Dogs are just like us; they need to be kept busy, mentality stimulated and in tip-top health. There are a huge range of toys that can help. We’ve taken expert advice to find the best out there for canines of all breeds, ages and sizes. From the innovative alternative to potentially harmful wood, Safestix, to fun novelty-shaped squeakers like the Ruff and Tuff Mallard, there’s something to take all dogs’ – and their owners’ – fancy.
Importance of Dog Toys
Exercise is the primary reason why many dog owners invest in toys. Having a ball to throw for a dog helps not only to keep exercise rigorous, but also makes it fun for both the dog and the owner. Exercise is a crucial part of having a healthy dog because without adequate exercise a dog will become obese and will fall prey to a number of illnesses. Obesity in dogs is a serious concern not only due to an increased risk for illnesses like diabetes, but also because it puts additional strain on their joints and their internal organs.
Intellectual Stimulation – All dogs require exercise not only to help to keep them at a healthy weight, but also to ensure that they stay stimulated. Despite being “domesticated,” dogs can easily become bored. There is a saying that a “tired dog is a good dog” and this is particularly true for working breeds such as border collies. Without adequate intellectual stimulation dogs can become destructive, disobedient and downright impossible to handle. With a combination of exercise and intellectual stimulation, however, it is possible for even the most high energy dog to relax.
Bonding – Dogs are pack animals by nature and they have a need to bond with other members of their pack and feel accepted. A great way to bond with your dog is to engage in play time that involves their favorite toys. Not only does your dog benefit from the time you spend together bonding, but researchers have found a proven link between better health and dog owners!
Toys are also a great way to encourage bonding in multiple-dog households. If you have more than one dog, toys can encourage interactive playing and help dogs to bond with each other as well as understand their place in the hierarchy of the home.
Dental Health – Dental health is a difficult concern for many dog owners. It is crucial to a dog’s overall health to have clean teeth. Poor dental hygiene can lead to malnutrition as well as infections, absences and bad breath. Brushing a dog’s teeth can be particularly difficult, especially with dogs that don’t like to have their teeth cleaned. Surgical cleanings can be particularly difficult as well since they involve a significant financial burden and putting your dog under anesthesia. A great way to improve dental health and reduce the need for surgical cleanings, however, is to invest in toys that are designed to clean teeth as your dog plays. These toys encourage chewing which stimulates saliva and helps to diminish plaque and reduce its occurrence.
Top Dog Toys
KONG Chew Toy
The Sergeant’s Powzer Glow Ball Toy is a glowing ball that makes fetch fun and easy even in the dark! So if you prefer to get out and about early or after you get home from work, fetch no longer has to wait because this ball can be seen anywhere. The Powzer ball comes in four different colors including pink, green, yellow and orange as well as two different sizes: large which is 3.25” and small or junior which is 2.25”. Benefits include high visibility, dental health and two sizes of balls for play.
Dogs can gnaw on this ball to their heart’s content, it’s mint-scented, bouncy and will float. It’ll keep even the most persistent chewers busy.
A good one for medium and large dogs (think Labradors rather than Jack Russells), you put the dried food in the middle and it dispenses as they play. It has rubber bumpers, so it won’t damage the furniture or make too much of a racket when it’s used inside.
Stuff dry food into the sides of the barbell-shaped Waggle and the bits will fall out intermittently as your dog holds the middle part in his mouth and shakes it. Well, that’s supposed to be how it works, at least–my dog prefers to just kind of roll it around with his paws until the treats come out. That works too. There are rubber teeth in the holes on the sides that can be snipped out in order to reduce the level of difficulty. Premier also makes the Chuckle, which is similar but a little sturdier and has a squeaker inside.
Wooden sticks can cause injury to dogs’ teeth, gums and mouths, yet they love to play with them. Available in three sizes, these are a safer alternative. They’re durable, comfortable to hold and will float – just the thing for a game of fetch on the beach.
Home of Paws Rotator Ball and Rope
This ball-on-a-rope toy is made from recyclable resin which the makers say is stronger, lighter and longer-lasting than rubber or plastic. The rope helps condition teeth, too. Available in two sizes of ball, 10 per cent of the cost goes to the Dogs Trust.
The Dog Casino
The Dog Casino is a one of the many fine toys by Nina Ottosson, a genius Swedish pioneer in the world of interactive dog puzzle toys. Her offerings come in a variety of levels of difficulty and in both plastic and wood.
Mungo and Maud Pull My Leg Monkey Toy
Dogs love to pull playthings apart. This toy from the luxury pet accessories store is designed with that instinct in mind. The fleece monkey’s limbs are attached with velcro, so will come off when tussled with, and it squeaks when squeezed. It’s not cheap, so this is one for pampered pooches.
Aerobie Dogobie disc
Many dogs love a game of Frisbee, but plastic flyers often have hard rims which can damage teeth. This softer rubber alternative from the (mostly human) sports toy specialists is easy to throw and flexible, but durable enough to last many a game of fetch. It’s tear and puncture resistant but try to stop your dog chewing on it.
Good Boy Rubber Ball
If you struggle throwing a ball or stick far, this good-value toy will make it easier to lob a decent distance and the rubber ball will stand up to some serious gnawing. Use for fetch or for tugging games.
Pet Brands Rubba Guma Dental Dog Toy
Dogs need to keep their teeth clean and their gums healthy. This innovative toy’s on hand to help; they chew and it helps with teeth cleaning, plaque removal and the spearmint flavour helps freshen breath. Available in three sizes.
While your dog would likely choose every one of these toys as their favorite, choosing the right one is up to you. Only you know your dog’s likes and dislikes as well as their destructive tendencies. For example if you have a dog who loves to play ball then a Nylabone isn’t going to do the trick. If, however, you have a dog that adores plush toys but can get a little carried away then the SPOT Skinneeez Stuffing Free Plush Fox Dog Toy might be the right choice for you. If you keep your dog’s preferences in mind you won’t go wrong with any of these dog toy choices.