Labrador Retrievers are known for their love of chewing through adolescence and into adulthood. This loves also carries into their older years. They are retrievers by nature, and their natural instinct is to find an item and carry it in their mouth.
In addition to their nature, other factors may also contribute to your Labrador’s chewing habit, including environmental stresses like separation anxiety and even boredom. These two things can cause chewing to become worse and more destructive.
So, what can you do to ensure that your Labrador doesn’t end up chewing on the wrong thing and causing harm or damage? You need to find him some worthy chewing toys that will occupy his time while also being able to withstand his strong jaws and incredible chewing power.
Labs That Chew
Chewing is a very common behavioral issue for Labrador Retrievers. Puppies that are teething have a tendency to chew on nonfood items like furniture, toys, and other household items that they can reach. When they do this, they begin to form habits early on that will become a problem later on in their life if they aren’t addressed.
Before dogs are trained, they may have their own set of behavioral issues, but when it is chewing on your favorite shoes and furniture, the problem seems much more severe overall. That is why it is so important to begin training your Labrador puppy while they are still young. Doing so can help control the chewing and teach them to develop better and healthier habits for the future.
How do you accomplish this? We have a few tips on how to train your puppy and control their chewing problem early on.
You Need to Be Firm and Consistent
You should never use punishment as a way to train your Labrador. There are more positive training methods that can be used. The key is to establish a very loving and friendly relationship and household but still be firm and consistent with what you are teaching. This kind of relationship will help guide your pup to engage in more appropriate behaviors.
It is best to establish limits with your puppy. Whenever you see them chewing on something that they shouldn’t be chewing on, you need to tell them to leave it alone, but you need to use a very firm and authoritative voice while you say it. Take the item from your dog and replace it with a chew toy – something he is allowed to have.
Getting the Right Chew Toys for Labradors
For this kind of training to really work, it is essential that your Labrador has access to chew toys that are appropriate for their breed, size, and chewing power. It is also good to keep in mind that Labradors, like children, will get bored quickly of the same toy. It is important to introduce new toys regularly to keep them interested. Chew toys come in a variety of different shapes, sizes, and colors, so there is a lot to choose from and a lot that can keep them entertained.
You should never give your Labrador a household item to chew on, even if it is something you were going to toss out anyway. They will not be able to tell the difference between what is old and what is new, and it can become confusing for them.
So, if they are given an old shoe, for example, they may feel that it is okay to chew on the other shoes in the home because that is what they were given. It is best to stick to giving them indestructible dog toys that they can call their own.
When choosing the best toys for your Labrador Retriever, there are several factors you will want to keep in mind:
The dog’s age is definitely something to keep in mind when purchasing new toys. A younger puppy is going to have their baby teeth, so they will need softer rubber toys or even plush toys made with fabric to chew on.
From approximately three to nine months of age, you will find that your Labrador will begin teething. When this time comes around, you want to avoid harder rubber because it may hurt them, and you will want to make sure to stock up on a variety of toys because they will be making their way through them very quickly during their teething phase.
During teething, they are also looking for anything that they can fit in their mouth to chew, so to keep them entertained and distracted from household items, having a good variety of chew toys available is essential.
Once the teething phase is over, they will have a much stronger jaw and teeth, so those hard rubber toys you were avoiding when they were younger will now be acceptable and encouraged. Balls and rope toys are always good choices because of how active Labradors are.
For your senior dog, their tooth and jaw strength will have diminished significantly, so softer toys will be more appropriate. You should also choose toys that encourage them to stay as active as possible.
The Size and Texture of Chew Toys
Another consideration is the size and texture of the chew toys. Labradors have a lot of chewing power, so you don’t want to give them chew toys that will break apart in pieces quickly. When this happens, those pieces can become lodged in their throat and are a choking hazard. They can also cause gastrointestinal blockages that could lead to more serious complications.
Along with the texture of the toy, you also need to keep the size in mind. Labradors are a large dog breed, so you want to keep the smaller toys off their radar. One of the general rules of thumb when it comes to choosing appropriately sized toys for your dog is the molar test. If the toy is small enough to fit behind your dog’s rear molars, then it is not suitable and can become a choking hazard.
Types of Toys
No matter what you choose, you have to assume that your Labrador is going to chew it up. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t have a good variety of toys to play with.
Balls. Rubber balls, tennis balls, and squeaker balls are all popular choices for dogs. Not only can they chew them (if they are large enough and not too small) they can also be used to play fetch and keep your pup active while burning off all that energy. Once you find the right size for your dog, you want to make sure that it is made from durable materials that will not break apart when chewed.
