best Safe Dog Toys
Dog owners love to think of their dogs as children. “That’s my baby,” they’ll say when referring to their dogs.
They’ll refer to themselves as “Mommy” or “Daddy” when talking to their dogs as well. And, of course, they buy their dogs toys to play with.
Choosing the right dog toys can be tricky. People like to get cute, squeaky toys for their dogs or give them stuffed animals to chew on and carry around
(the stuffed toy becomes the dog’s “baby” quite often – “Get your baby, checkers! Checkers, where’s your baby?”) because they think it’s “adorable.” Dog toys don’t need to be “cute.” They need to be practical, fun for the dog, durable, and safe.
Avoid Non-Toy “Toys”
For as lovable, loyal, friendly, and playful as they are, dogs are not the brightest creatures. They are naturally attracted to things that can cause them the most harm.
It’s important to start early with your dog, providing save toys to chew and play with while teaching the animal to avoid household items it may wish to use as toys.
Dogs love to chew on pantyhose, for example, but these could easily be partially ingested, choking the dog. Some dogs will chew on power cords, risking a harmful (or fatal) electric shock. Teach your dog early on what things are for chewing and playing and what things are off limits.
The Best, Safest Dog Toys
The size of a toy is an important consideration. Kongs, balls, and other typical toys must be small enough that the dog can chew them and carry them, but not so small that they can become lodged in the dog’s mouth or throat.
Durability is a factor, especially for a dog that loves to chew. A toy that will break apart easily can become a hazard as the small, sharp parts can be swallowed, caught in the throat, or cut the mouth and gums.
Again, a hard rubber Kong (easily one of the best dog toys ever conceived) is an excellent choice.
Softer toys, like the popular “squeak” toys made of thin plastic and full of air are good for dogs that are a bit gentler. They’re unlikely to chew through such items and are usually attracted by the squeaking sound.
Tennis balls are great for some dogs, but poor choices for others. This is a question of size ratios.
If the dog is too small to fit a tennis ball all the way in its mouth, then it can be an excellent toy that the dog will love but costs very little. If the ball can fit all the way in the dog’s maw, however, it becomes a choking hazard.
No, you don’t wind them up and they don’t take batteries
“Toy” dogs are becoming more popular all the time. These little dogs, the result of generations of selective breeding, are generally bred as companion animals and people just seem to love them.
Their miniature size and playful nature (most toy breeds are good natured dogs with a few exceptions) make them wonderful companions and for several years they have been chic among well to do people.
Most of the toy dog breeds hail originally from Asia where the process of selectively breeding dogs to make them smaller is believed to have begun, but there are plenty of toy breeds from other areas of the world as well.
A small dog that was originally bred as a companion dog, the Bichon Frise possesses a boisterous personality, is very tolerant of children, other animals and strangers
, and is highly intelligent and very trainable. These dogs have a short and curly white coat that does require frequent grooming.
The Chihuahua may be the best known of the toy dog breeds. They have a short or medium coat, are easy to groom, and possess average intelligence and trainability.
They do not have the best personalities and are not tolerant of children, other animals, or strangers. The Chihuahua hails from Mexico originally and is the smallest of the toy dog breeds.
The Maltese is a companion dog that was originally bred for royalty or the very wealthy. They are natural born troublemakers, but are very loyal to their owners.
They are not at all good with children, other animals, or strangers. They’re considered to be dogs of average intelligence and trainability. Their beautiful coats require frequent grooming.
The Pekingese was originally bred for the Emperors of China. These little dogs have a boisterous personality and are not very tolerant of children or other animals.
They do bark a lot and are often difficult to train. Wary of strangers they can make a good watchdog and will bark loudly when strangers approach their home.
The Pug comes from East Asia. Their short coat requires little grooming, but the folds and wrinkles of their faces must be cleaned often.
Pugs make wonderful family dogs because they are very docile, don’t bark a lot, and are good with children and other animals. They are highly intelligent dogs and very social.
Toys Are GOOD For Your Dog
Did you know that dog toys are actually good for your dog, and not just an indulgence on the part of the owner?
There are all kinds of uses for different types of toys.
First, starting as puppies, toys give your dog a distraction from other would-be toys like your couch or your favorite pair of shoes.
My dogs all love ropes. Every single one of them that has ever had one played with them until they were tiny pieces of thread.
Ropes serve a couple of great purposes, in addition to keeping your dog from chewing your house up like termites.
First, it’s great bonding for you and the dog if you engage in a good game of tug-og-war. It also helps them exercise. Our dog Sadie is one big mass of muscles.
When we play with the rope, she uses her entire body to try to get it away and you can just see all of her muscles flexing. She’s a Black Lab and has the most beautiful, sleek black coat.
