Whether you are just getting acquainted with a new pup or you’ve been a dog owner your whole life—you’re likely overwhelmed every time you enter the pet store. There are so many dog toys! Each dog toy has a specific purpose and its usage will vary depending on how old your pup is (or how rowdy!). We’ll go over 3 different types of dog toys and the benefits of each so you can pick the best toys for your dog.
1. Teething and durable toys
Just like human babies lose their teeth, we can’t forget that baby pups lose their teeth too! The teething process can be stressful and irritating for a new pup, so it’s best to let them find relief with teething toys.
- Strong, thick rope: This allows your pup to really sink his teeth in, providing comfort to his aching gums. Plus, you can train with these too! Play tug-of-war, but let him do all the tugging as to not encourage aggression.
- Rubber toys: These last forever. They are soothing to your teething puppy and make great distractions if there’s a space to put treats in!
- Hard nylon toys:These are available in varying hardness levels, so you might have to try a few different ones to find the right fit for your pup. Try a softer material for younger puppies. They’re great for long-term chewing, and even help to scale your dog’s teeth!
Teething toys are typically very durable, and are useful not only during the teething stage but in all stages of your dog’s life. If your pup gets bored of it, hide it away for a month at a time.
2. Comforting toys
These are especially useful for a pup that spends several hours at a time away from his owner. The right soothing, comforting dog toy can keep your pup both distracted and relieved while you’re away.
- Your old piece of clothing: We all know how sharp a dog’s sense of smell is. So if they’re able to have your scent around all day, it might put them at ease. If your dog isn’t prone to tearing things apart, put an old shirt of yours into his crate while you’re gone.
- Scented dog toys: Yes, these exist! Just like humans use aromatherapy for stress relief, dogs can find comfort in scent, too. There are a few calming scented toys on the market that utilize chamomile and lavender, for example.
- Heat-friendly toys: These are especially good for new puppies that are still used to the warmth of their mother. They often come with a removable pouch that you can pop in the microwave.
3. Interactive toys
Dogs benefit from feeling like they have a “job” to do. Interactive toys that serve a purpose will help your pup build important developmental skills—while keeping them very busy.
- Treat puzzles: Treat puzzles help your dog understand the concept of “earning” a treat. It also helps them build their problem-solving skills! A treat puzzle will inspire even the laziest of pups. From rolling treat balls to complex labyrinth-style toys, there are a ton of these on the market today.
- Multiple-squeak toys: Dogs and squeaky toys go together like peanut butter and jelly. But they don’t have to be limited to just one type of squeak! Allowing your dog to find the different squeakers in just one toy gives him the feeling of satisfaction and being rewarded.
- Hide-and-seek toys: For dogs that love to play, this toy-within-a-toy concept can keep them busy for hours. Usually plush and soft, these toys allow you to “hide” smaller plushes inside one big plush.
Just like us, our dogs need mental stimulation in order to lead a happy and healthy life. Interactive toys are great for dogs of all ages, though you may notice a very young pup having difficulty due to a shorter attention span!
Toys to avoid
Now that we’ve discussed the best toys for your pup, let’s go over what to avoid. Thankfully, it’s a fairly short list!
- Cooked bones (these can break into tiny fragments and become extremely dangerous for your pupper’s digestive system)
- Ribbon or string
- Tennis ball
- Thin rubber toys
- Toys with foam stuffing
- Toys with small parts
One last thing, always be sure to purchase the right size toys for your dog to avoid choking and accidental swallowing.
The best dog toys are the ones that keep your pupper happy.
Finding the best toys for your dog doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Soon enough, you’ll learn which types of toys your pup loves the most! A mixture of durable, comforting, and interactive toys will enrich your pup in more ways than one. Happy shopping!