A long time ago, there was either a bone or a stick from the backyard for your dog. But experience has shown that sticks and bones aren't the safest playthings for your pup. More popular today are rawhides and chewing sticks. Even these pose some risks to your dog's health. Because of this, efforts have been made to produce better, safer toys that produce a variety of squeaks, moos and even songs. The sky's the limit! While having an array of options is great, it can be overwhelming. If you're struggling to decide where to put your money in the canine toy arena, we can help! The following are some suggestions of dog toys and methods of deciding which is best for your particular pooch.
What type of chewer is your dog? Does your pal rip all toys to shreds, or gently nibble? If your dog tends to settle down with a toy and really go at it, it’s best to purchase playthings that are made of durable rubber like Kongs made by the Kong Company®. Kongs have been known to withstand the roughest chewers. When the rubber begins to crack and tear, its time to throw it out and buy another.
If your dog has a softer approach to playing, or loves toys that squeak and squeal, consider sewn plush toys. Canvas toys are a terrific option for rough chewers that are fans of the squeak. Semi-aggressive chompers can also enjoy rope toys which break apart less easily and are wonderful for your pet’s dental health.
Planet Dog has even devised a system to aid consumers in the purchase of dog toys called the Chew-o-Meter. Their system takes into account the chewing style of your pup compared to the durability of their products to help you make the best purchase possible. Furthermore, 2% of your purchase is used to fund the training of service dogs.
KNOW YOUR MATERIAL
Instead of smaller toys that may be a choking risk, stick to Frisbees and large balls that can’t reach the back of your dog’s mouth. A reader of The Bark recommends lacrosse balls which are large and come in a variety of fun colors. In addition, regularly check all toys for cracks or holes so that your dog’s mouth stays in tip-top shape.
PET COMPANIES WITH PET SAFETY IN MIND
Companies like Kong®, Tough by Nature, and Planet Dog are innovative toy producers that keep the safety of your pet in mind. They constantly take our pets’ needs and health concerns to heart and consistently provide new modes of fun and recreation.
The dog toy frontier is also pioneered by designers who wish to actively and mentally engage dogs with puzzle-like toys that require your pet to move pieces in order to reveal hidden treats. Nina Ottosson has a line a of dog toys that seek to work the canine brain by encouraging them to discover concealed treats using their nose and paws. Some of Ottosson’s products are made from particle board and should not be eaten or chewed, so it is important to watch your dog while playing with them. Another great option is the Buster Cube, which comes in different size cubes that must be rolled around in order to dispense the treats inside. Resembling a gumball machine, the Yuppy Puppy Food and Treat Machine has a large bone handle that when pressed down by your pup’s paw, dispenses treats! However, if you have any hesitations about whether your dog will chew off pieces of these brain teasers toys, opt to only use them when you can monitor your dog.