Playtime for pups is a significant part of their life. It helps to create a bond between them and their pet parent, as well as provide them with entertainment, fun, and happiness. You don’t have to just rely on going to the park or somewhere outdoors for playtime, as your own home can be a fun playground for your pooch. Dog toys are a wonderful way to keep your pooch entertained and curb boredom. It is also a way for them to interact with you, as they may bring a toy to you to let you know that they want to spend some time with you and play. So what toys are the best? There are many options out there to suit different dogs, that serve different purposes and can aid with teething and training too!
Why are Dog Toys Important?
Dog toys are usually purchased without a second thought. We all know that dogs enjoy playing with chew toys and a lot of pet parents will automatically purchase chew toys, along with a bed and food for when they first welcome their fur baby into their home. This is part of the society we live in and it’s great that we automatically do this, but why are they important? Just the sheer volume of dog toys on the market shows you that dog toys are a big part of your pooch’s life. Dogs will always want to play, in order to let off steam and prevent boredom. It’s just in their nature. Dog chew toys are attractive to them and often come in different forms and can even make noises, which both intrigues and entertains your dog. They also work to prevent your dog from chewing up furniture or shoes if they are bored, which you may find that they do when you’re out of the house if there is no-one to keep them entertain and no toys to play with. Chew toys are also a fantastic way to bond with your pet, especially when you have just welcomed them into your home. It’s a way of showing them that they can trust you and they will love you for it too. Chew toys are also fantastic in promoting stronger teeth and help your puppy lose their baby teeth. There are so many different reasons why dog toys are important. You may also find that your dog grows attached to a certain toy, that they will play with the most or take with them around the house, or to their bed.
Dog toys also offer a lot of mental stimulation, which will tire out your pooch, encouraging a good sleeping routine and prevent them from being restless or left with too much energy to expel. They also help to build independence, so they will happily stay at home for an hour or two at home with the company of their toys. This will, in turn, provide you with a little more freedom and the relief that your pooch is happy at home without you. The toys will help them to relax and release tension if they are stressed, as they have something else to focus on. For puppies, toys also teach motor skills, like using their paws to move them or pull the toy to their mouths (eye-paw coordination). They will also learn to roll and jump, just through the excitement from the toy and investigating it.
What Types of Dog Toys are the Best?
So we know why dog toys are important, but what types of toys are there and which are the best? There are a few different toys to choose from, many you will be familiar with. Activity dog toys allow your dog to play on their own. This is particularly useful if you are busy and they want to play or you need to pop out and you are worried they might get bored. These tend to hold treats, so your dog can work out how to get them out and will quite happily do this for some time. They will enjoy trying to get the treats and it will certainly help to curb the boredom.
Play toys are for you and your dog to enjoy together, like a rope ‘tug-o-war’ type toy, a ball or frisbee. Dog breeds that are known for hunting or retrieving will particularly enjoy these toys, especially when you throw a ball for them to catch or chase.
Chew toys are great for boredom and also promote healthy teeth. These can often include a noise, like a squeak, which your dog will find intriguing. These toys help to keep household items safe from your dog’s boredom too! So if you leave plenty of these toys around, you won’t have to worry about a slobbery shoe or your favorite cushion being chewed up.
Puppy toys are also available, that are more suited to their teeth and size. Getting toys for your puppy is a wonderful way to get them engaged and interested in things, as well as a way to create a bond between you. They will also learn quickly that these are their toys to play with, not Dad’s slippers.
Using Dog Toys in the Home
Dog toys should always be available for your dog to play with. They will love showing your their toys and will present them to you to let you know when they want to play. You may want to put away toys that your dog has lost interest in. You don’t have to throw them away, just bring them back in after a while and your dog will most likely start playing with it again. This saves you from buying toys every other month! If your dog needs additional training, like learning how to sit perhaps, you can use toys as a training technique, especially those that distribute treats. Playing with your dog is a great way to show positive reinforcement and a way to show them that they have been good.
