Finding the right toy for your dog can really target their playful instincts, keeping them entertained for hours. Where treats can cause the calories to add up, toys are (mostly) calorie free! Alternatively, there are toys which you can combine with treats - and like treats, you can always use toys for training! With so many toys on that market, the choice is almost endless...choose from: hard and durable toys, soft and cuddly toys, squeaky toys, rubbery toys, ball toys and rope toys.
Age: Young puppies require something a little softer because of their baby teeth. You might also consider teething toys to help them in their gnawing stage
Size: picking the right sized toy will prevent it becoming a choking hazard. Make sure it cannot fit past their back molars. Some toys even have size guides on them.
Chewing style: some dogs chew more vigorously than others. If toys are soft and are going to be chewed vigorously, they may break in pieces – a choking hazard and a potentially hazard in the intestines too
Certain toys are designed to be particularly tough. Some products in store are made from durable nylon, others from particularly strong rubber, others from firehose. Some of the Nylabone ones also have flavouring to entice your dog: bacon, chicken, or even cheese flavours.
Some toys are plush and cuddly, perfect for snuggles in their bed. They can come as soft toys with or without stuffing, and different levels of strength. Tuffy Toys are a softer toy with multi-layered strength! Other cuddly toys contain squeakers, bottles, balls, rope, with many combinations to suit your dog’s individual needs.
Some dogs need a squeaker to get them motivated to use a toy. Many toys use different pitched squeakers to keep your dog guessing. Other toys use “grunts”, low pitched squeakers that can also attract attention. And of course, you have the classic balls that squeak.
Natural rubber, such as the rubber used to make Kong toys, is ideal for satisfying the natural urge of your dog to chew. Different kinds of rubber (and different shapes) enables specific products for puppies, senior dogs, power chewers, and even dental rubber.
A Classic fetch toy, balls come in many different sizes – not so many different shapes 😉. Some balls are hollow like tennis balls, though specifically made tougher for dogs. Some have a squeaker inside; others are sponge balls to allow for durability. Be sure to have a throwing device like a Chuck-it to extend your throwing arm!
Rope toys are ideal for dogs with dental problems as chewing on the strands can often act like floss. Some even come with mint flavour! Rope toys can be great for tug-of-war and be assured that a well-trained dog won’t learn to be aggressive from these games. Rope toys are often quite good value for money and can last longer than plush toys. Some ropes have balls entwined, or others are in intricate knots and shapes for more enjoyment.