Dogs love toys, and we love playing games with our dogs! When choosing the best enrichment toy for dogs, or deciding if they’d love a brain game, there are a few things to consider. Not every toy is suitable for every dog: puppies play differently than older dogs, certain breeds can lean towards certain styles of play, and some dogs need more robust toys than others. Read on for more information about how to decide on the perfect dog toy or game for you and your pooch.
Most modern dogs are companion pets – and excellent ones, at that – but unless they are working dogs, this leaves them with plenty of free time. This time, if we’re not careful, can become filled with inappropriate behaviours such as chewing the furniture or digging holes in the garden! Toys provide excellent mental and physical stimulation when you cannot be with them, and equally are a great way to create a bond between pet and owner when you can spend time together.
This depends a little on your dog’s lifestyle, how active they are and how much time they spend alone. Many dogs will have a favourite toy, that is played with a lot, but it is recommended to have around five to eight other games or toys as it is helpful to be able to rotate them so that your pooch doesn’t become bored. It is also useful to have a variety of types of toys to suit what your dog feels like playing with.
Dog toys and enrichment games are designed to be played with by our canine friends and us owners – chewed, thrown, tugged and all, so are made to be robust. However, there are some basic safety guidelines to bear in mind.
Toys need to be appropriate for age and size. Toys, especially balls, which are too small can be swallowed or become lodged in your dog’s throat.
Some dogs can be more destructive than others, and puppies can be voracious chewers when teething. If you know your dog is a gnawer, choose an appropriately indestructible toy.
Monitor your dog’s toys regularly and throw away any that are damaged or might split into sharp or swallowable pieces.
It’s easy to think of dog toys and picture hyper-excited dogs racing after balls, throwing themselves into tug-of-war and enthusiastically ripping a stuffed toy to shreds. But many dog toys and games can be used to calm your dog down. Puzzle games and feeders, long-lasting chew toys, kongs and snuffle mats can all be great ways to get your dog to lie down and rest whilst keeping themselves occupied.
There are loads of wonderful dog toys and games on the market. The best ones for you and your pooch will depend on your circumstances. Your dog’s personality, size, age and needs will affect the size and type of toy: for example, enthusiastic chewers need robust toys, dogs who love to run may like chase toys. It also depends on when you plan on using them: for example tug-of-war toys for when you want to play with your dog, or a puzzle feeder if you want them occupied when you are not there.
There is more information and plenty of examples to choose from in our shop for dog toys and interactive games.