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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Emma Gill

My Labrador chew tested dog toys from Wilko, Pets at Home, Quality Save, Aldi, Lidl and more - this £5 one was a winner

I was told that Labradors love to chew, but when we welcomed our puppy Milo into our home I can't say I was fully prepared for the destruction.

We've lost corners of tables, edges off flooring and went through at least three dog beds before finding one he wouldn't rip apart.

At two years of age he's calmed down a lot since the early days and rarely touches the furniture, except for the cushions that is. You can pretty much guarantee that left to his own devices in the living room, he'll end up having a little cushion party on the floor.

That's because he loves to chew on soft things.

Read more: The main reason for mould in your home - and how to stop it coming back

It didn't end well for Tesco's Sid the snake (Manchester Family / MEN)

The problem we've found though is that generally, any dog toy with any sort of soft part to it will simply be destroyed within minutes.

We've got a whole shelf that's become something of a toy graveyard, until we have the time and motivation to see if any can be repaired.

So with Christmas coming and most people wanting to get their canine companions a treat, we thought we'd test out some dog toys to see if we could find any that can hold their own - ones that are good for chewing, but also playing games like tug-of-war.

Ziggy the zebra was one of Milo's favourites, but he liked him a little too much, see picture below (Manchester Family / MEN)

We opted for budget stores like Aldi, Lidl, B&M and Quality Save, as well as Wilko, Pets at Home and some lesser known, but rather impressive, brands we found online.

Of course we had to give them all names because, well, that's just what you do isn't it. It is in our house anyway.

Our winner was a £5 alligator from Wilko, which, despite some extensive chewing, has really gone the distance. And it's included in the retailer's ' 2 for £7 mix and match offer ' so you can get it even cheaper.

The £5 Wilko alligator was our overall winner (Manchester Family / MEN)

Here's our list of toys and how they coped

Bruce the gorilla, Wilko, £4 (or 2 for £7)

Bruce looks like he means business doesn't he? (main photo). The Gorilla Rope Arm Dog Toy from Wilko was definitely one of Milo's favourites. He wouldn't leave him alone. Sadly Bruce quickly paid the price for his popularity - it wasn't long before he'd lost a leg. His main body survived but his ability to play tug of war has diminished somewhat.

Bruce wasn't happy after losing his leg (Manchester Family / MEN)

Sally the giraffe, Lidl, £4.99

I thought Sally had been torn apart in seconds, but it turns out all the pieces separate so you end up with individual bits.

The pieces separate so you end up with individual bits (Manchester Family / MEN)

That worked well to avoid any tearing, but it meant she wasn't much good for pulling games as whichever bit you or the dog get hold of just comes away from the rest.

Milo enjoyed playing with it though and all except for the main body have lasted. Once he got his teeth into it that was it. Game over.

Poor Sally didn't stand a chance (Manchester Family / MEN)

Ziggy the zebra, Wilko, £6

This was another of his favourites. He liked its squeaky arms and the fact he could really nuzzle into the long body and chew on the various rope parts.

I think he liked this one a bit too much and it wasn't long before the main handle was ripped and he was left in a rather sorry state.

Ziggy the zebra is now unrecognisable (Manchester Family / MEN)

Daffy duck, Wilko, £3.50

Again this one has a squeaker and Milo particularly liked the crinkly sound of the material inside Daffy's wings. The Natural Looking Bird toy, which comes in two designs, proved quite tough too, just not tough enough to last the distance. He liked this one for playing fetch, but there wasn't much to grab hold of for a pulling contest.

Daffy the duck proved to be pretty strong (Manchester Family / MEN)

Sid the snake, Tesco, £6

I had high hopes for Sid. He looked quite durable. Tesco does stress that 'this toy is NOT indestructible', but I wasn't expecting it to be destroyed quite as quickly as it was. In just a few minutes poor Sid's tongue was gone and that gave Milo an entry point to the insides which he swiftly pulled out. Within 15 minutes the entire thing was destroyed, with just a bit of rope left for him to chew on.

Sid the Tesco snake was quickly destroyed (Manchester Family / MEN)

Bobo the beaver, Wilko, £4

One of the cutest of them all was Bobo the beaver with his soft head, legs and arms and a rope knot ball for his body.

He lasted a good few days before he lost an ear and the other was chewed off not long after. The knot ball proved tough and is still going strong but how long the rest of him will last is anyone's guess.

Bobo has lost his ears but his knot ball body is going strong (Manchester Family / MEN)

Sammy the snake, Quality Save, £2.49

A 'rough and tough dog toy' that's 'stronger than your average toy' it said on the label, but Sammy wasn't much of a match for Milo I'm afraid.

Despite seeming to have a tough exterior, fabric mixed with some harder plastic sections, he appeared to suffer the same fate as Tesco Sid. Although his tongue remained intact, the rest of him was pretty much destroyed within a few hours.

Sammy was no match for Milo (Manchester Family / MEN)

Arnie the alligator, Wilko, £5 (or 2 for £7)

This was our overall winner so I think Arnie was a particularly good choice of name for the Wilko Alligator Dog Toy.

Described as being 'ideal to tug, play and retrieve' it turned out to be exactly that.

The main body shows no sign of chewing at all and although Milo has now made a tear in one of the legs, it took a good while for that to happen. Don't get me wrong, I doubt Arnie will still be with us next Christmas, but he's done well to get this far and is still going strong.

