Playtime is a great way to not only bond with your dog, but it helps them to work off some of their extra energy as well. Dog toys, an important aspect of playtime, come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Each dog will have his own preference for toys, but we have put together this overview of some of the top toys for dogs to get you started and to highlight some safety considerations.
Making Sure Your Dog’s Toys are Safe
Before getting into the details of the top dog toys, you should learn the basics about safety for your dog. There are a number of factors that come into play when determining the safety of a particular toy. Unfortunately, it is often the most dangerous things that are the most attractive to your dog. Your dog does not necessarily know what is potentially harmful and what is not, so it is up you to make sure that the toys you give him are safe.
The first thing to consider concerning toy safety is the size – make sure the toy is appropriately sized for your dog. Toys that are too small pose a choking hazard. You also need to be wary of toys that are not “dog-proof” – they should not have any strings or ribbons hanging off that your dog could break off and then ingest.
Be careful with toys that break into pieces and those that have a squeaker inside – if your dog breaks the toy, he could eat the squeaker. You also need to pay attention to the materials used to make the toy. Chew toys should be made from hard rubber so that your dog cannot tear it apart and eat it. If you are using stuffed toys, make sure they are labeled safe for children under three – this will ensure that the materials in the toy are non-toxic.
Most Popular Toys for Dogs
The most popular toys for dogs are:
- Kong toys – These toys are typically made from hard rubber, so your dog will not be able to tear it apart. Kong puzzle toys engage your dog’s mind as he tries to get at the treat hidden inside.
- Rope toys – These toys are great for tug of war and they are also very hardy.
- Tennis balls – Many dogs love to play with tennis balls and they are great for a game of fetch. Just keep an eye on your dog if he tends to chew things up – discard the ball when it becomes damaged.
- Stuffed toys – Stuffed animal toys are very popular with dogs. Some dogs simply like to carry them around while others shake to “kill” them. If you choose a stuffed toy, make sure the stuffing is non-toxic.
- Old clothes – Something as simple as an old sock tied into knots or a worn-out t-shirt can become a toy for your dog. Be careful not to let your dog associate your good clothes with playtime, though!
- Rawhide bones – Many dogs love rawhide bones, but you need to be careful about what they are made from. You also need to choose one that is the appropriate size for your dog – if it is too small, he could choke on it.
To keep your dog interested in his toys, and to keep him from going through them too quickly, consider rotating them every week. Your dog will likely form his own preferences for toys, so give him a variety from which to choose.
Dog parents know best... what are your favorite dog toys? Let us know in the comments below...