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Best Dog Toys

What's an Interactive Dog Toy that Engages Your Dog, and You?

Do you find choosing the best dog toys difficult? You're not alone. Safe dog toys, tough dog toys and interactive dog toys are what we all want for our dogs.

There's nothing more frustrating than spending money on a toy for your pooch only to have him or her chew it to shreds in a few seconds. But with all the different products available for the canine in your life its very easy to feel overwhelmed.

Some pet owners don't realize how important toys are to a dog's health. It's one of the ways they get exercise. It also releases a lot of energy, particularly in puppies, which in turn decreases bad behaviors that manifest when the pup is bored.

There's also a very important social element involved in playing with toys. Dogs are social creatures and play is one way of building the bond between you and your pet.

Safe Dog Toys: Safety First

While the best dog toys are certainly those that entertain your pup, it's absolutely essential to put safety above all else in choosing your toys. You don't want ones that can be chewed up and ingested (this can cause all kinds of trouble with your canine's digestion and even result in very serious conditions like blockage).

We use chew toys for our dogs that are rated for big dogs (and big teeth). Our dogs aren't actually that big, but it means that the toy lasts a lot longer in the mouths of our chew-loving pets!

The main rule is always get toys that are intended for dogs. Don't get a random sock and tie it in a knot, and don't give them stuffed animals - because they will fall apart quickly and, if swallowed by your pooch, could result in health issues. Additionally, the first time your pooch plays with a new toy, watch them!

You'll be able to identify pretty quickly a toy that will withstand the test and those that may fall apart. Those little squeaky toys are cute, but hundreds of dogs have swallowed the squeekers when owners weren't looking!

Interactive Dog Toys: Think of How Your Pooch Likes to Play

Dogs have distinct personalities. Some love to run and jump; so a frisby will make them very happy and give you a work out at the same time. Other dogs are more curious (and food-focused) and might enjoy the traditional Kongs that hide a treat inside.

Note: We have also poured a bit of chicken broth into a teething Kong, frozen it and given it to our puppy when she was teething - on the deck or in our yard so that if it melted before she ate it the mess would be outside.

Others still might enjoy tug of war (rope toys), or just light-hearted romping (fetch toys). Try to look at the potential toy from your dog's perspective, falling back on the safety first rule as you do. Also, some manufacturers have gotten very creative and are designing toys not simply for your pet's enjoyment but ones that support overall health (like chews that treat the dog's teeth).

By the way, your little teacup poodle may think he's a Great Dane, but he needs a toy that's sized for him (unless he is a chewer, then get one size up so that with heavy chewing the toy still lasts!). Items that are too big may intimidate and even frighten your pooch. In a large canine, items that are too small become a choking hazard.

Tough Dog Toys: Care and Keeping

Even the best dog toys should be routinely checked for signs of wear that could lead to problems. One way to extend the life of your dog's toys is to pick them up regularly and bring them out at specific times. This will signal "play time" to your pup (trust me, they'll very quickly get the hint).

The toy you may not wish to gather up is the one that your pooch keeps with him or her for comfort (plushies often end up in the dog's beds like another pack member - but don't give your pet a plushy toy if he or she simply rips it apart).

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