Walks or playtime with them may not always be possible for you, and hence getting the right toys is critical to their health. Choosing toys carefully based on the size, breed, and age of your doggo will keep them occupied and ensure that they are not bored or nervous when you are not home or unable to engage in play or exercise with them. It is important, however, to remember that no toy lasts forever and dog experts recommend immediately replacing damaged toys. When buying toys, do remember, to consider safe and environment-friendly toys that are activity level, size, and preference conducive for your doggy. Do check labels to ensure that toys do not have dangerous materials, small parts, and potentially hazardous fillings (nutshells, beads, and toxic materials). Materials commonly used to stuff dog toys are not digestible and could harm your doggy – ensure you are around when your furry buddy is playing with a stuffed or squeaky toy.
Check with your vet to understand the appropriate hardness of a chew toy, acceptable for the teeth of your particular doggo. A standard test to check the right hardness of a toy is the ‘thumbnail test’ – the toy should give in to the pressure applied by the nail of your thumb. Get the recommendation of an expert if you would like to buy a harder toy for your pet. Whichever toys you decide to buy, ensure that they are the right size and will not rip easily under pressure – smaller toys could become lodged in your dog’s throat or the pieces could cause damage to the intestinal tract. Choose wisely!
Let’s look at some of the tips that would help you choose the right toys for your doggos!
The first few months in the life of a pupperino involves several changes, and as a pet parent you would be helping the ‘baby’ adjust well by providing many toys in this period of transition. They need toys that would soothe their gums during teething and distract them from your furniture, shoes, and any other items lying around. To combat separation anxiety, you could get them snuggly/squeaky toys or a soft blanket.
Teeth Cleaning and Soothing Toys
These toys not only keep your dog occupied but also serve to keep their ‘chompers’ clean and healthy. These dental toys have textured surfaces or bristles or grooves and they enable healthy chewing and gentle plaque removal. Choose softer and smaller toys for puppies, while the bigger adult dogs could be given chew toys or rope toys that enable gum massaging and teeth flossing.
Food and Treat Dispensing Toys
These toys can keep your dog busy for a good period, while also stimulating them physically and mentally. To retrieve the treat or food, these toys need to be acted upon by your furry friend by either throwing or rolling or pawing them around. The opening that dispenses the ‘hidden treasure’ can be adjusted to either allow easier dispensing or pose a bit of a challenge, depending on your doggy’s disposition. These toys also tend to be longer-lasting.
Hollow toys, with a mesh design, help easier airflow for your doggy even if he/she is running with it in the mouth. These toys are lightweight and can even hold treats to make game-time more interesting and fun.
Hardy – Almost Indestructible Toys
These toys are for the big boys with large strong chompers! They are made with robust and durable material that is puncture resistant – ensuring that your ‘big baby’ would have a real challenge! It would be best to choose shapes that your pooch is ‘biased’ towards – ball-shaped, or stick-shaped, or squeaky toys.
Toy’ing Around Aesthetically
Yes, you love your furry baby but ensuring that your home does not look like a dumpster for old toys, is also important. Choose toys that are durable and rate high on aesthetics too. Carefully selected toys will nurture the playful and intelligent natural characteristics of dogs while stimulating them. Toys encourage exercise and keep them entertained, even when you are not around. The tugging toys/ropes are safe and low cost, and make for a great game of tug-of-war. Whatever you decide to choose for your furry buddy, ensure that it is safe, hygienic, humanely made, and long-lasting. Have fun toying around!