7 Best Puppy Toys
Written by Adaptil, published on April 18, 2023
Do you have some great toys that your pup loves playing with? Toys are essential for your dog's well being; they encourage your pet to use up some of their energy, can be mentally stimulating and are also a source of comfort if your pup is feeling worried. They're especially important to help fight boredom when you leave your pup alone!
Did you know that toys can also help prevent unwanted chewing and make a great reward for puppy training, as well as strengthening your bond? There are loads of different types of toys that your doggo will love to play with, both on their own or with you.
Treat Your Pawsome Pal With These Fun Toys
1. Use a ball to play fetch!
Does your pup love to run around outside? Playing fetch with your pup using a ball or another toy that is easy to throw encourages your pup to run, catch, return and hopefully drop the ball at your feet. Always choose a toy that is an appropriate size for your pup. Balls and popular toy brands come in lots of different sizes so try and choose one that they can carry about but is large enough to prevent swallowing. Tennis balls are great, affordable options for playing fetch with your pup but they can be easily destroyed by chewing so always remove them from your pup and discard any that have been chewed up.
2. Try a rope and play tug-of-war!
Using a rope for a tug-of-war is a great way to bond with your dog - it will also help them use up some of their energy so it's a great game to play if you have to leave them alone for a short while - it will tire them out so they will sleep while you're away!
There are lots of different rope games you can find, from simple ropes, to ropes with balls on the end that squeak to give your pup extra enjoyment. These are also great for multi-dog homes - a good rope can last for ages. Rope toys are ideal for games of fetch, and puppy's love to chew them on their own. A rope has the added advantage that it helps to clean your pup's teeth, reduces plaque build-up and massages their gums. A rope is a puppy essential!
3. Reduce chewing around the house with a bone
A bone or a puppy safe chew is good when your pup needs to have some quiet time, or you want to distract them or keep them busy. This will help keep them occupied while they're on their own but make sure you keep an eye on your pup, checking up on them from time to time. A dental chew treat stick is good to help combat dental disease and help with teething. However, when using chewable treats, you must be careful with the calories and ingredients - too many could make your doggo's diet unhealthy!
Be careful with rawhide and bones; if your pup is a determined chewer then they could whittle these down to smaller pieces that can be swallowed, which could be a choking hazard. It's always best to supervise your pup with bones; a safer alternative is similar toys made of very hard rubber as these are more chew-safe and last longer. Always avoid chicken bones entirely because these splinter easily and can harm your pup!
4. Use puzzle feeder toys to help your pup learn - and slow down!
Using a puzzle feeder or food dispenser toy for your puppy is a great way to keep your pup occupied as it will take up a lot of time and mental exercise; this is a great tool to use if you are busy and can't provide your pup with as much attention as normal. Usually, this is a rubber toy which delivers treats or food when your pup bites the toy.
For example, a KONG type toy is great for your pup and can be filled with food or something for your pup to lick such as dog-safe peanut butter. Just ensure that the hole in the toy isn't too large or the pup could get their lower jaw stuck. A food toy can help prevent your pup from feeling bored or lonely - especially as licking is a naturally self-soothing action for dogs - as well as helping your pup to eat more slowly as they will have to work for each bit of food. This is a rewarding toy that will hold your pup's attention for hours!
5. Take your pup's learning further with harder puzzles!
You can also get box or puzzle toys that are larger and require more mental effort from your pup. For example, your dog can move the different parts of toys that hide treats with their nose, mouth, and paws.
Your pup may find these toys a bit tricky at first but they're likely to be lured in by the smell of the treats - so will learn quickly! If your doggo tends to wolf their food down too fast then you should use their normal food rather than treats; and use toys like these to keep your pup's weight down or if you're also using lots of treats in their other training. These toys will keep your puppy super smart as well as cute!
6. Try toys that squeak!
Your pup may be fascinated by toys that squeak. These are great for enticing your pal to play with you, keeping your pup interested and also distracting them with the quick sharp fun noise. However, make sure that you supervise your doggo if they're playing with a squeaky toy. Your dog may try to get to the squeak inside which can be dangerous as this is often a small part and is a choking hazard. Finding a squeaky toy that you can play with together is best so that you know your pup is safe.
7. Give your pup a furry friend
Stuffed toys are often a puppy favourite; they love to play with these as they're soft on the mouth and your pup might be found relaxing on their soft toy after the play session has ended. How cute! Just try and pick one that is small enough for your pup to carry as they may like to take it with them; these soft toys can encourage dogs' natural behaviours such as shaking it or killing it so it needs to be large enough to prevent accidental swallowing and strong enough to withstand attacks. Ensure that the soft toy is puppy-safe - and avoid toys with and small parts that could come off and are a choking hazard. A safe filling is also important just in case the toy breaks so ensure that it doesn't include nutshells or polystyrene beads. However, stuffed toys are cute and if you can find a strong, machine washable toy, both you and your pup are sure to love it.
Always use safe puppy toys to keep your pup occupied; remember not to give your pup a toy that resembles an inappropriate item such as an old shoe or sock - they wouldn't be able to differentiate this from the shoes and socks that they aren't supposed to chew!
Safety is the number one consideration when choosing your pup's toys and this will depend on your dog's size, activity level and personal preferences. If your pup has a favourite, safe toy then you can leave them unattended but it's also good to rotate your dog's toys weekly. Always ensure play sessions with your pup are fun and build a love within your pup for their toys! Then you can use this toy love for rewarding, gaining their attention and building your bond.
Following our expert tips will help to ensure your bond with your dog goes from strength to strength.
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