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Natural canine behaviors involve much playing and chewing. As such, dog toys are essential items for your pooch. Most pet owners end up buying an endless supply of dog toys, some of which may not even interest their dog. So, the question that arises would be ‘How do I choose the most suitable toy for my dog? You first need to consider the age and size of your dog before assessing the safety of the toy. Oh! and not forgetting the temperament of your dog.

Dog toys should firstly be safe, durable and of the right size for the breed of your dog. Toys that are too small may be easily swallowed and lodged in their throats. Soft and squeaky toys are more suited for gentler dogs as they tend not to rip them apart.

Many dogs love carrying around plush toys like ‘babies’. However, a lot of these toys come with squeakers that may cause your dog to rip them apart and accidentally swallow them getting them lodged in their throats. Always supervise your dogs when they are playing with these toys. Soft plush toys are likely to get dirty and slobbery very quickly so ensure that they are machine washable.

Dog toys made of hard rubber tend to make great toys for high-energy dogs. They come in all shapes and sizes and are fun for chewing.

Rope toys are also very popular with dogs that love playing ‘fetch’. They are made of braided rope and may have plastic and rubber parts included. They are also good for chewing. However, once again be careful of your dog swallowing pieces of shredded rope. A healthy tip for your dog to keep tartar off their teeth is to ensure supervision while they chew on the rope toy once a day.

Dogs also love swimming and floating toys which are usually made of foam, rubber and plastic. When choosing which dog toy to purchase, ensure that it is durable. It should be strong enough to withstand rugged play in the water and should not puncture easily. If your dog has a habit of destroying his toys, it’s best to limit the toy’s use only when in or around the pool to make sure it will last long.

For the super smart dogs, engaging them in interactive dog puzzles which will keep them busy all day. Treats are hidden within compartments and your pooch has to figure out how to get them. These dog toys come in different skill levels.

Don’t forget to switch around your dog’s toy weekly so they don’t get bored easily. Dog toys that supply a different number of uses is the way to go.

At the end of the day, whatever toys you buy your dog, always ensure that they are dog-safe and always remember to supervise them during play!

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