Dogs love toys of all shapes and sizes. When they are safe, fun and unique, dog toys can provide hours of enjoyment for your pooch. Here are the top tips for choosing great dog toys for your four-legged friend:
Consider the Size
The correct size in dog toys will vary depending upon the dog’s breed and age. It is important to purchase dog toys that would be too large to get stuck in your dog’s throat but small enough to be picked up with the mouth. Toys that are too wide to become a choking hazard, like bone-shaped toys, are a wise choice, as are toys that do not have any small pieces.
Look Out for Hazards
Many dog toys have hazards that pet parents are unaware of until they become a problem. Small items like ribbons, strings or tags can easily make their way down a pet’s throat or tangle in teeth; small parts like eyes or buttons are easy for dogs to chew off and swallow. Because of this, toys that are made of one solid body piece are generally considered the safest. It is important not to buy any toys with sharp edges or items that can be chewed into a sharp point.
Mind the Material
Toys made from flimsy materials such as vinyl or latex are easy to shred and are best avoided. To ensure the toy is safe for your dog, opt for hard-bodied rubber toys that are free of hazardous compounds like lead and arsenic. Nylabone and Kong toys are brilliant.
Wood toys, although they are rare, are extremely dangerous for dogs. When chewed, wood can splinter and lodge in a dog’s throat, causing perforations or choking. Instead of wood, opt for rubber, or tough rope toys that are difficult to destroy.
Purchase Toys Your Dog is More Likely to Love Based on His Behavior
If you have a dog that likes to chew, look for a toy that can withstand the abuse. If you have a dog that is very food-driven, opt for a puzzle toy that can hide special treats for him to discover.
In general though it is a good idea to have a number toys that provide for all your dogs play needs. Make sure you have at least one toy your dog enjoys carrying, one he enjoys "killing", one that rolls around the floor and one that he can "baby".
For Multi Dog Households
If you have a puppy and an older dog living in the same house, be careful to avoid letting them play with one another’s toys. Older dogs can easily choke on puppy toys and puppies may harm themselves trying to get their mouths around large toys made for adult dogs.
Rawhide Or Not To Rawhide?
Check with your veterinarian about which rawhide chews are safe and appropriate for your dog. Rawhide chews do pose a real choking risk to your dog so please be careful.