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How to choose the right pet toys for your dog

[Sponsored post] It’s an exciting part of dog ownership – buying toys for your furry friend to play with, either together with you or on his own (but with supervision, of course). With so many toys to choose from and not knowing whether your dog will enjoy the toy or not, here are some handy pointers to follow when looking for the best dog toy for your best friend.

The right size

Small sized toys for small sized mouths and large sized toys for large sized mouths. That’s the general rule in order to avoid the toys becoming hazardous (small toys in large mouths) or injurious (large toys in small mouths). Toys that are too large for your small pooch may even become pointless and un-fun because they are difficult to play with.

Does your dog love to chew?

Some dogs chew because they are bored and redirect that boredom to household objects like shoes, hairbrush handles and the remote control. But some dogs need a good workout for their teeth and jaws, which makes chew toys perfect for their needs. There are some wonderfully durable toys for chewing dogs available and they even come in the appropriate density for light, medium or heavy chewers. These toys are made from rubber or other durable compounds and are built to last even against the toughest teeth. For puppies, start your baby pooch off on a puppy-appropriate chew toy as harder rubber might be too tough for his baby teeth.

Does your dog love to chase?

Many dogs have a chase instinct that’s difficult to rein in, even with the most consistent training. They absolutely thrive on the endorphin rush of a good chase – it’s a primal response that’s difficult to break. Instead of punishing your dog for chasing birds or other animals or trying to break the habit, why not redirect it? What better way to discourage your dog’s ‘inappropriate’ chasing than to get him to fixate on a favourite flying toy? From frisbees to other creative flying discs and anything that can be thrown at a distance and retrieved, chase toys must be lightweight and be able to go far. They should be easy on your dog’s mouth and teeth, and if your dog is a water baby, the chase toy should float.

Ideal for dogs who love to chase and retrieve, The Sticks are a range of eco-friendly and floatable stick toys that make the perfect safe substitute for the real deal, just without the splinters. Made from durable recycled rubber, they are good for the environment and good for your dog’s mouth. The Sticks include such fun varieties as Willow, Elwood, Barkley, Twiggy and Woody.

Does your dog love having a ball?

Balls fall into the chew and chase categories, but there’s something so organic about a ball for a dog. Try to avoid giving your dog a tennis ball. Some dogs will have a favourite tennis ball for years and years, but most end up chewing and destroying them, and tennis balls are not exactly made with the most dog-friendly materials. The ideal balls for dogs are those that are durable and that have an unpredictable bounce, giving your dog’s body and brain a great workout.

The Pawz to Clawz Helmet Head range is a quirky collection of four ocean-themed friends – a plush toy (lobster, octopus, turtle or crab) with a rubber ‘helmet’ that creates the perfect bounce.

Is your dog a brainiac?

Most dogs love a good challenge, especially when they can be rewarded with yummy treats. One of the best known ranges of puzzle toys that reward your dog’s efforts comes from Nina Ottosson, and includes a wide range of toys with varying levels of difficulty. These are sure to give your dog’s brain and body an excellent workout!

To encourage puppies to solve toy problems where treats are involved, try the Biosafe Puppy Treat Ball or the Biosafe Puppy Treat Dumbbell. These are tough, anti-microbial treat-dispensing toys that are excellent for teething puppies.

There are so many treat toys on the market and many of them combine functions so your dog gets to enjoy treats AND a bouncy adventure. A fun two-in-one is the Pawz to Clawz Monster Treat Release Toy, which is a treat toy and a fetch toy with an unpredictable bounce.

Does your dog love a squeaky toy?

There’s just something about a squeaky toy that triggers dogs’ attention and it’s actually quite macabre: the squeak mimics the sound of a small animal in the throes of death – something that made your dog’s wild ancestors lick their chops. A squeaky toy satisfies your furry friend’s killing instincts without any blood and gore. While some dog owners are concerned that their dogs will really kill the toy in order to get at the squeaker (which can be a choking hazard), there’s no harm in supervised play during which you can remove the toy if your dog looks like he means to destroy it.

If your dog’s enthusiasm for a squeaky toy makes a lot of noise and drives you nuts, there’s one toy that can solve the problem: the Rosewood Jolly Doggy Multi-activity Squeaky Raccoon is a squeaky toy that can be used in games of fetch, tug or light chewing. And if the squeaker becomes too much, just rotate the tail to turn it off.

It may take some trial and error to find the perfect toys for your furry friend, but when you do, you’ll notice a real difference in the way your pup approaches play time. Just remember to always supervise your dog’s play. Any bits chewed off a toy can be hazardous to his health if swallowed.


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