Do dogs really need toys? Yes! Dogs can get bored, and they often need something to comfort them. They also need something to play with and chew on that won’t destroy your things or hurt themselves.
Dog toys can fulfill all of these needs, but it’s important to choose appropriate toys that will be appropriate for your unique dog.Not every toy is meant for every dog, and getting the wrong dog toys could mean danger. It’s up to you to choose them well and to supervise your dog when they are being played with. The right toys can take your dog from behaving badly to playing harmlessly when they have toys.
Your Dog’s Size
One of the biggest factors in choosing a dog toy is choosing one that is appropriate for their size. A tiny dog with a too-big toy can’t play with it and may get frustrated and upset. A large dog with a too-small toy will likely destroy it immediately, or they may eat it and suffer from stomach troubles.
The key is to look at the sizes that the toys are rated for. Most dog toys have a weight rating that pertains to your dog. If there is no rating, you simply have to picture the toy next to your dog. Would they be able to get the toy in their mouth? Would it be something that she could spend some time playing with?
If you have a large dog, it isn’t just the size of the toy that matters. It’s also the toy’s durability. A large dog can make a quick meal out of a flimsy toy, even if it’s a large one. Hard rubber toys like certain Kong products are made to be as durable as possible for dogs who love to play. Toys that contain treats in them are generally made to be sturdy and hold up to a lot of gnawing.
Your Dog’s Activity Level
When you’re picking out toys, think about how high-energy and active your dog is. If your dog is extremely active, they will likely play long and hard with a toy given to them.
Hard rubber toys are often best for these dogs!
If your dog is highly active, they may enjoy a toy that they can chase such as a tough rubber ball that’s large enough that it can’t get stuck in their throat.
Active dogs often like to chase things like rope toys and tennis balls, though a large, active dog can tear one apart too easily.
Many, many dog toys come with squeakers inside, but is that actually safe? For highly active dogs who will chew apart a toy and find the squeaker, it’s not. If you have a dog that will put the toy through the wringer, avoid anything with a squeaker.
Squeakers are just the right size to be swallowed by many dogs or to get caught in the throat and cause choking.
If you have a low-energy dog, such as a senior dog or one with health problems, a soft toy such as a stuffed toy or a gentle toy with a squeaker could work well.
There are even stuffed dog toys today that have no stuffing in case it gets ripped open.
Toys to Avoid
As the owner, you know your dog best. You can probably imagine how your dog will treat a toy. If a toy has loose strings or added-on objects like ribbons or googly eyes, these will be easy for a dog to swallow, even if they are relatively calm and not very active. If you love a toy and aren’t sure that it’s going to be safe, you may need to alter it to make it safer. Cut off anything that is loose or hanging so that it won’t be eaten. If you love a squeaky toy but have a toy that might eat it, you can remove the squeaker at home by cutting it out.
There are also toys that are simply unsafe for dogs. These include rawhide toys. These can be tempting because they can be chewed on by dogs of any size, but the rawhide itself isn’t safe for dogs. As a dog chews on it, it gets softer, and it is likely to get stuck in your dog’s throat. Dogs can choke on the pieces that they gnaw off of the toy, and they can swallow it and end up with an intestinal blockage that can be life-threatening.
Rotate Those Toys
If your dog has a few toys, they may get bored with some of them after a couple of weeks. That’s why many people hide a toy or two and then switch them out when the dog gets bored with the current toys. That will make them fresh and new to your dog! With plenty of fun toys to play with, your dog can stay happy and occupied and will have an outlet for their chewing instinct.
Please don't hesitate to reach out to us if you need anything or have any questions!