It doesn't matter if your dogs have 10 toys or 100; the key is limiting accessibility. Too many handy toys create indifference and negate their purpose. In addition to being safe, non-toxic and size-, age- and breed-appropriate, their toys should promote good behavior, provide mental or physical stimulation, alleviate stress or strengthen your bond. Next time you’re tempted to purchase your fur friends a plaything, choose one that will round out their toy box.
Not The Jimmy Choo Shoes
Chewing is instinctive for puppies and many dogs; without an alternative they may ruin a shoe or two. For pets who thrive on destructive gnawing, activity toys encourage good behavior. Hard rubber toys amuse; look for those sturdy enough to survive grinding without breaking teeth. Vet-approved edible bones offer action, while inexpensive tennis balls may do the trick. Rope tug toys provide a workout while cleaning teeth.
Soft and soothing comfort toys discourage or alleviate stress. That plush pig that's carried everywhere acts as a security blanket. If your dogs have particular attachments, always keep them accessible.
Distraction toys require dogs to solve a problem. A hollow stuffing orb brings mental stimulation; maneuvering the tasty delight entails focus. Food puzzles, game boards and cubes ignite the thought process; dogs have to rock and roll the object for the kibble or treat.
Dogs Just Wanna Have Fun
Interactive toys get you involved. Whether you're tossing them a flying disc, ball or float stick, they strengthen your bond, physically exhaust, burn pent-up energy, foster socialization and reinforce obedience commands.
A shared game of hide-and-seek can be used to introduce new toys and is conducive to small spaces. Toys like a tug rope can serve a dual purpose; it's good for chewers and allows you to join the fun.
Use common sense and supervise playtime when necessary. Discard broken or torn items and balls, cut off eyes or string and examine seams on squeaker toys; all may be choking hazards. When shopping for new toys, look for child-safe labels and avoid those with stain retardants, fabric guard or chemical odors.
Showering your dogs with toys is OK, just keep most tucked away to avoid monotony and rotate a few of each type in weekly to keep their days interesting.
Based in Cleveland, Ohio, Susan Spisak has been writing pet- and travel-related articles since 2005. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton and holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism.