Everyone knows that no one is as playful as our furry four-legged family members. So, whether you are just about to adopt a puppy or you have an older dog, you need a lot of dog toys at home. Just like with kids, when it comes to dogs, toys aren’t just for playing. In fact, they play many important roles in their lives.
Dogs love to chew on things, which means that if you aren’t careful, you can end up with ruined furniture, clothes, shoes, linens etc. So, protecting your thing is one of the reasons why you should fill your home or your dog’s crate with a lot of toys. And, aside from helping you with that, toys can help you teach your dog good habits so that they develop desirable behaviour.
But probably the important thing about them is that a colourful and fun dog toy can be vital for a dog’s mental health. Like people, dogs can get anxious, afraid, stressed out etc. For instance, many dogs get very anxious when they are left home alone or while you are busy and can’t spend time with them, and toys can offer them comfort and keep them busy. Another important reason why you need a lot of toys is that many dogs, especially breeds that are more active, as well as puppies and younger dogs, can get bored pretty easily, and toys can offer them a fun pastime, or a good challenge to keep them engaged and occupied.
Nevertheless, toys are also important for your dog’s physical health, especially ones that help your dog stay physically active. Exercise toys for dogs not only help your dog stay engaged and fight off boredom, but they can also be a great tool for dogs’ cognitive development as well as their motor skills.
Types of Toys for Dogs
Dogs and cats are the most common pets around the globe, which is why there are many different products made for all of their needs. And when it comes to toys – the choices are endless, and they keep growing every day. However, even though there are many different toys for dogs, they can be divided into a few categories, according to the way they work and what you can use them for.
Toys for Interaction
Certainly, the most obvious reason why dog owners love buying toys for dogs is so that we can play with them. A dog can interact with you and play with anything – a stick, a stone, a rope, an old rug… However, there are many different toys that you can buy, which are safer for your puppy. The main types of toys like that, which require your participation, are toys for fetching, and toys for tugging.
The most common fetch toys that people use to play with their dogs are balls. However, there are a lot of rubber toys in different shapes that you can use. Another popular one is a flying disk, like a frisbee. These types of toys aren’t only important for your connection with your dog, but they are also a great way to keep your dog physically active, as well as train them.
Furthermore, dogs love to play tag of war. While some people think that you should never play it with your puppy, you can choose a dog toy, like a rope for instance, that you’ll only use for tugging. This way you’ll prevent your dog from tugging with anything.
Toys for Comfort
There are many reasons why dogs may feel anxious or scared. As puppies, for instance, when they arrive in their new home, they miss their mothers and their siblings. As older, they may feel alone if there is no one else at home, or they may get scared of thunders, etc. Soft toys, like stuffed animals, can be a good choice for this. Some dogs will pick a soft toy like this to be their companion and to comfort them, and others may play with it as if it were prey.
However, if you choose to use a comfort toy like this, you should be very cautious and make sure that there aren’t any hazards, like toys with trinkets that can be swallowed, such as doll eyes, strings or ribbons, especially if you are buying toys that weren’t meant for dogs. You should also make sure that they aren’t filled with dangerous fillings. In fact, just to be sure, you should buy toys that are safe for kids under 3. And to make things easier for yourself, look for ones that are machine washable.
If you are looking for something that will help comfort your dog, you can also get a T-shirt or any other piece of textile that has your scent. However, you should use something old, because there is a big chance that you won’t be able to use it again because your dog will destroy it.
Toys for Distraction
Probably the most interesting toys for your dog when they have to play alone, will be the toys that give them some kind of a challenge. Most dogs will choose to play with these so-called distraction toys when they are bored, when they are home alone, or when you don’t have the time to play with them.
What’s also great about these toys is that they will protect your furniture, and they can protect you from being interrupted while you are working at home, for instance. There are a number of toys made to withstand your dog’s chewing – like hard rubber toys. There are also dental chew toys, which will crumble slowly, and that are safe for your dog to ingest in small pieces, or even edible chewy ones. Another great example of toys designed to distract your dog and keep them engaged are dog puzzles or treat dispensers, which your dog will have to solve in order to get the reward.