Toys are important tools for a child’s optimum development. Every parent knows this. What many new pet parents fail to realize, however, is that the same gadgets that have helped shape the lives of children can also be used to shape the behavior of their respective pet pooches. In fact many animal behaviorists recommend choosing the most appropriate toys for dogs to help them become better-rounded pooches. And in case you’re not sure where to start, allow us point you in the right direction.
Best Toys for Dogs Buying Guide
Picking the best toy for your dog used to be a walk in the park. But with so many products and so many safety issues related to the use of these gadgets, choosing the best dog toy has just become a lot trickier. Never fret, though as our buying guide for the best dog toys should help you zero-in on the best doggie toy for your pooch.
Importance of Dog Toys
Just as toys are important for children when it comes to helping them achieve their full growth potential especially in terms of ensuring their optimum physical, emotional, cognitive, mental, social, and spatial development, toys for dogs, too are equally important for the following reasons.
- Satisfies their innate need for chewing
Dogs have this innate need to chew. It is something that is already deeply ingrained in their genes and there really is no point trying to modify something that is part of the organism’s entire existence. However, rather than giving your pooch your carpet and furniture to chew on, you can give them toys that are virtually indestructible so they won’t easily tear these apart and become a potential source of choking and intestinal blockage issues.
- Helps soothe teething issues in puppies
There are doggie toys that come with soft yet firm ridges which serve to relieve gum swelling as typically seen in puppy teething. These dog toys are exceptional in providing temporary relief to teething puppies.
- Alleviates separation anxiety
One of the most important reasons why we give toys to dogs is to help them get through their separation anxiety. Dogs are very social animals and they would love nothing else than be close to their human masters. As such toys can be very convenient and very practical means of providing ‘companionship’ for our pooches especially if they learn to associate the dog toy with moments spent with us.
- Aids in weight management
There are dog toys that come in the form of puzzles, interactive designs, and treat dispensers. Normally we simply toss our pooches their treats. However, there are toys that can do this for us while also offering dogs some kind of challenge to work for their favorite treat. For instance we can hide their favorite treats inside these toys and it will be up to them to figure out how they can get the treat out of the toy. These can work to help in the management of their ideal body weights by limiting their treats to what they can ‘recover’ from these puzzles.
- An essential tool in crate training
In the early stages of crate training, the most challenging aspect is how to keep your puppy inside its crate without whining. This is where their favorite toys will come in. Dog toys are like the security blankets of toddlers and preschoolers. They feel more comfortable, secure, and safe with their blankie with them. The same is true with puppies and dogs going through the first stages of crate training. Giving them something that they associate with comfort should make them want to stay inside the crate.
- Diverts attention from nuisance digging and barking
Do you know why a lot of dogs ‘misbehave’? Well, to get your attention, of course. Now give them their favorite toy and they won’t really mind if you’re going to stay up all night in front of your computer. They won’t dig nor bark since they now have a toy to play with.
- Prevents canine boredom
This is akin to giving your pooch the attention it needs. They say that dogs need mental stimulation or else it will grow bored and begin showing undesirable behavior. The point is that toys can make dogs feel less bored especially if you’re going to give them interactive dog toys.
What Should Dog Toys for Heavy Chewers Be Made Of?
There are many materials that can be used in the manufacture of dog toys primarily intended for heavy or tough chewers. For instance, heavy duty nylon and durable hard rubber materials are typically used in the toughest and most indestructible dog toys in the market. As a matter of fact, hard rubber is the material of choice for the toughest dog toys. Another material that is perfect for heavy chewers is rope especially those that are made of thick, large-numbered cotton threads. These are also exceptional when it comes to cleaning your pooch’s teeth.
Things to Consider Before Buying Dog Toys
Whenever you have to decide about buying something, there are certain factors that you really have to consider in your decision. The same is true when picking a toy for your pet pooch. Here are a few things you have to consider before buying dog toys.
- Your dog’s age
Young puppies will have fragile baby teeth so it’s important to go for toys that are soft or plush so as not to damage its teeth. If your puppy is already teething, choosing a dog toy that has a firmer texture but not exceptionally hard should be ideal. You may also want to stock up since your growing pooch is really going to be very tenacious in its bite. Once your pup has passed through the teething stage, you can go for harder, more indestructible toys. Rope toys and balls should be perfect. However, by the time your dog reaches old age, it’s time to soften up on its toys as its jaws and teeth may no longer be as powerful and strong as they used to be.
- Your dog’s chew behavior
Understanding your dog’s chewing behavior is also crucial to making the right choice for dog toys. There are dogs that will take an occasional swipe at an object, but nothing really serious. There are also those that will tear and shred objects by really latching onto these. They won’t usually stop until there’s really nothing left to chew on. And then there are those in the middle of the pack, neither passive nor aggressive. The point is for you to evaluate the kind of chew behavior that your dog has so you can choose the right dog toy for it.
- Size of the toy
It goes without saying that the right-sized toy will go a long way towards bringing a whole lot of benefits to your pooch. Too small a toy and you risk it getting swallowed by your pooch which can increase the risk of choking or intestinal obstruction. Too large and your pooch will lose interest in playing with it for the simple fact that it cannot get the toy into its mouth. It is therefore important to look for a toy that your pooch can easily pick up with its mouth.
How to Best Provide Toys with Your Dog’s Safety in Mind
Canine safety around toys is an important aspect of being parents to these adorable creatures. They are like very young children who simply don’t know about what is safe and what is not safe in this world. Here are a few tips on how to provide toys with your dog’s safety at the top of your mind.
- Never underestimate your pooch’s capability to chew.
We already said that it is innate for dogs to chew. Regardless of how ‘mild’ a chewer your dog may be, there will always be instances when it will shred an otherwise ‘safe’ dog toy simply out of boredom, determination, or will power. The important thing to remember is to never underestimate your dog’s capability to chew. As such always go for materials that are more durable than what your pooch is accustomed to chewing.
- Always check the dog toys before giving them to your pooch.
So-called indestructible toys do deteriorate over time. It is for this reason that you should always check the dog toys for any sign of deteriorating condition or even the completeness of its individual parts before you give these to your canine friend. If there is already a piece that is nearly torn off, don’t give it to your dog.
- Supervise. Supervise.
Under no circumstance should you take your eyes off of your pooch while it is playing with its doggie toys. Accidents can happen in a flash. One moment it is chewing on its chew toy. Next thing you know it is already choking and cannot breath. If you cannot supervise your dog, postpone their playtime activities until you can actively supervise them. If not, get another responsible person, preferably one who understands the importance of canine supervision, to keep a watchful eye on your pooch while it is playing with its toys.
Dog toys are important tools for keeping our pets happy and free from boredom. These are also important in building that bond we have with them. It is thus important that we take the time to study the behavior and characteristics of our dogs so we will be able to choose the right toys for them.