It is important to a happy pet household that you provide your dog with toys. This is especially true if you are gone for long periods of time as your dog will get bored. Dogs need stimulation in order to be happy and not engage in unwanted behaviors such as uncontrolled barking and chewing.
Dogs can be very fussy about the types of toys that they will be content with. They need to be the right size and shape. Importantly they need to be durable and safe. If a toy is the wrong size for your breed of dog it will get left in the corner and you will find your favorite pumps being the substitute.
Puppies need to be provided toys for obvious reasons. Chewing and nipping are all part of normal puppy behavior. They are not ever content just to jump around and chase their tail. Plush toys are a good choice for puppies and small dogs. They should be plush toys free of plastic eyes and other appendages that could present a choking or swallowing hazard. You are best to invest in plush toys made for dogs and not use the kids old stuffed animals.
Many stuffed toys come with squeakers or bells. Dispose of toys that become ripped as the small plastic squeaker inside can become a choking hazard. My nine pound dog removes the squeaker out of his toys within the first week. You may want to supervise your dog with plush toys till you learn how adept they are at getting to the inner parts.
In addition to plush toys older dogs and larger breeds benefit from indestructible toys. Kong has many indestructible dog toys for aggressive chewers. The Extreme Goodie Bone dog toy is a treat dispenser and has Goodie grips that your dog can hold onto while trying to get the treat. You can use this toy with specially made Kong treats. The Classic Kong toy is a treat dispenser as well and can be filled with small treats or peanut butter. It is also a good general chew toy and can be rolled as a sort of odd ball as well.
You should also keep a supply of rubber bones that a dog can carry around, bury or fetch. Rubber bones in smaller sizes are good for dogs that are teething. You should check the rubber bones for deterioration to make sure they do not become a swallowing hazard. Replace worn bones immediately.
Knotted rope toys are a great way for your dog to “floss “and interact with humans and other dogs. Again make sure the rope is not getting to frays and check the conditions of any balls that are attached. Most dogs enjoy playing “tug of war” with other dogs so if you have two dogs at home a lone this toy can be a great way for them to interact.
If you dogs are in the yard you might want to freeze some peanut butter and give them a ball of it to play with. It is a healthy treat that they can enjoy when it is warm out. You should avoid giving your dog soup bones because the bones can fracture into smaller silvers and cause an intestinal emergency. Raw hides can present the same problems but are a safer alternative.
If you dog ends up with a preference for a toy to sleep with you may want to purchase more than one of the same thing. I have had dogs large and small have “special “toys that went every place they went. You can avoid the stress of having to pitch a favorite toy by having more than one.
Play is an important part of a puppy’s and adult dog’s life so give some thought to the toys that you give your best friend.