Fab or flub? Finding a chew-proof dog toy

Posted Monday, Aug. 11, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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As the owner of a 5-year-old Pembroke Welsh corgi named Gizmo, I’ve thrown down a good chunk of change buying toys to occupy my furry friend’s time.

When your dog is as rambunctious and energetic as mine, the toy must not only be able to capture his attention (squeaky toys are the cat’s meow for this pup), it must also be super-durable. Unfortunately, I’ve found that durable isn’t a word that describes the majority of dog toys on the market.

Whether a toy is low end or high end, bought at Wal-Mart or PetSmart, doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. I’ve tried a lot of squeaky toys and not one has been a match for my dog. Gizmo can tear squeakers out of toys in under 15 minutes: No material is a match for his teeth.

After so many destroyed toys, I’ve had to re-evaluate the value of these purchases. The expense of all those $8-plus toys can add up, especially when a dog only gets about 30 minutes of enjoyment from one, at the most.

Still, I like to keep my dog happy, and I often find myself wandering down the doggie toy aisle again, wondering what will be Gizmo’s next “victim.” On a recent PetSmart visit, I settled on the ToyShoppe gecko squeaker dog toy.

Made from polyester fiber — for durability — the toy features internal squeakers that supposedly keep squeaking even after being punctured by a dog’s teeth. It’s $17 price tag struck me as pretty steep; it was far more than I had ever paid for a toy.

But it was Gizmo’s birthday and I had my trusty PetPerks discount card, so I decided to gamble that I’d found a toy that would last longer than an afternoon.

First impression

I’ll admit that when my boyfriend first pointed out the ToyShoppe gecko squeaker dog toy, I didn’t give it more than a glance and a shake of my head. It looked rather cheap and didn’t appear to be any more durable than others that Gizmo’s jaws of death had destroyed.

The toy looks like someone took a stuffed gecko and removed all of its insides so that it lays flat. Strategically placed inside are plastic squeakers, evenly spaced and running down the length of the gecko’s body.

I assume that the lack of stuffing might be to make it harder for dogs to tear the squeakers out of the toy. All in all, it seemed rather simply designed and unremarkable. The only real selling point was the claim that it would squeak even when punctured. Eventually, that intrigued me enough to buy it.

Fab or flub?

Flub!

ToyShoppe’s gecko squeaker dog toy turned out to be no match for my 30-pound furball. It only took half an hour for it to become another squeak-no-more toy.

I couldn’t even find where Gizmo might have punctured it. In fact, other than being saturated by saliva, there didn’t appear to be anything wrong with it. Inspecting it further, my boyfriend decided that Gizmo had actually flattened all of the speakers with his teeth.

He actually “popped” the squeakers back into shape, but their squeak was gone.

Despite this disappointment, it wasn’t the end: Gizmo took about another day to completely tear out each squeaker and annihilate what was left of the toy.

In the end, the final score was still Gizmo: 1, Toys: 0 — and my dog-pleasing wallet was still minus more money than I care to contemplate.

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