If you’re a dog owner, you’re no stranger to dog toys. It’s safe to assume that some of these toys ended up torn apart in a matter of days, while some have been by your dog’s side for what seems like forever. Is there any reason for this, or do dogs just like some toys more than others? As insignificant as your pet’s toys may seem, they may actually benefit your dog.
A popular choice, no doubt. Chew toys give your dog the opportunity to bite on something that isn’t a couch cushion or a sneaker. These toys can work as a sort of the canine version of a stress ball, letting your dog release some of their potentially pent-up energy.
Chew toys can be especially effective for puppies going through teething. Puppies are undisputedly adorable, but their sharp baby teeth can leave a mark if they get ahold of your fingers during a play session. And when they’re going through the process of teething, much like humans, it’s not a pleasant experience. It can be painful, and the urge to bite and chew on something seems uncontrollable. Giving your dog a hard chew toy will help with their gum pain and curb their urge to chew on things not meant for them.
As we know, dog toys can vary in durability. Try picking a chew toy that is going to last. If you own a larger breed dog, or a dog who is known to shred through toys, we recommend leaning toward the piece of rope or hockey puck end of the chew toy spectrum.
It’s no secret that exercise is beneficial for your dog’s health. And for all the dogs who like playing fetch, toys like tennis balls and frisbees can be a great work out plan. These toys give you and your dog a chance to bond, all while your dog is exerting energy and staying healthy. Physical activity can not only help with your dog’s physical health, it can help with their mental health as well. Exercise helps stimulate your dog’s mind, keeping them engaged and focused on a task (GET THE BALL).
Some breeds may be more entertained and willing to play fetch (retrievers for example). However, if your dog doesn’t fall in this category, that doesn’t mean you can’t find some sort of active toy for them. If you have a smaller dog who doesn’t care for toys, or a big bulldog who prefers laying around all day, a sprinkler to run through or little pool on a hot summer day can qualify as an active toy! You know your dog best, so think of some things you can try outdoors that may entice them.
Toys for Emotional Support
Admittedly, things like blankets and teddy bears don’t exactly qualify as “toys” per say. But for the sake of the discussion (and your dog), we will reclassify them. And sure, some dogs see a stuffed animal and immediately start ripping it apart. But dogs can benefit from their favorite blanket or stuffed friend, more so than you may realize.
For dogs with emotional trauma or other ongoing issues, their favorite toy or favorite blanket can bring them comfort and stability. This can be especially true if your dog is showing signs of nervousness or is in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people. Having their blanket, their favorite toy, or even one of your t-shirts, can remind them of their home and put them at ease. Remember, dogs investigate situations with their nose. Giving them something with a familiar or reassuring smell can make all the difference.
Beware of toys that may be potentially harmful to your dog. For example, if you have a larger dog, be cautious of smaller toys that could be a choking hazard.
What Toys Are Right for My Dog?
As we alluded to, dog toys aren’t necessarily “one size fits all”. Some dogs like to run around outside chasing anything in site, and some don’t. Some dogs love chew toys, some dogs enjoy peacefully sitting with their blanket and stuffed animals. The point being, while your dog may not seem to enjoy some of the options we discussed, the right toy is out there and can be benefitted from!