Picking the right toy for your dog isn't always easy. Dogs have different preferences and habits just like people. Some are heavy chewers, some will play alone, some just like something cuddly. It may take you a while to work out what your dog likes.
Just a quick word on fetch toys before we begin. These must be appropriately sized for your dog. Too big and they can't be carried and too small and the present a choking hazard. A tennis ball is not appropriate for a Great Dane.
Tough rubber or polymer toys
Great jaw and mouth exercise for dogs that like to chew; keeps them occupied for hours; fun for fetch or non-interactive play; great for aggressive chewers because they are so durable. Some are hollow so you can put treats inside of them for extra fun. Examples include Westpaw Designs Zisc and Huck, Kongs and Rhino Chew Toys.
Light polymer toys
Easily activated by the bite of just about any sized dog. They usually have squeakers that almost all dogs enjoy and are great for fetch. They are also popular for alone play because of the squeaker. Your dog may enjoy the squeaker more than you.
Tennis balls fit into this category. Tennis balls are fine for most dogs, but must be replaced if damaged. Swallowing portions of damaged tennis balls can lead to surgery.
Made of fleece, plush fabric; retains dog's scent for extended play; some have squeakers; great for fetch, other dogs just like to carry them around and snuggle. Many toy breeds love these toys. Examples include parody designer toys like Koko Chewnel.
rope toys combine the good features of a few categories. Great for fetch, tug games, and chewing they are good for teeth and gums. They can be flavoured with stock and frozen to encourage play. They last a very long time. Our favourite is Babs the Bunny.
Rawhide chews and bones
Dogs like rawhide chews and bones and they can help keep a dog's teeth clean. There are risks associated with rawhide, bacteria and contaminants and the possibility of large chunks of rawhide blocking your dog's digestive tract. Snooty Paws doesn't sell rawhide toys.
Great for dogs who love to chew, but may puzzle some dogs. They are so tough that not all dogs know what they are meant to do with them. Nylabones are such a toy.
Remember that toys pose a risk if your dog swallows them or pieces of them. All dogs should be supervised with toys and damaged toys replaced. No matter how tough a toy may be, it's still possible for pieces to be chewed off and swallowed.
We'll cover cat toys next newsletter.