How to Choose the Right Toys for Your Dog
Choosing the right toy for your dog seems like a simple task at first – you browse online, buy a dog toy and the dog will play with it. As someone who’s bought hundreds of dog toys over the years for many dogs, I know that it’s trickier than that. You need to find toys that are enticing for your Fido. Certain dog toys aren’t safe for pets, some dogs don’t like the material of the toy, others can’t deal with its size or shape, and others destroy every toy you give them in a matter of minutes.
So, how do you choose the right toy for your dog?
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There are a couple of key things to consider:
- The size of the toy. This is actually more complicated than it sounds – you don’t buy small toys for small dogs and big toys for big dogs. You need to look for toys that will be suitable for your pooch to bite and chew on. Keep in mind that dogs chew with the back of their jaw. This means that if the dog toy is intended to be chewed hard, it needs to fit in the back of the dog’s jaw and be safe (not easily destroyed and swallowed). If a toy can’t do that, then it needs to serve another purpose.
- Know your pup. Different dogs like to play with different things and it’s rare for a pet owner to guess what toys will keep the dog’s attention for an extended period without sufficient trial and error. Your pooch may refuse to even look at the toy you’ve just purchased. The only way around this is to try different toys made of varied materials and of various sizes. Pay attention to your pet’s preferences and you’ll know better what to buy in the future once current toys get destroy. Subscription pet boxes are usually great for this because they send you a monthly supply of different toys to try out.
Types of toys:
- Balls. Ball toy are generally a must-have for any dog, particularly for those that love to fetch. Ball toys come in a lot of varieties – plastic ones, tennis balls, squishy balls, and so on. Some have lights, some have sounds. Try and find out which your dog prefers by using cheap ones at first. If your dog is easily scared, then something with a lot of lights and sounds may not be for him, for example. When choosing a ball for your dog, pick one that is large enough for your dog to carry without accidentally swallowing it. Tennis balls are a great solution for most dogs, but make sure your dog doesn’t use them as chew toys – they are not good for the dog’s teeth.
- Discs and Other Retrieving Toys. Dogs that love playing fetch tend to enjoy discs and other retrieval toys. Discs are perfect for fetching, as they are much easier to bite on than any other toy. Discs can be made of virtually anything – rubber, plastic, rope or another material.
- Plush Toys. Plush toys are a favorite of a lot of dogs. Some like to carry them around like pups and take care of them, while others enjoy “killing” them, i.e. ripping them apart until they reach the squeaker inside and break it. Even plush toys without squeakers are often mercilessly destroyed, and that’s fine, if that’s what your dog enjoys and as long as that “aggression” is limited to toys.
- Interactive Toys and Dog Puzzles. Similar to food dispensing toys, interactive toys and dog puzzles are a great way to stimulate your dog mentally. They are often praised by dog trainers and vets and ranked as some of the best dog toys on the market because of their numerous benefits. Interactive toys can come in diverse types – food dispensing toys, tug toys, retrieving toys, and so on. If you have a dog that’s fairly intelligent or a dog that’s easily bored, a dog toy that can stimulate his or her intelligence is often a great choice.
- Squeakies. Non-plush squeaky toys come in a lot of different types. Usually, they are made out of vinyl, rubber or plastic. Their durability varies as well, so you generally want to choose depending on your dog’s chewing enthusiasm. Thick rubber is best for aggressive chewers, while thinner vinyl or plastic toys are best for mild chewers. Thinner toys are often cheaper, but they last much less as well.
- Rope Toys. Rope toys are very versatile. They are made out of braided rope and sometimes have rubber or plastic parts. They are great for fetch, tug-of-war or chewing. Chewing on a rope toy is actually very good for your dog’s teeth as it creates a brushing-like action. Keep in mind, however, that aggressive chewers can easily pick a rope toy apart and ingest parts of it. This can be quite bad, particularly if parts of the plastic are ingested as well – don’t let your chewing-loving dog play alone with a rope toy.
- Tug Toys. Whether they are made out of rope, plastic or any other material, tug-of-war toys are loved by a lot of dogs. Chose such a toy that fits great both in your dog’s mouth, as well as in your hands. Keep in mind, however, that tug-of-war is a game that can incite aggressiveness in your dog – play it only of you have a strong bond with your dog and you are well established as the leader of your family.
- Floating Toys. Floating toys are great for water-friendly dogs. They are typically made of a foam, rubber or plastic materials, and can be floating balls, rings, or other. Such toys are easy for your dog to find and grab in the water.If your dog has a drive for toys and also loves the water, they may enjoy Dock Diving
- Food Dispensing Toys. Food and treat dispensing dog toys are a great mental stimulation for any dog. They also slow your dog’s eating and improve its digestion. They can also provide a great source of exercise for your dog as he or she usually moves around a lot while playing with the toy.
Article Written by Guest writer, Samantha Randall, Editor in Chief for Top Dog Tips