As lovable as they may be, dogs can quickly become a handful if you don’t keep them mentally and physically occupied. There are a lot of ways to keep boredom at bay, one of the easier ones is getting a couple of toys for your dog.
Basically, we are going to provide you with an all-covering guide on dog toys. Starting off with a few important factors that you should consider before deciding what sort of toy you want to get.
Things to Consider Before Starting to Search For The Best Dog Toys
Your dog’s age matters a lot when it comes to buying a dog toy. If your dog is still a pup, their jaws and teeth will not be mature enough for larger toys. A dog going through its teething phase will be more focused on chewing. Which is why you will need to provide them with toys that aren’t too soft or too hard.
Once a dog matures, tougher toys are recommended as they provide your dog with an outlet for letting out excess energy. Toy makers produce toys to cater to a variety of ages. You just need to make sure that you get the right toy for the right age. Ensuring that your dog always has something to keep it occupied.
The texture and size of a toy are important as well. Larger dogs should not be given small and soft toys since these can be swallowed and result in stomach problems for your pet. Similarly, a smaller dog should not be given a toy that is way too hard as it will not be able to play with it properly. Buying a toy for the first time can seem a bit daunting since there is so much to figure out and so many options to choose from. However, keep in mind that your dog will help you out along the way. Every dog has its own nature and its own likes and dislikes. These play a major role in deciding what type of toy will appeal to them.
But before we get into the different types of toys available, let’s take a look at why dog toys are worth buying.
The Advantages of Dog Toys
Dogs require frequent stimulation throughout the day or else they become restless (and possibly aggressive). Toys are a great, low commitment solution to this problem; they keep your dog busy and occupied.
Can Be Used as Rewards
Dogs are quick to pick a favorite toy, and quickly become attached to them. A favorite toy can be a great motivator during training and can also be used to encourage good behavior.
Dogs need plenty of exercise in order to stay healthy. Some dog toys can be used to help them get their physical stimulation in your backyard. Any dog toy can help a dog let out energy that makes them restless and irritable.
Dogs are intelligent animals that require mental stimulation in order to promote emotional and mental wellbeing. A good dog toy can help them put their brain to use and keep them mentally active.
Socializing a dog is a big aspect of its training, it teaches your pet how to interact with other people. A dog toy can act as a great instrument for socializing. Your dog can learn how to interact with you as you play with it and other people.
Behavior by Emanuela Prato-Previde mentions a study in which the bonding process between a dog and human were observed. The study showed that dogs tend to socialize better when a stranger offers them a toy.
Types of Toys
Let’s divide toys into categories so you can tell them apart easily.
An arguably iconic dog toy. Balls come in many forms; some glow in the dark, some make squeaky noises, some are your average tennis balls, and all of them are designed to keep your dog entertained. A good toy ball should be large enough to not enter your dog’s throat and should be durable. The strength factor will depend on your dog’s age. For instance; a foam ball will be durable for a pup, but a larger dog will reduce it to pieces. A great thing about ball toys is that they encourage owner and dog bonding. You could play fetch with your pet and strengthen your bond with your pet as it plays with you.
Tug toys are a good choice for people who own more than one dog. As their name suggests, these toys are meant to be pulled on, be it a tug of war between dog and owner or between two dogs. Robustness is important when it comes to tug toys since they are bound to take plenty of damage. These toys are generally made of rope, leather, or fire hose. However, their lifespan is limited since they are prone to tears and frays. Experts suggest that tug toys should be replaced the moment they show signs of wear and tear in order to prevent them from becoming possible safety hazards.
Another thing to note is that when playing with a tug toy, you should never become too aggressive with your dog. Aggression displayed by the owner (even when just for fun) can promote aggressive behavior in the pet. Also, you should not tug vertically while playing with a tug toy as this can be harmful to your dog’s neck and spine.
Some dogs are more into chewing than others, making them quite destructive. Pretty much any dog toy can be used for chewing, there are certain toys called chew toy that are made solely for this purpose. They are incredibly durable and often come with openings in which you can stuff edible treats. The purpose of a chew toy is to give your dog something to vent their energy on so that they do not end up chewing your furniture. Chew toys can be found for dogs of all ages, and as long as you keep them stuffed with your pet’s favorite treats, you will not have to worry about their destructive tendencies.
Plush toys are kind of risky for most dogs, except for docile breeds such as golden retrievers. These toys are easy to rip apart and swallow. This makes them a health hazard, which is why most people will recommend them for pups that are nearing their teething age. However, some dogs get attached to their toys and will want to hold onto them. Which is why plush toys aren’t an absolute no for larger dogs. You can have your dog play with one under supervision, or let them keep it as something to cuddle while they sleep.
This is perhaps the most important thing to consider when buying a toy. A dog toy can become a safety hazard for your pet if it is either too small or too soft for them. A toy that is small can be swallowed and can cause a variety of problems. Such as stomach issues that cause discomfort for your pet to life-threatening choking. Toys that are too soft are just as bad as they can be torn apart and swallowed.
Other things to consider include what the toy is made of, certain Chinese companies have been known to produce toys using harmful substances. One should always purchase toys made by reputable brands. Lastly, make sure to go for toys that are next to invincible, and if you cannot find anything like that, then remember to frequently change your dog’s toys.
Now that you have gone through this article, you will have a much easier time finding a toy for your pet. Remember to prioritize safety over everything else, you would not want your dog’s toy ending up hurting it. Also, to make sure that your dog does not get bored of its toys, buy two or three different types. This will ensure that your dog always has something to occupy itself with.