Do dogs need toys? In one simple word, ABSOLUTELY! Your dog needs toys, not just because the holidays are here and they made a doggy wish list. Not because Max next door has a monthly toy subscription and you have to keep up with the Jones’s. And not because the big retailers are telling you so. Quite simply, your dog needs toys. It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
Why Dogs Need Toys
- Mental and Physical Stimulation
- Appropriate Chewing
- Tools for Behavior Modification
You are dog-copendent. Your dog is your “ride or die,” your “best friend with four legs.” But did you know your dog also needs a job? They are constantly on the hunt to find something to do. And if you don’t provide them with the right tools, your slippers, phone charger and/or the couch cushions could be their job of choice.
Toys are the perfect tool to stimulate them mentally and cure boredom while you are at work. Dogs are a bit like toddlers and they may get bored with their toys quickly. So make sure your toy arsenal is filled with different toys in shape, size and texture. As an added tip, don’t leave all the toys out. Rotate them every few days to keep it fresh and different for your pup.
Making Toy Mistakes
Size matters. You will want to make sure you buy the appropriate size toys for your dog. Toys that are too small could easily become choking hazards for your 80 lb. retriever. If your new dog toy suddenly tears or breaks apart, it should immediately be tossed. The stuffings inside a toy are not digestible. So once a toy is ripped open, time to toss it. All soft toys should also be machine washable.
Picking The Best
Toys can also help your dog find their zen space. Any toy such as safe bones, antlers or long-duration chews will automatically promote relaxation. Most dog trainers will recommend a KONG as their go-to, must have for a doggy good time. The KONG is a highly effective doggy babysitter who will occupy a good chunk of time. Pro tip…stuff you KONG will something tasty and delicious (canned pumpkin or peanut butter) and then pop it into the freezer. Pull it out when you need your pup to be “busy” for a few hours.
Just Say No
Rawhide bones have been sold forever in stores. But they are really the worst possible choice for your dog. The Humane Society and the ASPCA both highly discourage the consumption of rawhide for dogs. Petco also recently announced they will no longer sell traditional rawhide in their stores. Why is rawhide so bad for your dog? Plain and simple is that it does not dissolve in the dog’s stomach. In fact, it does the opposite. It swells up and it is extremely difficult for your dog to pass the rawhide, making it a danger for intestinal blockage.