best chew toy for german shepherds

German Shepherds are truly jacks of all trades. Intelligent and obedient enough to work as police and service dogs, loyal and loving enough to make great family pets, and independent and strong enough to perform herding duties—these dogs do it all.

There’s a lot to love about German Shepherds, as is evidenced by the fact that they consistently rank near the top of the American Kennel Club’s list of the most popular breeds, but they are not without their challenges.

German Shepherds were bred to maintain stamina through long herding shifts, so they aren’t exactly couch potatoes. They also have a habit of acting out in destructive ways in order to seek attention. Combine these facts (without even getting into the teething phase) and you arrive at a strong, crafty dog who is predisposed to chewing.

So, how do you prevent your furry friend from destroying your shoes, books, or even furniture? It’s simple: positive redirection. Present your German Shepherd with an appropriate object to fixate on, like a high quality chew toy, and praise them for choosing that toy over your belongings.

If you aren’t exactly sure how to go about choosing the right chew toy for your German Shepherd, that’s okay! We have compiled a list of our favorite German Shepherd proof toys to help guide you through the process. Keep reading to find out what they are!

Key Components of a German Shepherd Chew Toys

  • Rated for extra tough chewers — German Shepherds have a powerful bite from a young age. Some toys look great, but they haven’t been tested against a bored or frustrated German Shepherd. Look for chew toys that are rated extra tough or extra strong, and keep an eye out for any ‘maximum size’ exclusions.
  • Made of durable material — Most strong chew toys are made of rubber, nylon, or a natural material like bone or antler. This is important to check because your German Shepherd will make short work of a weaker chew toy, and you’ll be back at square one. Plastic and cloth chew toys may suffice for pups who are teething, but probably won’t do much for adults.
  • Textured — Dental disease is a pervasive problem among pets on whole, and especially among German Shepherds. A textured chew toy will help clean your dog’s teeth as it gnaws, preventing the dangerous build up of plaque that leads to more serious issues.
  • Flavored or stuffable — Why not make the chew toy as pleasant for your German Shepherd as possible? Many toys come equipped with enticing scents and flavors, while others have a hollowed out center where you can stuff treats. These added touches encourage your dog to stay focused on the chew toy.

It may not be possible to find every one of these features in a single toy (which is why it is always a good idea to have multiples on hand), but you will certainly be able to find a chew toy that ticks at least several of these boxes at once. Try to think about which aspects may be most useful for your particular German Shepherd’s personality.

Now that you have a better idea of what to look out for when selecting a chew toy for your German Shepherd, we’ll let you in on our top picks!

Overall Best Chew Toy for German Shepherds

KONG Extreme Dog Toy

Overall Best — As a pet owner, you’ve probably heard of the KONG brand before, and there’s a good reason for that. These toys are built like no other, with a rounded design and hollow center made of highly durable rubber. KONG does not pretend that all dogs are endowed with the same level of strength, so they have different grades of rubber for different breeds and sizes. Not only is this chew toy practically indestructible (even for the powerful jaws of a German Shepherd), but it’s also versatile.

The rubber construction means that there is a little give to the structure and a lot of bounce when tossed. If you want to encourage your pup to choose this toy, the design means you can play a few rounds of fetch and praise them heavily to communicate the fact that it makes you happy when they use the toy.

Equally important as the sturdy construction is the hollow center, which makes it the single best German Shepherd toy for boredom. You can stuff this center with regular treats to give your dog quick gratification, or fill it with something like peanut butter to keep them busy when you leave the house. German Shepherds are too smart to be left to their own devices, and this toy will keep those active minds engaged.

Nylabone Puppy Chew Teething Rings Dog Toy

Best German Shepherd Puppy Chew Toy — If this toy echoes a human teething ring in your mind, you’re not off base—that’s exactly what it looks like. The best teething toys for German Shepherd puppies are similar to teething toys for humans because these dogs are so highly intelligent that they need mental stimulation in order to enjoy even a chew toy.

This teething ring toy comes in the form of several interconnected shapes made of hard plastic. It bears repeating that this toy would not hold up to a full grown German Shepherd, but it is perfect for easing the pain puppies experience when their adult teeth begin to come in. The textured surface helps ensure that those freshly cut teeth stay clean right from the start, too.

Like many chew toys, this one comes with a bacon flavor to entice your pup. Only rated as effective for dogs up to 15 pounds, this toy won’t last forever. In spite of that, it is the perfect intermediary to get you through the teething process, which infamously ranks as one of the worst stages for large breed puppies.

5 More Top Rated German Shepherd Chew Toys

Those are our top picks for both German Shepherd puppies and adults, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other great options on the market! Here are 5 more chew toys for German Shepherds that didn’t quite make it to the very top of our list, but have received high marks from dog parents.

Nylabone Power Chew Wishbone Dog Chew Toy

This toy comes equipped with some of the best possible features for a German Shepherd: it is textured, rated for extremely tough chewers, flavored, and made of durable nylon. The wishbone shape will help your dog hold on to the toy as it chews, and the Bison flavor will ensure that your pup doesn’t lose interest after a few minutes.

Even notoriously tough chewers like German Shepherds won’t be able to simply tear into this toy, and textured surface does double duty of cleaning your dog’s teeth as they chew. With a price tag of less than $10 and a 95% rate of recommendation from previous buyers, this chew is sure to give you a lot of bang for your buck.

