Undoubtably, one of the perks of pet parenting is shopping for your pet. A huge variety of gorgeous brands are offering beautiful products. All you need to do is pick what suits you or your pet the most. Or you would think. There is surely a category to which you need to give a bit more consideration, and that is dog toys. Whether you’re playing a game of fetch or watching him roll around to entertain himself, toys are an important part of your dog’s well-being. That’s why choosing dog toys is a bit trickier that you think. So what should you consider when picking the best ones?
Your dog’s age
Dogs mature differently to us, and their age determines hugely, what toy they enjoy. A three months old puppy still has baby teeth and will enjoy playing with something more soft. From three to nine months, your puppy will be teething. So it’s best to avoid hard rubber and be sure to stock up! He’ll be chewing on anything he can get his paws on, so a good variety of chew toys will keep him distracted from your favorite pair of loafers or the furniture.
Once this period has passed it quite safe to give your pup hard rubber toys. From usually the age of seven, your pet counts as senior. By that age they surely lost, chipped or grind down some of their teeth. That’s why it is important to choose wisely for the period. Softer rubber toys or plush dog toys would keep them more entertained. It is also important to encourage them to stay active, so fetch toys or rope dog toys fur a tug of war would fit them very well. To determine your dog’s real age, read our article here.
SIze matters. If we take two adult dogs that differ in size we’ll see the difference, as a Yorkshire terrier is unlikely to chew as heard as a German shepherd. The right size toy is important. Something too small can be swallowed easily. A general rule is to make sure anything small enough to fit behind your dog’s rear molars is a choking hazard. Ultimately, you’ll want to decide which types of toys will occupy your companion the best. Dogs, like people, will be able to indicate which toys they prefer over time. It is always a good idea to take your pup shopping for dog toys. A lot of pet stores let them is, so they can pick what they fancy.
Pick the right type
Choosing dog toys is also a matter of knowing your dog. All pets are different, and they will enjoy different types of entertainment, and different types of toys.
There are all types of balls from tennis, sponge, rubber and the list goes on. Each bounce in different ways. Some float and glow in the dark—tempting options if you have a nighttime routine! This classic option is a great way to keep your dog active, too. When you find the right-sized ball for your dog, make sure it’s a durable-enough material for him to not chew it into tiny pieces. Balls also encourage you, as the parent, to get involved because dogs love a game of fetch or catch. This will help strengthen your bond over time too.
Most dogs enjoy playing tug-of-war with their owners and other dogs. Perhaps the most important thing to remember with tug toys is to make sure your dog doesn’t tear this into pieces. Tug toys are typically plush and made of linen, leather, fire hose, or rope. So it’s necessary to replace them as soon as you see damage like shredding or notice missing pieces. It is also worth noting to avoid being to aggressive yourself if you are playing tug-of-war. You never want to be able to rip the toy out of your dog’s mouth as this could great health problems for them. If you want them to let go of the toy, you need to train the to respond to commands such as “drop it” or “release.” Also, while a dog’s jaw is very strong, it is never a good idea to pull the toy vertically and get his feet off of the ground. This can cause jaw, neck and spine issues.
Interactive dog toys
These toys are perfect for agility type, working or high energy dogs. These are border collies, Australian shepherds, kelpies and the list goes on. They are designed so you can hide treats inside, and your pup needs to find a way to retrieve them. Some of them are quite expensive, but if you have a pup with separation anxiety, or if you leave him home alone for long, then they are definitely worth the price. Alternatively, you can fashion one yourself using scraps of leftover material fond around the house.
Plush toys are a favorite of many dogs, but unfortunately they’re unsafe more often than not. As easy as they are to be ripped apart and ingested, though, plush toys can still be fun when fully supervised. Before your pup is teething these toys can be quite fun. Also, if your dog is quite gentle and loves ‘hoarding’ their toys, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying them plush toys. I know many pups, who sleep with their soft toys, and if you fancy some real cool design, browse our selection.
So, as you see choosing dog toys is a complex business, and you need to do a bit of research to get it right. Hopefully our tips will help you nail it, whether you want to shop around or you choose to make one yourself.