Toys! Dogs love them, we love them! Letting your dog exercise their bodies and minds with a range of toys is great for their health and wellbeing, but it can be difficult to choose which type, brand or size to buy. Read on for more information about all kinds of toys and how to get the best playtimes with your perfect pooch.
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Why do we love dog toys so much? Well, they offer so many benefits! Here are some of the ways that toys can enrich your dog’s life.
Bonding – playing with your dog is an excellent way to bond with them and is a joyful experience all around. Dogs love interaction and companionship, and a good bond will help reduce behavioural issues and make training easier.
Enrichment – playing with different types of toys keeps your dog’s brain active and engaged.
Boredom buster – dogs need to be occupied, and if left unattended can get themselves into mischief. Boredom leads to frustration which leads to problematic behaviours, so having a method of keeping them occupied is good for everyone.
Pleasure – dogs love toys, so it’s nice to treat them sometimes!
There are lots of different dog toys, from Kong toys to squeaky toys, dog frisbees to puppy teething toys. Choosing a toy can seem overwhelming. Looking at the different types of toys can help make it clearer which might be best for you and your dog.
These are toys you can play with your dog. It includes fetch toys such as dog balls (with a dog ball launcher) or a dog frisbee. It also includes rope toys to play tug of war.
Chew toys are excellent to keep your dog distracted and quiet. There are different types to consider.
Fillable rubber toys such as Kong toys. These are hollow with a hole at either end and can be filled with kibble, treats or soft foods to keep your pooch occupied. There is also a Kong puppy for younger dogs and they come in different sizes.
Dental chew toys – these are hard to encourage gnawing.
Puppy teething toys – teething can be sore, so the best puppy toys are chewable.
Challenge chew toys – these are edible chews that have been designed to keep your dog chewing and occupied for longer.
Some dogs like to carry around a favoured toy, such as a stuffed animal. These toys should be small enough to carry around, but not swallowable. Dogs with a tendency to be more destructive should not be given stuffed toys in case they rip them open and eat the stuffed insides.
These are designed to challenge dogs to solve a puzzle to get to either a toy or treat. These are great for intelligent dogs who need some stimulation to prevent boredom.
It’s great to get our dogs playing and having fun, but remember to keep things safe. Toys should be the correct size and choose tough dog toys that are robust enough that they won’t disintegrate with chewing and get swallowed (unless they are edible). Keep a regular check on your dog’s toys that there are no loose pieces about to break off, as even indestructible dog toys can give way to a determined chewer. Be careful with squeaky toys that your dog doesn’t rip them open to find the squeaker.
When playing with your dog, make sure to use toys rather than hands, fingers, clothing or shoes, so that your dog doesn’t get confused about what is appropriate to tug and chew on. If you enjoy playing more excitable, rough and tumble games with your dog, use a clear signal or command as to when the game is starting and ending, and use a quieter toy to calm them down at the end.