Whether you’ve just brought home a puppy who wants to chew everything he lays eyes upon or have an older buddy who’s been part of the family for longer, each time you want to buy a new toy for her/him, there are a ton of questions.
Will it excite him/her enough? Will this toy last longer than the old one? Will it be safe for my dog to chew on? And why not?! Play time is a valued quality time that you spend with your dog and hence, it demands for you to make the right choice and make the most of it. It becomes even more important a decision for the times when your dog might be playing by himself, while waiting for you to get back home! His safety takes priority over everything else at the time.
Let’s first understand why should you be investing time and money in buying toys for your dog. Especially when they seem to be fascinated by so many things lying around the house and can spend hours playing with them! These household items might have sharp, pointy edges or might be easy to swallow. As much as they excite the dogs, they should be kept away from them. Fortunately, dogs are possessive. Not just about you. But about their stuff too. So if your fur buddy has his own stuff to play with, he will automatically lose interest in the other things not meant for him. Dog toys are designed carefully to ensure excitement, engagement and safety for your dog. Needless to say, they help you bond better with your dog and keep them mentally and physically fit. And that’s why you should invest in the right ones.
These eight tips will help you look through the right lens and select the perfect toy for your doggo, every time!
- Size matters
The toy should be suitable for your dog’s present size. For instance, balls should be big enough to carry, but not too tiny. Balls and other toys that are too small can effortlessly be swallowed or get stuck in your dog’s mouth or throat. Avoid any toys that aren’t “dog-proof” by removing ribbons, strings, eyes, or other parts that could be gnawed on and/or ingested.
- Go gentle for gentler dogs
My dog, Noir who is about three months old, loves to carry around plushies. She is kind to them and never tears them apart. However, many dogs do like to go a little rough with their toys. If your dog loves to “rip apart” her/his toys, take note of any toy that comprises of a “squeaker” concealed in its center. Your dog may feel that he must unearth and destroy the squeak-source and could gulp it down, in which case squeaking objects should be “observation only” toys. There are toys available in the market for heavy chewers. These would ideally have the squeakers hidden towards the sides that are less likely to be chewed.
- Active toys for dogs with high energy
Your dog has boundless potential, do let their crazy side go wild a little bit. If you don't have the quietest pupper, then get suitable toys that will keep them busy. Tough latex dog toys are great for high drive pets. These are obtainable in a variety of shapes and sizes and are fun for chewing and carrying around. Rope toys are also big winners with dogs that like to play tug-of-war. Frisbees make for a great game of fetch. There are rubber frisbees available for smaller and gentler breeds and puppies. Tennis balls also make great fetch toys, but keep an eye out for any that could be chewed through and reject them instantly if they are cracked.
- Treat toys for dogs that get bored easily
Dog treat toys, especially when filled with broken-up Dog Treats are amazing. The right size pooch treat toy can keep a puppy or dog busy for hours. Only by chewing persistently can your dog access the treats, and then just in small bits, quite rewarding! Then there are toys with flavourings like chicken, cheese and more.
These types of toys can help you develop a positive relationship with your dog as he will associate playtime with you to a rewarding experience.
- Comfort toys for all dogs
Soft stuffed toys are suitable for numerous reasons but are not appropriate for all dogs. For some dogs, the stuffed toy should be little enough to carry around. For dogs that want to shake or ruin the toy, it should be the size that “prey” would be for that size dog (mouse-size, rabbit-size or duck-size). Again, make sure that if your dog enjoys attacking her/his stuffed animal, that his play is carefully supervised, and again, dodge soft toys with squeakers.
- Get the most out of the dog toys
Alternate your dog’s toys every week by making sure only a few toys are offered at a time. Keep an array of gadgets with you, but only give an assortment of toys every time. If your dog has a favourite toy, like Noir likes her sock toy, you should undoubtedly leave it out all the time.
- Interactive toys to keep your doggo challenged
Few of your canine's toys should be interactive and puzzle-based. Interactive play is critical because your dog needs “active time.” By concentrating on a particular task, like repeatedly returning a ball, or finding a shortcut to his favourite treat, your dog can oust mental and physical energy in a controlled amount of time and space. This dramatically diminishes stress due to restraint, seclusion and/or monotony.
- Prefer toys that are easy to clean
Hygiene is extremely important for your dog and other family members. Fabric toys are easy to machine wash and should be cleaned regularly. Nowadays even squeaky toys come with a pocket in which the squeaker sits, which can be conveniently taken out before washing. This ensures longer life of the squeaker, which used to be a major reason for not washing the toy. Such toys might be more expensive than the others, but are certainly a good investment.
Your dog is probably way smarter than you at many things, but some things they would never know or care about. Take care of these things when buying their toys so as to be considerate of the little one. Hope this helps you choose the best for your best friend!