First thing first, why should you even consider a toy for your canine friend?
Just like for babies & toddlers, toys for dogs are an integral part of a healthy upbringing. How so?
- They help in developing physical stimulation, enrichment & behavior modification.
- Interactive dog toys could also help you in building a relationship with your dogs.
- Dog chew toys help resolve many problems such as bad chewing habits & poor breath.
- Most definitely, toys help kill boredom and anxiety.
Being away from your dog for work or any other reason is certainly not the best feeling, for neither of you. How is your dog doing in your absence is a constant matter of concern.
However, the good thing is, dog toys are meant to keep them engaged even when you are away.
But the primary question is what kind of toys should be introduced to dogs & when.
So, let’s solve them for you.
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When Should You Introduce a Toy To Your Dog?
When your dog is around 4 Months Old.
- Irrespective of the breed, one thing is certain that all puppies chew. This happens when they’re around four months old when they essentially begin with their teething process. At this stage, every puppy’s natural instinct is to chew. This could be your expensive furniture or your shoes. They’ll chew anything that they can get hold of.
- This is the right stage to introduce them to teething/chew toys which not only comforts your puppy but also gives you a chance to teach them what they should & shouldn’t chew. Do choose puppy toys and dog chew toys with different interactive shapes to keep them entertained.
- Slowly, you might want to introduce them to other variety of toys. A breed plays a crucial role in what toys become more acceptable to them. For example, a Boxer, because of its enormous bundle of energy, will naturally enjoy anything s/he can fetch, while a soft squeaky toy can be shredded into pieces. This might not be the case with a toy breed like Shih Tzu or Poodle who would love to chew on easy squeaky dog toys.
Which Dog Toys Should You Avoid?
Cheap plastic & synthetic rubber toys are a Big NO!
According to a presentation by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, these puppy toys or dog toys contain dangerous chemicals that may be hazardous to their health.
Which Dog Toys Should You Opt For?
For the safety of your dogs, look for products that are “BPA Free” or products made from 100 % natural jute, cotton or leather. Just like any toddler, your pooch as well needs a safe toy to play.
How To Choose The Right Dog Toy?
- Safety First: As stated above, don’t just go for any toy, including the toys that are meant for a human child. Dogs have specific needs which can only be catered to by an actual dog toy. So, refrain from tossing household things or kid toys at your dogs, even if they are willing to play with them. So if you think that your dog chewing on your bathroom slipper is an irritant, that’s not all, it’s hazardous too.
- Toys could break – Posing a choking hazard, as well as a general menace for everyone around. Use dog toys that are made of high quality non-toxic environmental cotton, which doesn’t harm your dog even if a few particles are gulped while chewing.
- Right Size: Whether it is a dog chew toy or a rope toy, the right size is a must. A large toy for a small puppy may cause choking. Likewise, don’t use a small toy for a large mouth, it may be shredded easily. Choose a toy that fits your dog’s size about right.
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Variety of Dog Toys
To keep your dog engaged and happy, it is important to offer an array of different toys, providing a myriad of different purposes and materials. A good mix of squeaky toys for sheer entertainment value, rope toys for tugging, dog chew toys that can double up as dental chews for them plus eases their urge to chew, and such dog toys to play fetch with, would be a good idea.
There is a common saying, “Penny wise, Pound Foolish”. Don’t opt for cheap toys that can be shredded in the first go. Yes, dogs love to chew and there will be wear & tear, but one could choose a toy that at least lasts a few weeks. You could also try switching your pooch’s toys weekly by making only a few toys available at a time. This can make the toys last longer.
Dog toys are as much necessity as a luxury. So, be a good parent that you are and shop toys for dogs now!