Part of the fun and excitement of having a dog in your home is being able to treat them to a new toy every once in a while. Toys are an excellent way to reward your dog for good behavior- and they also help to keep him entertained, engaged and out of trouble. There are countless different types of dog toys, ranging in size, color, shape and purpose. All of this can make a walk down the pet store’s toy aisle quite overwhelming, to say the least!
In this article, we’ll attempt to remove some of the confusion and teach you more about the various categories of dog toys and help you to decide which are best for your dog.
Ball and Fetch Toys
If you’re looking to have some fun with your dog, ball and fetch toys are a great choice. A game of fetch provides your dog with a good dose of exercise and also helps to stimulate his mind. Tennis balls are a good option, as are frisbees and plush balls. Always avoid fetch toys that are too small in size because they can present a choking hazard. If your dog doesn’t show much interest in a game of fetch, try soaking the toy in chicken stock as the scent will encourage him to chase after it.
Example: KONG Air Dog Squeakair Balls
Dental Chew Toys
Just like humans, dogs can suffer from a variety of oral health issues, such as the build-up of plaque, bad breath and irritated gums. Dental chew toys not only allow the dog to have fun but they can also have a positive impact on his oral hygiene. These specialized toys reduce plaque, therefore appease irritated gums. Furthermore, they help to improve your dog’s unpleasant breath. Be aware that dental chews should not replace regular brushing of your dog’s teeth, however they can certainly help to make it a much easier job when it is time to do so.
Example: Checkups Dental Dog Treats
For a fun way to physically and mentally stimulate your pup, opt for interactive dog toys. These toys hide treats or smaller toys and it is your dog’s job to figure out how to get to them, whether it is with a push of a button or the wobble of a ball. They will have an absolute blast as they attempt to reveal whatever it may be that is hidden. Puzzle toys for dogs are available in a wide range of difficulties so that it will be easy for owners to find a toy that their dog will be able to figure out but will also challenge them at the same time.
Example: StarMark Bob-A-Lot
If your dog has the tendency to rip and shred any toy that is given to him, it is a good idea to invest in stuffing-free toys. Just as the name suggests, these are plush toys that are not stuffed, meaning there is no cotton or any other kind of material inside of them. Many dog owners love this because it means that they don’t have to worry about coming home to piles of cotton all over the place! In addition, stuffing-free toys are considered to be a safer alternative to other toys because there is no way for dogs to choke on the stuffing. Whilst they are not stuffed, they are still available in countless designs, colors and sizes for their pleasure.
Rope and Tug Toys
You’ll have to search far and wide to find a dog that isn’t entertained by a rope and tug toy! Just like ball and fetch toys, ropes provide owners and dogs with an easy opportunity to fit in some playtime, anytime. These are commonly made of braided rope and sometimes have plastic or rubber parts in the center. The act of chewing on the rope helps them to release their aggression and is also good for their teeth as it promotes a brushing-like action. Bear in mind that it is important to keep an eye on rope toys and dispose of them as soon as they begin to fall apart because dogs can choke on the frayed pieces.
Squeaky toys are available in both plush and non-plush forms. They come in many shapes, sizes and colors. Typically, they are constructed with plastic, rubber and vinyl for increased durability. Dogs tend to love squeaky toys because the high-pitched noise catches their attention and keeps them occupied. When looking for squeaky toys opt for ones that are as thick as possible because dogs tend to quickly chew through and destroy the thinner ones.
Example: Duckworth Large Yellow Duck Dog Toy
If your dog loves to go swimming, he will love floating toys. These toys are most commonly made of rubber, foam or a thick plastic material that floats right on top of the water. Floating toys are typically in the shape of a ball or ring so that they are easy for the dog to find and grab while swimming through the water. Always test them out before allowing your dog to use them in order to ensure that they don’t sink, to avoid any risk of your dog needing to go underwater to retrieve them.
Example: KONG Aqua Dog Toy
It’s safe to say that when it comes to dog toys, the options are practically endless. It will take some trial and error to find out which toys your dog enjoys the most, but the choices listed above are some of the best and they make for a fantastic start.
Always remember that you should monitor your dog when they are playing with a new toy, especially if they are aggressive chewers. No matter how durable a toy may feel, there is always a chance that pieces can be chewed off and ingested. Supervised play is always happy play!