Since our furry friends play a vital role in our lives, we always want to see them happy and healthy. But when it comes to buying toys for your best buddy, there are certain questions all owners ask themselves; what type of dog toys should I get? Are dog toys safe? What factors to consider when buying a toy for your dog? However, answers to these aren't as simple as left or right.
Hence, that pet store trip can be overwhelming for most dog owners. However, it doesn't have to be a jigsaw puzzle.
Here is a comprehensive guide to help you choose the different types of dog toys you need to get your hands on.
Best Toys for Dogs
First things first, there is no "best dog toy." Since each dog has a unique personality, preferences, likes, and dislikes, you must look for one that fits the bill. While it may take some trial and error, there are lots of options to choose from.
Read below to find 5 types of dog toys for your pet.
5 Types of Dog Toys
Interactive Toys:Interactive toys such as fetch toys, rope toys, and tug toys allow your furry friend to socialize, stimulate their brain, and help in cognitive development.
- Rope toys
Another dog favorite, rope toys are made up of hundreds of string strands braided into a rope. While these may seem basic, these toys provide hours of entertainment for your puppy. Also, these come in a variety of shapes and styles, so you can encourage tug of war, fetch or simply let your dog gnaw to his heart’s content. Having said that, sometimes dogs rip these toys apart and accidentally slurp down broken strands which can cause gastrointestinal obstruction and even lead to life-threatening issues.
Hence, it's essential to be wary of the risks and only let your dog play under supervision. So once the toy unravels, you can get rid of it.
- Tug toys
Interactive toys such as tug toys allow lots of physical movement and help build a stronger bond between you and your pet. Although like most dog toys, you will find several types of tug toys in the toy aisle. However, they are usually made of rope or rubber and consists of two ends to allow play between two pups or you and your pet.
Always look for a tug toy your dog can grab in his mouth easily, and one that feels comfortable holding in your hand. Apart from this, ensure they are strong enough to sustain your dog's pull and don't fray away easily.
Self-Entertaining Toys:Self-entertaining toys allow you some alone time without a puppy underfoot. Besides this, it keeps them occupied while allowing them to become independent and more comfortable when you’re not around.
- Chew balls
Chew toys are a favorite with dogs. Not only does this ensure that your dog doesn't chomp on your favorite couch, but also reduce the risk of him chewing anything that can damage their teeth. Chew toys are ideal for puppies who want to relieve boredom and need entertainment every waking minute. PetSafe and Kong have some durable chew toy options for safe solo play for your dog that also keeps them distracted for hours on end. Also, these come in a wide range of shapes such as ropes, bones, rings, balls, fruits, animals, and sticks.
Distraction Toys:Distraction toys are good for keeping your puppy busy for a good while when you're unavailable to play.
- Squeaky toys
Although that high-pitched squeak might be a nuisance for you, your pet has other ideas. In fact, dogs love playing with any non-plush toy that makes even the slightest "squeak." This is because these sounds resemble the shrieks of a scared animal that they are hard-wired to catch, and hence this sets off their hunting instincts.
Generally, squeaky toys are made of rubber, vinyl, and plastic. But selecting the best one for your pet comes down to your pup's gnawing habits. In comparison, plastic and vinyl work best for mild chewers, but if you have an aggressive pet, it's best to go with thick rubber toys instead. However, thinner vinyl or plastic toys are often flimsy and don't last very long.
- Treat toys
Who doesn't love a treat? Treat toys, otherwise known as treat balls or food dispensing toys, motivate your puppy to funnel their energy and allow physical and mental stimulation. Dogs love it when they have to scavenge or hunt for food, and these toys are the best tools to help them become more physically active. Since treat toys work as a reward system, your dog must complete a task to become eligible for one. This works best for reinforcing certain behaviors while inhibiting displays of boredom such as destructive behavior, barking, and excessive chewing etc.
Comfortable Toys:Although your dog will prefer the comfort of your presence any day, these toys can soothe your lonely pet when you’re away. Comfort toys distract your dog to help relieve separation anxiety, stress and give them a sense of purpose.
- Plush toys
Plush toys are yet another adored toy among dogs. While some pups might carry them everywhere, others like ripping them apart as a natural prey instinct. Also, some plush toys come with squeakers and certain polyester filling that your dog loves getting into. Once the toy animal is dead, they will shake it now and then and even carry it around for a sense of satisfaction.
- Stuffed toys
If you have a cuddler at home, stuffed dog toys will be your pet's favorite companion. Not only do dogs love snuggling with their stuffed animals in bed, but they also enjoy harmless playtime with these softballs of fluff. There is anecdotal evidence that dogs are gentle and affectionate towards stuffed toys and treasure their possession.
That said, it's important to keep a close eye on your pup so that he doesn't ingest the stuffing, since it can be risky for their health. However, some stuffed toys do not contain any sort of filling and are a safer option.
Training Toys:Training toys keep your canine entertained while they learn something new. Apart from being fun, these toys help condition desired behaviors and reinforce learned skills.
- Dental toys
Despite being crucial to your pooch's health, dental hygiene is often neglected. Here is where dental toys come into play. These fun-sized toys are meant to help your dog's oral hygiene. Dental toys ensure healthier gums and teeth and effectively reduce around 70% of bacteria in your dog’s mouth. Arm & Hammer and Cutiful have an excellent range of toys for dogs you might want to check. Although it's safe to bite off bits and pieces, make sure your pup doesn't ingest big chunks of these toys.
Safety with Dog Toys
While choosing the best toy for your dog should be simple, there are certain safety hazards you must keep in mind while making your choice. Avoid toys that smell of strong chemicals, brightly colored ones, since they may contain toxic ingredients. Also, look for toys that are not treated with stain guards because these contain formaldehyde and are not fit for consumption. Regularly inspect the toys for any ripped fabric and broken parts and get rid of them immediately.
With all things said, also keep a close eye on your dog while he is playing alone to ensure safe play.