Six Dangerous Items Dogs Chew

Dangerous items dogs can chew that can lead to needing pet insurance.Chewing is a natural action for dogs. It helps keep their teeth clean and gums healthy. Chewing also seems to provide a satisfying activity for dogs that calms them and helps in relieving boredom. But chewing the wrong objects can be harmful and result in a fractured tooth, lacerated gum, constipation or blockage of the intestinal tract. All of which can result in a large vet bill.

The following items may seem innocent, but they should not be provided (or available) to your dog for chewing:

1. Ice

Many dogs come running to the sound of the refrigerator ice machine hoping to snag a fallen icy treat. But chewing on ice wears down tooth enamel (the protective cover for teeth). Ice is even more dangerous for small dogs, as chewing on a piece of ice can fracture a tooth.

2. Sticks and Wood

Many dog owners utilize sticks as a fetching toy when outside on walks and at the park. The danger though is that the dog begins to use sticks as toys and many dogs will begin chewing on the stick. Wood splinters easily when chewed on and shards can jam into the dog’s mouth causing an infection. Also if pieces of wood are swallowed, it can cause intestinal blockage.

3. Rocks

Dogs often utilize rocks as a play object when they’re bored. Additionally, if a rock has food particles on it (for example rocks near your grill) dogs may try to swallow the rock thinking it is food.

4. Bones

Bones are often given to dogs by owners who think chewing on bones is natural for dogs. The issue is that dogs chew the bones down and they can be accidentally swallowed. If this happens, the bone will become lodged in the intestines. Bones can also splinter resulting in fragments wedged in the mouth, throat, or intestines requiring an emergency visit to remove. Bones also wear down the enamel of the teeth.

5. Water Bottles

Many dogs love chewing on water bottles. Several dangers can arise though and water bottles should be avoided. The cap of the water bottle can come off and the dog can swallow it leading to a blockage. Also, dogs can tear off pieces of the plastic pretty easily resulting in sharp, rough edges. The dog may try to swallow these sharp pieces and/or cut their gums chewing on the newly exposed rough edges.

6. Hard objects

There are many hard objects your dog could chew on, for instance hard plastic can be as hard as a bone. Chewing on hard objects can result in a fractured tooth.


So what can you give your dog to chew on?

There are a host of approved chewing products that have been tested for safety. These are available from your veterinarian or pet supply store. In general, follow these guidelines when choosing a toy:

– Provide chewing items that won’t cause blockage if swallowed

– Toys should be large enough that your dog can’t swallow them.  And if they chew a toy down to small pieces they could swallow, throw the toy away

– Chewing items should not splinter

– The toys/chewing items should have some flexibility and not be rock hard

– As often as possible provide toys/chewing items that promote healthy gums and reduce tartar

Intestinal issues and blockages are one of the most common reasons for a pet hospital visit and they’re among the most expensive. Fortunately, most pet insurance companies have policies in case this happens. However to avoid the visit and stress altogether, choose safe and approved chewing options for your dog.

Have you ever given your dog something to chew on that seemed innocent, only to have issues (or a vet visit) because of it?  Share your experience in the comments below.


  • Stephanie

    Be very careful with dog bones that have knots in them. My bulldog was chewing on one and it got stuck in his throat and he died. Be very, very carful!

    • P.D.

      I’m really sorry to hear that. My sympathies. Thanks for sharing your hard-earned lesson with us.

  • Yvonne O'Neill

    A baseball, raw hydes and plastic frisbee. Our lab loved getting raw hydes when we left for work to keep him busy. He also lived chewing on baseball and the frisbees after playing. He kept vomiting so we woyld keep an eye on him, then one day he just wouldn’t move. We took him to the surgeon and they ended of finding his intestines so blocked and the string from the baseball wraped around everything in his intestines to his stomach working like a saw. The surgeon kept him for 5 days and finally felt like he was going to pull through. Dr. Fry in Issaquah, WA saved our dog, Angus’, life. We are so thankful to him.

  • Amanda

    Ham bones. I heard from a friend that their dog loved them so I gave one to my dog. The fat from the ham caused pancreatitis (a recurring and potentially life-threatening disease). Too many rawhide bones can cause the same thing. Now he can only have nylabones and very few occasional milk bones.

  • Lindsay

    Be very careful or avoid giving your dog jerky treats. The emergency vet said dogs don’t chew these as well as they should. A large piece caused our dog to almost choke and then a blockage in our dog and she needed emergency surgery. We now only give her deer antlers (these break down and are good for their teeth or soft treats).

  • Lori

    What about bully sticks?

  • Barbara

    I am so sorry Stephanie. Thank you for the warning.
    That is something that I would never even think of.

  • Justin

    Corn cobs…that was a hard lesson…seemed like my dog loved it, but we were lucky he just threw up for a week straight and didn’t need surgery.

  • Karen

    My dog carried around rocks, but never chewed on them that I saw. Her favorite toy was a water bottle, caps ALWAYS removed and taken away as soon as a hole appeared. She’d chomp them just to make noise! She lived to be 15 when cancer took her…it’s been almost 8 years and I miss her so much..

  • Tom Sutton

    My dachshunds luv to chew so I’ve tried just about every kind of chew stick available. First of all I never let them chew on them when I’m not around. So afraid they might start to choke on them. Rawhide chews are scarey too, I’ve seen my dogs swallow big bites of it before I can take it away NO MORE Rawhide. Anyway, the best advice is to supervise them until they are done.

  • Christa

    My Shih-Tzu mix tore his blanket open and ate the stuffing. He was only 5 months old and almost died but I got him to the emergency vet and he had surgery in time!

  • luis

    what about when they chew on plaster walls, and wood baseboard

    • liz

      rub the area with fresh lemon juice …. dogs hate citrus!

