Your pet dog may be your own personal bundle of joy that lights up your home but they need to be kept healthy and happy too! Most dogs, even the lazy ones, are playful by nature and have an incessant need to bite or chew things especially during their growing years. Not allowing them to indulge these habits can lead to behavioural problems later. But these habits are not be good for your home and furniture! The best way to keep a dog occupied, active, healthy and happy is via a dog toy, most of which centred around letting dogs exercise their jaws and teeth. Some even tax their brains! And you can have lots of fun with your dog, too, in the process. Here are 11 highly popular dog toys.
11 Most Popular Dog Toys
Speaking of chewing, few dog toys will keep your dog’s jaws and teeth occupied while letting you have fun with it too as much as a dog rope toy. Made usually from durable and easily washable cotton material and non-toxic dyes, chewing and tugging on these toys will make your dog’s teeth stronger. This is also a great toy for cleaning your dog’s mouth. Being made entirely of good quality cloth, they do not pose much of a choking or health hazard to your dog either.
Everyone knows dogs love balls, and nothing can be more suitable for them than rubber balls. The fact that they’re made entirely from rubber makes them ideal for both chewing and throwing while ensuring that your dog doesn’t ingest any harmful material. It also makes them very bounce-worthy. Most balls come with an extra layer of rubber inside, thus making them very sturdy despite all the chewing and throwing they’re likely to endure. Perfect for that game of fetch and also as a chewing toy to keep your dog occupied! Just make sure that they’re not too small for your dog so that it doesn’t end up swallowing them.
Kong, who started making toys for canines and felines way back in 1976, came up with this classic treat dispenser toy. It looks like three rubber balls squished together, and has a hollow area in the middle that can be filled with treats. Not only will its erratic bounce provide as much fun as a rubber ball if not more, the promise of treats will ensure that your dog is occupied for hours. It is made entirely of rubber and does not pose any risks to your canines. Moreover, it will provide mental exercise to your dog as well as it figures out the best way to extract the treats from inside the structure, acting as a sink for the dog’s energy (thus being perfect for hyperactive dogs) while also acting as a training toy.
Dog Frisbees are such a perennial favourite that it has even given rise to a sport called Disc Dog, where dogs and their owners compete with each other to see how effective and stylish they are at catching/throwing the Frisbee, respectively. Frisbee-throwing is a fun activity that can be enjoyed equally by both the dog and its owner. Specially made dog Frisbees increase the fun as they are made with a softer variety of plastic that can be punctured by dog teeth but not broken, thus eliminating the chances of it getting broken into small pieces and constituting a swallowing/choking hazard. Your dog will love running after these flying discs and attempting to catch them. Just be careful how long you let them have one at a stretch, or they may chew it to shreds!
Ball on Rope
Chewing and tugging on a rope is exciting enough; chewing and tugging on a rope with a ball attached to one end is practically endless hours of joy. The ball can be chewed on like any durable rubber ball thus helping your canine with mouth exercise. It can also make a very enjoyable tug toy as the owner holds one end of the rope while the dog pulls at the rubbery end and chewing down on it. It will provide a great amount of relief for your canine’s instincts to grab and pull at things with its sharp teeth and powerful jaws. This toy can be very useful in training and teaching your dog manners.
Dogs love squeaker toys as much as human babies do, if not more. Not only can they be chewed on for a long time, they also look cute and appropriately animal (read prey) like. The squeaking sounds they produce are pitched at exactly the right frequency to sound like the dying squeals of prey being hunted, thus allowing your canine to indulge their hunting instincts. Be careful with these toys, though. Although they will act as great sinks for your dog’s excess energy as well as lengthy distractions, the principle on which they operate- satisfying a dog’s urge to hunt- may result in aggressive and possessive behaviours in your pet later in life.
The rubber-made puller ring is like a combination of several different toys- part ball, part Frisbee, part rope. As such, puller rings provide the functionality of all of these toys in one. They are great for throwing, catching and fetching, and their ring like structure also makes them great as tug toys. Moreover, these rings also act as great chewing toys. The rubber ensures that they last far longer than Frisbees when dogs exercise their powerful jaws on them. For a high-energy or hyperactive dog, this multipurpose toy is perfect, and ideal for those trips to the park when your dog is just a bundle of happy energy. Physically stimulating and endlessly distracting, these toys are all but essential for your canine companion.
Soft Toys and Plushies
Stuffed toys are not just popular among humans. They are hugely popular among canines, too. Their resemblance to real animals make them ideal substitutes for real prey or other animals, their cuddly nature makes them perfect for your pet to sleep with and they can be shaken around and chewed like a squeaker minus the noise. Depending on their make, they may not always be very durable. Soft toys are perfect simulations for animal companions/prey to your pet, without having to be an actual animal. However, the small plastic parts in most toys like eyes and noses can be detrimental to your canine as it may end up swallowing them, so you should consider removing them before giving your canine their toy or purchasing plastic-part free soft toys.
Rubber bones are the eternal favorites and most famous of the myriad dog toys, and it’s easy to see why. There’s no end to the number of things that a dog would do with a real bone, but in the absence of one, a rubber bone is a good enough simulation. Dogs can use these for sharpening their teeth, burying them and digging them up like real bones, or just carrying them around. Being a very sturdy chew toy, they are also useful in cleaning your dog’s teeth. If getting an actual bone for your dog is not an option, this is a great alternative, providing all the same benefits while being less likely to be lost or destroyed.
Dog puzzles are a great and very interesting way to stimulate your dog’s mind and exercise its brain, while helping you train it and keep it excited, happy and fed with the promise of treats. They can teach your dog patience and simple commands like start, stop and wait. For example, one of them- the Dog Casino by famous and long-time dog puzzle designer Nina Ottoson- hides treats for your canine in different sized compartments held in place and hidden by very light pegs. Your dog can easily be trained to pull out a compartment or drawer in order to get treats. They can even be taught to do it with the pegs in place, thus first removing the pegs and unlocking the drawers before pulling them out and feasting on their contents.
The Bob-a-Lot is another food dispensing toy along the lines of the Kong, with the major difference being that they are weighted at the bottom, thus making them very wobbly and bouncy, much to canine tastes. The interior of the toy is hollow and the yellow upper part can be removed in order to fill it up with dog treats, which can then be dispensed from the small apertures at its base. Your dog will not only be occupied by the wobbly nature of the toy, it will spend long amounts to time figuring out new and better ways to make it dispense more and more treats. For this reason, it is also a great behavioural training tool.