Tug Toys. Another favorite for Labrador Retrievers are tug toys. Tug-of-war is always a fun and entertaining game for both dog and owner and is a good way to spend some quality time together. Again, you don’t want to buy anything too soft or something that will easily be torn apart. They also become worn out quickly, so when you notice signs of shredding or other damage, you will want to toss it and replace it.
Chewables. There are also toys specifically made to be chewed on. These toys are often made from hard rubber materials or nylon and are built to withstand even the most powerful chewing actions. Some of these chewable toys can even be filled with treats that can be used for training or just for entertaining your dog. When choosing these toys, make sure they are durable, so they won’t break easily, but also soft enough so when they chew on it, they don’t hurt or damage their teeth.
Plush Toys. These toys are typically too soft for older Labradors, and they can easily be torn apart and ingested, which is unsafe for your dog. So, unless your dog is a young pup who just wants the plush for cuddling, it is probably best to avoid this type of toy for your aggressive chewer.
Other Activities to Prevent Chewing
In addition, to chew toys to keep them busy and entertained, there are a few other things you can do to help alleviate their chewing problem. Mental stimulation and anxiety are two of the biggest causes of Labrador chewing habits. When this is the case, they tend to chew on things to help alleviate this stress and keep their mind occupied.
Allowing your dog to get plenty of exercises can help control their chewing because you are giving them an outlet for their excess energy. The physical activity will tire your Labrador out, and they won’t be so intent on chewing on everything they can find around the home.
Regular walks on a daily basis are always good. If you remain consistent with your efforts, let them drain some of that energy, and supply them with a good variety of chew toys, you will find that their chewing problem is under control and will cease to be a problem soon enough.
The following are some of the best chew toys for Labs that we could find. We have them listed below to help take the guesswork out of choosing chew toys for your canine companion.
Best Chew Toys for Labrador Retrievers
When choosing toys for your Labrador, be sure to keep durability at the forefront of your mind. You want the toy to last longer than a couple of hours, and you want to minimize the risk of your canine companion choking on a broken off piece of toy.
Kong Classic Dog Toy
This toy is made from an all-natural rubber material which makes it extremely durable for even the most aggressive chewer. It also has a little bounce to it, which adds to your dog’s excitement during playtime. This toy can be filled with treats and peanut butter and can become their new favorite toy to play fetch with.
- Kong is a well-known brand and known for its durable rubber material
- Puncture-resistant rubber material and non-toxic
- Ideal for heavy chewers
- Suitable for large dogs
GoughNuts Ring Dog Toy
This toy, like the Kong, is also made of a virtually indestructible rubber material making it durable enough for the heaviest chewers. It was engineered with carbon reinforcement and consists of two layers. The outer part is where the strength lies, and the inner core is a red color which serves as a safety indicator for the owner. When you see the red, it means it is time to replace the toy. This toy can also bounce, roll, and float and is perfect for lots of outdoor play with the family.
- Carbon reinforcement allows for ultimate durability
- Ideal for heavy and aggressive chewers
- Easy to clean with warm water
- Visual indicator to help ensure safety
- Indestructible toy that is long lasting
Chuckit! Ultra-Rubber Ball Dog Toy
If your Labrador loves a game of fetch and loves to chew, then this is the toy to get. It has been designed with an ultra-thick rubber core and comes in a bright color to improve visibility while playing. The rubber is puncture resistant, so it can withstand heavy chewing, and it is also durable against other elements while playing outdoors, including rocks and water.
- It is about the size of a soccer ball, so it is safe for larger breeds
- Durable and thick rubber material that will last
- Never deflates
- Also appeals the Labrador’s instinct to retrieve
Heavyweight Chompian Dog Toy
This chew toy has a dumbbell shape to it and can stand up to the most champion of Labrador chewers. It is extremely durable and includes textured nubs that help keep your dog’s teeth nice and clean while they play and chew. It is great for a teething puppy and works great for older dogs that love to play fetch. It is also infused with vanilla flavor for an added treat and a burst of excitement for your dog.
- Made from 100% rubber
- Designed for the most enthusiastic chewer
- Textured design promotes good oral health
- Can be chewed on, bounced, or pounced on
- Comes in a variety of different colors
West Paw Zogoflex Hurley Dog Toy
This toy comes in a fun, bright orange color, and it can be used for a variety of engaging and entertaining games with your dog. It is durable enough to withstand the heaviest chewer and is considered one of the more ideal toys for aggressive chewers as well. Its bright color makes it easy to spot for a fun game of fetch. It is the ideal toy for chew therapy. It can stretch as well without becoming too stretched out or damaged.