He's got an injured leg but Arnie is otherwise unscathed (Manchester Family / MEN)

Tough Stuff bone shaped toy, B&M, £3.50 (actually £3)

With a 'super tough woven mesh and durable webbing' this looked like another strong competitor.

The shape of it means it's obviously better for fetch than tug of war, and it has lasted quite well considering the chomping that has come its way.

It said £3.50 on the label, but was £3 at the till so is perhaps being discontinued.

This one floats, but sadly Milo made a hole in it before we had chance to use it in the water so I don't fancy its chances now. Plus he'll just go for the insides now he's made a hole.

Tough Stuff bone shaped toy, B&M (Manchester Family / MEN)

Sausage Rope Toy, B&M, £2.50

I wasn't expecting much from these little sausages but Milo certainly enjoyed playing with them - and chasing after them.

The label says 'perfect for tug and play' and they actually performed quite well for a number of days before we started losing the bangers one by one.

He's left with just one on the rope now and still plays with it, although it's a much smaller toy than how it started out.

It started well, but Milo's now left with just one sausage on a rope (Manchester Family / MEN)

Sharky, Zoon Tugga Jaws, Bents, £14.99

You can tell from the feel of this one that it's a good quality fabric and Milo was excited to get his chops around it.

It's taken quite a battering in the tug of war stakes, with rings perfectly positioned on either end, and really held its own. It was only when he spent some intense chewing time with it that he managed to fray the rope and tear the material - almost pulling its tail off.

We picked this Zoon branded toy up from Bents Garden and Home, but it's also available online from the likes of Very or Freemans.

Sharky held his own, but his tail is now almost off (Manchester Family / MEN)


I hadn't heard of this brand until I started Googling 'tough dog toys' and I'm so glad I came across tug-e-nuff.

Again they stress that their toys aren't indestructible and these in particular are meant for interactive play, rather than a dog simply being left to chew.

Milo can't get enough of his tug-e-nuff toy (Manchester Family / MEN)

I can't tell you how much Milo loves the Faux Fur Squeaky Bungee Chaser. There's a large fluffy bite area, which you'd think would easily fall apart, attached to a long padded handle, which you'd think would easily tear away from the main bit.

It doesn't. Trust me. Milo has done so much tugging with this thing and you can really feel the strength in the shock absorbing bungee.

He enjoys chasing it around and making lots of noise with the squeaker inside the fluffy bit, which is why it's now definitely in need of a good wash.

He's done some tugging with this thing (Manchester Family / MEN)

The best bit is how much it tires him out chasing the thing. I think it's the concentration he uses thinking which direction I'm going to take it in. At £21.95 it's not cheap, but in my opinion it's worth every penny.

The tug-e-nuff PowerBall Bungee, £16.95, has also gone the distance, but he's not done much chewing on it really and again it's more for interactive play.

The tug-e-nuff PowerBall Bungee also fared well (Manchester Family / MEN)

Ball, Pets at Home, £10

The Ballistic Nylon Ball Dog Toy from Pets at Home's Ruff & Tuff range has proved to be as strong as it looks.

The material is double layered, with a rubber coating and its thicker seams give it extra durability.

He's not really spent time chewing it, but it's coped well with your typical throw and fetch and shows little sign of wear. We've only used it indoors up to now so I'm not sure it would look as good given some outside play.

It's a good size if you've got a bigger dog like Milo and the bonus is it's too big to roll under the sofa so we're not losing it like we are his other balls.

The Ballistic Nylon Ball Dog Toy from Pets at Home has proved to be as strong as it looks (Manchester Family / MEN)

Hose Snake Dog Toy, Pets at Home, £10

Another from Pets at Home is the zig-zag shaped Fire Hose Snake Toy.

Again from the Ruff and Tuff range, this is also double layered and double stitched. Unfortunately Milo is double determined and while he didn't seem to play with it too much, he chewed one end and frayed the material, which also meant one of the squeakers fell out of the end. It didn't seem to capture his attention at all really.

The Hose Snake Dog Toy didn't last too long (Manchester Family / MEN)

Dave the Dino Dog Toy, Aldi, £4.99

We picked up this dino toy from Aldi's Pet Collection and decided to call him Dave.

Dave doesn't really do much, but he does have a squeak and Milo seemed keen for a bit of a chew and a game of fetch.

He's pretty tough overall and I was quite impressed for £4.99, but it wasn't long before he suffered a neck injury at the hands of his fury friend, so we all know what happens next.

Dino Dave did well, until he suffered a neck injury (Manchester Family / MEN)

K9Connectables, from £9

This was another brand I hadn't heard of, and the toys are a bit more unusual to the rest.

They're not so much tug toys, but enrichment toys - helping to calm and settle dogs by challenging them to use their brains.

You can buy lots of different pieces either separately or in a pack and they all 'connect together in over a million different ways'. Christmas bundles are now available, which come with a cute festive bag to keep them in.

Milo eyeing up his K9Connectables (Manchester Family / MEN)

The idea is to put treats inside them so your dog has to use their brain to 'work and play for their dinner'.

I've not managed to get hold of the bone-shaped treats yet - I'm told they'll be in stock this week - but I added some of Milo's peanut butter to the various sections and it kept him busy for a good 20 minutes. Nothing lasts much longer than that. But then you already know that!

Christmas bundles of the K9Connectables are available online (Manchester Family / MEN)

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