Dog Toys, Tips for Choosing the Best for Your DogKeith
Dog Toys, read about how to choose them.
One of the great things about owning a dog is how much they play, and choosing the best dog toys is an important part of their life. Whether you’re playing a game of fetch or watching him roll around to entertain himself, toys are an important part of your dog’s well-being.
Although they do not mature the way you do, you should still keep your dog’s age in mind. A three-week-old puppy still has baby teeth, so toys with softer rubber or plush, snugly fabrics would be a good thing for him. From three to nine months, the puppy will be teething, so avoid hard rubber and stock up! He’ll be chewing on anything he can get his paws on, so a good variety of chewy dog toys will keep him distracted from your personal posessions.
Once teething phase goes, a dog will have a strong enough jaw for stronger rubber toys and boundless energy to play with toys. By age seven or so, a senior dog won’t have the same jaw and tooth strength as a young dog, but it’s still important to give him some softer toys to chew on and play with toys that encourage him to keep him active, like easy-to-toss balls and sticks. There are plenty of options specifically made for dogs of certain ages, all of which match your dog’s age with his size and his personal chewing habits.
Size and Texture
Even in adult dogs, the Yorkshire Terrier is unlikely to chew as harshly as a German Shepherd, so they’ll often need toys that are considered more forgiving clenched in a smaller jaw. Similarly, a toy that is too soft can break into pieces and swallowed causing blockages. If you notice dog toys starting to show signs of damage, replace it.
The right size toy is important as well. Something too small can be swallowed just as easily. A general rule is to make sure anything small enough to fit behind your dog’s rear molars is a choking hazard.
There are rubber balls, plush balls, tennis balls, foam balls, squeaker balls, and more. Each bounce in different ways. Some float and glow in the dark—tempting options if you have a pool or nighttime routine! This classic option is a great way to keep your dog active, too. When you find the right-sized ball for your dog, make sure it’s a durable-enough material for him to not destroy it.
Most dogs enjoy a tug-of-war. And although some may warn against this game to discourage aggression, there’s nothing to worry about if your pup is properly trained. Perhaps the most important thing to remember with tug toys is to make sure your dog doesn’t tear this into pieces. Tug toys are typically plush and made of linen, leather, fire hose, or rope, so it’s necessary to replace them as soon as you see damage. If you want him to let go of the toy, you need to train him to respond to commands such as “drop” or “release.” Also, while a dog’s jaw is very strong, it is never a good idea to pull the toy vertically and get his feet off of the ground. This can cause jaw, neck and spine issues.
Plush toys are a favorite of many dogs, but unfortunately many are unsafe. As easy as they are to be ripped apart and ingested, though, plush toys can still be fun if supervised. Before your pup hits his teething phase, plush toys are great options to give him to snuggle up with at night. If your dog loves them, you shouldn’t write them off right away. Just make sure your pup knows which plush toys are his, and not a family member’s stuffed animal. Choosing the best dog toys will ensure you both safe, fun playtime. Toys, much like treats, can be used as a training device. If you notice your dog gravitating to a particular toy, toss it to him as a reward when he performs a command you’ve requested. Training him to understand which toys are his is also important. This will help guard you against any destructive behavior that might ensue from him chewing on things, furniture or children’s toys. Remember that your choice should depend on the age, size, and intensity of his chewing habits. Also, keep in mind that as your puppy ages, you’ll go from puppy toys to adult toys and then even to senior toys.