There I am standing in the toy aisle of the pet store, and I am completely overwhelmed at all of the choices. The nice lady asks me, “What kind of dog do you have?”, and I replied that we hadn’t picked one yet, but it was going to be small to medium sized. “Ok, well, you’ll need some toys for snuggling, some toys for chewing, and some toys for playing…”
“Uh, this is a dog, remember? What is the difference?”
As it turns out – there isn’t much of a difference. Not with a wire fox terrier! Since then we have gone through endless toys and homemade gadgets to try and keep our little guy entertained, safe, and non-destructive. And along the way, we’ve learned a lot. Here’s what worked for us, what didn’t, and what you can make at home to go easy on the budget. I hope it saves you a lot of time and frustration!
Here I’m going to list some toys that we’ve had great success with. And at the end of this section, I will tell you about what we are calling the hands-down-absolute-best-ever-wire-fox-terrier-toy that we discovered by complete accident! And, I’ll show you just where to get it. Meanwhile, here are some other things that have been great.
KONG Goodie Bone – Large – MUST HAVE
First, a quick word about KONG rubber toys – make sure you get red or black. Red is for tough chewers, and black is for REALLY tough chewers. Don’t waste your time (or money) with the other colors for a wire fox terrier and their mountainous teeth.
The Kong Goodie Bone is a durable rubber bone that has holes through the ends to place treats. We have had it for a long time, and Watson hasn’t been able to destroy it in the least bit. Kong makes special treats that fit inside of it, and your pooch can chomp to break them out and eat them. But we find we get more time out of a chew session by spreading peanut butter inside of it. Just get a butter knife, get some peanut butter on it, and spread it down in there, getting it in all of the grooves. A wire fox terrier has a pretty long, thin tongue, so they can get it all out. But it will take awhile. Which is a GOOD thing! Get the large one. They’ll grow into it.
KONG Classic Dog Toy – Large – MUST HAVE
Here’s another treat-based toy from KONG that has been excellent, and won’t get destroyed. For this one, we did buy a packet of the special biscuits that go into it. They weren’t expensive, and they kind of wedge inside the toy so your dog can immediately get some of the treat, and then the rest is kind of stuck rattling inside. At first I thought our dog would get frustrated and bored with it, but I think all but one time he’s been able to get the rest of the biscuit out. Wow. We don’t use this one as much as the bone, but not really for any specific reason. We bought the black “extreme” version, but judging by the red goodie bone, we probably could have just got the red one and been just fine. The large is a good sized for a grown wire fox terrier.
KONG Wubba – Large – GOOD, but…
No, I don’t work for KONG or anything. I just knew their stuff is supposed to be really durable, so out of the toys we’ve purchased, this the brand more than any that has held up well. We bought the wubba as, I guess, a “play” toy? I don’t know. But one downside of the two toys above is that they need treats to hold the dog’s attention. And you can’t feed the dog treats all day long. So we got him this too. It ultimately fell victim to Watson’s chompers, but it took longer than with other toys. And for $10 bucks online, that’s pretty good, honestly. By the time we purchased a third one, he had pretty much learned the weak spots and was able to destroy it too quick for me to want to buy another. But for his younger days it worked well. The toy has two hard balls at the end, with a band between them, and another band at the other end squeezing the long flat flaps together. It works well because the cloth is really tight so it’s hard to get chewing on it, and when he does chew on the flaps, there’s nothing in them to pull out and eat.
You should always supervise your dog with ANY toy he plays with, and this goes for the wubba as well. What eventually gave way was the band between the balls, and once that was gone there was some slack to chew a hole in it. It lasted so long we bought a second one, but it was the kind with an animal face on it, and it didn’t last because he was able to chew the nose off of it rather quickly. So if you get a wubba, get this exact one, not one of the other varieties. It’s the only cloth-like toy that we’ve found can kind of keep up with a wire fox terrier.
KONG Alligator Cozie – GOOD, but…
This comes with a full disclosure that this toy was given to him as a puppy, and it was his “snuggle” toy in his crate. He really loved it, always slept with it, and maybe that’s why he has allowed it to survive until this day. Or, maybe that it’s in his crate, not with his other toys, so he doesn’t see it during play time. Otherwise… I fear for the alligator…
If you are getting a wire fox terrier as a puppy, it’s good to get some of these snuggle toys. We had a few, and they lasted a few months until his adult teeth came in, when he was really in a chewing mood. Just watch your dog with them so he doesn’t eat the thing, and I wouldn’t recommend any kind of stuffed plush toy for a grown wire fox terrier. Just… don’t… 🙂
Petstages Dogwood Stick – Large – VERY GOOD
This gets a very good but not must have rating because while it holds up extremely well, it doesn’t keep the dog’s attention as long as other toys. The best results we’ve had come from spreading a little peanut butter on it to get him started – and then he will keep chewing for awhile. Eventually it gets worn down some, but it’s VERY hard, so it lasts a really long time. The only thing I can imagine that is harder would be antler, but I’ve heard of dogs breaking teeth on them, so I’m not chancing it.
