Toys for your dog
Playing with toys are an important aspect of a dog’s development, after all playing and chewing comes naturally to a dog.
Dogs toys are designed specifically for dogs, so they learn how to play with other dogs as well as humans. Toys also prevent boredom and can ward off behaviour problems such as scratching furniture or digging up the garden.
There is a huge choice of toys available, and come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Toys can be multi-functional and can be made from firm to hard materials while others from soft and squishy materials. The important thing is to choose toys that in addition to being safe and non-toxic, suit your dog’s needs, enhances social interaction, increases physical exercise and mental stimulation. This will ensure your dog remains healthy, happy and above entertained. Browse the best selling dog toys below and find out how to choose the right dog toys for your pooch.
Best Selling Dog Toys of 2020
Choosing the Right Toy
Dog toys are designed with a purpose in mind and will provide health benefits to your dog, from puppies through to adult and mature dogs. Not all dogs play in the same way, some like to wrestle with squeaky or soft toys, whereas others may like running to fetch a stick or a Frisbee.
Therefore, when choosing a toy for your dog, the following factors should be taken into consideration:
- activity level
- style of play
By being selective in your choice of dog toy you won’t end up with lots of toys your dog doesn’t play with. If you already have plenty, it may be worth rotating the toys by putting some away and bring them back out after a while, this will keep their interest in them fresh.
Ultimately, your choice of toy should not be based on how popular or cute the toy is, instead think about your dog’s personality and what health benefits the toy can provide.
Types of dog toys
The following is a list of the main types of dog toys available:
A favourite for most dogs, balls come in a variety of sizes, colours and materials. The most common are tennis balls and rubber balls, some will have flashing lights while others will glow-in-the-dark. A lot of balls make squeaky noises which dogs love. Another type of ball has an opening that contain treats for the dog.
Getting the right size of ball will depend on the size of your dog. You want to choose a ball that your dog can’t swallow but also one that your dog can comfortably hold in its mouth. Small sized balls are available for small dogs and large balls for very large dogs; however, tennis balls are a good size for most dogs.
While tennis balls are great for dogs to play with, they are not a good chewing toy as the material can wear the teeth down. Also, any chewed off pieces can cause a gastrointestinal obstruction if swallowed or choking.
- Swimming Toys
Swimming or floating toys are ideal for dogs who love to be in water. Water toys are made so your dog can grab them while in water. They are great at keeping your dog occupied while swimming.
Available in a variety of shapes, forms and sizes that include, floating balls and rings. The toys are often made from rubber, foam or plastic.
- Flying Discs
Dogs love playing fetch and it doesn’t have to be with balls. Flying discs are another favourite. Discs can be thrown at differing speeds and directions which can keep you dog engaged and stimulated.
- Rope Toys
As the name suggests, these toys are made of rope and can have bits of rubber or plastic on them.
Rope toys are not liked by all dogs. Some dogs just love to chew them, play tug-of-war or simply retrieve them when thrown.
Depending on how much the toy is used and over time the rope may start to shred. Pieces of shredded rope can be ingested causing a gastrointestinal obstruction. For this reason, it is important not to let your dog play with damaged rope toys or to let them play with toys unsupervised.
- Puzzles and Interactive Dog Toys
Puzzles and interactive toys are great for mentally engaging and stimulating your dog. Some of the toys in this list would come under this heading for example tug toys and toys that dispense food.
Puzzle toys are designed to challenge your dog. They also contain food, but the food is hidden in compartments and the dog must find a way of getting to it.
These toys help to keep a dog’s mind active and engaged, they learn new skills in puzzle solving and receive a reward at the end of it.
- Soft/Plush Toys
Soft or plush toys are a great hit with dogs. They love playing with stuffed toys. Available in a multitude of shapes and sizes, many also have squeakers in them. Depending on your dog’s nature and temperament the toy will either be ripped apart or be carried around and considered a playmate.
It is important to supervise your dog when playing with soft stuffed toys as the filling or any squeaker inside is likely to come out. This can lead to a gastrointestinal obstruction. These toys won’t last long because they are made of fabric, but your dog will enjoy them.
- Squeaky toys
These types of toys are made of harder-wearing materials such as plastic, rubber or vinyl and are available in a variety of shapes and sizes.
You can choose a toy depending on the chewing habits of your dog. If your dog loves to chew everything, perhaps a thick rubber toy is suitable. Whereas, thin vinyl or plastic toys are good for dogs that don’t chew a great deal, although these toys won’t last very long.
All play with squeaky toys must be supervised to avoid any accidents.
- Toys That Dispense Food
Toys that dispense treats and food help to stimulate your dog in a fun and rewarding way.
These toys are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and are made of plastic or rubber. An example of a treat toy is Kong that can be filled with delicious treats and food your dog enjoys.
- Tug Toys
Dogs love playing tug-of-war. It’s a great way of engaging with your dog while a great form of exercise.
Tug toys come in variety of shapes and forms and are mostly made of rope and/or rubber. When selecting a toy, ensure you are comfortable while holding and pulling on it. Also make sure it is the right size for your dog to bite it. The material should be strong enough to withstand the force of pull from your dog. As soon there are signs of fraying, the toy must be disposed of to avoid any possibility of the toy breaking while being pulled and causing an injury.
Keeping your dog’s toys clean is important to stop harmful bacteria from breeding and making your dog ill. The following are simple tips on how to clean:
- Hard Toys – Dried dirt and debris should be removed from the toy using a brush followed by a washing in warm soapy water and a thorough rinse.
Non-porous toys can be further cleaned with a diluted bleach solution and rinsed thoroughly. This will help to sanitise the toys. Don’t let your dog have the toys back until they are completely dry.
- Soft and Rope Toys – Toys made of soft fabric and rope can be a haven for bacteria and mold. To stop your dog becoming ill the toys need to be kept clean.
Brush any dirt off soft toys then place them on the top rack of a dishwasher. A hot water cycle along with a strong water pressure will help to sanitise soft and rope toys. Air dry the toys and ensure they are completely dry before letting your dog play with them.
Benefits of Having Dog Toys
Dogs love to play. Playing keeps your dog active, stimulated and healthy, but playing games and using dog toys helps to do this and has the other following benefits:
Physical activity is vital for a healthy dog. Toys are used to help maintain a dog’s activity levels such as throwing balls or flying discs.
Dog toys that involves interaction between you and your dog makes exercise fun and that’s the important thing.
- Mind & Body Stimulation
In addition to exercise, dogs need to be stimulated mentally. If a dog is not given any mental stimulation, they will start to develop destructive and disobedient behaviour patterns.
Spending time to play with your dog enhances the bond between you and your dog. Playing with interactive toys means you spend quality time with your dog, it can also help dogs’ bond with other dogs or pets you may have.
- Dental Health
Dental hygiene is important for a dog and can’t be ignored. Certain toys are good for cleaning a dog’s teeth while they play. This has great health benefits for the dog as well as you.
SAFETY NOTE: Read the toy packaging carefully and choose toys that do not contain any toxic materials. Although toys are mostly safe for your dog to play with you must still be vigilant for sharp or frayed edges that can be harmful to your dog. This includes small toys that could be swallowed whole or toys that have small parts, creating a choking risk. Dogs should be supervised when playing with toys to avoid any accidents. Throw away any toy that is damaged.