy is best suited for “moderate” chewers, and Rusty and Hobbes are certainly a grade above moderate. Fur was being ripped off of the toy in chunks almost as soon as they were given the toy, and within 20 minutes the ears had been chewed off and the squeaker was no longer functioning. The fur that remained on the toy was evidently very absorbent, and became completely saturated with drool, making it unpleasant to touch. Although the squirrel was rapidly falling apart, the lining did not initially break, so most of the stuffing stayed inside of it, as opposed to scattered around the office. Even when the tail came off—about 45 minutes in—there was minimal mess, save for all of the fur.
An hour and 15 minutes in, this changed and stuffing was everywhere. We decided it was time to confiscate the toy when we found Hobbes outside digging a hole to bury it in.
Description: A furry, stuffed, squirrel-shaped toy with a squeaker inside.
Advertisement: “tough, durable dog toy,” “will stand up to moderate chewing”
Destruction Time: 1 hour, fifteen minutes
Petswelcome Safety Rating: 2 out of 5
This toy was plush and thick, not presenting any sharp edges that could hurt the dogs. However, the insides came out fairly quickly, and that made it possible for the dogs to swallow the stuffing and discarded parts. The fur also started coming off in chunks alost immediately, creating yet another thing to get stuck in the dogs’ throats.
Rusty was particularly fond of this toy. He became incredibly territorial over it, and consequently we had no way of assessing whether the chew toy was suitable for group play. The shark had thick outer lining, which appealed to the dogs, as they could chew at it more aggressively than they could the other toys. However, this increase in the fervor of Rusty’s chewing resulted in the the toy’s stitching being undone very quickly. There was no gradual destruction of the toy: within the span of ten minutes it went from being apparently intact to having its stuffing strewn everywhere.
Description: A soft but firm shark-shaped dog toy with a squeaker (but not a very active one) inside.
Advertisement: “World’s Most Durable Soft Dog Toy”
Destruction Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes
Petswelcome Safety Rating: 4 out of 5
Like the other toys, there were no hard objects in this toy that could injure the dogs, and it was tough enough to stay intact until its complete annihilation, giving the dogs a very small window to consume any parts of it that could be potential choking hazards. Still, we detract one point because the stuffing and squeaker were eventually exposed.
Obviously, the most important factor in choosing a toy for your pet is safety. Many toys with squeakers or excessive stuffing are not a good choice because the dogs can swallow these pieces and choke, or have them get caught in their throat or windpipe.