Toys for dogs aren’t just for fun, they are an important part of their life and daily routine. Dog toys help relieve them from anxieties, boredom, and stress. Apart from this, playing is one of the best ways to help channelize any available excess energy and prevent destructive behaviors. This makes toys a necessity for your pets and no more a luxury as they were considered in the gone days.
Though cats are known to be picky about their toys, dogs tend to play with just about any object they can somehow get their paws on.
This means you will need to be quite careful when shopping for dog toys to avoid anything unexpected to happen during their playtime.
What should you look for when you’re buying a dog toy?
Every dog enjoys different kinds of toys, depending on their physique, size, personality, and type of jaws. Having said this, there are some simple thumb-rules you need to keep in mind to make sure that you are choosing a safe toy for your dog. Noting these for your toy search can help a lot in eliminating the wrong options as it can often be confusing looking at a huge variety of toys.
Dog Toys: 7 Mistakes to Avoid to Ensure a Playful and Fun Experience
It’s important to you as a pet owner to avoid this “sins” so to speak when it comes to taking care of the relationship between your dog and the toys. Keeping these in mind will help ensure unexpected hazards are at bay and your dog actually enjoys playing with them.
Buying potentially dangerous toys
Most dog owners are well aware of the fact that dogs are often attracted towards things that can be quite dangerous for them. But still, unknowingly, many make wrong choices when it comes to buying toys that are completely safe for their dog. This is why when you are searching for dog toys, you’ll need to steer clear of a variety of toys that appear attractive but could be potentially dangerous for your dog.
There are many other factors contribute to the danger or safety of a toy, and a few of them depend on upon your dog’s preferences, size, and activity level. Another factor that needs to be considered is the kind of environment in which your dog typically spends most of their time. Though it’s not possible to guarantee the safety levels of any specific dog toy, here are some good guidelines.
— Dog-proof not just the toys but your entire home by removing ribbons, strings, rubber bands, pantyhose, and children’s toys.
— Toys with sharp edges that can harm your dog’s gums and teeth. There’s also another type of treat-dispensing toys available in the market which requires dogs to push a big lever to obtain their treats. Avoid buying such type of toys at all costs as they could pose a serious threat to your dog’s eyes.
Remember: anything which is sharp or pointy is a big no!
— Check if the toy contains a “squeaker” placed inside it. Sometimes, if the dog has a destructive tendency and feels that they should try to find out and destroy the source of this squeaking, they could probably ingest it while ripping apart the toy. Hence, monitor your dog’s play with such squeaky toys.
Ignoring your vet’s advice
It’s possible you may consider it unreasonable to make your pooch wear a cone in order to prevent licking open an old wound or incision. However, if you ignore such instructions by your vet, it’s quite likely you will have to pay even bigger vet bills in the future. So, if your pet totally hates wearing the cone, try getting a softer one made of fabric or probably a see-through plastic that won’t make them feel so weird about it.Not just this, be sure to confirm with your vet which rawhide chew toys are appropriate completely safe for your dog, if you are thinking of buying something of that sort.
Toys containing rawhide may result in choking hazards, so you should be there to supervise when you give it to your dog. Also, it should be kept in mind that many types of rawhide are by-products of the international fur trade which is closely related to animal cruelty across the globe. For a more humane alternative, you should consider toys made of hard rubber, which are much safer options and last way longer than their rawhide counterparts.
Toys with Inappropriate Size
The size of the toys can be the main factor for differentiating between a good toy and a bad or dangerous one. In case you’ve got a small pooch, a big toy may not be a good fit for them. This is primarily because your dog might get easily bored and simply stop playing with it. However, a small toy is dangerous, regardless of what’s your dog’s size. Anything that can easily fit inside your dog’s mouth should be considered as small, and you should get rid of it immediately. In addition to this, toys that have small bits or parts that can be chewed off are also unsafe for your dog. Remember: anything that’s too small isn’t a safe dog toy.
On the other hand, it can be tricky for dogs to handle toys that are larger or heavier than a specific limit. This will make them quickly lose interest in playing with the toy – which means a bad purchase for you and nothing else.
Toys which are too soft or not that durable
Many dogs love playing with soft toys, but the one you have chosen may not certainly be one of them. At the time of choosing a dog toy, it becomes important to know about your dog’s chewing behavior and keep it in mind. In case your dog enjoys playing rough and is generally more aggressive and enthusiastic as compared to other dogs, then you’ll need to be a bit more careful with its toys. It makes sense to get sturdier toys for your dog instead. Another nice alternative would be to look for stuffing-free dog toys. Remember: soft toys aren’t made for the aggressive chewer type of dogs.
