french bull dog with toy in their mouth

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Why Does My Dog Destroy Their Toys?

Dogs may destroy their toys for several reasons, often stemming from natural instincts and behaviors. Chewing is a natural and normal behavior for dogs, providing mental and physical stimulation while helping alleviate teething discomfort in puppies. 

Additionally, dogs have an inherent need to explore and investigate their environment, and toys can become casualties of their curious nature. Some dogs may also tear apart toys out of boredom, frustration, or excess energy, especially if they lack other mental and physical stimulation outlets. 

But why do dogs destroy toys? Understanding why your dog destroys toys can help you choose more durable options and provide alternative outlets for their energy and instincts. 

Is it Normal for Dogs to Destroy Their Toys?

If you're wondering, "Why does my dog destroy his toys?" it's important to understand that destructive chewing is normal for dogs, especially puppies. Puppies go through a teething phase where they experience discomfort as their adult teeth come in, motivating them to chew on objects to alleviate the pain. 

This intensified chewing phase typically subsides by around six months of age.1 However, some dogs may continue to engage in destructive chewing throughout their lives, while others may outgrow it as they mature.

Breed predispositions can also influence the tendency to destroy toys. Certain breeds, such as terriers and working breeds, are known for their strong prey drive and may be more inclined to destroy toys, especially those that simulate prey, such as squeaky toys.2,3 These breeds have been selectively bred for hunting or herding, which involves chasing and capturing prey so that they may exhibit more intense chewing behaviors. 

On the other hand, breeds with a lower prey drive may be less likely to destroy toys and prefer gentler forms of play. 

Ultimately, whether a dog destroys their toys can depend on various factors, including age, breed, and individual personality traits. 

Dog toys designed for heavy chewers

Dog Toys That Can't be Destroyed

Unfortunately, if your dog has yet to grow out of their destructive chewing phase, you may find dead stuffed animals and destroyed rubber toys around your home. Remember that destroying toys can also be quite dangerous for dogs, especially if they swallow any of the internal components or pieces of rubber. 

If you think, "My dog destroys all toys," you're not alone. There's technically no such thing as dog toys that can't be destroyed; all dog toys have the potential to break, even if they're designed for the toughest chewers. Dogs that are super chewers should have toys that are less likely to be destroyed. 

While no dog toy is perfect, many are designed for heavy chewers to withstand the toughest jaws and gnashing teeth. When shopping for toys, look for labels that include the words "indestructible," "extra durable," or "designed for heavy chewers." 

Here are a few dog toys designed for heavy chewers: 

  • Rubber chew toys: Durable rubber materials are often tough enough to withstand heavy chewing. Look for toys with thick walls and sturdy construction to withstand the pressure of your dog's jaws. Brands like Kong and Nylabone offer a variety of rubber chew toys designed for heavy chewers. 
  • Rope toys: Rope toys made from thick, braided strands of cotton or nylon can entertain dogs who love to play tug of war. These toys are typically more resistant to tearing and shredding compared to plush toys and can promote dental health by cleaning teeth and massaging gums as your dog chews. 
  • Nylon chew bones: Nylon chew bones are another durable option for dogs who love to gnaw. These bones are made from tough nylon material that can withstand prolonged chewing sessions without breaking apart. 
  • Treat dispensing toys: Treat dispensing toys are mentally stimulating and challenging for dogs to destroy. These toys are typically made from hard plastic or rubber, featuring compartments to hide treats or kibble. As your dog plays and interacts with the toy, they're rewarded with tasty treats to keep them engaged and entertained. 
  • Interactive puzzle toys: Interactive puzzle toys are designed to challenge your dog's problem-solving skills and stimulate them mentally. These toys are made from durable materials, and dogs must use their noses and paws to manipulate the puzzle and access the hidden treats. 
  • Heavy-duty plush toys: If your heavy chewer loves plush or squeaky toys, you can try heavy-duty plush toys. These toys are designed with reinforced or double stitching and durable materials to withstand rough play and chewing. They provide the softness and comfort of a traditional plush toy without sacrificing durability, making them a perfect option for dogs who enjoy cuddling and chewing.

How to discourage destructive play in dogs

How to Discourage Destructive Play 

Discouraging destructive play in dogs is essential to protect them. When dogs destroy toys, they can ingest small pieces that may cause choking or intestinal blockages, leading to serious health issues. Additionally, destructive behavior can be a sign of an underlying problem, such as boredom, anxiety, or lack of physical and mental stimulation. 

