What are the best toys for your dog?
The best toys for your dog will depend on a number of factors such as the age, size, strength, breed, and personality of your dog. It will also depend on what you want the toy for, such as to entertain your dog while you are at work, to play together with at home or something fun for when you are out at the park or beach.
Are all dog toys safe for all dogs?
The short answer is no as a toy that is safe for a toy breed such as a Cavoodle can be a choking hazard for a Standard Groodle or Labradoodle. Most commercially manufactured dog toys will state the size of dog that they are suitable for but use your own judgement as well.
The basic types of dog toys
These are the relatively inexpensive toys that are made of rope tied together in various knots and shapes of different sizes. These can be great toys to play tug-of-war with when the two of you are together but they will also help to clean your dogs teeth as they play. Often the ropes are made of smaller strings that will slide in between your dog’s teeth acting like dental floss.
Food dispensing toys
These are the toys that you can fill with treats that your dog must work for in order to get the treat contained inside. These come in a diverse range of sizes, shapes and styles to suit all dogs from the smallest toy breeds to the large breeds. The most common of these is the Kong toys that are the shaped like a snowman and filled with a specific sized and shaped treat that the dog has to constantly chew at to get. There are other varieties of these food dispensing toys that have holes in them that are just big enough for the treats to fall out of. These toys require the dog to roll the toy around the floor until the treat falls out. If you have a Puggle, Beagle or any other breed that is ruled by it’s stomach then these toys will provide hours of entertainment for a food reward.
Chew toys come in a range of different types from rubber to plastic to rawhide, but the best chew toys of all are big solid beef marrow bones. Chew toys are essential during your puppy’s teething stage. Chew toys will allow your dog to both clean their teeth as well as exercising their front legs as they need them to grasp the bone to chew on. This can help to reduce the inclination to dig but do supervise your dog to make sure they do not try to bury the bone. Be sure to change the bones regularly so the bones do not go off. You can also freeze the large marrow bones during summer to give your dog a cool treat and this also helps with puppies that are teething.
Soft stuffed toys can be a lot of fun for dogs to play with, especially when they are puppies but you do need to supervise them with soft toys as some of the stuffing or small chewed off parts can be a hazard for dogs. These are often a favourite for Moodles and Poochons.
Tug toys are stretchy toys that are tied to a solid object at one end and the dog is able to pull the other end or you can hold one end while your dog pulls the other end. There is some debate around these toys among trainers and dog behaviourists as to whether dogs that play with these toys have a higher level of aggression and can lead to dominance issues, so if you think your dog may be a dominant type of dog then it might be best to avoid giving your dog tug toys.
By giving your dog a variety of toys that suit them at their stage of life, as well as alternating between the toys that they are allowed to play with, you will be able to keep your dog mentally stimulated and keen to play.