What are they?
A fairly hard and long lasting bone-like chew toy. Amazingly, these have been around since 1955. They are produced by injection moulding which creates a solid, cavity-free structure.
Most dogs like to have a good chew. However, I’m not sure there’s a chew toy on the market that doesn’t raise concerns from somewhere or another. Nylabones are no exception. Nylabone make some edible chews but the focus of this review is on their, better known, range of non-edible chews. Here lies the concern of some people; they are non-edible. However, lots of things which the dog’s mouth comes into contact with are not edible. There are thousands of non-edible dog toys, made from all kinds of materials. The difference with the Nylabone range is that they are imitation bones. I think the main concern is that pieces will be swallowed. However, having used these for 20 years with multiple dogs, I’ve never yet had one that broke apart. They usually wear down slowly over time as the dog gnaws on them.
I’ve often seen Nylabones (and similar products) promoted as a help for separation anxiety. But as with the vast majority of enrichment products, the manufacturer states that dogs should not be left unsupervised with these chews. And in any-case, curing separation anxiety usually requires a great deal more effort than simply providing an enrichment toy.
They also come with a size guide so you know roughly what size dog they are suitable for. A ‘gentle to extreme’ suitability guide is also included on the packaging.
What’s good about them?
1: A huge range of designs and textures
2: Many of them are flavoured to encouraged chewing and add to the enjoyment.
3: Long lasting
4: Encourages and gives an outlet for the natural act of chewing. Pictured below are two identical Nylabones. The first brand new and the second is 8 months old, and chewed daily. Notice how my dog has repeatedly chewed the same leg of the toy, leaving the others untouched. He did exactly the same with his previous one. You may think it’s a waste because the other pieces are not being chewed, but actually, it’s a good reminder of how dogs may learn to chew a Nylabone and leave our furniture (or whatever else) alone. He simply returns to the same piece because that is what he has found enjoyable and rewarding. He simply had no need or desire to chew the other legs. At this stage I usually throw them away and provide a new one because tiny pieces (about the size of a grain of rice) are able to come away. Although these fragments may be safe, I prefer to minimize risk.
5: One of the things that has most impressed me with Nylabone is how the company are really embracing the enrichment revolution and making products more appealing or multi usage. The surface of the one pictured below is designed so that food can be smeared or pressed into it.
6: They come in four different strengths, including special ones for puppies.
7: Aids in keeping teeth clean
What’s not so good?
1: There are many different designs but no clearly displayed design name for each. This makes searching for a particular design, a little more difficult than it needs to be.
2: It’s possible that the tiny fragments which come away as the Nylabone is chewed could be swallowed. Although these probably pass through the dog without incident and are claimed to be non-toxic, we must still consider any potential risk that they might pose. My advice would be to discuss this with your veterinarian.
3: Dogs are able to swallow much larger items than you would think possible. I recommend only using Nylabone which are twice the size of what will fit in their mouth. If in doubt, I recommend choosing a larger size. If you have dogs (and therefore Nylabones) of different sizes, care must be taken that the larger dog does not obtain the smaller dog’s Nylabone as this may provide a choking hazard.
4: Cannot be washed in a dishwasher. Doing so, may compromise the integrity and safety of the product.
5: I would be cautious of giving them to an older dog who may have weak or damaged teeth. If you are in any doubt whether your dogs teeth are strong enough for chewing Nylabone, you should first seek advice from your veterinarian.
If we are to have happy and healthy animals, it’s vital that we meet all of their needs. A natural behaviour of canines is to chew and gnaw. Nylabones are an excellent way for us to provide appropriate outlets for this natural urge. If you don’t wish to use Nylabones, please consider how else you will meet your dogs need to chew and gnaw. Mr B certainly approves
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