There is a huge range of dog toys available – and they come in all shapes and sizes, and are made from all different materials. I have put together 5 main tips to help you decide what toys are best for you and your dog.
Tip #1 – Are you buying a toy for a specific purpose?
- to help train you dog
- to help prevent boredom when in the house or left alone
- interactive function to help stimulate the brain
- to exercise your dog
- to give something to chew on
- just to have fun!
Tip #2 – What size is your dog?
Many people can be disappointed when they buy a toy for a large dog, that is quickly destroyed. Or perhaps the stuffing starts to come out and it is no longer safe to let your dog to keep playing with it. It’s good to remember that a lot of stuffing may be synthetic in nature, and something you don’t want your dog to swallow. You may want to ensure any toys are appropriate in size and durable enough to stand up to your particular dog.
Equally so, if you have a large dog you don’t want a toy that is so small it may get stuck in their mouth or be a choking hazard.
It’s just as important to think about these things if you have a small dog – you don’t want something that is so hard and tough, it may hurt your small dog’s mouth or they may not enjoy playing with it.
Tip #3 – What breed is your dog?
You will know your own dog better than anyone else, especially once they start to mature and develop their own personalities. Just like people, some dogs are cleverer than others. If a toy is too basic for a dog of high intelligence, they will soon lose interest. Also, for dogs that like the simpler things in life a more basic toy is likely to suite them better.
Tip #4 – What age is your dog?
There are toys specifically developed for puppies, who have very different needs to more mature dogs. Just like children, teething for puppies can be a big deal and as they lose their baby teeth and the permanent ones start to come through, it is likely they will want to chew on anything and everything. If you don’t provide chew toys, expect your furniture to take the brunt! And if you have a large-breed puppy, expect the damage to be more severe!
Another important consideration is bone and muscle development in puppies. Once they have had their correct vaccinations and it’s OK for them to start walking out in public, it’s a really exciting time for both you and your puppy. What you don’t want to do is purchase throwing toys that encourage longer distance running at this stage. Otherwise you can damage their bones and muscles while they are still developing – save these types of toys for fully developed dogs instead, when they can get the most benefit from them.
Tip #5 – Beware of the toys containing treats!
There is nothing wrong with toys that contain treats in the main, and some of the more interactive toys come into their own because they do in fact contain treats and therefore a greater desire for your dog to work out the puzzle. However, a couple of words of warning…
- ensure the type of treat contained is suitable for your particular dog – e.g. if they have any food allergies or sensitivities
- think about the size of treat – is it small enough to cause a choking hazard or too large for a small dog
- make allowances for the treats in the context of their overall daily food intake – the last thing you would want for your dog is for them to start becoming overweight and develop associated health problems
The Choice is Yours…
Ultimately the decision on any toy is yours and it’s up to you to choose whatever you think will work best for you and your dog.
Remember, we don’t always get it right first time! There will always be a degree of trial and error to find something that fits your purpose and that your dog really loves.
We would love to hear about any of your experiences. We are learning all the time, and it could be your journey could help add to this list of tips for others. So feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you and your dogs all the best, and loads of fun