Which Toys are best for Dogs?
Toys are essential for dogs for a several reasons which include; for physical and mental stimulation amongst others. But choosing toys can be overwhelming sometimes, because there are a ton of toys out there, and getting the right toy can be difficult.
Which toys are best for dogs? Knowing the right type of toys for your dog(s) depend on the dog’s size, breed, temperament, and age. Some toys that are suitable for specific breed and size of a dog can be detrimental to another breed.
Choosing the right toy for your dog also depends on why you are getting the toy. Some toys are good for physical exercise, while some are best at mentally stimulating your dog.
The energy level and ‘playfulness’ of dog should also determine the choice of toy for your dog.
Dogs with a tremendous amount of energy will be better suited to toys that require expending of energy.
Usually, when it comes to picking a toy, dog size must be considered. This is because toys suitable for small dogs can be hazardous to big dogs.
Puppy toys and small breed toys are easy to swallow for big and large dogs. This can cause a gastrointestinal problem.
The toy material must not be toxic or be of materials that can cause significant health issues when swallowed or ingested.
Dog toys are grouped into these categories;
Chew toys: Chew toys are great for puppies, especially during teething and jaw growth stage.
During the jaw growth stage, the dog feels the need to chew on something and it is better to have a chew toy at hand, or they find something else to chew on (don’t count your favorite expensive shoes out)
These toys also help in the dental care of dogs, by chewing on them. The chewing helps to clean the teeth and exercise the jaws.
Puppies are not the only ones that chew toys are recommended for. Some adult and big dogs also find chew toys interesting, but big chew toys are advised for them.
Usually, when choosing chew toys for your dog, it is vital to know the type of chewer your dog is.
For hard and aggressive chewers, toys that are strong and made of materials that can withstand the rigorous chewing must be chosen. Choosing the wrong type of chew toy material here can make your dog quickly destroy the toy and worse, swallow bits of the toy.
For mild and soft chewers, the toy material must be flexible enough to chew or else, severe damage can be done to the dog’s teeth and jaws.
The toy material must also be carefully chosen to avoid substances that can cause harm to the dog.
Rubber and rawhide are the most common material for chew toys.
Chew toys can also be filled with treats for dogs. The fillings can serve as an added incentive for the dog to chew.
Deer antlers are also used as chew toys, but cases of dogs cracking their teeth on antlers have been reported, splinters formed from chewing can also injure the dog.
You should probably stay off deer antler unless you are sure your dog can handle the chewing without causing harm to itself.
Treat Toys: These toys have hidden treats in them. The dog plays around with the toy and treats hidden in the toys fall out for the dog to eat.
Treat toys are a good source of motivation for dogs that don’t like to play, once they know that there is a reward for playing with the toy. They don’t need a second invitation once you call.
The best part is that they are not limited to a specific type or breed of dog; all dogs love treats.
Treat toys are a great way to keep your dog occupied for a long time.
The dog stays busy playing with the toy because of the expectation of reward at the end. So if you are the busy type and won’t have time to play with your dog when you are at home, treat toys are great to keep your dog’s attention while you are busy.
Although when introducing treat toys to your dog for the first time, don’t make the treat too tricky for your dog to find else, it loses interest.
But as the dog associates the toys with treats and reward, you can hide the gift deeper in the toy, to keep your pooch occupied.
Exercise toys: If you have one of those high energy dogs, you should get exercise toys to keep them regularly exercised.
Dogs can get bored when they lack an adequate amount of exercise, and this can lead to behavioral problems like trashing the house.
The other alternative is to exercise your dog by walking, jogging or running with your dog.
Exercise toys help to keep your dog mentally stimulated and also unleash their instincts.
For example, throwing or launching balls sharpens your dog's predatory skills by running after them.
There are a ton of exercise toys out there; dog treadmill is good for dogs that are bred to run or have high endurance (Huskies, Malamutes, etc.), ropes are used for dog tug, and balls are good for playing fetch.
Floating toys are great for dogs who love swimming.
Puzzles and Interactive toys: These toys are best recommended for smart dogs. Some dogs are very brilliant and need their mind to be occupied. If not, they might just be planning how to escape.
Puzzles mentally stimulate the dog and keep the pooch mind sharp.
Herding dogs are known for high intelligence, so you need to keep their mind focused on something.
Though dog puzzles have levels, and you should start with the lower levels when introducing puzzles to your dog for the first time and also try out different puzzles to know the best puzzle for your dog.
So in essence, there is no single criterion to determine the best toy for your dog. You have to factor in a lot of qualities that your dog possesses to single out the best toy for the dog.