One of our DogTrekker staff dogs (call him Shredder) has a prey drive so powerful that anything stuffed that gets in his path can be considered dead meat. He confetti-ized half a dozen Costco dog beds (they’re a steal at $20 each) before being relegated to a blanket on the floor (it, too, ended up in tatters). We were poking around at Tuesday Morning a few months ago when we stumbled upon the Nap Kennel Pad, which is more akin to camping pad for humans than a traditional dog bed. This flat, 1-3/4” foam mat upholstered in tough, water-resistant poly canvas proved the magic-wand solution for Shredder. It may not be soft and cushy, but it keeps his bohunkus off the cold floor, which after all is the primary function of a dog bed. Works for him, works for us—and at $25 for the large size, it didn’t break the bank. (The Tuesday Morning website lists this item as an Allied Aero Foam Crate Mat, but as far as we can tell, it’s the same thing.)
Finding toys for shredders is also a challenge, at least if you want to move out of the indestructible Kong category. Last holiday season, the aforementioned Shredder received “the Ultimate Boomerang” toy from Tuffy. Made with four layers of fabric and seven rows of stitching, it’s rated tops on the company’s “Tuff” scale. For 99 dogs out of 100 this would be a long-lasting plaything, but with Shredder, it lasted, tick tock, about 8.5 minutes. We find it touching, however, that our ever-chewy companion has carried the tattered remains of this object around with him for a solid year now. Stuffing or no stuffing, squeaker or no squeaker, it’s his favorite plaything outside his Aqua Kong on a rope, with which he entertains himself endlessly.
This time around, we’re trying the Bumi from West Paws Design. A flexible throw-and-chew toy billed as “the energetic dog’s dream come true,” the Bumi looks strong, feels strong and intrigues us with its bouncy possibilities. All good. Just so it doesn’t get lost in the ivy on the side of the house, where five years’ worth of Kongs are in hiding.