Nylabone Dangers

If there's one thing that unites most dogs, it's that they love to chew. Some dogs have such an insatiable appetite for chewing that it can be hard for owners to find things for their dog to chew on that don't have to be constantly replaced. Dogs need chew toys to keep them from chewing on things that we don't want them to chew on, like our sneakers! And, of course, some things are not healthy for dogs to chew on, such as bones that splinter easily.

dog chews on plastic bone while in her basket
Nylabone Dangers
credit: marcoventuriniautieri/iStock/GettyImages

Nylabone chew toys

Nylabone chew toys are an alternative to natural bones that, if used incorrectly, can break apart and cause your puppy or dog to choke. They are intended to be long-lasting, so your dog can keep chewing and keep themselves busy and satisfied. But some issues have come up over the years that make people question if a Nylabone made of synthetic materials is safe or not.

These chew toys are alternatives to other natural chew toys such as rawhides and bully sticks. If the Nylabone chew toy is not used correctly and is not disposed of and replaced when they get worn out, your dog could be at risk.

What is Nylabone made of?

As the name suggests, the ingredient in the original Nylabone chew toy is nylon. The original version also added a chicken flavor that makes dogs want to keep chewing. Nylabone has many different flavors and shapes of chew toys now, but the original ones were shaped like a bone. They are hard, although they are also flexible.

According to Explain That Stuff, nylon is a versatile synthetic material that is found in many different things in today's world. It is a type of plastic that can be made into fibers, such as for clothing or carpet, or into solid materials such as a cereal bowl, or a Nylabone chew toy.

Nylabones come in different "chew strengths" depending on whether the dog is a puppy with soft, developing teeth. Adult dogs can chew harder things, and the Nylabone chew toys also come in different sizes, to accommodate larger or smaller dogs.

Advantages of Nylabone

Nylabone chew toys are pretty affordable. And if your dog is not a tough chewer, they can last long enough to make them a good choice because they don't have to be replaced too often.

Nylabone has developed many different products in different shapes and sizes, they've added more flavors (your dog probably loves bacon flavor as much as you do!), and different chew strengths. Because of this variety of options, you're likely to be able to find a chew toy your dog likes.

Nylabone danger

Although Nylabone chew toys are long-lasting, no chew is indestructible. Nylabone's FAQ says to "replace when the chew toy knuckle ends are worn down, or if it becomes too small for your dog to chew safely." The "chew safely" part takes some explanation. But Nylabone's website doesn't give any explanation of what "chew safely" actually means, so you'll have to use your best judgment.

An article in Canine Journal says that a chewed-up Nylabone could start breaking apart. The original warning from Nylabone that appears in this article is no longer on the Nylabone website, but that warning also said to consult a veterinarian if you think your dog swallowed a "large" piece of Nylabone.

The size of a large piece is also not defined, and while that may vary depending on the size of your dog, it suggests that pieces larger than a grain of rice should not be consumed and could be dangerous for your dog.

Nylabone and seizures

In case you have ever heard that Nylabones cause seizures in dogs, Snopes did a fact-check on that and concluded that seizures are not a danger in relation to Nylabones. According to Snopes, in March 2016, a message began circulating on Facebook that a Nylabone-brand pet product had caused a dog to have a seizure. While that was a verifiable message posted by a real person, the investigation concluded that the seizure was not caused by Nylabone chew toys.

Nylabone responded to that issue in a statement that said the Facebook message was a case of "misinformation" and that all Nylabone products are made from non-toxic, pet-safe materials that are specifically designed for chewing.

Nylabone recall

PetMD reported that there was a case of a recall by Nylabone, but that wasn't related to dogs ingesting pieces of the chew toys. The 2015 recall was for a single lot of Nylabone's Puppy Starter Kit dog chews because of potential Salmonella contamination. Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and fever in humans as well as dogs.

Is Nylabone toxic?

Any Nylabone dangers seem to be related to a dog chewing on a Nylabone so much that it starts to break apart, and they then ingest a piece larger than what is deemed safe. The dangers have not proven to be related to toxins or poisons in the chews themselves. As long as the pieces of Nylabone are small enough to pass through your dog's digestive system, or the size of a grain of rice, there should be no danger. The nylon is not digestible, therefore it should not be eaten.

The question is whether the piece will be large enough for them to choke on it or it potentially gets stuck somewhere in their digestive tract. Before giving a dog a Nylabone, make sure the bone is intact and whole. If there are cracks or other chunks already missing, it's probably best to err on the side of caution and replace it. Keep in mind Nylabone's warning that the chew toys should be replaced when the knuckle ends are worn down.

Always give the right-size and temper of Nylabone to your dog based on his size and the type of chewer he is. If you give a large, powerful chewer a soft chew toy, you will likely end up with the chew toy breaking apart fast enough that it could be dangerous.

Nylabone in the dishwasher?

Nylabone's FAQ says their chew toys and chew treats should not be washed in a dishwasher or washing machine, autoclaved, or boiled. Nor should it be cleaned by heating in a convection or microwave oven. Any of these methods may weaken the Nylabone and break down its fibers to the point of making it unsafe for further chewing. Simply clean the Nylabone by scrubbing it with a brush under warm water using mild, nontoxic detergent, then rinse thoroughly.

Choosing a safe chew toy

Preventive Vet provides some ways to tell if a chew toy is safe for your dog. Its list of things to test for can help you figure out whether a particular object is likely to be safe for your dog to chew on:

  1. Hardness: Using a thumbnail, give the toy a gentle press. The toy should "give" a little when you press it with your thumbnail. If it doesn't, it could be too hard for your dog and may break her teeth.

  2. Softness and Durability: If it is too soft, the toy might break apart too fast and become a choking hazard.

  3. Coating**:** It should not be coated or treated with flavorings that can cause digestive upset or support the growth of bacteria; for example, the coating on pig's ears.

  4. Size and Shape: It should be the right size for your dog and not of a size or shape that she could get her tongue or muzzle stuck in it. A small toy for a large dog could be a choking hazard, and a too-large toy could cause jaw damage.

  5. Washability: Ideally, it's a long-lasting toy that you can easily and safely clean and disinfect by putting in a dishwasher or washing machine.

  6. Entertainment Value: It should be long-lasting enough that it will give your dog plenty of entertainment and distraction.