You can also use the toys to train them to release the toy when you ask them too, which is useful if they pick up something important in the house and refuse to drop it. You can also use them to train them to come back to you when called, which is something we often do when playing a game of fetch. As well as being a great training technique, they are also something that your dog has possession over, which you will find they may do with items from time to time. If you find there is a toy that they become too obsessed with, take it away for a little while, as the more attached they become, it may bring out aggressive behavior due to over-protection.
How Often Should I Replace The Dog Toys?
Inevitably over time, the toys your pooch plays with will become tattered and even broken. If you give your dog a toy designed for smaller dogs, when you have a large dog, they may break the toy quite quickly. Finding toys that are suitable for your fur baby is important. Be wary of toys that break easily and try and avoid toys that are made up of materials that could be sharp if broken. If your dog ingests part of a broken toy, this could lead to choking or internal damage. There is no set time to replace your dog’s toys, but if you find they are breaking or have sharp edges created from chewing, perhaps it is time. Introducing new toys is a great way to keep your pooch interested and can also be a lovely reward. A lot of pet parents enjoy giving their pets toys over the holidays or on their birthday as a little treat too.
Best Selling Dog Toys
After a little research on a popular online store, we had a look at what the ‘best-selling’ dog toys are, to give you an idea of what pet parents are buying for their fur babies. Number 1 was unsurprisingly a ball. This is a classic dog toy that will always be a firm favorite with all dog breeds. This particular ball was a bit larger than a tennis ball and made of a firm rubber that is durable and built to last. The second was a toy that you may not be aware of. It is an activity flip board, for concentration and to alleviate boredom. It works by placing treats underneath certain doors, and your pooch has to work out how to open the hatch. In third place was a soft toy, that a lot of dogs enjoy. They entertain and also provide comfort too, and these toys generally end up in the dog bed too. The majority of the other toys we different varieties of chew toys, as well as a ball launcher (popular with pet parents who love to play fetch) and treat balls. There are so many variations of dog toys out there that you will never get stuck for choice. You will always find a toy suitable for your four-legged friend’s age and breed.
So it would appear that most pet parents opt for toys that are designed to engage with their dog’s natural instincts, like chasing and hunting, chewing, sniffing out things and working out how to get it.
The Science Behind the Squeaky Toy
Well, it may not be a science, but there is certainly something in a squeaky toy that stimulates the dog's brain. But why? Some parents dislike loud toys because of the fact that they make too much noise, but dogs seem to really enjoy them. The main reason why they enjoy them is because it reminds them of prey, so it really is an instinctive reaction to want to hunt the toy, which is a big reason why play is so important. In the wild, dogs would burn energy hunting down their next meal, but with doting pet parent taking care of them, they don’t need to do this. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have that instinct, and giving them a toy that evokes this experience will keep them interested and engaged. Dogs also like the interactive nature of the toy. The more they chew, the more noise the toy makes. Some dog toys also include bells. This is mainly to attract their attention and to encourage them to chase and engage with the ball.
Are Bones Safe To Play With?
Bones from meat you have cooked are generally a no-no. They can be sharp and cause internal damage when swallowed. You can, however, get treats that are bone shaped, that dogs love to play with and chew. They may spend some time with their bone treat and will likely eat it over a period of time, coming back to it every now and again. It is always advisable to be around your dog if you do give them a bone, just in case they choke. Dog treats are much softer and will be easier to break and chew up, so if you do want to give your dog a bone, make sure it’s one from the pet store.
You will soon learn what toys your pooch loves to play with the most. There are so many on the market, you will never struggle to find more toys for your four-legged friend to enjoy and there are always new toys being introduced. Toys are a wonderful way to create a bond between you and your pooch and are a fantastic way to curb boredom. There are different toys available to help with different needs that your dog has, like an urge to hunt, chew toys for healthy teeth and toys designed for learning and engagement. Remember to avoid toys that can easily break under the pressure of your dog’s bite, as this can be dangerous. It’s always a good idea to keep plenty of toys around the house for your pooch, to keep them entertained and burn off some of that energy.