KONG Puppy Goodie Bone With Rope Dog Toy

Another great diversion for teething puppies, this toy features a hollow rubber bone attached to a looped rope. The two textures within this toy ensure that your German Shepherd’s aching gums will find the relief they need in one place. A staple of the KONG designs, the hollowed center can be filled with any kind of tasty snack you’d like. This will keep your puppy actively engaged with this toy.

Like any puppy teething toy, this one won’t last all that long in the grand scheme of things, and would be an easy destruction target for an adult German Shepherd. If your dog is nine months or under, though, this goodie bone is an excellent chew toy option to ease the pain of the teething phase for both you and your puppy.

USA Bones and Chews Cotton Rope With Bones Dog Toy

Giving a dog a bone feels as natural as giving a goldfish water. This toy allows you to combine a long-standing dog favorite with the functionality of a chew toy by taking a woven tug rope and outfitting it with several hollow pieces of bone. It gives your dog the option to chew on two different textures, and also lends itself to tug of war play sessions between you and your German Shepherd. When you interact with a toy, it becomes more compelling for your dog.

The bone will hold up to those powerful German Shepherd jaws, and the rope will help to gently clean their teeth as they play. What’s more, there are no chemicals or artificial preservatives used for this toy, so it’s a great option for those who want to know exactly what they’re giving their dog.

Benebone Bacon Flavored Wishbone Dog Chew Toy

Another extremely tough wishbone shaped chew toy, this one is made with durable nylon and real bacon to give it a taste your German Shepherd won’t be able to resist. Though this delicious aroma and flavor may entice your dog to chew extra aggressively, be sure that they do not actually eat any of this chew toy should it begin to break.

Again, this wishbone shape allows your dog to hold onto the toy while chewing, and it is rated as safe for tough chewers. A portion of the proceeds for this toy go to animal welfare organizations, so animal lovers can do something good for their own dog and many others at the same time with this purchase. Be aware that this toy is only rated for dogs up to 70 pounds, so it should be fine for most German Shepherds, but not especially large ones.

Pestages Deerhorn Dog Chew Toy

Antlers are another highly durable dog chew that ranks as a favorite among dogs due to the taste and smell. Pestages plays into this affinity with their Deerhorn chew, as it is actually made from naturally shed antlers that have been ground up. These chews are even shaped like antlers, and feature a series of bumps at the base to add that teeth-cleaning texture.

Made without lead or phthalate, this is another more natural option that you can feel good about handing over to your German Shepherd. It is also rated for tough chewers, so adult dogs aren’t out of bounds for this chew toy.

6 Tips to Keep Your German Shepherd Entertained

There’s more to mitigating destructive behavior than simply sitting a chew toy in front of your dog. Though diversions like this certainly help, there are additional actions you can take to ensure that your German Shepherd stays entertained even when you can’t be there. Here are 6 tips to help accomplish that goal!

  1. Crate your dog – It may seem counter-intuitive, but one of the best things you can do for your German Shepherd if you have to leave them at home alone, is put them in a crate or kennel.
    Think about dogs’ ancestors—they’re den animals. Leaving your dog in a smaller domain that belongs only to them will give them fewer options for mischief and will help ease the anxiety of missing you. It will also help your German Shepherd stay focused on and entertained by the items you leave in the crate with them.
  2. Provide distractions – This goes hand in hand with crating your dog, as they will need items in their den with them in order to stay entertained. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we think chew toys are the perfect crate accessory. Providing these kinds of distractions will also help ensure that your German Shepherd’s attention does not wander to more practical crate items that you don’t want torn up, like their bed or blanket.
  3. Hire a dog-walker – German Shepherds are high energy dogs. They were bred to work tirelessly for extended periods of time, so when they don’t have an outlet for all of that energy, they tend to act out. If you are able to walk your dog during the day, that’s great! Be sure to take advantage of that option to make your pup as happy as possible. If you’re not able to do that, it’s worth considering hiring a dog walker. This service is relatively inexpensive and will make a world of difference in your social German Shepherd’s life.
  4. Don’t fall into a routine  – We’re all creatures of habit, and we inevitably go through some of the same motions everyday. Because German Shepherds have such keen minds, they pick up on your routine and can intuit when you are getting ready to leave the house. This may cause them some level of discomfort or anxiety for them.
    To keep your German Shepherd guessing, try switching things up. Put your shoes on in your bedroom rather than next to the front door, or take your dog out as soon as you wake up rather than right before you leave. These subtle changes will give your pup a small amount of mental stimulation.
  5. Work on new tricks or assignments – German Shepherds simply love to work, and they especially love to work for their favorite people. Giving your dog a task is one of the best things you can do to provide them with mental stimulation, and it can be fun or helpful for you too. Don’t underestimate what your German Shepherd is capable of. Teach them to gather up their toys and place them in a basket, or to fetch you a soda from the kitchen. Get creative and try to come up with new tasks for your sharp pup regularly.
  6. Go to dog parks or doggy daycare – Though they can be protective when necessary, German Shepherds are one of the friendliest and most loving breeds. In addition to human interaction, they like to meet new dog friends, too.
    Chances are there is a dog park within driving distance of your home. If you have the time, take your German Shepherd once or twice a week to nurse their social instincts. If you are simply too busy or there is no dog park near you, consider leaving your dog at doggy daycare on occasion instead.

Conclusion

Training a dog is an involved and exhausting process; training a highly intelligent dog is even more so. However, if you truly invest the time to set your dog up for success, your German Shepherd will reward you with its loyalty, kindness, and obedience.

We hope this guide has provided you with some insight, and inspired you to give your dog every possible tool for success—offer them attention, exercise, and distractions like chew toys. Shop our list for the right one, and you may just be surprised by the difference it makes!

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