Dogs are naturally playful and inquisitive, so toys help give them something to do while stimulating their minds and instincts. The best toy for your dog could be very different than that of another dog, and unfortunately, what he likes most could be dangerous for him.
Chewing is a natural instinctive behavior in dogs, something that can quickly get on your nerves if your pooch takes a liking to your sofa or brand new pumps. Luckily for you, plenty of dog toys exist to satisfy your pup's insatiable jaws. You'll want to make sure the size is right for your pup; most toys have the words "small," "medium" or "large" on the label to help you choose. If you've got a highly destructive pooch with jaws that don't seem to stop, look for toys that say "durable" or something similar on the label.
Stimulate the Senses
Some dogs are particularly intelligent and get bored easily. Some dogs aren't particularly intelligent and still get bored easily. Whatever the case, a bored pup can spell trouble for you and your belongings. For the pooch who needs a little mental stimulation, tons of toys are now on the market to keep him occupied. Many of these are interactive toys that your pooch has to work at to get a treat out of it. Others produce certain sounds when played with in certain ways. Teaching through play is a win-win situation.
The Cuddle Crowd
Some dogs don't particularly like to chew or play fetch; they just like to cuddle. Dogs like this sometimes latch onto a blanket or a soft, plush toy. Your pup might carry it around much like a toddler carries a security blanket. He might lick it, suck on it or simply just want it everywhere he is. Give in to the cuteness, but keep an eye on your pooch if any of the stuffing starts to come out because it can seriously harm his digestive tract if your pup decides it's a snack.
Soft rubber balls, tennis balls, ropes and a number of other toys exist for dogs. Balls are idea for playing fetch, as are flying discs. These provide the added bonus of giving both you and your pooch a workout outside. Ropes work well for tug-of-war. You can pretty much find a dog toy for every activity you do with your pooch.
Words of Caution
Your pup could fall in love with any number of toys that suit his personal needs for chewing, stimulation or cuddling, but some toys could be dangerous for your pup. For example, a destructive chewer could take a squeaky plush toy and ingest the squeaker. A large dog could take a chew toy made for smaller toys and actually eat the small parts he chews off. The important thing is to find the type of toy your pooch will go nuts over that is still safe for him to love. Always supervise your pup when he's chewing on anything.
With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care.