Eat, sleep and play…
Three things that make up the majority of your dog’s day.
But when it comes to play, the right toy can be the difference between delight and disaster.
You see, some toys contain nasty ingredients or are made of unsafe materials that can all be harmful to your pup.
That’s why it’s a good idea to look carefully at any new toys you would like to introduce to your dog.
So we’ve put together this post to help you choose the right toy your dog will love.
Why You Should Start With Chew Toys…
Most dogs love to chew, and there are big benefits to it…
Chewing can help with dental hygiene and keeping your dog’s teeth clean. It also helps keep their jaw strong.
There are even special chews that can soothe the gums of teething puppies.
But beware! wordNot everything your dog wants to chew is safe for them…
Including chews that are marketed for dogs…
How To Choose The Right Chew Based On Your Dog’s Bite
To decide what chew toy is best for your dog, you need to think about your dog’s personality.
According to Zoetis Petcare, there are several categories of chewer your dog might fall into…
1. The Shredder
Shredders love to destroy their toys.
As soon as you bring a new toy home, they won’t rest until it’s is torn to pieces.
However you will have to quickly clear up the pieces before they try to eat those too…
If no toy lasts much longer than 5 minutes then your dog is likely one of these.
2. The Inhaler
Destroying their toys in a different way, these dogs like to ingest anything they can get their paws on.
Zoetis compares this to a vacuum cleaner – one minute you see it, one minute you don’t!
3. The Lover
Dogs in the ‘lover’ category savour their chews and are gentle with their toys.
Some might have a collection of toys from puppyhood… all intact.
You don’t need to worry about them ingesting anything nasty, because they don’t destroy things.
The Right Toy For The Right Personality
Once you’ve placed your dog into one of the categories above, you will be able to decide on the right type of chew for them.
The shredder will need a robust chew that isn’t going to be destroyed in a matter of minutes.
Good chews for shredders include durable rubber toys and power chews.
You should steer clear of rope chew toys for shredders… these can disintegrate easily leaving your dog ingesting shreds of rope.
And if you’re buying rubber toys, make sure they’re strong enough to withstand your dog’s strength.
For inhalers you should buy larger chews that can’t be ingested whole and choked on.
This means avoiding small dental chews or chews that can easily break into small pieces.
Lovers can enjoy almost all chews.
But it’s important to make sure their jaw is strong enough for the one you choose.
For smaller dogs, like miniature and toy breeds, hard chews are probably not suitable and could cause pain and tooth issues.
But there are some chews that all dogs should avoid. These include:
- Pet shop bones. These can easily splinter and dangerous pieces of the bone can become lodged in your dog’s throat or stomach.
- Cow hooves – they are easily splintered which can cause internal problems.
- Elk or deer antlers. These can be much harder than other types of antlers and could hurt your dog’s mouth or even break a tooth.
- Chews made of hard plastic, such as nylabones. Again, these can be far too hard for your dog’s mouth. Pieces of plastic could also be ripped from the bone and swallowed. This can cause stomach problems.
For some advice on the best, safe, bones to give your dog, check out our earlier post here.
The Best Way To Tell If A Chew Is Suitable
With so much information out there, it can be hard to decide whether a chew is suitable or not.
That’s why you want to ask these five questions on any dog toy you buy…
Does It Pass The Thumbnail Test?
Any chew you buy for your dog should be soft enough for their teeth to cope with.
To test this, press your thumbnail into the chew.
If your nail doesn’t have any impact on the toy, it’s too tough.
Is It Too Soft?
While you want to make sure a chew isn’t going to hurt your dog’s mouth or break their teeth, you also want to check it isn’t too soft.
For large breeds who are strong chewers, a soft chew will be easily destroyed or torn into pieces. These pieces can then find their way into your dog’s stomach and intestines.
Does It Have A Coating?
Some coatings and flavourings found on dog chews can be unhealthy for your dog. It’s best to stay natural, and give your dog healthy foods for a tasty treat instead.
Is It A Good Size?
If you have a small dog, you obviously won’t be buying them a large chew… it would be far too big for them to cope with.
And the same theory applies to big dogs.
If you buy them a chew that is too small, it could be easily swallowed or ingested.
Particularly if your dog is an ‘inhaler’…
If you have dogs of different sizes, make sure that they only play with their own chews to avoid any accidents.
How Long Will It Last?
A chew is often an investment that will keep your dog entertained for hours.
So it’s important to pick one that will last.
Cheaper chews might save money in the short run… but you will have to buy more replacements.
A well made, good quality chew will provide hours of playtime for your pup.
What About Soft Toys?
There isn’t much cuter than seeing a puppy with a cuddly toy.
But as your dog gets older, you might want to reconsider whether this type of toy is suitable for them.
Any dogs that are ‘shredders’ or ‘inhalers’ probably shouldn’t be given soft toys to play with… even if they are branded dog toys.
This is because they are easily ripped apart and stuffing can be ingested, causing problems and sometimes even needing veterinary attention.
Not all dogs fall under this umbrella…
If your pup is a ‘lover’ and doesn’t tend to chew or destroy their toys, soft play can still be an option.
Usually though, this only applies to small breeds.
Toys For A Game Of Fetch
What dog doesn’t love to play fetch?
The game is fun, but should still be supervised closely.
Tennis balls are usually a suitable toy for all dogs. But it’s important to be careful if your dog is a ‘shredder’ or ‘inhaler’. Because tennis balls can be destroyed easily and could be swallowed by larger dogs.
It might also surprise you to know that sticks aren’t usually suitable for your dog to play with.
Many have sharp edges that can puncture or injure your dog’s mouth.
They are also easy to splinter, causing painful external injuries or problems when ingested.
The Final Verdict
Whatever type of dog toy you’re looking for, the most important thing is to make sure that it’s safe and healthy…
Keep in mind the 5 questions…
And to separate toys if you have more than one dog.
A toy box full of safe and suitable toys is the key to your dog’s happiness and wellness.
So whether they’re playing with you or alone…
They can have fun and enjoy their play time.
For some more ideas about