There are many dog toys available. In fact, there are so many that it can be confusing to know how to best invest your money. When buying toys it is important to understand what the toy is intended for. Toys are made for playing (throwing, fetching, catching, etc.) or for chewing.
CHEW TOYS: Dogs need to chew. Chewing activity is a natural way for dogs to relieve boredom, stress, teething pain and anxiety. It is up to you to train your dog to chew on appropriate items. The key way to do this is to provide appropriate chew toys and make them interesting for your dog. Chew toys are designed to be strong and durable. Buying a number of good chew toys is worth the investment. Your dog will appreciate the variety, so buy toys of different scents, sizes and shapes. Help keep your dog interested in toys by rotating access to them. Put two or three toys down for a couple of days, then collect them and put two or three different ones down. You may initially need to help your dog develop an interest in his chew toys. Do this by playing or “fooling” your dog with the toy. Move the toy in quick, jerky movements in front of the dog, give it to him for a moment, remove it and repeat. Make your dog believe that this is something to be interested in. Don’t just take it home, open it up and throw it on the floor. Also, keep the toys clean by washing them by hand or placing them on the top rack of the dishwasher.
Recommended Chew Toys:
Nylabone® – They are very resistant. They are scented and flavored. In general, dogs seem to prefer the more irregular shapes rather than just the bone shape. However, once the bone has been chewed, it appears to be more desirable for your dog. Those with “nubs” or uneven texture are generally well accepted. I have found that many dogs love dinosaur shapes.
Gumabone® – These are a little softer than Nylabone and are usually a puppy favorite. They are not designed for strong adult chewing. Again, irregular shapes are the most popular.
Kong® – These are very hard rubber and have a snowman-like shape. The hollow center allows you to insert peanut butter or other treats inside to make a great dog pacifier. You can also plug the smaller hole, pour in the chicken broth or water, and freeze. This is great for teething pain, but give the Kong to your dog on an easy-to-clean floor.
Stuffed bones or floss: Offer your dog a softer texture for chewing. They can be put in the washing machine for easy cleaning.
In general, chew toys should be tough and difficult to shred or tear apart. Make sure you buy a suitable size for your dog. Too small a toy can be dangerous. Raw hide, pig ears, hooves, and other similar animal products are not chew toys. Carefully consider giving these items to your dog. These are animal products; so they smell very similar to leather products in your home that you may not want your dog to chew on. If you own leather bags, shoes, briefcases, or furniture, you may want to reconsider allowing your dog to chew on raw hides, etc. Furthermore, there is currently no regulation regarding the production of these items. Most of these are created from the scraps that fall on the slaughterhouse floor, are shipped and dried, without any sterilization process. They later sit in large bins at pet stores, where a multitude of other dogs and people may have handled them before purchasing one. Dogs can experience digestive upset from ingesting these products.
PLAY TOYS: Play toys are more interactive. They are meant for throwing, catching, popping, etc. And they bring the greatest joy to your dog if they involve you. These are not designed to withstand hard, vigorous chewing activity. Therefore, for many of these toys it is best to collect them and put them away after playing.
Recommended play toys
Balls – Balls are made from a variety of materials and come in many sizes. Choose balls that your dog can’t easily destroy, such as hard rubber balls. Tennis balls are great for playing, but don’t let your dog chew them. The fuzzy green stuff gets caught in your teeth and can be swallowed. Many dogs like to play with Jolly Balls, which are larger and meant to be rolled and jumped on.
Discs – Discs are also available in a variety of sizes and materials. I think it is better to choose a disk made of softer materials, such as the Floppy Disk. Capturing a hard drive could cause damage to your teeth.
Plush – The choices are many when it comes to plush. Many are equipped with a squeaker on the inside, which can stimulate the dog to dissect it. If your dog does, you may want to find a soft toy without the noise generator. For your dog’s safety, choose toys without button eyes or cut buttons.
Latex and Vinyl Toys – Again, so many choices. Often these are quite cheap and many are quite cheap. This is because construction is generally poor. These toys can easily be torn, ripped and shredded and then swallowed. If you give these types of toys to your dog, it’s usually best to supervise play and collect them when you’re done.
Whenever a toy tears, it’s time to throw it away. Always think about your dog’s safety. Clean the toys from time to time with a mild dish soap. To help organize the clutter, consider making a toy box for your dog. Teach your dog where to find his toys and even help them collect them!
PLAY: When playing with your dog, keep in mind that you don’t want to encourage negative activity. It is easy to excite your dog and he may start jumping on you or start playing biting. If your dog’s teeth touch you at any time, stop playing immediately and abruptly. Wait a few minutes and then resume playing. Your dog will get the message that the fun ends if his teeth touch you.
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