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Are Nylabones safe for dogs?

Are Nylabones safe for dogs
(Image credit: Nylabone)

Are Nylabones safe for dogs? We don’t blame you if you’ve been wondering! There has been a lot of talk about them lately, with the company finding itself in the middle of a debate amongst pet parents.

When it comes to the best durable dog toys, Nylabones are a popular choice for dog owners with an aggressive chewer on their hands. But they’re not without their controversy, and that’s largely due to a misunderstanding of what a Nylabone is.

Unlike the best dog treats, Nylabones aren’t for eating, although we understand the confusion. Their very name suggests they’re safe for consumption, but don’t let that mislead you – ingesting parts of Nylabone can cause severe illness, or even death, in your precious pooch.

While they’re not something to be putting on the menu, are Nylabones safe for dogs to play with? Let’s take a closer look at this popular dog toy and find out.

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What is a Nylabone?

Nylabones have been popular since they first hit shelves in the 1950s, but at first glance, their name is misleading. When a word with ‘bone’ in it is used in relation to a dog product, it’s usually associated with something edible, yet the Nylabone is definitely not fit for consumption.

It’s actually made from Nylon, a form of plastic, that’s then coated in a flavoring, such as chicken, beef, peanut butter, or bacon that creates a delicious taste most dogs will want to keep chewing on.

The idea behind the Nylabone is that if you have a dog who’s an aggressive chewer and prone to acts of destruction, giving them a Nylabone will help you train them to only chew where you want them to.

Separation anxiety in dogs is also quite a common issue, so some pet parents will also use Nylabones as a way of soothing their hound when they’re home alone. We’ll mention this again later, but it’s important enough to warrant it being said twice – we recommend you don’t leave your pooch unsupervised with a Nylabone.

As a non-edible chew, Nylabones come in a range of shapes, sizes, and flavors, and include rings that can be given to teething puppies.

Are Nylabones dangerous?

Being made of plastic, Nylabones pose a serious risk to your dog if they’re consumed, but when it comes to play, they’re no more dangerous than any other chew toy.

If you’re wanting to get your dog a Nylabone (and plenty of pet parents do!), then the most important thing is to use your common sense. As with any of the best dog toys, inspect the Nylabone regularly, and when it looks worn or is getting close to breaking, replace it.

You’ll also notice if you’re shopping on Amazon or other online retailers that the material of the non-edible chews is clearly listed as being nylon, so checking that before you purchase will help avoid any confusion.

There are lots of different Nylabones on the market, which is why doing some research can be helpful. You’ll want to ensure you select the right Nylabone for your dog’s size, age, and needs.

Are Nylabones safe for dogs? Small dog sitting on floor with blue Nylabone between paws

(Image credit: Facebook/Nylabone)

Here’s what the team at Nylabone have to say about picking out one of their products:

“It is important to select the appropriate chew toy type, size, and formulation based on your dog's age, breed, chewing style, and weight. The pressure exerted by a strong chewer's jaw is considerable, and when directed straight down can put tremendous (as much as 450 psi) stress on the dog's teeth. It is therefore recommended that nonedible chew toys be large enough to encourage chewing from the side rather than the top and bottom. If you have more than one dog in your household, select chew toys that are appropriate for your largest, strongest chewer.”

As we mentioned above, any dog that’s been given a Nylabone should be supervised when using it. While the Nylabone has been constructed to make sure large chunks can’t be broken off, nothing is ever 100% safe and if your dog does snap off and swallow a large piece, they’ll need to be taken to the vet immediately.

Nylabone safety tips

1) Conduct regular checks: It’s a good idea to have a look at your dog’s Nylabone after each use. While that may sound like we’re being pedantic, regularly inspecting the chew toy will let you quickly catch if any pieces have been broken off. You’ll also be able to spot when the Nylabone is starting to wear down, and needs replacing.

2) Supervision: Never leave your dog alone when they’re playing with their Nylabone. It can be frustrating when you’ve finally got some peace to have to keep watching them, but if a piece breaks off you’ll be able to move it out of their way so that it doesn’t present a choking hazard.

3) Proper storage: Being made of plastic, the Nylabone will be affected by the heat if it’s left out in the sun. When plastic melts, it releases toxic chemicals, so always store this toy away when not in use, preferably out of reach of your dog.

A final word on Nylabones

So there you have it, everything you need to know about Nylabones! Remember, non-edible Nylabones are no more dangerous than other chew toys when used under the proper supervision, but they are most definitely not to be ingested. 

If you’re feeling concerned about getting your dog a Nylabone, but still need a toy that will hold up to an aggressive chewer, why not check out our guide on how to use Kong toys?

We’re huge fans of these hollow rubber toys, and they can be smeared with peanut butter, yogurt, canned pumpkin, or dog food, for a delicious mentally and physically stimulating treat.

Kathryn Rosenberg

Kathryn is a freelance writer with a passion for creating health and wellness, travel and wildlife content. Originally from New Zealand, her nomadic lifestyle has her currently fur baby-less. She scratches her pet parent itch by stealing frequent cuddles with any neighbourhood cat kind enough to indulge her.