By Shreya Tragad
As dog parents, it feels great to pamper our puppies with their desired toys as it plays an important role in maintaining their well-being. Toys are one of the essentials you need for your puppy as they help keep our dogs happy and are great bonding tools when it’s time for some playtime.
There is a wide variety of toys to choose from when it comes to deciding the ones that will be most suitable for your puppy’s size, breed, age, activity level, etc., and it may become overwhelming. But no need to worry, we will guide you in choosing the right toys for your dog.
Factors to Consider
Since we cannot simply ask our dogs what kind of toys they prefer, it will be important for us to do some observing to make the right buying decision. Some dogs become bored easily and need something to keep them entertained, some dogs are aggressive and love to be destructive when they are bored. Dogs have a natural instinct to hunt, and squeaky toys offer them the idea of catching their prey. Many dogs love to play fetch, but some love to destroy their fetch toy.
There are several factors to consider such as…
It would be recommended to get to know your dog’s personality before you buy toys for your dog. Soft and squeaky toys are suitable for gentle dogs so that they do not destroy the toy and ingest the stuffing. High energy dogs love active dog toys such as hard rubber toys as they do not easily break down and get destroyed. Rope toys are perfect for dogs that love to run and play fetch. Puzzle toys are great for smart dogs who get bored easily, puzzle toys have treats hidden inside them and your puppy has to figure out how to get them using a variety of skills, then you can move onto higher levels.
For puppies with baby teeth, it will be best to choose something with soft rubber or even stuffed toys. After they have passed the teething period, you may move onto more interactive dog toys as it will keep them active and energetic. As dogs move closer to senior age, you may switch back to soft toys as they will not have the energy and aggressiveness as they used to.
Toys should be appropriate for their current size; this is as simple as balls should not be too small for larger dogs as they can swallow it and should not be too big for small dogs as they will not be able to carry it around.
Types of Toys
- Playtime Toys
A ball is an essential toy for every dog owner to have to play fetch with their little one. While choosing the right ball for your dog, pick a suitable size that is large enough for your puppy to carry without swallowing it, the ball should be small but comfortable to hold.
A tennis ball is a good size for many dogs, but there are larger balls for larger breeds and mini balls for smaller breeds. Make sure your puppy does not constantly chew on the tennis ball as the material can damage their teeth and can cause health issues if the material is swallowed. You can also use a frisbee as a playtime toy as they are more versatile because you have control over the speed, and it can change the direction.
- Chew Toys
Dogs have a natural instinct to chew, depending on their chewing habits, they must be given the appropriate chew toys. There are a variety of chew toys, but to narrow down the choices, you must observe the type of chewer your dog is: are they an aggressive chewer or do they have soft chewing habits?
If yours is an aggressive chewer, soft stuffed toys may not be ideal as the stuffing or squeaker can come out and may be risky if your dog swallows it and may become clogged in their intestines. Toys that are made out of hard rubber, strong nylon or fabric are more suitable for aggressive chewers.
- Fetch Toys
These are great for dogs who are highly energetic and need lots of exercise. Playing fetch makes dogs feel good as this feature has been passed down for tens of thousands of years and they love to show off their ingrained capabilities. Fetch is an interactive game between you and your dog, and this will be great at the park, or even during your walk!
- Plush Toys
Many dogs love plush toys because they can easily bite into them and carry them around. They usually have some squeakers or stuffing in them and when dogs rip them, the stuffing goes everywhere. You must keep an eye out when your dog is playing with plush toys to ensure they do not swallow the stuffing which can lead to gastrointestinal obstruction. Plush toys do not last long with dogs who are aggressive chewers, so this is something to consider!
- Squeaky Toys (Non-Plush)
These types of toys are typically made out of vinyl, rubber, or plastic and the durability of these toys vary so it will be important to choose according to your dog’s chewing habits. Thick rubber is suitable for aggressive chewers, thinner vinyl/plastic toys are better for mild chewers. Thinner squeaky toys are usually not expensive but do not last that long.
- Interactive Toys
Interactive toys engage your dog mentally as they challenge your dog, they usually contain compartments that contain food or treats, and your dog has to figure out how to get them. Interactive toys and puzzles keep your dog mentally stimulated and teach them good cognitive skills.
- Rope/Tug Toys
Dogs enjoy playing tug-of-war as it releases their inner predatory nature, and on top of that, it’s a great exercise for them! They are usually made out of braided rope and sometimes have rubber/plastic parts. These types of toys are used for fetch, tug-of-war, or just chewing, and are often made out of rope or rubber. Make sure you choose something that is easy to hold and easy for your dog to bite and pull. Pick a suitable toy that is durable enough to hold the strength against the dog. Remember to throw out any worn out or fraying toys so that it doesn’t cause an accident and hurt someone
However, rope toys are not recommended for dogs who love to chew constantly, since they can easily shred the rope toys and swallow the small pieces with can lead to gastrointestinal obstruction. Therefore, do not leave your dog unsupervised, if they are a chewer, consider buying a rubber tug toy. The good thing about rope toys is that they keep your dog’s teeth healthy and strong, as the dog chews, the fibres work as doggy floss to prevent dental disease.
- Floating Toys
Floating toys are usually made out of foam, plastic, or rubber, floating rings/balls and are meant for dogs who love to swim. Playtime in the water is one of the best exercises for your puppy as it boosts their metabolism, burns calories, and maintains healthy body weight. This is also something different for your dog compared to the walks we have with them every day. Playing in the water also cools them down during hot summer days.
- Treat Toys
These are always exciting for dogs and come in lots of varieties that will keep them engaged and interested. Treat toys keep the trouble-makers busy as it offers them a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
There you have it, we hope we were able to offer some help and guidance on the different types of dog toys you may consider suitable for your dog’s personality!
Remember to remove any damaged toys such as ripped plush toys or broken rubber. Keep an eye out for small sharp pieces that are broken from a toy as it can lead to intestinal punctures and blockages if your dog swallows them.
Speak to your vet about any other safety concerns you may have regarding dog toys as they can offer the best advice to keep your dog stimulated in a safe and healthy manner.