There are many types of toys that you could get for your dog, so many in fact that it can be quite overwhelming. Just a quick search on the internet and you get flooded with thousands of different kinds of toys, gadgets, name brands, and nay sayers. This little article should hopefully give you the slightest bit of clarity in a very very confusing world of Dog Toys!
What to look for in a dog toy
To start off with, if you type in dog toys in Google, you are hit with over 700 million different options. There are countless shapes, sizes and textures to choose from. Not to mention the name brand stuff. We will take a look at the more common useful toys that will keep your dog well entertained and out of your hair.
The qualities that I look for in dog toys are the following:
1. They must be durable, this means not breaking or coming apart with a little chewing.
2. Usefulness. The toy needs to keep your dog occupied for a good amount of time. It needs to be rewarding for your dog and for you. Something that rewards your dog for its effort and keeps your dog busy while you do other things is key.
3. Price. We can all admit that we look at some name brand dog toys and think ‘I wouldn’t even pay that much for my kid’s toys’. Some dog toys are ridiculously priced for what they are. We need something worth the price. If it cost big money it better be well worth it. Maybe clean up after the dog or something.
4. Health and safety. Its important for your dog to have fun, it is also important that your dog doesn’t get sick from its toys. This can mean the way an edible toy is prepared, or the kind of material that is used in its manufacturing or even if it breaks up will it be a choking hazard.
These four qualities are general, some of you might look at other factors too, but for me these are the most important.
Brand name dog toys
Lets look at some of the more well known brands. KONG are mostly known for their Rubber chew toy that is hollow inside, where you can stuff treats to keep your dog busy. There is also a plethora of other toys for your dog to play and keep busy. They have interactive toys that encourage you to play with your dog, or they have toys that will keep your dog occupied by itself. KONG have truly made a name for themselves and are a big player in the dog toy business. A quick search on amazon and you will see that their toys are relatively well priced.
The more cost effective dog toys
If you are looking for more cost-effective toys for your dog there are many things you can create with things lying around the house. Things like toilet rolls, old towels, plastic drink bottles, old kids stuffed toys and the trusty old tennis ball. These things can be utilised to keep your dog busy for countless hours. Some may require you to clean up a mess once your dog is finished but that, in my eyes, is a small price to pay for a little quite time.
I have compiled a list of all of my favourite dog toys below and an explanation of how to make them, and how to utilise them effectively.
• Toilet roll presents. This you can do either when ever you finish a roll of toilet paper, or you may want to stockpile them and make a whole bunch of presents for your dog to play with while you are busy. All you do is, fold in the end of the toilet roll tube, drop some treats in and then fold the other side in. your dog has to then try and get the treats out.
• Old towel or bed sheet snuffle search. For this game you will need an old towel or bedsheet and a bunch of treat or even your dog’s dry food pellets. To set it up, lay the sheet down on the ground, sprinkle your dog’s food on it and then, holding the sheet in the middle twist your hand around so that the sheet and treats get wrapped up together. You can then fold in the ends of you want to make the game a little harder for your dog. The advantage of this game is that it engages your dog’s sniffer and mind in trying to find all the treats. It keeps your dog busy for a good time and it reduces the speed at which your dog eats.
• KONG chew toy. This is a fantastic little item that can keep a dog engaged for a long time. It is nice and chewy, tough and hollow to stuff peanut butter or treats inside. Its as simple as that.
• Fetch. Using old tennis balls, this is the easiest way for you to get your dog tired. Simply throwing a tennis ball for your dog to run after and bring it back to you. If you are too lazy to do even this there is a mechanical thrower for your dog to play with.
• Towel tug. This game is a great interactive game to play with your dog. Using an old tea towel or dish cloth, tie one or two knots in it. You can then use it as a tug of war game with your dog. This game can also be utilised to teach your dog to calm down and ‘leave’ when you want him to. To do this, you can start playing with your dog, after a little while just stop playing. Hold the towel still and move your hand closer to your dog, as he calms down and your hands move his mouth off the towel you can say ‘leave’. Make sure your mark the desired behaviour with a ‘yes’ or ‘good’ to let him know that’s what you want. The reward for leaving is then being able to play again. The process can then be repeated.
• Old plastic bottles. These can be used as treat dispensers and rattlers to keep a dog well occupied. Once you have finished your high sugar soft drink, rinse the bottle out and recycle the lid. Pop a few treats into the bottle and let your dog have tons of fun rolling the bottle around trying to get the treats. This game can be great fun for your because it creates a fun rattling noise, every now and again the dog gets and treat out and you have spent very little money on entertaining your dog. IMPORTANT! Make sure that you do not let your dog chew the bottle too much. If it starts breaking up or getting sharp points, take it away and throw it in the recycling.
Dog toys that you can buy
Some of the dog toys that you can buy off of places like amazon or other speciality dog toy sites like Fetch are fantastic. They are safe, well developed and entertaining for your dog. You will find many rope toys for dogs. These are very tough and durable. Chew toys that dispense food, soft material toys which are more for cuddling and generally get destroyed quite quickly and tough plastic bones for the more powerful dogs.
A final note
Whatever you decide to get, make sure it is safe and durable for your dog.