Rope dog toys also help keep their teeth clean. Who wants to have a dog with teeth problems? I mean, you really don’t want to go into that pointy landmine when your dog is in pain and irritable, do you?
Like people, dogs are comforted by familiarity.
So dog toys that they know and love are great travel companions. They help give your dog a little extra comfort when you’re away from home or take a vacation with your dog.
Here are some tips to consider when buying dog toys:
Make sure they do not have small, choking parts. Dogs are like babies here, they put it in their mouth and can choke.
They don’t know Heimlich!
Don’t get realistic looking toys like, say, shoes or food. You don’t want them thinking that your shoes are toys or that hot dog sitting on the counter is really his toy.
Don’t buy too many toys. Rotate the ones they already have. I do this with my kids too and it works great. It’s like getting new toys all over again.
Choosing Play Toys for Your Dog
All dogs, especially puppies, thrive on stimulation and enjoy playing. Although it’s great to play with your dog, it’s not always practical or possible to do so all the time.
That’s where specialized dog toys come in – they can help keep your dog busy and ensure his mind is occupied. But what types of toys are right for your dog and how do you go about choosing a toy for your furry friend?
These days, there are a range of toys available to suit all preferences and tastes. Some dogs love chasing things, so balls that can be thrown are ideal, whilst others thrive on huge amounts of chewing or time spent puzzling over a strange looking toy.
Finding out what would be best for your dog may be a case of trial and error. If you notice, for example, that he seems fond of chewing your slippers, then a toy to chew would be a good starting point.
If you’re not sure, buy a selection of different toys and try them out one by one. It may be that he appreciates the variety and enjoys them all, or you may find one in particular appeals more.
Ensuring you purchase a safe toy that won’t harm your dog is just as essential as making sure toys bought for young children are safe.
Each year many dogs suffer accidental injuries that can be nasty and painful as a result of swallowing small pieces of toys, broken off pieces of sticks or even the squeaky parts from inside novelty squeaky balls.
So before you buy, make sure that the toy is well made, sturdy and doesn’t have any parts that might come off and end up injuring your pet.
Some of the common types of dog toys include toys that can be tugged, chewed, thrown or offer some form of puzzle or novelty factor. Find out more about them below.
Toys to tug
Dogs that love to play tugging games are bound to enjoy tug toys! These come in various forms, such as rubber rings or hoops, and are generally designed to be held by a human on one side and by a dog on the other.
A good quality, durable tug toy should last for ages, despite plenty of tugging activity, so remember to look for a well made option. When you’re not there to aid in the tugging, they can often double up as great chewing toys.
Toys to chew
Whilst dogs would be happy to chew your slippers, furniture or anything tasty looking that comes into view, it’s not always so great for owners to have anything and everything chewed to threads!
That’s where toys to chew come in and can be an absolute joy to your beloved pet. Toys designed to be chewed are usually made of strong, hard rubber, so that they last for ages and give your dog plenty of amusement.
Toys to throw
Many dogs traditionally love having a stick thrown for them to chase after, but sticks can pose a danger if bits break off and get stuck in the mouth or throat.
If your dog enjoys toys that are thrown, choose alternative options such as balls or rubber objects that can be safely thrown and chased.
Standard tennis balls are great, but you can also get specialised balls designed with attachments. As well as being great exercise for your dog, this type of play doubles up as good exercise for you, too!
A quick peek in a good pet shop or online store will reveal a huge selection of novelty dog toys on offer, from things that squeak and make noises, to furry toys and strange toys to give dogs something to puzzle over.
If your dog responds well to noises, then squeaky toys could provide hours of fun, plus they’re good to chew. Do take care to ensure the squeaky part doesn’t come loose easily though,
as they’re not designed to be swallowed. Toys that are puzzling are ideal for dogs that like quieter, drawn-out entertainment and those that are happy playing on their own.
As a whole, dog toys can provide hours of fun and enjoyment, and help your dog develop into a playful animal, so why not treat your pet today?
Toys For Your Pet That Are Safe and Fun
There are plenty of toys on the market to keep your favorite pet entertained for hours on end, but there are also a number of factors to consider when purchasing toys for your pet.
As with children’s toys, safety should be first and foremost in your thoughts when considering a new toy purchase for your pet.
Be sure not to give your pet toys that can be broken up and potentially stuck in their throats! Dog toys, like dogs themselves, come in various shapes and sizes. Dog toys should be durable, fun, and safe.
Hard rubber toys such as the “Kong” line of products can provide your favorite dog with endless hours of chewing fun.
The “Kong” can also be filled with a mixture of your dog’s favorite treat and peanut butter! Please check with your veterinarian to ensure that it is okay to feed your dog peanut butter.
Rope dog toys and rubber rings are always a bit hit with dogs that love to play fetch or tug-of-war. Playing “Frisbee” can also provide hours of entertainment for dogs and owners alike!