To discourage destructive play, consider the following strategies: 

  • Provide appropriate toys: Offer a variety of safe and durable toys specifically designed for heavy chewers. Look for dog toys made of sturdy materials like rubber, nylon, or hard plastic. Never give them toys with small parts or easily breakable pieces that your dog could ingest.1
  • Supervise playtime: Keep a close eye on your dog during playtime and intervene if you notice destructive behavior. Redirect your dog's attention to appropriate toys when they chew on inappropriate items.1 Technically, all toys can become dangerous dog toys, so it's crucial to supervise your dog at play. 
  • Exercise regularly: Ensure your dog gets enough exercise to prevent boredom and reduce excess energy, which can lead to destructive behavior. Take your dog for daily walks, play together, and provide durable toys to keep them mentally stimulated and engaged.4
  • Provide enrichment activities: Offer puzzle toys, treat dispensers, and interactive games to keep your dog mentally stimulated and prevent boredom. Engaging your dog's mind with challenging activities can help reduce destructive behavior and promote a healthier outlet for their energy.1
  • Use puppy teething toys: If your puppy is teething, use toys explicitly designed for them. These toys soothe sore gums and satisfy their natural chewing instincts. Additionally, they're typically made of softer materials that are gentle on their developing teeth and gums. 
  • Address underlying issues:  If destructive behavior persists despite your efforts, consider consulting with a veterinarian to rule out underlying medical or behavioral problems. They can guide and devise a tailored behavior plan to address your dog's needs.1 


How can I determine if my dog's toy destruction is normal behavior or a problem?

Consider your dog's age to determine if your dog's toy destruction is normal behavior or a problem. It's normal for puppies to engage in destructive chewing behavior, especially during the teething phase. However, as dogs mature, they typically outgrow this behavior. 

Keep in mind that adult dogs may still destroy their toys, depending on their breed and the toys themselves. For instance, heavy chewers and dogs with strong prey drives are more likely to destroy their toys. 

You should also consider other types of destructive behavior. Does your dog only destroy squeaky toys, or are they chewing on the furniture? If your dog aims its behavior at its toys, it's likely normal dog behavior. However, if your dog is destroying items around your home, it could indicate an underlying health or behavioral problem. 

If toy destruction is accompanied by other signs of anxiety, stress, or boredom, such as pacing or whining, consulting with a veterinarian can help identify the root cause of the problem and develop a plan to address it. 

Why does my dog thrash their toys?

Dogs may trash their toys during play because they have strong prey drives. In the wild, predators often shake their prey to incapacitate or kill them, and this behavior can manifest in domesticated dogs during playtime. Trashing toys also mimic the movement of prey, making them more satisfying for dogs. 

What are the best toys for dogs?

The best toys for dogs depend on various factors, including the individual dog's preferences, age, size, breed, and chewing habits. However, some types of toys are generally well-suited for most dogs, such as: 

  • Interactive toys: Toys that engage a dog's mind and provide mental stimulation, such as puzzle or treat-dispensing toys, can be highly beneficial for keeping dogs entertained and preventing boredom. 
  • Chew toys: Durable chew toys satisfy a dog's natural urge to chew and promote good dental health. 
  • Plush toys: Soft, plush toys can provide comfort and companionship for dogs, especially those who enjoy cuddling or carrying around soft objects. However, these toys are not suitable for all dogs, especially dogs prone to destroying their toys. 
  • Tug toys: Tug-of-war toys can be great for interactive play and bonding. Choose tug toys made from sturdy materials and avoid playing too aggressively to prevent injury. 
  • Fetch toys: many dogs enjoy playing fetch and chasing after balls or frisbees. Look for toys that are easy for your dog to carry and won't break apart during play. 

dog waiting next to a tennis ball

Final Notes

Understanding why dogs destroy their toys can help you choose the appropriate options and address underlying issues like boredom or anxiety. While chewing is a normal behavior, and some dogs may destroy their toys, destructive chewing can indicate a potential problem. 

Are you looking for guidance about your dog's behavior? Try Dutch telemedicine for pets today. When you sign up for a Dutch membership, you get access to convenient pet care, prescriptions, and supplements recommended by vets from our online pet pharmacy. We ensure you get the professional support and tools to keep your dog happy and healthy. 



  1. "Destructive Chewing." ASPCA,

  2. Long, Breanne. "Why Do Dogs Like Squeaky Toys?" American Kennel Club, 12 Nov. 2018,

  3. "How to Tame Prey Drive in Dogs." PDSA,

  4. Preventing Destructive Behavior in the Home,

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