Pugsley is chewer.
When he was just a pup, he tore everything up – my favorite pair of shoes (RIP, favorite pair of shoes), wires, etc. I was desperate, so I purchased bitter apple spray to deter him from chewing this house down. I sprayed everything – shoes, wires, furniture, etc. While it worked for a while, I realized that this is just his thing. I stopped buying him soft plush toys and started buying him chew toys. I was especially interested in interactive toys as to keep his brain going.
One of the first “interactive” toys I bought him was a Kyjen Square Penguin Mat. It squeaked when he pounced, chewed, wrestled it. That quickly got very annoying for me, and actually made him a little aggressive. It was almost like he was mad that it was “talking back.”
While visiting Cornerstone Pets one day, I discovered these Petsafe Busy Buddy toys. It’s almost like a BBQ stick – it has the hard plastic piece that holds the rubbery middle piece and the treats together. You slip these “gnawhide” rings onto the toy (think flat round Nerf ammo, or candy peach rings). I first tried the Bouncy Bone model (rubbery round ball on a hard plastic bone-shaped “base”), which was really nice, until Pugsley figured it out and was able to tear those suckers right off. I was intrigued, because Pugs wanted the treats so bad, he was starting to use his paws and even started rolling around with it, challenged. It takes him about two hours or more to get through to most of the treat. Once he realizes he can’t get much further, she starts tossing it in the air makes a ton of noise on the hardwood floor. Its his way of telling me he wants more.
The second model I bought was the Nubbly Nobbly, pictured above. This model was a lot more difficult for him as there was limited space in between the toy and the treats. I like Busy Buddy toys – they’re inexpensive, reusable, washable, and gets your dog going. It is a pain to have to repurchase the refills for the treats, but what the heck, that’s what Amazon Prime is for. Even the refills are affordable! There are different flavors, which we haven’t yet experimented with – every time I hit up Cornerstone Pets, they’re out of the sweet potato flavor (I don’t know if I’d get the bacon flavor for Pugsley). There’s generally a variety – most flavored treats are cornstarch based, but there’s also a natural rawhide option. There are usually 16 to a pack and the prices range from anywhere between $6-10, depending on size and quantity.
IMPORTANT: Once your dog can’t chew any further, he will continue to chew. I’m pretty sure its impossible for a dog to chew the entire treat off, so a tiny ring or gnawhide remains. I always keep an eye on Pugsley when he’s chewing on toys, especially plastic toys, because he goes to town and tends to bite into the hard plastic ends of the toy, as you may be able to tell by the photos. It poses a serious hazard as his teeth can be seriously damaged. I usually take it away from him once he’s gotten most of the gnawhide as to discourage him from trying to chew on the hard plastic ends.
Also, once your dog gets to the hard plastic “base” and ends of the toy, the grooves that his chewing makes is a total hair/lint/other hard to remove fabric crap collector. I usually remove any fabrics before I give it to him to play with again, but it is a pain.
I steered clear of the Busy Buddy toys with the bristles. As alluring as it sounds – “Oh, wow! This will totally clean his teeth while he gnaws away!” – but after reading the reviews on Amazon, it really put it into perspective for me. In one comment, apparently, the bristle parts of the toy broke off and ultimately killed one woman’s pup. Sad news.
Final Rating: 4/5 – If you’re responsible, this will make for a really good chew toy for your dog. They’ll go to town, chewing and using their paws to get the gnawhide. This, like many other chew toys, shouldn’t be given to dog an unsupervised dog.