You have a new puppy that needs something to chew on other than your slippers. Or maybe you have an older dog that needs a new thrill in his life. Either way, a dog toy might be the solution to your problem. There are many types of dog toys to choose from-chew toys, balls, bones, and more. Here are some suggestions on what kind of toy might be the perfect match for your pooch.
- Breed. What type of dog you have will help to determine the type of toy to look for. If you have a Teacup Yorkshire Terrier, chances are you will not be going down the aisle looking for a rugged ball larger than the dog itself. Similarly, an adult Doberman will get little enjoyment from a small plush dog. Each breed of dog has a particular size range, and for this reason, certain toys correspond with each type of breed. Ask the pet store what toys are appropriate for your specific breed of dog.
- Age. Toys also correspond with the age of a dog. Puppies have specially designed teething chew toys that serve a function beyond the enjoyment of the puppy. Older dogs may not find teething toys all that exciting. Puppies might not be able to handle other grown-up toys, for instance toys that are hard to pick up and manipulate might frustrate the puppy and lead him to chew on something else-like your slippers again.
- To Squeak or Not To Squeak. There are toys that make squeaky noises when pressure is applied. Squeaky plush animals are a favorite of many dogs, as well as squeaky balls. Some dogs are frightened by the sounds of the toys, but many are excited and interested in an object that makes noise when they play with it. Find out what your dog likes, and more importantly, decide if you want squeaky toys in your house since Fido is not the only one who will hear the noises.
- Treat Toys. There are many toys that incorporate treats. Treat Balls are a popular toy these days. Treat Balls have treats inside that the dog can try to get-but it's not that easy since the ball rolls all over the floor without spilling the goods! This is a nice way of giving your dog a challenge and something to occupy him while you make dinner or watch television. Rawhide sticks and beef jerky sticks act as chew toys with the reward of food for the dog as well.
- Bones. The good old-fashioned choice for many pet owners are bones. You can buy a variety of bones at a pet wholesale store, including Green Bones (environmentally friendly), rawhide bones, "Canvas Freezable" Dog Bones, and many more. Check out DogToys for a variety of dog bones. Make sure the bones you buy are large enough so that your pet cannot swallow (and choke on) them. Also remember that chicken bones and bones from food that people eat can be dangerous to dogs, so do not feed them from the table. Chicken bones, in particular, are not suitable for dogs since they can splinter and cause cuts in the dog's stomach and/or lead to choking.
- Dental Toys. Dental toys are a popular choice for owners who are health conscious. Nylabones have become popular for their action against tartar build-up. These resilient bones are a favorite for many breeds to mow on, and they help keep teeth clean. Nylabones and other similar products are available to dogs in all breeds and sizes.
- The Difference Between a Toy and Your Slippers. Dogs, especially puppies, need dog toys so that they will not play with household objects. This does not mean you cannot make toys out of normal household contents. If you choose to create your own toys, make sure they do not have parts that Fido can choke on. Also have a corner or the house, a basket, or a space outside relegated to keeping the toys. This way the dog will know only items in that area are fair game.
- Homemade Toys. Tying up an old sock in a knot can be the perfect toy for a dog. It is a cheap alternative to going to a pet store. Dogs can play tug of war with the sock just as easily as they would with a synthetic "tug of rope" that can be found for a lot more money. Teach your dog the difference between your sock and a play sock by tying a knot in it. Other items around the house that can serve as toys are tennis balls (most dogs LOVE tennis balls), ice cubes (believe it or not), and plain old rope. Just make sure that any toy you make is not toxic or dangerous when/if swallowed.
Some people will say that the only toys a dog should use are store-bought toys so that he can discern them from household items. While this may be true for some breeds, you can train your dog to behave around your personal items if you are patient. It is all about how you train your dog and not the other way around. Do not feel as though you have to buy expensive toys to train your dog. Instead, look at store-bought toys as a reward for a good dog. Find dog toys on the Internet or at one of the pet wholesale stores that have become so popular these days. Good luck!