What kind of toy is best for my dog?

We all need time to unwind, and this is no different for our canine pals. For dogs especially, toys are almost as essential as food. This is so because they afford them vital physical and psychological benefits.

For example, chew toys keep your dog’s gums in peak condition. There are also specialized chew toys that help your dog to keep their teeth clean. Dog toys also help them keep fit. While you may walk them for potty breaks regularly, they will probably need that extra bit of exercise to stay in prime physical condition.

Types of toys available for your dog

Balls
Ball toys are ideal for dogs that love playing fetch. Playing fetch by tossing a ball that your dog retrieves is one way of having some quality time with your dog. There are different kinds of balls such as flashing-light balls, those with holes for treats, tennis balls, among others. A sturdy but bouncy ball is more enjoyable to play with that something light. It is important that you choose an appropriate size for your dog balls. Though tennis balls are common dog toys, they could pop in your dog’s mouth especially if his grip is too tight and cause your pet to choke. As well, the fabric and glue that are characteristic of tennis balls could be harmful to the dog’s teeth and overall health.
Ropes toys
Rope toys for dogs are twisted and braided in various designs. Some have multiple knots, others have attached rubber balls. Rope toys with hard plastic handles are also common. Choose a rope toy that’s long and bigger than your dog’s mouth. If you are unsure on how to use the rope while playing with your dog, consult a certified dog trainer. Dogs that are aggressively chew could shred the rope toys and swallow the pieces, so keep an eye out for unravelling ropes. Ingestion of rope toy parts could lead to serious gastrointestinal issues. As a rule of the thumb, dogs should not be left to play with the rope toys unsupervised.

puppies playing
By unbrokenworld via Shutterstock

Tug toys
Some dogs like to play tug of war and thus the tug toys. These are particularly helpful in building courage and self-esteem in dogs with reserved personalities and puppies. Choose a tug toy that will be easy on your dog’s teeth as well as comfortable on your hand.
Discs and retrieving toys
Discs are also ideal for dogs that love playing fetch. However, they are more versatile as they can change direction midair making it more difficult for your dog to retrieve them. Also, they are more suited for older dogs as puppies may get bored while at it. Finally keep your retrieval toys safely to avoid your dogs chewing on them.
Plush toys
These are usually stuffed toys that act as ‘prey’ and are not appropriate for all dogs. For dog’s that view this as ‘prey’ the toy should be the appropriate size, such as the size of a rabbit or mouse. Keep an eye on the dog so that it does not swallow the stuffing. Plush toys are not suitable for aggressive chewers.
Food dispensing toys
One of the most popular food dispensing toy is the Kong, which is beehive shaped and has a hollow that you fill with soft foods. The dog has to figure out a way to get the food. This is not only a way to stimulate your pet’s mental ability but also a way to funnel their energy. Food dispensing toys are great for when you leave the house. They are distracting and help your dog to not care so much that you’re leaving them.

FYI another necessity to help relieve dog separation anxiety is making sure they have a place to potty while you’re gone. It will be relieving for your dog to know that they can relieve themselves whenever they need to. An indoor solution such as a Bark Potty is the perfect solution for when your dog is home alone. Couple that with something like a Kong toy- and your dog will hardly notice your absence!
Floating toys
Does your dog love swimming? Floating toys would be most appropriate for him. Floating toys constitute plastic material, foam, rubber, rings, floating balls, and other toys that are easy for your dog to grab in water.
Chew toys
Since your dog or pet is naturally inclined to chewing, do not be surprised if he picks on your shoe chew on if you do not provide him with suitable chew toys. Chew toys or squeakies are made for the sole purpose of chewing.
Puzzle toys 
Tired of cleaning the house every time your dog tears apart a plush toy? Consider buying puzzle toys. Puzzle toys are great for stimulating your dog’s ability to think through a situation and earn a reward in the end. Puzzles toys usually have compartments that the dog has to open to get to the treat. They are a perfect way of teaching your pet some cognitive skills. The reward, once they have solved the puzzle, makes the learning process fun.

Dogs have different personalities and energy levels and are, therefore, bound to have a unique preference on the toys they would like to play with. Find what keeps your dog interested and engaged. It is imperative that you purchase the appropriate sizes so that your dog does not end up swallowing the toy. Also, keep in mind that your dog could easily tear the toy apart, so besides monitoring him as he plays, look out for signs that indicate that he could have swallowed something he should not have. Finally, consider getting your dog new toys after some time as they get bored easily with the same toys. Have some quality play time with your dog, won’t you?

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