Dogs no longer have to resort to playing with bones, sticks, ropes, or whatever else they might find just laying around. In fact, dog toys now make up a hefty chunk of the multi-billion-dollar pet industry. Besides fun during playtime, toys can help a dog exhibiting destructive behavior due to separation anxiety, boredom, or teething. Because toys promote the wellbeing of each and every dog, having so many options to work with is far from a bad thing.
Here are the types of dog toys the Fuzzy Vet Team recommends for pet parents.
The Do's and Don'ts of Dog Toys
When it comes to choosing dog toys, there's much to consider.
The first thing pet parents should know is that vet-approved toys for dogs vary by breed, so where one type of toy may be safe for one dog, it may prove harmful to another. However, all dogs must have safe, non-toxic items to play with, chew on, and explore. It’s a good idea to check where toys are manufactured, whether or not they contain any dyes (as some dyes are toxic if ingested), and if they contain any breakable parts that dogs may choke on.
So what types of dog toys are recommended? Keeping in mind dog toys vary by breed and size, generally, Fuzzy Vets recommend firm rubber chews, puzzles, and rope toys. Pet parents should always monitor pets in case any pieces are removed from the chewing toy. For new pet and seasoned pet parents alike, getting a dog subscription box that provides an array of vet-approved toys may be the best way to go.
Types of Dog Toys
The American Kennel Club categorizes dog toys into five different types. Here’s some information on each one, and which dog toys vets recommend in each category.
Strong and durable toys that dogs can play with while they’re home alone make for excellent purchases. However, to ensure it’s safe, it’s important for pet parents to supervise their dog playing with the toy before they leave him or her alone with it.
Toys that contain treats, like Kong, can help dogs fight boredom, provide ample mental stimulation, and simulate some breeds’ natural hunting and foraging instincts. These toys work especially well with food-motivated dogs. To switch things up, pet parents can try filling these toys with frozen dog-friendly chicken or beef broth.
For pet parents looking to build a stronger bond between them and their dog, interactive toys are the way to go. Such toys include items used to tug back and forth or play fetch. For breeds that require more exercise, toys that launch tennis balls long distances are excellent choices.
For pet parents wondering how to help a dog with anxiety, one of the best dog training tips is to utilize comfort toys. Plush toys can bring dogs comfort, especially for those who experience separation anxiety. According to the Humane Society, pet parents should opt for comfort toys that are small enough for their dog to carry but big enough not to swallow.
Having indestructible toys handy is important for every pet parent who wants to keep their home and belongings free from holes and chew marks. Popular options include antler dog chews, animal bones, and cow hooves. Although they’re sturdy and natural, these chew toys can prove harmful to dogs’ teeth, jaw, and stomach, and therefore aren’t recommended by vets. Safer and more beneficial alternatives include dental chews and relaxation chews that contain naturally calming supplements to help treat dog anxiety.