Playtime is essential for your dog.  Play provides your dog with exercise, mental stimulation and additional bonding time with the family.  Play also adds to their overall quality of life and is a healthy option for relaxing anxious or
stressed dogs.  
It can channel extra energy to a more productive space instead of chewing furniture or scratching walls.   Now more than ever, pet parents have a wide range of options when it comes to toys for playtime.  Here is what you need to know when choosing the right toys for your furry kids.

 

Safety First

First and foremost, you want to be sure that any toys you pull out for playtime are safe.  Check for signs of wear on well-loved toys.  If you see loose parts or large chunks missing from hard toys, it is time to replace them.  Many dogs love soft toys that contain squeakers and can’t wait to tear right into them to find the source of their excitement.  Watch dogs closely when they play with plushies, so you can take away the plastic squeakers before your dog eats or chokes on them.

 

Made-for-human toys are not recommended for dogs.  These toys often contain small pieces, such as sewn-on plastic eyes, that have the potential to cause your dog intestinal issues should they be swallowed.  Also, many stuffed animals contain stuffing made from materials that are harmful if eaten such as polystyrene beads.  It is better to be safe than sorry and stick to toys that are made to stand up to dog play.

 

Variety is Key

Just like humans, dogs benefit from a variety of activities and toys.  Different toys serve different purposes in a dog’s life.  In general, there are three different categories of toys:  Comfort,  Action and Boredom Busters.

 

Have you ever seen a dog carrying a plush toy around the house or out on a walk?  Plush toys are a great example of the Comfort category of toys.  Some dogs love to snuggle and nothing makes them happier than cuddling up with their stuffed “baby”.  Our personal favorite is the Fluff and Tuff Plush Toys. But not all dogs want a ‘warm fuzzy’ feeling from their toys.  If your pup would rather tear into their teddy bear, they may prefer toys in the Action category.  

 

All dogs need a minimum of 30-60 minutes of exercise each day.  Some may need even more than that depending on their breed and personality.  This is where the Action toys come into play (pun intended).  Ball launchers, puppy frisbees, tug toys and chew toys all fall into this category.  Trial and error is the best, and most fun, way of seeing which toys your dog loves the most.  Start with toys that tap into your dog breed’s natural drive.  For example, if you own a Golden Retreiver, a sturdy ball for a game of fetch is a great starting point.  We love the ChuckIt ball launcher.

 

The last category are the Boredom Buster toys.  These are toys that stimulate your dog’s mind and are good toys for your dog to play with while you are away from home.   Built for distraction, Boredom Busters can help deter destructive dog behaviors that arise from the puppy doldrums.  The most common toy of this type are puzzle toys that combine a dog’s natural instinct to forage with mouth-watering treats for hours of entertainment.  Some of our favorites are the sturdy puzzels that have easy, medium and hard options.  

Playtime is essential for your dog.  In addition to providing a healthy form of bonding, play helps keep them active in mind and body.   Check out our Playtime and Catch videos for fun footage of pups at play! [http://smartdogstrainingandlodging.com/gallery]