They're not as important as food and water, but dog toys cannot be overlooked. They can prevent dogs from exhibiting destructive behavior and can also help with separation anxiety. Like children, dogs like some toys better than others and each dog is different. While one dog may prefer squeaky toys, another may prefer tug toys. Regardless, some are perennial favorites and should be on every new dog owner's shopping list.
It's in a dog's nature to chew. Not only are chew toys a favorite among dogs, but dog owners love them as well. They can curb destructive chewing, help with teething and keep your dog entertained. You have many types to choose from. Some are designed to help clean the dog's teeth during playtime. Others are flavored, or can be filled with treats, making them a more enticing option than your slippers. (Unless your slippers taste like peanut butter.)
Dogs are natural hunters and in the wild many prey animals will make a small squeaking noise that doesn't stop until the kill is made. Squeaky toys satisfy a dog's primal instinct to capture prey. Squeaky toys in the form of small animals are even more enticing. Make sure to chose plush toys that are made for dogs. Plush toys made for children should never be given to dogs: it's a lot easier for a dog to rip off and swallow small pieces like buttons, or to get into the stuffing itself and try to eat that.
Puzzle toys provide hours of entertainment and rewards for dogs. Some can be loaded with treats: when the dog interacts with it, the toy will dispense a treat. Another type of puzzle toy is a plush toy with compartments that hide smaller toys. As the dog discovers their hiding spots, she receives the reward of more toys. This can satisfy the primal need to hunt.
Tug toys are a favorite among dogs because they encourage owners to play with them. A good tug toy will be large enough for you to handle without getting in the way of the dog's teeth. The toy should also be strong enough to handle the pulling power and biting strength of your pet. Lastly, a tug toy that has different textures can be fun for your dog, offering different chewing experiences. This makes the toy fun even when you're not able to play. For example, a tug toy made of rope and rubber materials will provide hours of tugging and chewing fun.
Amy Brantley has been a writer since 2006, contributing to numerous online publications. She specializes in business, finance, food, decorating and pets.