For most pets, especially dogs, toys are a necessity and not a luxury as most people think. That is because they are important for the well-being of your pet. They help fight boredom when you are not at home and offer comfort when they feel nervous. Toys can ideally help prevent your pet from developing some unideal behaviors.
Cats can be very picky about their toys, but dogs are usually more than willing to play with just about anything. What this means is that as a pet owner, you not only have the freedom to pick a toy without much research, but you also need to be especially careful when monitoring your dog or puppy’s playtime in order to avoid any unscheduled activities.
There’s an array of factors that contribute to the danger or safety of a toy and many of them depend on the size, preferences and activity level of your pet. The environment where the pet spends most of their time is another major consideration. Even though we cannot guarantee the safety of any specific toy, we can provide a few guidelines.
Items that tend to be the most appealing to dogs are usually the most dangerous things for them. Dog proof your property by getting rid of ribbon, string, rubber bands, pantyhose, kid’s toys and other inedible items that the pet might swallow.
Ensure you purchase toys of the right size for your pet. Toys that are too small are not safe as they can be easily swallowed or stuck in your pet’s throat.
Also, you’ll want to oversee your pet’s play with squeaky toys. Your puppy may feel that they need to find and get rid of the squeaking source, meaning they might ingest it when left unsupervised.
Avoid getting toys that are not dog-proof. This applies to ant strings, ribbons, eyes, or any part that can be chewed off and ingested. Get rid of toys when they are torn or start breaking into pieces. Go through labels on the stuffed toys to ensure they are safe for kids below the age of 3 and don’t contain any hazardous fillings. You will come across toys stuffed with polystyrene beads and nutshells, but even those labeled as safe are not truly digestible. Keep in mind that soft toys aren’t indestructible, but some tend to be sturdier than others. Also, soft toys should be machine washable.
An important note regarding rawhide:
If you decide to get your pet rawhide chew toys, first check with the vet regarding the ones safe or ideal for your puppy or dog. Rawhide chew toys pose a choking threat and should be used only when you can supervise your pet.
Most rawhides are byproducts of the cruel international fur trade and so, you may want to consider toys made of hard rubber, as they are not only humane but durable and safer.
Recommended Toys For Dogs
- Active Toys
Hard rubber toys like Kong-type and Nylabone come in varying shapes and sizes and are certainly fun for carrying around as well as chewing. For puppies that like chewing on interesting textures or tug of war, you will find rope and woven toys, often available in a ‘bone’ shape with knotted ends.
As for fetching, tennis balls are excellent, but they don’t stand well to chewing. As mentioned earlier, you should discard toys like these when they have been chewed through as they pose a choking hazard to your dog.
- Comfort Toys
Soft and stuffed toys are excellent for an array of uses, but they are not ideal for all dogs. Here are several tips for picking the right stuffed toy:
-Some pets like to carry around soft toys. If yours deems their toy a companion, you will want to choose one that is small enough to carry.
-Some dogs want to shake or destroy their toys. In such cases, you’ll want to pick a large and durable one to avoid accidental swallowing and getting destroyed too fast.
-Dirty laundry like a towel, blanket, pillowcase, or an old t-shirt might be very comforting to a puppy, particularly if it has your smell. Keep in mind that such items can be destroyed by carrying, fluffing, and nosing.
- Distraction Toys
Kong-type toys, particularly when stuffed with treats can keep your pet busy for houses. Feeder or busy-box toys are huge rubber shapes that can be stuffed with treats. The pet moves the cube around with their paws, mouth and nose in order to get the treats. If you have a dog that eats too quickly, they can benefit from these toys.