Chase N Chomp Amazing Squeaker Ball – 3.5″ – MUST HAVE
Ok, I saved the best for last. One day in the clearance aisle I purchased a few toys that seemed like they’d last at least a day, and took them home to Watson. Toy one – gone in a minute. Toy two – same. Toy three – lasted maybe 3 minutes. Down to toy four – some random ball I’d never seen before that I don’t even think had the right tag on it. It was really squishy, had a really distinctive squeaker inside of it, and rolled. I thought it wouldn’t last a day.
BOY was I surprised! This toy is now Watson’s hands-down, absolute favorite toy – NO TREAT NEEDED – and even more surprising is how durable it is! He gets it right in his mouth, squeezes down with his fangs – and NOTHING. Honestly – I don’t know what this is made out of but I can’t sing its praises high enough. The squeaker ball inside DID split at its seam a little, but it still squeaks just fine. And I just can’t emphasize how much he loves it. It’s weird. Bonus – the nubs on the outside of the ball means it rolls, but not too fast or far, and it kind of rolls in funny directions. It’s also large enough to not roll under most furniture. If you buy ONE toy – buy this. Seriously. Then come back and tell me how you liked it. Wire fox approved!
As you can expect, we have a much longer list of toys that didn’t work for our wire fox terrier. But rather than list every last one, I’ll list a few that stick out in my mind, with the reasons why they didn’t work. With that information, you’ll be able to avoid similar toys for your wire.
KONG Tugga Wubba – Large – NOT SO GREAT
See, I told you I don’t work for KONG! This seemed like a great chewy-type thing, like the wubba, so we bought one. I think it lasted just a few days. The problem is spelled R-O-P-E. Don’t waste your money on anything that’s built with rope, unless you are going to literally be hanging onto it the whole time and playing tug. As soon as Watson gets anything made of rope, he either sticks his little front teeth in and starts ripping the individual strands, or he sticks it in his back molars (which on a wire fox terrier look like the Tetons) and cuts right through it. Once it starts unravelling, it’s over, he’s swallowing it. And rope pieces don’t make for the cleanest exit, if you know what I mean. So skip this, and skip any toys with rope. Really.
KONG Fire Hose Ballistic Square – NOT SO GREAT
“Made of strong fire hose, etc etc etc”. Uh, have you SEEN the back teeth of a wire fox terrier? This toy is small and flat enough to go right back there and get shredded. That’s the other key to any toy. Proof:
If it’s small, or thin, or can fit to the back of their very-long mouths, it goes to the shredder teeth. And little can survive the shredder teeth. The toy was frayed very quickly, and ended up in the trash. Skip it.
Petco Nubby Blue Shark – DECENT FOR A PUPPY
The picture makes it look so cute. And it was. But it’s a big, squishy, plush toy. It will last awhile during puppy hood, but again, for an adult dog, skip it. That’s pretty much anything plush – good for a puppy (under supervision) – waste of money for an adult wire fox terrier.
So even with a few examples, you’re starting to see what doesn’t work for an adult wire fox terrier: (1) anything with rope, (2) anything they can easily fit into their back teeth that isn’t extremely durable (like rubber or hard plastic), and (3) anything plush. That being said, once in awhile I’ll pick up a few things for $1.00 at the clearance aisle that I know are only going to last a few minutes, just to give him something new to play with. But most of the time if I’m desperate for something new, I use one of the homemade items below.
Let’s face it, dog toys don’t last forever, and they aren’t cheap. That’s why I buy smart, I buy them online, and I also use what I have around the house. Here are three of my favorites. Your mileage may vary, and as mentioned, always supervise your dog when chewing or playing with any toy.
Bottle in a Sock
Take an old plastic water bottle, the
disposable – I mean recyclable kind – empty it, screw the lid back on, and throw it in a big sock. Tie the end of the sock closed in a knot, and there you have it. It has the soft cuddliness of your old sock, with the noisiness of a crunchy water bottle. Very cheap, very easy to replace. Good fun.
Braided Fleece Blanket
We have a couple of fleece blankets – just sheets really – that we’ve had since the puppy stages, and noticed that fleece is pretty good at not getting ripped. So we cut one up into strips, braided it, and bingo – a good chew toy for the dog that holds up remarkably well. WAY better than rope! Good for tugging, snuggling, whatever.
Tennis Ball in a Sock
Back to socks – they are very popular – especially if they are stinky! They can get destroyed fairly quickly, so use an old one, and keep an eye on it. Our dog loves tennis balls too – but there are two problems. First, they roll under furniture way too easily, and then the furniture gets attacked. And second, those little foxy teeth love to tear off the green fuzz and eat it. Stick the ball in a sock, and problem solved. Sometimes we throw a treat in there too to keep the scent interesting.
In summary, just remember what aggressive chewers wire fox terriers are. They L-O-V-E to chew! So don’t buy what is cute, buy what will last. Your dog and your wallet will both thank you! Current wire fox terrier owners – what toys have you had success/failure with? Let us know in the comments below!