How to Select a Dog Toys: Top 4 Factors to Consider

Have you ever walked into the dog toy aisle and felt lost? With so many options, you start to wonder what your pup will like, which will hold up, and if higher prices are worth it. There are many factors you should consider when selecting dog toys.

boxer with tennis ball

Durability

If you have an aggressive chewer, you probably worry a lot about how long a toy will last. The hunt for the perfect, durable dog toy is never-ending. It’s disheartening to bring home a new toy only to throw it away a day later. No toy is meant to be indestructible, and breaking down a toy is enjoyable to dogs but not your wallet. Labels and reviews can help you assess durability.

Labels

Search for toys that are specifically labeled as durable. The packaging will use terminologies such as aggressive chewer, tough, reinforced, or indestructible. Many toy companies even give their products a durability rating to help consumers.

Reviews

You aren’t the only pet parent worried about how long toys last. It is such a common concern that toy reviews regularly mention durability. To select the most quality toy, take time to read through a few testimonials.

sleeping dog

Material

There are several materials used for dog toys. Some pups have strong textile preferences. Each variety has different benefits and drawbacks.

Cloth

Stuffed cloth toys are a classic choice. Most dogs love them, they’re always available, and they are often cute. Pricing varies among cloth toys by how reinforced and sturdy the fibers are. Fabric-covered toys tend to be less durable.

Rope

Ropes are a great option for active play such as tug of war and fetch. They provide fun and exercise while also helping to clean your pup’s teeth. Be cautious as ropes break down. Ingesting strings can lead to blockages.

Rubber

Rubber toys are generally the most durable option. The thick, sturdy material is wonderful for heavy chewers. You can also use rubber toys for entertainment and enrichment by stuffing them with treats. Certain rubber does have a slight odor that dogs may dislike.

Plastic

There are soft plastic and hard plastic toys. They are usually an affordable, fun option. However, plastic isn’t necessarily the best choice depending on your dog’s habits. Soft plastic can be easily ripped and ingested, while hard can damage teeth and gums. Experts have also debated the risk of BPAs in plastics.

Chews

Dog chews can loosely fall into the toy category. Chews can be an amazing way to treat your pups and keep them busy. Make sure you avoid anything rawhide-based as it can expand and cause choking or blockages. Natural options like pig ears, bully sticks, and salmon skins are growing in popularity.

Bone

Giving dogs bones is traditional. Not only do canines love to chew on them, but they also provide nutrients and help clean teeth. Take caution when selecting bones, and only provide raw varieties. Cooked bones become brittle and splinter.

Dog with toy

Shape

The shape of a dog toy makes a difference for two reasons: preference and safety. Think about how your best friend likes to play and pick a shape that coincides. Always keep dog toy safety in mind. Consider if the shape of the toy can pose a threat to your pup. Can it be swallowed? Are there air holes if it becomes lodged in your dog’s throat? Is it possible for a jaw or paw to get stuck?

Size

Dogs come in all sizes and so do toys. Purchase appropriately-sized toys for your furry friends. Toys run from extra small to extra-large, and packaging often lists suggested weight ranges. A toy that is too big can be as problematic as one that is too small.

Too Big

If a toy is larger than suggested, your petite pup may face trouble. Small puppy body parts can become trapped in large toys. Oversized toys are often too big or heavy for small breeds to carry comfortably in their mouths. That potentially leads to loss of interest or neck injuries.

Too Small

For large breed dogs, small toys are problematic. The most obvious risk is choking. Small, ingested toys that make it to the digestive system can cause deadly intestinal blockages. These risks apply to whole toys and pieces of larger toys that have broken off.

two whippet dogs sharing a stick

Play Style

You know your dogs best. Select a toy that works well with their play style. Play styles differ by day and companion, so having a few types of toys on hand works well.

Solo

No one can spend the entire day doting over their dogs. While you tend to other parts of your day, you can encourage solo play in your dog. Toys that are best for solo play are tough. For the best interaction, look for treat dispensers, squeakies, automatic ball shooters, or toys that secure to the floor.

Multi-Dog

If your dog is social, it’s nice for them to have other dog friends. Some pups play together by wrestling or chasing, but others enjoy joint toy time. Before using toys with multiple dogs, verify that resource guarding won’t be an issue. Larger, dual-sided tugs toys are a spectacular choice for doggie duos.

Interactive

Playing with your dog encourages a bond and keeps them more active. Fetch and tug-o-war are the most popular types of interactive play. Branch out from typical balls by considering discs, ropes, and floating toys for strong swimmers.

Enriching

Enrichment toys encourage dogs to use their natural instincts. They are especially great for canines that get bored easily or aren’t as physically active. You can buy or make toys such as snuffle mats, puzzle feeders, and flirt poles.

Comfort

Some dogs are very calm and gentle when they play. You may notice your dog favoring one toy by carrying it around and cuddling with it. Dogs that show this type of behavior enjoy comfort toys. Purchase a few stuffiest or allow your pup to take over a familiar smelling blanket.

Dog toys are meant to be fun. Pay attention to these tips to select the safest, most enjoyable toy for your companion.

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