Monday, August 4, 2014
How to Choose Dog Toys that Will Keep Your Puppy Happy and Safe
Safe Dog Toys for young puppies
Puppies under 10 weeks old, especially small and tiny breeds, can have plush toys. Plush toys are the stuffed animal type of dog toys with a squeaker inside. You can squeak the dog toy to get your puppy's attention, and most puppies this young can't destroy a toy yet. Zanies brand makes great plush toys that are truly different and very well made. Many have tug ropes built in for easy 'tug-o-war' games. Very small or young puppies may not be ready for that rough game, but it also makes it easier for a small puppy to drag the toy around.
The problem with plush dog toys for puppies is the same as with small children - choking. Always check for well made, heavy stitched toys. Check the nose and eye attachments, opt for toys without these extras.
Just prior to the puppy's baby teeth breaking the skin, you will notice an increase in hard chewing (usually in the back of the mouth). There are bones that are specially made for this time in a puppy's growth. Hard Nylabones can help a lot, they also make a 'bone' that you fill with water and freeze. Sound familiar, moms? Note: Do not use baby teething rings. They will not withstand puppy teeth.
Stay away from rawhide of any kind.
Make sure to get an appropriate sized teething bone for your puppy (I never suggest a real bone as they can splinter, especially on a puppy with sharp teeth). Some puppies have extremely large throats, or so they think, until something gets lodged. Bigger is better. Always supervise your puppy when toys or bones are being chewed.
Safe Dog Toys for Young Active Dogs
As your dog grows out of small puppy toys, you will want to focus on dog toys that provide exercise both physically and mentally. When your young dog starts to destroy all of its toys with purpose, it usually means that the dog is bored. Your puppy has officially grown into the 'learning toy' stage.
Different dog breeds will instinctively enjoy certain activities. Now is the perfect time to see what special talent your dog has. For example, Border Collies love to answer commands, herd, and do agility of any kind. Gear your dog toy shopping to this area.
Buy a hula-hoop and put it in a doorway so the dog must walk through it, raise it a few inches everyday. Soon your Border Collie will jump through hoops for you!
Hide-a-treat dog toys are also an option at this stage. Most involve filling a middle compartment with small pieces of dry dog treats. The outside has holes cut out just big enough to let out one piece of treat at a time, so the dog has to keep rolling it around to get more. Definitely check the quality of this toy prior to purchase. Take it out of the box and see if it will survive your dog looking for food.
I don't recommend any plush toys for the majority of dogs in this stage of life, although every dog is different. This plush toy destroying stage can last anywhere from 6 months old to 4 years old, depending on your dog's personality.
Safe Dog Toys for Older Dogs
Even older dogs like to play with toys every once in a while, especially when no one is looking. Plush dog toys can probably be reintroduced at this point, again depending on your dog's personality. Older dogs need softer things to chew on and many get a licking fetish. An older dog may lay for hours and lick, and if there is not a toy available they may lick their own leg (causing possible medical problems). Make sure that the plush dog toys that you purchase for your older dog are well made and will stand up to many washings.
There are so many cool dog toys on the market today that you can really have fun when you shop. Remember to look for quality and really test the dog toy to determine if it will withstand playtime.