Shopping for dog toys can be quite the daunting experience and in many ways it’s similar to baby food shopping at the grocery store. You’ve got to select from an array of rubber toys, rawhide bones, bouncy balls, Kongs, nylon toys, squeaky toys, and many more.
You spend several minutes pouring over the aisles in search of that perfect toy and you finally found one, but is it safe? Also, is your dog even going to play with it? Toys can be expensive, so it’s critically important that you take a few details into consideration before you head to the checkout line.
Here are a few ways to effectively shop for dog toys:
Consider the playful nature of your dog.
Your dog’s playing style will tell you everything you need to know about shopping for the right toy. For instance, a reserved, calm dog will only play with a particular toy for just a few minutes and then go to sleep.
This behavior is prominent in the bigger breeds like a golden retriever or lab. If this is the case, I recommend buying a stuffed animal so you can still fulfill your dog’s wish to rip something into shreds.
A dog with mild intensity requires the play time of an hour per day. With this type of dog, you’ll need rope toys, squeaky toys, and rawhide bones for when they’re ready to calm down a bit. A high intensity pet requires more than an hour of play time a day. My hyper, but sweet rat terrier fits into this category and this is common with the smaller breeds.
Since I’ve dealt with this type of dog before, I highly recommend buying things that are very durable and are long-lasting. For instance, invest in a couple of Kong toys that will allow you to fill the center with frozen peanut better so that they can spend an hour or two licking away and keeping themselves busy.
I also recommend rawhide bones, rope toys, and rubber bouncy balls. Balls are the cheapest, yet most effective toy that you can buy for a high intensity dog. Nothing gives them a work out like an old fashioned game of fetch.
Running back and forth will get them good and worn out, and you can cap it off with a bone or rawhide chew.
Buying toys for your puppy.
This is perhaps the hardest time to toy shop, because you’re not familiar with your dog’s toy preferences. It’s important for you to understand there are two types of dogs. The first wants to rip everything to shreds while the other is fine with chewing for an extended period of time.
If you just got the puppy, then buy a variety of toys so that you can study your dog’s playing behavior. Whichever toy your dog regularly migrates to is the type of toy you should be buying from now on.
If you don’t want to do this, then consider the breed of your dog. Most large breeds are content to chew to relax and be happy.
For the larger breeds, consider buying a thick and sturdy toy that will do well under the pressure and gnawing. Ask a friend or family member with a similar type of breed about what type of toys they buy their dog.
It may take your pet some time to warm up to the toys. I often find that I have to “help” them play with the toys the first few times by playing with it myself. I’ll throw the ball or toy up and down or squeak it until it gets their attention.
They are only not interested in the toy if you haven’t made it interesting for them.
Consider the dangers involved with certain toys.
The number one goal when buying a dog toy is safety. Remember, these toys will be left in the dog’s possession and there could be a period where you step out of the room while they’re chewing on it.
All it takes is a few seconds and your dog could be in trouble as a result of a dangerous toy. If your dog is a “destroyer” then either do not buy less durable toys or keep a very close eye on them if you choose to buy it. Toys can become a choking hazard and an internal obstruction in their throat.
Try to see things from the dog’s perspective when examining the toy. For instance, are there parts on the toy that can easily be torn off, such as an eye or ear of a stuffed animal? If so, put it back on the rack and move on. If your dog is a larger breed then do not buy a smaller toy that can get lodged in their throat.
Take care of your dog’s toys.
This is the step that is neglected the most. After you’ve done all of that stressful shopping and you had to take out a second mortgage for the basket full of toys, you need to take inventory at least once a week to view the condition of each toy. If there are toys with loose parts or if it appears as if the stuffing is coming out then either tend to the toy by sewing it up or discard the item.
It’s also important to wash the toys. The toys get dragged throughout the house, sometimes outdoors, and needless to say there’s a build up of dirt and bacteria on the toy. Most toys can be cleaned by hand with soap and water.
These are just methods on toy shopping for your dog. If you have any further questions during shopping then simply ask the manager of the pet store you frequently shop at.