We know that you love your dog and you want him/her to be happy and healthy. Of course, you have probably purchased at least one toy for your beloved pet, whether it be a squeaky toy or a bouncy ball. However, you may discover that your dog has lately lost interested in his formerly favourite toy. Why is this? What are the best toys to keep your dog happily entertained?
Reasons Why Dogs Needs Toys and Playtime
From puppies to adult dogs to seniors, every age and breed of dog needs some type of toy to keep them content. This applies to domesticated household pets as well as companion and service dogs. Below we shall take a look at some of the reasons why dog toys are essential for every dog.
- Service and companion dogs need something to keep the occupied when they are not working. They tend to become bored when not serving in their capacity as a service dog or companion.
- They can help your dog to relax when they are feeling nervous or anxious.
- Dog toys will keep your dog from chewing up other household items such as shoes or furniture.
- Chew toys help soothe puppies who are teething.
- Dog toys can help deter a dog from biting, even if it’s only playful biting or “love bites.” It’s one thing when they nip as a puppy, but as they get older, it becomes a problem as they can cause more damage.
- Playing fetch, tug-of-war, etc can help keep your dog healthy and active.
- Dog toys can help tire out an overly energetic pup before bedtime.
- Engaging in playtime with your pup helps with the bonding experience.
Types of Dog Toys
You should purchase a variety of toys for your dog. Later on we will discuss what type of toys are appropriate for your dog at each stage of his life. The following are the main types of dog toys:
These are usually plush or software toys that are made of materials such as fleece or fabric. They are used to comfort your dog and provide them with a sense of security. They are most often used with puppies to comfort them as they sleep. Many dogs will carry these toys around just as a small child would carry around their “blankie.”
These are toys that are mostly used when training puppies or newly adopted dogs. They help by teaching important skills like self-control, patience and motor control. They include chew toys and interactive toys such as puzzle toys, rope toys or balls.
These are toys that are meant to distract your dog from chewing on objects such as furniture, shoes or children’s toys and keeping them occupied mentally as well as physically. These include squeaky toys, toys that make rattling sounds or toys that can be stuffed with dog food/treats.
These include interactive puzzle toys and interactive treat toys. Toys in this category will provide mental stimulation and prevent boredom by encouraging your dog to solve puzzles in order to get to a treat that is hidden in the interactive treat toy or puzzle toy.
Balls, frisbees and rope toys all fall into this category. Active toys will help your pooch work off some of that pent-up energy. As well, they are perfect for helping you to bond with your pup.
Age Appropriate Toys For Your Pooch
Now that you have some insight as to why your dog needs toys, let’s take a look at some of the different types of dog toys that are appropriate for each stage of their lives. A senior pooch will not have as much interest in a chew or squeaky toy as would a puppy. We shall discuss various types of dog toys according to their life stages, as well as give some recommendations for appropriate toys for each stage in your dog’s life.
7 to 12 weeks
A young puppy is like a toddler, very excitable and curious. At this point, you should introduce your puppy to a variety of toys including puzzle toys and squeaky toys. Puzzle toys will help develop your pups mind. It also helps them learn survival skills. Squeaky toys will keep him entertained.
As well, plush toys are great toys for young pups as they act as snuggle buddies for your puppy at night as they adjust to being in new environment. In addition, it helps them cope with separation anxiety from their mother and litter mates.
3 to 9 Months
During this time, your puppy is going to grow very quickly. They will start teething at this point so it is important to include teething toys to soothe them as well as to develop their teeth and chewing habits. Teething toys such as these teething sticks are perfect for this age as they are safe and also help clean your puppy’s teeth.
As well, you should incorporate interactive toys such as this interactive puzzle toy which will keep your puppy occupied and help them learn to socialize.
At this point, your puppy will start to show interest in playing fetch, so you might want to introduce a ball or Frisbee. This will help keep them active, help them socialize and work off some of that infamous puppy energy.
9 to 12 Months
Your puppy is entering their “teenage years” and will be full of energy… and attitude! At this point, interactive toys are a great way to keep your dog stimulated and happy. As well, they eager to show you their strength and stamina, so you might want to consider rope toys such as this Kong rope toy, which will help strengthen his teeth while keeping him entertained.
12 Months to 7 Years
At 12 months, your dog is now considered an adult. Their energy levels may not be quite as high as it was in the first year, but adult dogs still require playtime. You should definitely continue using interactive toys as well as squeaky toys and rope toys. At this point, your dog will enjoy playing fetch so you should definitely invest in fetch toys for your dog such as ball toys and frisbees. They will enjoy taking long walks and romps in the backyard or at dog parks with you and your family.
7 Years and Older
You may notice that your dog is starting to slow down at this point as he is entering his senior years. However, it is still important to keep him engaged in playtime to keep him healthy, active and stimulated. At this point, you might want to switch to toys that are made of softer rubber, which will be more gentle on their teeth and gums as they age.
You will want to also consider giving your senior pooch toys that will keep his mind engaged such as interactive treat toys. You want to encourage your older pet to keep both their body and mind active as this can help improve his quality of life as he ages.
Additional Tips For Buying The Best Dog Toys For Your Pup
- Be sure to purchase toys that do not contain small parts or parts that may break off as these can be choking hazards.
- When purchasing rubber toys, ensure that they are made of 100% natural rubber to protect your pooch from toxins. Always read the labels to ensure that you are not purchasing a toy that contains lead or any other dangerous chemicals or contaminants that might be harmful to your dog.
- Make sure that the toys are appropriate for both the age and size of your dog.
- When purchasing chew toys, opt for dental chew toys as these will help keep your dog’s teeth clean and strong.
- Supervise your pup when playing with certain toys, especially squeaky toys as they may destroy them very quickly. With very young pups, you might want to avoid squeaky toys or remove the squeaker. Only leave out toys that are safe when leaving your pet unsupervised
- Leave out a variety of toys for your pet, but not too many as to overstimulate them. Give them two to three toys so they have options. With their toys out their toys often as they become bored with the same toys over time.
- Make sure to clean your dog toys. Follow the appropriate instructions for each type of toy and do not use harsh cleaning products to clean and sanitise your dog toys.
- Toss out and replace any toys that are excessively dirty or once they become broken damaged as these can be harmful to your pup.
- If your dog has a favorite toy to which he is extremely attached, you might want to purchase a backup in case the first one is breaks, is lost, or needs to be cleaned. This will help ease your dog’s anxiety