The best toys for dogs are the ones that your dog will play with. Bestowing the most popular toy of the dog park on your dog will serve no purpose if your dog shows more interest in shredded the packaging in which it came. Each dog is an individual with its own unique preferences for playtime activity. If you stroll through the aisles of pet supply retail stores today, there are more toys for dogs than ever to satisfy every dog’s urge, from chewing to fetching to snuggling.
Best Dog Toys for Chewing
Dogs love to gnaw and chew, and such activity can be helpful in scraping away plaque from their teeth. Consider some of these options for providing your dog with hours of chewing gratification:
• KONG bones
When it comes to selecting one of these chew toys, be sure to choose the appropriate size for your dog to minimize choking risks. Always supervise your dog with any chew toys. Refrain from giving your dog any organic bones or rawhide bones. Some bones can splinter and cause bowel perforations, and others can result in choking or bowel obstruction.
Best Dog Toys for Fetching and Tugging
For your active pooch, repetitively fetching a ball or Frisbee every day will go a long way to maintaining its svelte physique. Some fun fetch toys for your dog to enjoy include:
• Hard rubber balls, such as KONG balls
• Tennis balls
• Hard rubber flying disks
• Squeak toys
As with chew toys, be sure to choose balls that are small enough for your dog to pick up and carry in its mouth and large enough that it cannot slip back into the dog’s throat. Inspect tennis balls and squeak toys periodically, and replace them if they begin to crack or split open.
If your dog happily engages in tug of war tournaments with you and does not show any signs of aggression when doing so, rope toys for dogs are ideally suited to this activity. Tug toys made of the same material as fire fighting hoses are also good choices for rugged tugging. Inspect all tug toys periodically, and replace them as soon as the fibers show signs of fraying.
Best Dog Toys for Snuggling
If your dog enjoys its beauty rest or longs to wile away the afternoon lounging on the sofa, soft items to snuggle with provide comfort. Consider these options for your dog:
• Plush dog toys
• Old t-shirts or blankets with your scent
Today’s dog toy departments display every zoological creature known to man in the form of a plush toy. Some dogs are content to snooze away with the plush toy serving as a pillow, other dogs tote their plush toys everywhere they go, and still others will shake their plush toys violently in their mouths as if they are killing prey. Be sure to choose a plush toy that is appropriately sized for your dog and for your dog’s preferred use of the toy. If your Chihuahua likes to mother the toy and carry it around in her mouth, she may have trouble doing that if the toy is sized for a German shepherd. Be sure to inspect all plush toys, blankets and other snuggling toys for evidence of wear, including holes and stuffing that is coming out. Replace these worn toys as needed.
Puzzle Toys for Dogs
If you want to keep your dog occupied, consider one of the challenging puzzle toys that are flooding the dog toy market, including:
• Puzzle plush toys
• KONG toy
• Busy box toys
The puzzle plush toys typically resemble a dwelling, such as a tree log, and contain three smaller plush toys that, in the case of the log, resemble chipmunks or squirrels. The creatures are stuffed into the dwelling through holes, and the dog has to figure out how to pull them free. There are numerous themes on the plush toy puzzles. Busy box toys operate on a similar principle. They are usually cubes or balls with holes through which you can insert treats, and the dog has to figure out how to maneuver the box or ball just right to be rewarded with a treat when it falls out. The original KONG toy was designed to stuff with tasty fillings, such as peanut butter, which keeps dogs engaged in hours of licking pleasure.
To keep playtime more interesting and fun for your dog, swap out the toys periodically. There are dog toys that depict colors and themes for every holiday and season. Dogs can become bored when always presented with the same toy, so keep things varied. The best toys for dogs are their owners. You should engage in interactive playtime with your dog each day. Playtime is more fun with playmates, especially since dogs are social animals that thrive on the company of others.
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