      • as

        I highly suggest against this. First of all, my puppy loves citrus. Most importantly though, citrus is toxic to dogs.

    • Desi

      Bitter Apple Spray. It isn’t toxic and it doesn’t mess with their smell, but it definitely works on getting them to not chew the stuff

  • Meghan

    My dog’s a retired racing greyhound, so when she first came to live with us, everything was new to her and she picked up EVERYTHING in her mouth. Kind of like a toddler. I think the scariest thing was when she picked up a Christmas tree ornament — I didn’t realize it until I heard a loud “crunch.” She bit down on it and, of course, it shattered. Luckily no injuries were sustained, but I had to pry open her mouth and pick out all the bits of plastic. She has also tried eating water bottles, plastic wrappers, potpourri, remote controls…mostly plastic things. After a while she got through that puppyish phase though.

  • Lisa

    I would recommend you qualify the statement that bones are dangerous for dogs to chew. A blanket statement such as this one can scare owners when truly some types of bones are not only safe, but beneficial to your dog’s dental health. With proper supervision, raw bones are a great treat for your pup. My dogs love chewing on raw buffalo bones! Talk to your vet and pick out a good bone together!

  • Kim

    My husband likes to tie his used white socks together, but I am concerned about the elastic that is in the ankle part being ingested and causing a blockage…

    • Shelley

      I was pet sitting for my sister, and she had a Doberman named Athena that choked on the knot of a rawhide. When I noticed she was choking, she let me stick my hand down her throat and luckily I was able to dislodge the rawhide. NEVER AGAIN!! My sis had a three year old Dobie named Rolf and he swallowed a sock and died during surgery when the vet attempted to remove it from his intestine. NO SOCKS!!

  • Kim

    What about Nylabones–for powerful chewers? are they pretty much safe?

    • Jim

      I was visiting a vet recently and he showed me the xray of a nylabone lodged in a dog’s throat. I think the dog survived with surgery.

    • Joan

      My dog loved chewing on nyla bones. I noticed a cracked tooth. My vet explained nylabones were the problem. We had to have the tooth removed. The dog can’t tell you when they are in pain.

    • Cory

      Nylabones are pretty great as long as your dog keeps interest in them. Because they are so hard to destroy some dogs don’t see the sport in it. When the Nylabone does start to show wear, the pieces tend to be small knobby bits hanging off the end of the toy. You can either file that down, get a new toy, or assume that teeny tiny pieces of plastic will pass through without causing damage.

    • Tara David

      No–I had to pay $500+ to have two of my dog’s teeth extracted due to Nylabone use. These bones are recommended by most as a safe option to rawhides, but do not be fooled. They break dog’s teeth.

  • kristine

    My dog chews on deer antlers! Its the only thing i trust him with!

  • Thelma

    My dog somehow found a needle on the floor, swallowed it and required $2000.00 worth of surgery. She survived but was really ill.

  • Roy

    One of our Goldens loves to play with small rocks in his mouth. He has swallowed smooth river rocks twice and had to have them surgically removed both times. We now have as rock free a yard as I can make it. Plus I also keep a close eye on him when outside.

  • Judy Pecsok

    I may be lucky, but our 11-year old norfolk terrier does not chew on anything. She has toys that don’t have any plastic parts so we are fortunate. I don’t allow her to chew on anything, including greenies. I think they get used to it and it is safer over the long run.

  • Sharon Richards

    One of my Corgis loved rocks. I was not aware that he was swallowing them until I had to rush him to the vet. They got a Dixie cup full of rocks from his intestines. From then on I kept him in the house or a run when I was gone. Years later I lost him because a visitor to our place had brought their dog and a toy ( I was not aware of this). He found the toy, swallowed it and it cut off his digestive system and he died of kidney failure. Also, I gave my Corgis nylon bones to chew until they started passing blood in their stool. Is there anything safe for our dogs?

  • Terra

    Nyla bones are not safe either. My dog brok a tooth and fractured the same tooth on the other side. Had to go under anestisia to have the broken one removed.

  • Melissa

    Bully Sticks are not good either. My dog fractured one of her pre-molars and $800 later she now has a hole where the tooth was. Be careful!

  • Cathy

    Tennis balls are very bad for dogs.They get them very slimmie and they get lodged in their throat. I had a german shepard that it happen too.Had to do the chocking method on him to get it out.

  • Rachel

    Be careful with Nylabone. My dog is a power chewer and even though I supervised him, he still sustained two slab fractures to his molars that required surgical removal. The softer, more flexible ones were also problematic as he’d chew them so rapidly… and one time swallowed enough that he vomited. The kong toys that can be filled with treats have been the best and safest I’ve found.

  • Cheryl

    I take them away from my greyhounds before they get too small, as I am afraid of choking.


  • joanne

    Pigs ears are VERY bad.Made for a very large vet bill.

  • Amy

    My dog is a power chewer and one of his favorites are the antlers. He had deer and moose antlers. I believed the hype and thought they were a great thing (cleaning and keeping his teeth strong and healthy) without researching. Lessons learned too late do no good for the poor dog, who now has several incisors that are worn down to the gums. Anything that is as hard as a rock and not softened by saliva is too hard for teeth.

  • jenn

    My puppy got ate four small magnets…they all went into different parts of her stomach and intestines and the connected together in one spot. She had a bad infection in that spot and it was starting to decay. The vet said he had never seen anything like that and couldn’t be positive she would make it through or after surgery. I would never have thought this would have happened as I always made sure my toddlers would never get magnets off the fridge…why did I not think of that with my puppy…I removed every magnet in my house after that. My Karma made a full recovery! She will have to have surgery in the future to remove scar tissue because it’s by the narrow passage of her stomach.


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