Playtime is always that much better when there are toys involved. Much like kids, doggos also have an affinity for playing with different kinds of toys. Also like children, they might be somewhat choosy when it comes to what they want to olay with. Here are some tips on how to choose the best toy for your pet dog:
Before buying anything, always check if the product could cause potential harm to your dog. Avoid anything that can easily break, contain sharp edges or corners, have anything that can catch on their teeth or nails, have harmful chemicals, and so on. An example would be those treat dispensers that requires your dog to push/pull a lever before a treat comes out. Avoid things like these that have pointed parts that could possibly poke an eye out.
Dog-proof your home before buying your dog anything, too. This will ensure that your buddy has a safe space to play around in if you aren’t outside at the local dog park.
It’s safe to say that the size of the toy should match the size of your pup. It would be hard to imagine a small fur baby doing his best to drag a toy bigger than them. They’d be tired before they even got started! Toys should match your pet’s size to avoid injuries, as well. For example, chew toys and balls should be just big enough for your dog to carry but not too small that they might swallow or choke on it.
Make sure to also dog-proof any toys like chew toys. Remove strings and ribbons or any part that might get chewed off and ingested.
Know how your dog likes to play
If your dog is gentle baby, you can go the ‘soft & squishy’ route and get them a plushy or squeaky toy (note that the ‘squeakers’ might get detached and get swallowed or choked on, so it’s best to supervise their playtime). If your dog is a rough and rowdy type, get them toys that would be able to endure the playtime.
Remember to wash these toys regularly as they do get dirty. Keep them clean to avoid any illness for your dog because of germs building up on the toys.
Active toys for active dogs
Hard rubber toys are ideal for high-energy dogs. These are available in several sizes and shapes and are great for chewing and for carrying. Rope toys are also a big hit with dogs that love playing fetch and tug-of-war. Tennis balls are also great as they are quite durable.
Smart toys for smart dogs
A great way to keep your dog busy for hours on end is by giving them a dog treat toy that they have to go through to get their favorite treats. Get the perfectly sized dog treat toy for your buddy so they can enjoy the challenge of chewing to get that savory treat. Consult your vet for any dog treat toy you are not sure of using.
Puzzle toys are also a great way to keep your doggo engaged and not bored. These puzzle toys are great for smart canines. These puzzle toys range from having treats hidden under certain pieces for your dog to find to buttons that have words that your dog can use to talk to you!
Comfort Dog Toys
Soft stuffed toys are great for a lot of reasons but not all stuffed toys are appropriate for all dogs. For some dogs, having a stuffed toy small enough to bring around with them is ideal. For dogs that want to rough-up or “kill” the stuffed toy, the toy’s size should be the size that their normal “prey” would be for their dog (it could be the size of a mouse, a duck, or a rabbit). Make sure that if your dog likes to “attack” their stuffed animal, closely supervise their playtime. And again, avoid soft toys with squeakerss and easily breakable parts.
Rotate your dog’s toys
Weekly rotate your dog’s toys. Make only four or five toys usable at a time to keep a variety of toys accessible, but not so much that your dog will get bored from all the toys immediately. If your dog has a favorite, it’s probably best to keep it out all the time.
Give your dog toys that have a variety of uses (a toy to carry, one to “kill”, and another to “baby,” etc.).
Playing “hide and seek ” is also fun for dogs. “Found” toys are mostly more enjoyable than toys that are boring and “just there.” If you can’t always go outside due to various reasons such as the pandemic, playing interactive games such as finding toys or treats is a great indoor activity for your dog without having to use a lot of space.
Most of your dog’s toys should be interactive. Interaction is important for your dog since they need what is called “active people time.” Dogs can expel physical and mental stresses by focusing on specific tasks, such as playing “hide-and-seek” or playing fetch with treats or toys. These activities greatly reduce stress caused by boredom, confinement, and isolation
For young, untrained but very high-energy dogs, interactive play also gives an opportunity for you to socialize with your dog and help them learn the different appropriate and inappropriate behavior with other people, with other animals (even with cats), like jumping, being mouthy, or being to physical during playtime.
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