When Nylabone first appeared on the market, it was the safe, flavorful alternative to rawhide. As owners to a pair of dogs whose zeal for chewing knew no bounds, we were delighted. So were the dogs.
It’s natural to want to make sure the toys you give your pets are safe. So, as time went on, an increasing number of dog owners began asking, “are Nylabones safe for dogs?”
We were curious, too, so we started investigating. Here’s what we found out.
Are Nylabones Safe for Dogs?
Objectively, Nylabones are excellent dog toys. This fact is especially true if you, like us, have an aggressive chewer on your hands. They are pretty much indestructible, and they last significantly longer than traditional bones.
All these are good things. So why worry over whether Nylabones are safe for dogs? Before tackling whether Nylabones are safe for dogs, let’s address what Nylabone is.
What Is Nylabone?
- MADE OF DURABLE NYLON - Long lasting dog chew toy challenges even the most aggressive chewers and discourages destructive chewing
- PROMOTES DOG DENTAL HEALTH - Ridges and nubs help prevent plaque and tartar buildup as dogs chew
- MADE IN THE USA - Dog chew toy is proudly made in the United States
- FOR LARGE DOGS - Size Large chew toy is intended for dogs up to 50 pounds
- SAVORY BACON & CHICKEN FLAVOR - Dog chew toy features an irresistible taste throughout that dogs love
To start with, the name is a misnomer. There are bones out there made from natural materials like antler or elkhorn. Nylabone isn’t one of these. In fact, it’s not a bone at all.
Nylabones are made from nylon and plastic. Depending on how overambitious a chewer your dog is, these rigid plastic bones can fracture and splinter over time.
Assuming your dogs, like ours, are as unconcerned about what they eat as they are about what they chew, you will quickly see the problem here.
Nylabones come in a variety of dog-friendly flavors, among them:
- Peanut Butter
However, are they safe for your dog to eat? Not remotely. They’re a preferable alternative to chewing on, say, your banister or your antique chair legs. However, despite the flavorful coating, the answer to whether Nylabones are safe to eat is a resounding no.
If Nylabones Aren’t Safe for Dogs, Why Are They Popular?
Nylabone came about because, back in the 1950s, someone, somewhere, got fed up with dogs gently gnawing all the best furniture and set out to invent a toy that taught appropriate chewing behavior.
If that’s all you use a Nylabone for, and provided you supervise your dogs closely, you may even feel that these toys are safe for your dog.
In all honesty, provided all your dog does is chew the bone, they should be fine. The problem is that the flavored coating on Nylabone encourages your dog to try and eat the bone. As does the bone design. After all, most dogs never met a bone they couldn’t munch.
Confusing matters further, Nylabone also produces edible Nylabones that are as safe for doggy consumption as any other pet treat. The Nylabone isn’t one of these.
However, while Nylabone is at its best as a supervised dog toy, that’s not how people use it. Instead, they found that gnawing Nylabones could be therapeutic for dogs with separation anxiety.
By very definition, a dog that experiences separation anxiety experiences it when you aren’t there. So, you have no way of monitoring the dog’s play. And as discussed, the answer to “are Nylabones safe for dogs during unsupervised play?” is no.
Are Nylabones Dangerous to Dogs?
Nylabones, like anything else, can become dangerous when misused. It’s not that the toy is inherently risky. The idea behind it is even quite clever.
The reason Nylabones aren’t safe for dogs has to do with the materials they’re made from. Nylabones are a combination of nylon and plastic, and with repeated play sessions, these materials can fracture and splinter.
Additionally, serious consequences can ensue if your dog eats a Nylabone. The risks range from inconvenient choking hazards to severe illness that, left untreated, results in death.
Are There Ways to Make Nylabone Safe for Dogs?
Before you panic, we should stress that while Nylabones aren’t safe for dogs to eat, there’s nothing any more dangerous about Nylabones as a dog toy than there is any other dog toy on the market.
That said, taking precautions will make your dog’s play sessions with Nylabones safer.
We recommend limiting Nylabone activity to supervised play sessions as a precaution. In and of themselves, Nylabones are safe for dogs to play with. It’s when those pieces of masticated plastic find their way into canine stomachs that you have a problem.
With that in mind, keep an eye on your dog and the Nylabone. If your dog looks ready to swallow their toy, take it away. Similarly, replace it if the Nylabone begins to fracture, splinter, or show signs of age.
If you notice pieces breaking off of the Nylabone, grab them before your dog can swallow them.
Size Your Nylabone
One of the advantages of Nylabones is that they come in a variety of sizes. They range from teething toy options to extra-large bones for large dogs. Ensuring you pick the right size of Nylabone will reduce the risk of your dog choking on or swallowing the bone.
Nylabone also advises that when sizing your chew toy to ensure Nylabones are safe for dogs, you select an option that prioritizes chewing from the side rather than the top or bottom of the bone. This reduces the amount of pressure on the jaw and teeth while still effectively reducing plaque.
Store Nylabones Properly
It’s also worth noting that Nylabones don’t hold up to heat well. This isn’t a toy to leave out in the garden on a hot summer’s day. After prolonged and intense sun exposure, nylon and plastic can start releasing harmful chemicals.
To ensure your dog’s safety, don’t leave this toy out in the sun. It’s also preferable that you store it somewhere cool and dark. If the storage spot is out of the reach of your dog, even better.
Are Nylabones Safe? Final Thoughts
Are Nylabones safe? It depends on how your dog plays with them. Inappropriate consumption of the Nylabone material can cause serious problems for your dog, and in that sense, it’s dangerous.
However, provided you take precautions, Nylabones are no more dangerous than any other chew toy. Ensure you monitor the bone’s condition, replace it when necessary and remove all extraneous splinters or shards. That way, your dog can enjoy a long, safe session with a Nylabone.
If the worst happens and they swallow a piece before you intervene, don’t hesitate to call the vet.