Dogs may also enjoy stuffed and furry toys, but be sure your pet cannot get at the stuffing inside as it can be a serious choking hazard. Toy birds and mice have traditionally proven to be very entertaining for cats.
They especially seem to like the ones attached to string that you can pull and entice your furry feline to chase about!
They also seem to love simple cardboard boxes, tin-foil balls, and scrunched up newspaper! A recent favorite of cats and cat owners is the laser pointer. Cats never seem to tire from chasing that little red dot around, just be sure not to direct it at their eyes.
The feather-and-pole type of toy is also very popular. Scratching posts are excellent forms of entertainment for cats, and they provide your cat something other than your furniture to dig their claws into! Hint: try sprinkling catnip on the post!!
There is also a series of catnip-stuffed toys and pillows that your cat will love. There are literally hundreds of pet toys on the market, just be sure to put safety first!
What’s The Best Dog Toy For Your Adult Dog?
As a professional dog trainer, people often ask me what dog toys I recommend they should buy and which ones I use for my own dogs.
Here’s the answer: Your dog doesn’t need more than two toys. Rotate them, so he doesn’t get bored. But remember: We’re talking about an animal that eats the same food, day in/day out.
And while your dog needs mental stimulation in the form of play and obedience training, they will be perfectly happy with chewing on the same toys, for years.
(Much the same way young children can watch the same Barney movie 100 times without getting bored!)
So… what are the two best dog toys in my opinion?
– The Kong. Either in red or black. (Sometimes you need to play with your dog and this toy a bit, before your dog gets interested in it… but once they do… LOOK OUT.
The benefit of this toy is that they can chew on it for months and months, in most cases. You can also stuff it with doggie treats, cream cheese, peanut butter or whatever.
– The rope toy. This is usually sold in either white or multi-strand colors. It is a thick piece of soft rope, tied in a knot on each end. Another great toy because—compared to the rawhide bone—this toy will last weeks or months.
How To Train Your Dog Not To Chew
Chewing is something that comes naturally to every dog. Every dog feels the instinctual need to sharpen its teeth and hone his biting skills.
Chewing on the right things, like specially designed chew toys for instance, can even help the dog clean his teeth and remove plaque.
Even though chewing is natural and healthy, that does not mean that the dog should be given carte blanche and allowed to chew everything in sight.
It is vital for every dog to learn the difference between the things it is OK to chew on, like toys and ropes, and the things that are off limits, such as carpets, shoes and other items.
When working with a new puppy, it is advisable to keep the puppy in a small, puppy proofed room for at least a few weeks. This is important not only to prevent chewing but to properly house train the puppy as well.
Older dogs should also be confined to a small area at first. Doing this allows the dog to slowly acquaint him or herself to the smells and sights of the new household.
When you set up this small, confined area, be sure to provide the puppy or dog with a few good quality chew toys to keep him entertained while you are not able to supervise him. Of course the dog should also be provided with a warm place to sleep and plenty of fresh clean water.
As the dog is slowly moved to larger and larger portions of the home, there may be more opportunities to chew inappropriate items.
As the dog is given freer access to the home, it is important to keep any items that the dog or puppy should not chew, things like throw rugs, shoes, etc. up off of the floor.
If you forget to move something and come home to find that the dog has chewed it, resist the urge to punish or yell at the dog. Instead, distract the dog with one of its favorite toys and remove the inappropriate item from its mouth.
The dog should then be provided with one of its favorite toys. Praise the dog extensively when it picks up and begins to chew its toy. This will help to teach the dog that it gets rewarded when it chews certain items, but not when it chews other items.
Teaching the dog what is appropriate to chew is very important, not only for the safety of your expensive furniture and rugs, but for the safety of the dog as well.
Many dogs have chewed through dangerous items like extension cords and the like. This of course can injure the dog severely or even spark a fire.
Most dogs learn what to chew and what not to chew fairly quickly, but others are obviously going to be faster learners than others. Some dogs chew because they are bored, so providing the dog with lots of toys and solo activities is very important.
It is also a good idea to schedule several play times every day, with one taking place right before you leave every day. If the dog is thoroughly tired after his or her play session, chances are he or she will sleep the day away.
Other dogs chew to exhibit separation anxiety. Many dogs become very nervous when their owners leave, and some dogs become concerned each time that the owner may never come back.
This stress can cause the dog to exhibit all manners of destructive behavior, including chewing soiling the house. If separation anxiety is the root of the problem, the reasons for it must be addressed, and the dog assured that you will return.
This is best done by scheduling several trips in and out of the home every day, and staggering the times of those trips in and out.
At first the trips can be only a few minutes, with the length slowly being extended as the dog’s separation anxiety issues improve.
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