One of our favorite things about dogs is how much they love to play. Whether we’re playing a friendly game of fetch or watching our pups have fun on their own, toys are an important part of your dog’s health and well-being.
Playtime provides both mental and physical exercise for our dogs and is something they need both as growing puppies and mature adults. That said, choosing the right toys is imperative to keeping your dog safe during playtime. Accidents can happen, but the right toys will keep them to a minimum and allow worry-free play.
So what should you look out for when choosing the right toys?
First, you’ll want to consider the age of your dog.
A baby puppy isn’t going to chew as heavily as your average adult dog. Further, a senior dog isn’t going to have the same chewing strength as a young adult. Luckily, there are plenty of toys specifically made for puppies of certain ages. Since chewing is such an important part of life for puppies, you’ll want toys that are soft enough for them to gnaw on but not so soft that they break apart. Perhaps most importantly is recognizing that your dog’s needs will change over time.
A tiny puppy will soon grow into a strong adult and then age into a gentle senior. With these changes will come changes in your dog’s chewing habits and the need for different styles of toys and levels of durability. If you notice something is breaking apart too easily, it’s probably too soft or too small for your dog. If your dog doesn’t seem to enjoy a toy much, it might be too big or uncomfortable to play.
Second, you’ll want to look at the size of your dog.
Even when comparing adults, a small Chihuahua isn’t going to chew as heavily as your average Golden Retriever or Rottweiler. Small breeds often need toys that are considered less durable than the larger breeds. A toy that is too soft can break into small pieces that can be choked on or ingested. It’s a good idea to replace any toy that becomes damaged. Just as important is choosing the right size toy. Something too small can easily be choked on. A general rule of thumb is to make sure that anything small enough to fit behind your dog’s rear molars is a choking hazard.
Third, you’ll want to decide which types of toys are best for your dog.
Dogs, like people, will have preferences for which toys they prefer. Consider this with the toy’s general safety for your individual pooch, and you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect toys.
Choosing the right toy for your dog or puppy will ensure you both safe and fun playtime. With so many different options on the market, you’re guaranteed to find something you both enjoy. Remember your choice should depend on your dog’s age, chewing style, size and personal likes. As your dog ages from puppyhood to senior citizen, you’ll likely go through the various stages of toys available.
Katie Finlay is a Los Angeles-based dog trainer and writer. She has been working with dogs and their owners both in person and through her articles for over six years. She is one of the longest -standing writers and contributors to iHeartDogs.com and iHeartCats.com, as well as a guest writer for various pet-related companies.
Katie is an active competitor in many dog sports, most notably Schutzhund/IPO. She is a hard-working member of the American Working Malinois Association, Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of Southern California and her home IPO training club, All Canine Working Dog Club. She enjoys talking anything dog, so please feel free to reach out to her via her website; www.katiesk9training.com!