Choosing Dog Toys That Meet the Needs and Interests of Each Dog

Posted by Keith Rowley on

Toys dogs like best

Every dog needs entertainment and activity for their health and their happiness and many owners rely on dog toys to keep their pets busy while they are busy or away from home. Toys are more than just a reward for a dog. They help to stimulate their brains, provide comfort and allow them to use their natural hunting instincts in a way that is safe. Finding the toys dogs like best is not easy because every dog is a little different and there are so many options available. Determining what the purpose of the toy is will help to make the choice easier.

Prevent Bad Behavior

Boredom is the leading cause of bad behavior in canines. When a dog becomes bored they chew, dig up yards and bark excessively. Prolonged periods of inactivity and isolation is common for dogs with working owners. The use of activity toys will help them to release some of their energy and channel their potential destructiveness safely. There are many types of toys that help pets stay active. Interactive toys may have unusual movements or moving parts that entice the dog to keep playing. Some store treats and encourage the pet to bounce, roll or move them in some way to get their snack. Another option is squeaky toys. Their sound appeals to the hunter in many dogs and is just an exciting sound to others. In both instances the animals get exercise and stimulation from the toy.

Comfort Nervous Dogs

Even confident pets have anxious moments. Some toys helps dogs remain calm during storms and loud noises, when left alone and when adjusting to a new home. Plush toys are common comfort toys. The pet may sleep with them, carry them around or wrestle and chew the toy. Rubber chew toys also work well for this purpose because the pet can relieve their nervous energy by chewing on the toy instead of shoes or furniture. Some of these toys will include a calming scent or play a heartbeat to help soothe a nervous puppy. Some comfort blankets include a protected pouch where the owner can put clothing with their scent on it and some have teething rings and other items attached to the blanket that a young dog will enjoy.

Reward a Pet

Many pet owners shop for reward toys more often than for any other reason. They want something that excites their dog and shows them how much they are appreciated by their human family. Any toy that appeals to the pet is a great option but the best reward is when their owner plays along. Good options include balls for playing fetch, floating toys for water retrieval and tug ropes that let them show off their muscles. This type of play is extremely beneficial because it helps humans and their pets to bond and it gives the animal the exercise they need to stay healthy.

Encourage the Wolf

Allowing a dog to express its natural hunting instincts will not make them aggressive. Realistic plush animals with squeakers inside encourage them to chew, shake and toss the toy around the way they would with captured prey. Retrievers particularly love this type of toy because they can harness another natural instinct and bring their "kill" to their human. These toys actually help many owners to train their pets away from behaviors that could harm them. For example, to stop a pet from chasing an animal they see as prey into the street or playing too aggressively with a cat or a small dog in the home. Their instincts make them view these small creatures as prey. Training the dog to capture their stuffed squirrel instead of chasing a live one could prevent a tragic accident.

There are very few safety regulations applied to pet toys. The Consumer Product Safety Commission only enforces regulations on toys known to pose potential risks or after reports of injuries. Pet owners need to be cautious about what they purchase. The biggest concerns are choking and stomach obstruction.

  • Do not purchase toys that have easily-removed small pieces.
  • Supervise play time with plush toys that contain squeakers.
  • Buy toys appropriate for the size and strength of the pet.
  • Avoid cheaply made toys. These may include dangerous chemicals in the plastic or the coatings.
  • Any toy small enough to fit into the back of the dog's mouth is a potential choking hazard.
  • Do not give dogs tennis balls or plush toys made for children. These are designed for human use and are a choking hazard for dogs.

Rotate dog toys occasionally to bring in new items and throw out any damaged toys. Dogs become bored with their playthings just like children and a new addition can make everything in their toy basket seem more exciting. Also remember to always stay alert to toy recalls and only buy toys from reputable manufacturers.


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