Just like a human kid, fur kids love to play, and one of the best parts of being a pet parent is getting to play along with them and get to watch how much fun they have. Playtime is made even more fun of course if you pup has the right toys, both for when he's playing with you and for when it's time for him to amuse himself for a while.
Whatever games and activities they prefer having access to great toys really is a big part of your pup's overall health and wellbeing. But with so many to choose from - and there are a lot - what should you take into consideration when shopping for just the right dog toys for your playful pup? Here are a few helpful pointers to help you get started:
Your Puppy's Age
Once again, as is the case for human kids your dog's age can be a factor when choosing the right dog toys. When they are very young puppies many dog toys are not quite suitable for them as their bodies are small and their baby teeth are not very tough. A plush dog toy can be a great idea though, as it can both amuse and comfort your furbaby, especially as it is not so long since he left his Mum.
From around the age of three to nine months your young dog is teething, so stocking up on chew toys is a must. They will also often have a lot of energy, and be keen to play a lot, so for playtimes with you a sturdy tug toy might be just the thing. And as their brains are developing rapidly a good puzzle dog toy is a great way to help develop their doggy intellect and keep them amused and engaged if they have to spend some time alone.
Once they pass the age of one most dogs will begin to show what their personal preference in dog toys is. Some pups love to run and run, so balls, dog frisbees, tug toys and more are things they will find lots of fun. Other dogs love a solitary chew, often when in their crate, and so a rubber dog toy is a great idea. And then as they age, and perhaps begin to slow a little you should consider looking for dog toys that are designed for seniors - easy to toss balls, softer rubber bones and much more - that will keep him active longer without asking him to put too much strain and aging joints and teeth.
Size and Texture
The size of your pup - or more specifically the size of their mouth should be taken into consideration when shopping for dog toys. Some smaller pups are as fond of chewing things as their larger counterparts so need the kind of durable chew toys they do, but, for example, a rubber chew toy designed for a big pup like a German Shepard will usually be far too much for a little pug to handle. The good news here is that most popular dog toys come in different sizes to suit different pups, so you should have no problem finding dog toys that are just the right size for your pup to play with and enjoy.
Texture may also be an issue when it comes to choosing the right dog toys. If a toy is too soft and is given to a voracious chewer it break into pieces that become a choking hazard. There are lots of toys that are designed to be durable enough to stand up to aggressive chewers while also providing lots of fun and engagement. One thing you should always remember however is that if a toy does break it should be taken away immediately and replaced with something new.
As we mentioned earlier, there are lots and lots of dog toys on the market to choose from, but as many as there are they can be divided into five basic types:
A ball is a classic dog toy, but these days there are many different kinds to choose from to have your pup try out. There are tough tennis balls, balls that float, balls that glow in the dark, balls that release treats and much more. A dog ball is a great way to help make sure your pup gets lots of exercise - almost every pup loves a good game of fetch - and it's actually really good for you as well, both in terms of providing a great way to bond with your furkid and as a little extra exercise for you too.
A good game of tug is something dogs really love, both when they play with pet parents or, if there is another dog around, many enjoy a good 'tug war' with them too. Tug toys for dogs come in many different styles, from soft, plush toys designed for smaller pups to have fun with to rough, rope like options that are designed to stand up to some pretty rough play. Whichever you choose once again it is important to watch out for missing pieces or shredding and if and when you notice it to remove the toy from your pup's toybox and replace it with something new.
As far as most dogs are concerned almost anything can be used as a chew toy. However, if you want to keep your stuff - especially your furniture and shoes - on one piece it's best to buy your pup plenty of chew toys of their own.
Most dog chew toys are crafted from durable materials that are made to last for as long as possible. Ideally a good dog toy should be tough enough to stand up to hours of chewing but not so hard that they damage your pup's teeth.
Some chew toys, like rubber dog bones, or shaped toys that wobble and more, can be a great way for pups to amuse themselves when alone - some also use them to ease separation anxiety too - while others can be filled with treats that a dog can only get to when they figure out the puzzle of how to get them out.
Plush toys can be very comforting for a dog and some pups treat their plush toys like their very own best friend. If you pup a chewer the chances are that the average plush dog toy won't last very long, but there are some that are designed to be more durable - and to have less messy stuffing - that may be worth a try. Do be careful if the toy has a squeaker though, as they can pose a choking hazard if exposed.
Taking the time to shop for the right dogs toys, those that are both safe, appropriate for your dog and his habits and preferences will be worth the extra effort. And now that you know a lot more about doing that it's time to start shopping. We offer a huge selection of dog toys, so you are sure to find something your dog will love, and will love you for buying for them!