Having a dog is surely delightful, especially when it comes to playtime. As a dog owner, you want your pets to have toys. However, this can be challenging with so many playthings available in the market. There are various kinds, colors, and materials to choose from, but you still want to buy those that are safe, fun, and interesting for your pooch. If you’re thinking about the perfect toy for your new puppy or for a dog that’s been part of the family for a long time, this article lists what you should consider before finalizing that purchase.
1. What stage your dog is in
Similar to humans, it’s crucial that you pick the right toy that is age-appropriate for your pooch. You need to consider the life stage that they are in to ensure that they’ll be interested and can get maximum developmental benefits with the toys when necessary. Think about where your dog is at—a puppy, an adult, or a senior—and buy great dog toys with that in mind. Here are some tips:
- 7-12 week old puppies – Plush toys and squeaky toys will be attractive to curious puppies. Challenging puzzle toys will also help them develop needed skills as they grow older. Don’t give all the toys at once. Instead, switch them around to keep the new puppies interested.
- 3-9 month old puppies – Invest in durable chew toys for your teething dogs so that your cushion or shoes won’t be the things they go for to relieve the discomfort and pain. Don’t give teething toys that are shaped like shoes or similar to what you don’t want them to play with. This is also an excellent time to introduce interactive toys like Frisbees and balls.
- 9-12 month old dogs – Adult dogs will have lots of energy so interactive toys can help with stimulation. Roe pulls and ball catching are popular favorites in this stage.
- 7-year-old dogs or seniors – Chew toys will still be interesting, but they have to be made with softer rubber so that their teeth won’t be damaged. Playing fetch will continue to be popular, so sticks and balls would come in handy.
2. What materials the toys are made of
Know what materials the toys are made of by inspecting them and reading labels. It’s crucial that you take heed of this to ensure that your pooch is still safe while having fun. It can be quite tricky to know which brands and kinds you can rely on, but thankfully, there are ways to tell if the toys are safe. A few other tips for toy safety with materials and parts include:
- Checking the label. This should say that it’s safe for dogs and non-toxic.
- Watching out for chemicals such as cadmium, lead, chromium, formaldehyde, arsenic, Bisphenol A (BPA), melamine, and others.
- Avoiding painted wooden toys that can cause both toxicity and splinters.
- Reading reviews of other pet owners before jumping in to buy any toy.
- Refraining from toys with small parts like bells, plastic eyes and noses, and the like because although the materials are not toxic, your pooch could ingest these tiny things.
- Being watchful with toys with squeakers so that they won’t ingest it. These are highly entertaining to dogs, and some will try to tear the toy apart to get the squeaker out. These kinds of toys may not be recommended for dogs who are aggressive in taking the “prey” out.
3. The toy sizes
Toys for dogs come in various shapes and sizes, too. It’s essential that you don’t neglect this factor because assuring the toy is the right size for your dog lessens the chances of ingestion, choking, or intestinal blockage. Switching toys will definitely be a part of your dog-owning lifestyle, not just because it’s worn out, but also because you have to change the sizes as your fur baby grows. Here are general rules of thumb:
- Toys for puppies aren’t suitable for adult dogs because they can be easily swallowed.
- Large toys shouldn’t be given to puppies to avoid suffocation.
- Besides age, consider your dog’s breed. Don’t give a Chihuahua a St. Bernard’s toy and vice versa.
4. Strength and durability
Another consideration before buying your dog a toy is its durability and strength. You will have to switch up your toys according to their needs and age, but ensuring that they are durable will lessen both the need to buy playthings all the time due to wearing out and ensure that your dog won’t swallow parts and materials that cannot withstand enthusiastic chewing and playing. Depending on your dog’s behavior, check the labels so that they aren’t too hard to break their teeth, or too soft to be ripped.
While owning a dog may help your heart, it’s vital that you look out for their welfare too when buying dog toys. Listed above are four things that you need to look into before deciding so that your fur baby is both safe and happy.