Toys provide dogs with hours of fun as well as physical and mental stimulation. With the right toys, they are encouraged to engage in natural behaviors such as chewing and playing. Toys are positive outlets to burn excess energy and avoid boredom.
Like humans, dogs have individual preferences when it comes to toys. And if you had the chance to go shopping for toys for your pet, you must have surely realized that there are tons of selections out there and can be pretty overwhelming! Choosing which toy is best for your canine buddy will surely take time and effort especially if you don’t know what your dog likes and what is safe for him to play with.
How to choose dog toys that are perfectly safe for your dog
With so many dog toy options that are available, it’s important to choose toys that your dog will like to play with. A dog’s preference for specific toys generally depends on their playing style and chewing. Safety is also a prime consideration because toys are not created equal. There is a long list of potential risks that dogs can be exposed to when they are given any type of toy. Some dog toys are potential choking hazards; there’s also the issue with lead, arsenic, cadmium, and other toxic chemicals; and the problem with phthalates and BPA in latex toys.
These potential risks are important reasons why safety is one of your prime considerations when choosing toys for dogs. With the right toys, your dog will have plenty of opportunities for safe play and lesser risks of developing undesirable habits that are fueled by boredom.
Read more about how to choose safe dog toys here!
Tips to remember when choosing toys for dogs
How to safely clean dog toys
Toys need regular cleaning since they can be a breeding ground for bacteria and other potential pathogens. A dog’s mouth is full of bacteria and these can transfer to his toys during play. A thorough, regular cleaning can get rid of dirt, bacteria, fungi, viruses, and even parasites that can infect your dog.
Several techniques can be used when cleaning your pet’s toys. Care and cleaning instructions are usually printed on the tag or packaging of new toys. Ideally, the recommendations of the manufacturer regarding cleaning and disinfection should be followed.
The material that toys are made of should also be considered when it comes to cleaning and disinfection.
It’s absolutely essential to keep your dog’s toys clean. Read more about how to keep your dog’s toys clean here.
Why Does My Dog Prefer Some Toys Over Others?
A dog’s personality and temperament can have a big influence on his toy preferences. With traces of their ancestors’ predatory behaviors still intact, pet dogs play with their toys to simulate the predatory sequence. That’s why soft toys and squeaky toys are a big hit when it comes to dog toys. Some toys trigger a dog’s maternal instincts and they carry the toy around, caring for it as if it’s their offspring. A dog’s special toy may also remind them of good memories or their favourite human.
Toy choices can also depend on a dog’s age. Teething puppies like sinking their teeth and gums on chew toys to find relief from pain and discomfort. Senior dogs love softer toys to hug and tug. Adult dogs that engage in rough play will certainly enjoy sturdier toys like rubber balls and thick ropes.
Some canine breeds also have their toy preferences. Labrador and golden retrievers have an obsession with balls, while hounds and terriers like toys they can tear and shred.
Also read more about why your dog prefer some toys over others here.
Why Do Dogs Destroy Their Toys?
Animal behavior experts have identified several important reasons why dogs take great pleasure in tearing their toys apart. If your pet loves to engage in the habit, it’s time you take steps to identify what is motivating your pet to behave this way so you can undertake measures for behaviour modification.
The top reasons include the following:
Toys that squeak or emit a sound tend to trigger the predatory instincts of dogs. They won’t hesitate to bite, shake, and rip the toy to pieces until it’s dead which gives them a feeling of satisfaction for having completed the hunt sequence.
Dogs that lack physical and mental stimulation will try to find ways to amuse themselves and burn excess energy. Unfortunately, boredom can be potent fuel for the development of bad behaviors. They can also vent their frustrations on their toys as they engage in destructive habits.
When you laugh or simply watch your dog biting and tugging his toys, you are actually reinforcing the behavior. This is also true when engaging in a game of tug-of-war with your pooch.
Dogs are smart creatures and they love mental challenges. What better way to sharpen their mind than to dismantle their toy of figure out how to get that their favorite treat out of the toy. These dogs would do well with interactive toys and puzzles.
Know what toys are ideal for your pet based on his age, size, breed, and temperament.
How to fix a dog toy so it’s just like new
Fixing injured toys is quite an easy task as long as you are armed with the right techniques and sewing tools, like needles, thread or embroidery floss, cloth, replacement squeakers, etc. You should secure squeakers by encasing each inside a strong fabric so your dog can’t easily remove it. Holes and tears will have to be sealed and covered. More stuffing may also be needed. All edges of the injured toy must be secured with a basic topstitch twice to make it more durable. After fixing whatever needs to be fixed, giving the toy a good wash will make it good as new.
Read more about how to fix your dog toys here!