Chewing and playing are natural behaviors for almost all dogs. Playing gives dogs a chance to exercise. Above all, playing is an easy way for owners to help their dogs maintain good health while bonding and having fun. However, some toys are better for certain breeds and ages than others.
When choosing dog toys, consider personal playing style and chewing habits. What works for one dog may not work for another. So it’s essential to choose the ones your dog will play with and enjoy.
In this article, we will discuss different kinds of dog toys and will also share things to consider and avoid while buying them.
1) Rope Toys
Rope toys are created with braided rope. These toys may be knotted or have rubber or plastic features. You can choose from countless fun shapes and designs, such as football, tire, and bone tug toys.
Many dogs naturally enjoy playing tug-of-war and fetch. Fighting over a rope toy taps into dogs' instinctive actions and movements. Such behavior improves confidence, builds impulse control, and strengthens the bond between dogs and owners.
Rope toys are great for dogs that enjoy engaging in active play. However, dogs are aggressive chewers and benefit more from a different type of toy, as ropes can unravel and be pulled apart.
If you want to learn more about pros and cons of dog toys for aggressive chewers, we have a complete guide which you can check here.
A rope might not be ideal if your dog picks at things, tears at carpet fibers, and destroy toys and other items. Chewing on rope toys is great for dogs who are not destructive chewers, and it can even help keep their teeth clean, as the threads can act like floss.
2) Play Balls
Balls are essential for dogs who love to run and fetch. Since most breeds like to run, they are a universal favorite. Siberian Huskies, English Setters, Boxers, Border Collies, and Staffordshire Terriers are among the many breeds that especially enjoy running.
Since dog breeds range widely, some balls are more suitable for one breed than others. Choose a ball based on your dog's size. Your dog should be able to pick up and carry the ball quickly.
For example, if you choose one too large for your breed, they might need help holding it easily in their mouth. Medium-sized to large dogs often like heavy-duty play balls they can chase and chew on without tearing or breaking.
3) Plush Toys
Soft plush toys are an excellent choice for many dogs. While some dogs may be more destructive with them, others enjoy playing with them without pulling out the stuffing. A plush toy might be perfect if your dog is more interested in cuddling and playing fetch than chewing.
Are you wondering how to wash dog toys? Plush toys are easy to clean and usually come with specific care instructions. Other cleaning techniques are appropriate for a variety of dog toy materials.
Try out a few dog toys and see which ones they naturally gravitate toward
s. It's always best to rotate your dog's toys, so they don't get bored.
3) Squeak Toys
Some plush toys have squeakers inside. Many dogs hear the squeaking sound and instinctively think of the toy as “prey.”
Important! Dr. Matthew McCarthy states, “Lots of breeds have histories that involve chasing and catching small animals. Watching your dog tear into, shake silly, and disembowel a stuffed squeaky toy until it is ‘dead’ is evidence of this theory/mechanism at work.”
Accordingly, dogs with histories as hunting breeds, such as Bloodhounds, Beagles, American Pit Bull Terriers, Golden Retrievers, and Jack Russell Terriers, may be especially interested in squeaky plush dog toys.
Squeak toys may not be the best choice for aggressive chewers, but other dogs of all ages can enjoy them. These are a great way to entertain an energetic dog or puppy easily.
4) Chew Toys
Durable, strong toys made of materials like nylon and rubber stand up to destructive chewers and often last years with good care. They come in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes. These keep your dog chewing on their toys, not on things they shouldn’t be, like shoes and furniture.
You can even choose spike chew bones that work to clean your dog’s teeth and strengthen gums while they are chewing and playing.
Chew toys are generally super easy to clean and come in various weights and sizes for dogs of all breeds, sizes, and ages. They come in varying hardness levels to stand up to dogs, from passive to aggressive chewing habits.
Why Do Dogs of All Sizes and Activity Levels Need Toys?
Now that you know how to choose safe toys for your dog, let's consider why dogs require at least one toy.
Dogs love to play with their owners because of their pent-up energy. With these toys, dogs can play interactive games such as fetch or hide-and-seek, thus keeping your dog busy. These dog toys also help with mental stimulation.
Give untrained dogs and other animals their favorite toys to train them about appropriate and inappropriate behavior. These act as distraction toys or comfort toys for dogs.
Things To Consider While Getting Dog Toys
Here are some things you need to consider before getting dog toys:
This is important because, for a big-sized dog, a small-sized dog toy can lead to choking hazards. This choking hazard has been the cause of death for many dogs, so you must choose toys carefully.
Some dogs are more hyper and love to play fetch with their favorite toy. Tennis balls, stuffed toys, and rubber toys are safe pet toys. So you can consider some fetch toys for dogs.
Avoid buying squeaky toys if your dog is too energetic.
Most dogs like a particular cartoon character. You can notice this if your dog licks the TV screen when a specific character appears.
So, try getting a stuffed toy or rubber toy in the form of that character.
For Street/For Home
You must differentiate between dog toys for the street and for the home. Avoid buying toys with strong chemical smells.
Finding toys for use on the street can be a hassle. These tend to get destroyed quickly because dogs usually play rough outside. So, do not invest heavily in these kind of dog toys. You can grab a stick or ball to play fetch.
Things to Avoid Before Buying a Toy
Here are some things you need to avoid before buying dog toys:
Small Plastic Elements
Plastic dog toys are not good for your pet. These toys would not provide them safe fun if they ruined their health.
Instead, go for stuffed toys made from cotton, as soft toys are more gentle.
Good dog toys are made with high-quality materials, so they aren't easily ruined. If the material is good, even rawhide chews will also be safe for your dog's throat.
As pet parents, make sure your dog does not have any allergies. There are many safe dog toys, but you can never be sure. Broken-up treats or hard rubber on dog toys can be an issue. Children's toys are not a substitute.
To Sum Up...
There are lots of different types of toys available for your dog. Many dogs like to play with various toys and games, so it's a good idea to provide toys of different types and see what they want.
All dogs are different, so the best way to choose what toys to get is by learning how your dog likes to play.