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How do I choose the best dog toys for my dog?

How do I choose the best dog toys for my dog?

Choosing the right set of toys for your dog may be complicated, or rather, confusing. With so many dog toys out there, picking the right ones are always a hassle. But, fear not! For we are here to help - the best dog toys for your pooch are ones that keep them from getting bored and channel their focus onto something productive, whether it is tugging, chasing, or seeking. Whilst we understand the importance of toys in our dogs' lives, it is also crucial to learn more about why it's important to have a variety of toys and which ones to pick to add to that variety.

Why do dogs need different types of toys?

Imagine having to play with the same toys every day - boring, right? It's the same with our dogs. Over time, playing with the same set of toys can result in boredom, which means they then channel their focus onto something else, and in most cases, this is destructive boredom-based behaviour like chewing, digging, howling, pacing, scratching etc. Moreover, every type of toy engages with a dog differently, i.e. each of them channels a different type of instinctive behaviour, like chasing, chewing, tugging and so on. This, in turn, challenges them to use different parts of their brain. The best dog toys are ones with different types of textures, sounds, and appearances - each serving a different kind of purpose when it comes to play. Toys offer both mental and physical enrichment by directing energy onto productive behaviour, whether that is playing tug-of-war or working through a KONG. 

What types of dog toys are there?

Chew toys 

Chew toys are designed to relieve boredom, stress, and anxiety. The chewing itself has a calming effect on dogs because it is known to trigger the release of endorphins, thereby helping with nervousness, boredom-related stress, and anxiety. In addition to this, chew toys are also designed to smoothen teeth, scrape away tartar and stimulate the production of antibacterial saliva to help clean a dog's mouth. 

Interactive toys

Most interactive toys are ones that require dogs to use their brain over their body. They alleviate boredom and prevent stress and anxiety, especially those that stem from separation or being alone for long periods of time. They encourage dogs to use their brain for an incentive, in most cases, a treat. The idea behind a chew toy is to keep a dog's mind occupied enough to prevent it from focusing on destructive behaviour such as howling, scratching, furniture chewing, howling, pacing, and so on. 

Comfort toys

Cuddle toys, or plush toys are meant for comfort. They're lightweight, covered in fur, and often squeak. It is often believed that plush toys are only enjoyed by puppies, however, dogs of all ages enjoy plush toys and often carry the ones from their puppyhood for the rest of their lives. 

Outdoor toys 

Outdoor toys are balls, ropes, and discs. They make for great outdoor fun and challenge your dog to use his/her body thoroughly. Outdoor toys can be used for a variety of games such as fetch, tug-of-war, swimming etc. They can also be used at different places, whether it's a beach or a parking lot!

What is the best dog toy for my dog?

There is no 'best dog toy' for dogs, just like how we don't enjoy only one type of food. You have to pick toys as per your dog's personality and activity level - dogs with a high prey drive, i.e. those that enjoy chasing, would prefer balls and discs, whilst those that enjoy pulling would prefer rope toys. Likewise, some dogs enjoy playing with interactive toys over outdoor toys and vice versa. When you choose the best dog toys for your pooch, ensure you pick ones with different purposes, thereby leaving no room for boredom - for both you and your pet!

How to get the most out of the best dog toys?

There is no 'best dog toy' for dogs, just like how we don't enjoy only one type of food. You have to pick toys as per your dog's personality and activity level - dogs with a high prey drive, i.e. those that enjoy chasing, would prefer balls and discs, whilst those that enjoy pulling would prefer rope toys. Likewise, some dogs enjoy playing with interactive toys over outdoor toys and vice versa. When you choose the best dog toys for your pooch, ensure you pick ones with different purposes, thereby leaving no room for boredom - for both your and your pet!

Balls & Discs - Breeds such as terriers, dachshunds, retrievers, pointers, and setters enjoy chasing and prefer toys that engage with their instinct. When choosing balls for puppies, ensure they are chew-resistant, contrarily, choose soft balls for senior dogs. 

Ropes - Rope toys are enjoyed by dogs who like to tug and have a lot of energy even after running about the entire day. Rope toys come in different shapes, sizes, and textures and are absolute fun for any dog and dog parent with boundless energy!

Interactive toys - One of the best ways to keep your dog engaged whilst you're working is through interactive toys. Interactive toys come in different shapes, textures, and sizes - each requiring a dog to challenge its brain in a different way. They can be used anywhere, are easy to carry, and are absolute fun to have around the house!

How to get the most out of the best dog toys?

Now that you've understood different types of toys, it is time to learn when to use them. Leaving all the toys lying around all day results in boredom, and reduces the value of each toy in your dog's eyes. Hence, it is important to know when to use which dog toy, i.e. bringing you the much-needed satisfaction of what you've chosen for your dog is actually being played with!

Balls - Smaller balls, like tennis balls, can be used to play at home because of their small size. Contrarily, larger balls are excellent for outdoor play at a beach or park.

Ropes - Ropes can be played with anywhere - indoors and outdoors! Dogs enjoy shaking the rope like 'prey' or fetching the toy once thrown. Rope toys are best enjoyed outdoors. 

Interactive toys - These toys are to be used indoors when your dog is bored or when you are working. Playing with interactive toys outdoors isn't the best idea since the outdoors have much more stimulation to provide than indoor toys will ever provide! Regardless of whether your dog has outdoor fun, a minimum of 2-3 hours of mental stimulation is necessary to keep them calm indoors. Once your dog masters the first level, you can challenge them to a tougher version of the game!

Plush toys - Since plush toys can get dirty easily, they are best played with indoors, besides, plush toys are most often used as snuggle buddies!

How do I ensure safety during play?

  • Use toys that are age-appropriate - too small can result in accidental swallowing whilst too large can damage teeth.
  • Only use toys that are meant for dogs 
  • Discard toys with broken pieces or parts
  • Always supervise play 
  • Stay away from hazardous toys such as rawhide
  • Squeaker toys if ingested can be harmful, hence play must always be supervised



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