- Easy to clean and dishwasher safe
- Can withstand the longest and most intense chewing sessions
- Manufactured to ensure the safety of your Labrador
- Made of tough and durable materials that will not fall apart
The Best Chew Toys for Labrador Puppies
With so many puppy chew toys in the market today, it may be hard to narrow down your choices to what is best for your Labrador puppy. When choosing a puppy toy, it is important to take a close look at the safety of the materials being used, the durability of the toy, and its overall suitability for your particular pup.
Many puppy toys should not continue being used once the puppy has acquired its adult teeth because it will be easier for them to chew chunks off the toy that they can eventually choke on. So, make sure that the toys you choose are age appropriate for your puppy and are long-lasting.
Benebone Bacon Flavored Wishbone Dog Chew Toy
This puppy toy is made from a tough nylon material that is sure to last as long, if not longer, than your other chew toys. It has a wishbone shape that appeals to puppies and is also easy for them to hold down with their paws to really get in some good chewing time. It is also flavored with bacon – one of a dog’s favorite treats – so your puppy will surely love it.
- Has deep grooves and an ergonomic curved shape so the pup can get a better bite and hold
- There is no artificial flavor
- Made of durable nylon
- Strong enough to allow the puppy to chew it without worrying about it falling apart in pieces
- Easy for puppies to hold it down
Nylabone Puppy Chew Teething Keys Dog Toy
This is a fun teething toy for your puppy that comes in a larger size to accommodate your Labrador puppy. It is made with a thermoplastic polymer material that is safe for a teething puppy, and it will not hurt or damage their teeth. Its raised bristles allow for stimulation of the mouth and help keep their teeth clean. This toy, however, is not appropriate for an adult dog or a puppy that already has some permanent teeth.
- Texture promotes dental health
- Safe and puppy friendly design
- Vet recommended
- Fun, bright colors to keep your puppy interested
- Soft enough for teething puppies
- Can also be used as an interactive toy to keep the puppy entertained
Kong Puppy Goodie Bone Dog Toy
Another toy from Kong that your Labrador is sure to love. This puppy chew toy is made from a durable and flexible natural rubber that is ideal for a teething puppy with sore gums. You can also put your puppy’s favorite treats inside of the Kong toy for some added fun and excitement. This particular toy is specifically designed for puppies up to nine months old.
- Can also be used as an interactive toy
- It can be frozen which can further help sore gums
- Durable rubber material that can withstand aggressive chewing
- Can be stuffed with your pup’s favorite treats
Best Chew Toys for Senior Labradors
Even senior Labradors still enjoy a good chew session. However, we have to keep in mind that their jaws and teeth just aren’t what they used to be, so softer toys may be best suited for older dogs. You may also find that their urge to chew is much less than that of a Labrador that is much younger.
For your older dog, you should choose the softer toys as well as those that include some kind of squeaker. You also want to make sure that the toy can fit in their mouth without making them struggle.
Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Orbee Ball
This ball was designed for senior dogs with weaker jaws, dental problems, and even those suffering from vision problems. It has a soft but chewy texture that is not hard on their teeth and its bright and contrasting colors are perfect for senior dogs.
- Soft yet durable for chewing
- Named by some as the world’s best dog ball
- Can put your dog’s favorite treat inside
- Suitable for an older dog with diminished chewing capability
Outward Hound Invincibles Snake Dog Toy
This dog toy is made of a softer material that is still durable and made to last. It is composed of two layers of tough fabric as well as reinforced double layer seams that offer the most chew resistance. It also features a squeaker that will keep your dog’s attention and keep them entertained. While it is suitable for dogs with weaker jaws and teeth, if they still manage to chew through it, there is no stuffing. This means no mess to clean up.
- Contains absolutely no stuffing
- Squeakers continue to work even if punctured
- Soft and cuddly but also durable
- Doubles as a fun and entertaining fetch and tug toy to encourage exercise
If you are ever unsure about a chew toy or its safety, you should not hesitate to discuss your available chew toy options with your veterinarian. They can help you choose a toy that is the most age-appropriate for your Labrador.
Additionally, you should never leave your puppy or even adult dog unsupervised with their chew toys. You should always keep an eye on them in case they are able to chew pieces off the toy that can pose a choking hazard for them. When you see that the toy is on its last legs, it is also always best to replace it with a new toy to better ensure the safety of your Labrador Retriever.