So, What is a Nylabone?
Nylabones are a synthetic chew toy that aims to match your pup’s special chewing style. They are non-edible chewing toys and they are advertised as being made of ‘rubber, plastic, or nylon.’ They are meant to be chewed, but not consumed. However, the name ‘Nylabone’ can sometimes cause confusion as some owners imagine that they are edible bones. They come in a choice of four styles, namely puppy chews (for smaller pups), moderate chews (best for senior pups), strong chews (for larger breeds), and power breeds (for very strong pooches). They come in an array of textures, flavors, and textures and seek to stop disruptive chewing habits and replace them with healthy ones. They also aim to promote dental hygiene. The premise is great, but how safe are they for your pup? Let’s find out.
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What Nylabone Advise With Regards to Safety
On the Nylabone website, the company highlight that their chews are non-edible, but do note that minute ‘bristle like projections’ are raised and will clean teeth. If these snap off, the company note, they will pass through. They note that larger pieces should not come off, but do state that no chew toy for a dog is completely and utterly indestructible.
Thus, while Nylabone advise that their products are safe, it’s essential that you always monitor your dog when they are chewing them, and never leave them unattended. Before looking into safety precautions let’s look at what exactly they are.
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So Why Would a Dog Owner Opt For a Nylabone?
Nylabones were first created in the 1950s, so they have truly stood the test of time. They were created to help dogs develop healthier chewing habits and promise to help clean their teeth and gums and ensure optimum oral hygiene.
They are particularly useful for dogs that have bad biting habits and will enable them to take out their stress and frustrations out on a chew toy, rather than on furniture, or your belongings. Nylabones come in an array of shapes and models and come in diverse colors and styles. While they are sometimes advertised as being a goof pick for pips with separation anxiety, you should never leave your dog alone with a synthetic chew toy.
So, What Materials are Used in Nylabones?
Nylabones are made of a specialized plastic known as ‘thermoplastic polymer.’ While they aren’t edible, they do come in diverse flavors, including peanut butter, beef, chicken, apple, and cheese, and this is bound to entice your pup. However, this can be confusing, since they are flavored but cannot be consumed. But since they are made of plastic they should not be eaten as an edible treat.
While the brand do make edible treats (made with starches, natural, flavors, fibers, and vitamins) these are not the Nylabones. If you do choose to feed your pup these edible treats, consult your vet to ensure that it suits their dietary needs. This is particularly important if they are on a special diet, or a senior pup, or puppy with unique needs.
So, Are Nylabones Safe For Your Dog?
Nylabones are as safe as any other rubber toy, and thus they aren’t 100 percent safe, especially without supervision. Safety of chew toys is largely determined by pet owners being responsible. It’s imperative to choose a toy that is the correct size for your pup, as choosing toys that are too small could become a choking hazard. You also need to choose they right texture and shape for your particular dogs needs. A puppy or senior dog for example would need a different model to a young adult power breed pup.
It’s essential that you watch your dog while they are chewing their Nylabone. You don’t want to leave them unattended as this could end up being a choking hazard. Nylabones should only ever break off into tiny granules. These ‘bristle-like projections’ are meant to clean your pup’s teeth and should pass through them very easily. However, if a bigger piece breaks off this could lead to choking and could even lead to an emergency vet visit where surgery might be needed.
If you notice that your Nylabone begins to disintegrate and break apart, it’s time to ditch it and get a new one. Like any chew toy, it doesn’t have a super long life span and thus needs to be monitored and changed regularly.
Are Nylabones Safe For Puppies?
Nylabones have a range that is specifically tailored towards puppies and these are softer than the mid-range and stronger chews. They can be a great help when it comes to teething and will stop your pup from chewing things that they aren’t supposed to. Teething is important for all pups and it’s important to support healthy chewing habits as their teeth develop. However, as they begin to get adult teeth you will want to swap the Nylabone. The puppy model is only suited to softer puppy teeth and adult teeth will be able to bite through them. This could cause injury if your dog ingests larger bits of plastic and could lead to them needing surgery, or choking.
NB: Ensure you give your pup the correct Nylabone for their age!
When is it Time to Chuck Your Nylabone and Get a New Model?
Your Nylabone will begin to showcase signs of waring and you might notice that the ends of the ‘bone’, which are also known as the knuckles, begin to wear down. If this happens, or the Nylabone begins breaking into smaller pieces, it’s time to throw it away and get a new one.
Important Things to Remember
The dangers of Nylabones often come from improper use and their safety largely boils down to owners and their responsibility.
It’s imperative that you always watch your pup when they are chewing their Nylabone. While they should technically be safe and only come off in small rice-grain granules, it’s always best to keep an eye on them, as larger chunks can cause serious harm.
Other Treats and Chew Options For Your Pup
If you feel worried about your pup ingesting small bits of plastic or chewing on non-edible plastic treats, you might want to opt for some more natural options. There are an array of treats that can clean their teeth and might be a little safer. Nonetheless, it’s always a good idea to watch them whatever they are eating. Some natural options might include:
- Rawhide: Rawhide chews are made from the hides or skins of horses or cows. Since it is natural, it is digestible and can be a good pick for scraping the plaque off your pup’s teeth. They come in diverse shapes and sizes and can thus be used for dogs of different ages and breeds.
- Bones and Edible Dental Chews: Some specialized biscuits and chews are also a great pick for curbing chewing habits and cleaning your pups teeth. Consult your vet about the best options for your pup and ensure that biscuits are given in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.
- Other chew toys: You can also opt for chew toys that won’t break off into smaller granules, such as the Kong. These are a great boredom buster and will entertain pups as they need to try and get the treats out of the toy. If your pup is a serious chewer, these might prove to be a better bet than edible options that they chew through too quickly.
Why is Dental Hygiene So Important?
Dental hygiene is super important for all pets and ensures overall wellbeing. Cleaning their teeth and getting rid of plaque can prevent a build up of harmful bacteria that can lead to gum disease and more serious problems. Some owners choose to brush their dogs’ teeth (and you can by specialized doggy toothbrushes and toothpaste). You can also use dental treats and chews to keep their pearly whites sparkly and prevent bad breath!
Thus, Nylabones are safe if your dog is constantly supervised. At the first sign of it disintegrating, it’s important to replace it to ensure that larger bits of plastic don’t break off.
No rubber or plastic toy is 100 percent safe, but owner responsibility is key to ensuring that their chewing experience is safe and healthy!