Also, try to avoid buying poor quality toys at all times. You won’t like it if the toy splinters while your dog is chewing on it and results in some damage inside of its mouth. More often than not, poor quality plastic toys break really soon and pose a serious threat to your dog’s health and safety. Hence, in order to ensure your dog’s safety, check their toys regularly for any signs of wear and tear. Toys aren’t meant to be completely indestructible, so it makes sense to replace them once in a while.
No doubt that your 4-year-old chihuahua loves sleeping with the same stuffed animal that he did back as a tiny puppy. But if stuffing seems to be popping out of this toy’s every stitch, it’s best to let go of it.
Old dog toys could be carrying loads of mold and bacteria due to moisture, and the stuffing can also pose a health hazard. Not just this, cleaning up any of the fluff from the stuffed animal out of your carpet is a daunting task too. Instead of ignoring the need to “retire” these old toys just because your pet won’t be able to live without it, give a serious thought to buying a new one as a replacement if your dog is too fond of it and won’t let go. Anyways, your pooch is better off without an old toy covered with germs than with it.
Not getting the most out of all your dog’s toys
It’s common for owners to let their dogs try a new toy once in a while. However, the best practice is to rotate a bunch of your dog’s toys on a weekly basis by making only a couple of toys available to them at a time. Having said this, in case your dog has got a favorite toy, it’s alright to leave it around all the time.
Try providing toys that offer a good variety. For example, at least one toy to roll, one to “kill,” one to carry, and another one to “baby.”It’s also a good idea to make games out of the toys your dog has. “Hide and Seek” can be a fun game for your dog. Most dogs find “found” toys much more attractive than the toys which are obviously introduced.
Also, playing an interactive game of finding treats or toys is a nice “rainy-day” activity for any dog. By focusing on a single task — like repeatedly returning a Frisbee®, ball, or playing “hide-and-seek” — your dog can use up any excess physical and mental energy. These type of games don’t take up much time or space either. Not to mention, this can help greatly reduce stress caused by isolation, confinement, and boredom.
Not reading reviews of the dog toys online before buying them
In case you have got second thoughts about a toy, it makes sense to take some time to read reviews shared online by other pet owners. It’s worth noting the fact that if the toy is rated highly online, it’s a good sign that it’s going to be worth your money and your dog might enjoy having it. You can refer to your vet, dog trainers, or even your friends with dogs for their personal opinion on the toy you are planning to buy. This won’t just help you make a much more informed decision but also help you see better results as compared to buying based on the looks of a toy.
Having said this, many people tend to buy toys for their pet just going by the attractiveness of the toy and ignore the reviews only to realize later that either the toys aren’t safe for their dog or their dog just won’t play with it. Going through online reviews gives you a better idea of the quality of the product and its likeability, so it doesn’t make sense to ignore this one at any cost.
Additional tips to consider
Now that you are aware of what kind of things to avoid when it comes to dog toys, it can be helpful to keep a couple of points in mind to improve your dog’s experience further.
Considering enrichment toys as an option
You have always known your pooch was a smart one but do you really want to push his intelligence to its limits? Enrichment toys could be the answer for you. Basically, these toys are like little puzzles that your pet needs to solve by using only his sense of smell. There’s a reward for solving the puzzle successfully, with special treats kept inside. These are learning based and get your dog to adopt specific skills in order to fetch the treat. As you would have guessed already, the results are quite amazing.
It can help them develop some useful problem-solving skills and also give them a sense of purpose as they have to actually “work” for their food. Eventually, it can make them feel accomplished and boost their self-esteem along with overall health.
Try making your dog’s playtime seem as interactive as possible
Dogs need some active “people time” on a daily basis and it is a good opportunity for you as a dog owner to nurture your bond with your pet. This is why interactive play becomes important for your dog. For high-energy, untrained, young dogs, interactive play is a good way to for them to socialize and help them learn better about appropriate as well as inappropriate behavior.
If you have not bought any dog toys yet, it may seem difficult to understand why purchasing some funny looking toys for your dog is even worth it, let alone be important. But these silly ropes and tennis balls are more to the dog than what meets our eye. Toys can teach your dog to solve problems, keep them from showing destructive behavior and even be beneficial for their oral health. Toys are your pet’s best companion if they reward their curiosity, provide comfort, or offer them physical and mental stimulation.
However, if you are still not sure exactly what your dog would like to play with, it’s suggested you check out a variety of playthings, and then see for yourself which ones can become your dog’s personal favorites. Going through our updated, extensive selection of high-quality toys in all shapes, sizes, and colors will make choosing a fun experience.