Buying dog toys seems super simple. You pick out something, remove packaging, give it to your dog and you’re done. But managing your dog’s playtime, including which toys you choose for him, can directly affect his quality of life – and yours! If you’re making any of the following common dog toy mistakes, know that changing up even one of these things can make a big difference for you both.
1. Not Replacing Worn-Out Toys
We don’t ask our dogs to be gentle with their toys, because it’s just not going to happen. Dog toys are made to be chewed and can withstand a lot, but no matter how well-made and durable a toy is, eventually it’s going to give out. Worn-out toys break down into worn-out pieces that your dog can choke on or swallow. The moment you spot a toy that looks like it’s nearing the end, put it in the garbage and treat your dog to something new. A new toy will be a lot cheaper than a trip to the vet.
2. Buying The Wrong Size
You have probably seen toys on the shelf that come in different sizes. They may even have recommended size ranges on the labels. These are important – you can’t expect your tiny-mouthed Chihuahua to be able to chew a toy made for a much larger breed. And don’t give your big dog a toy made for a smaller pup – these can easily slip into the back of his mouth and obstruct his breathing. Your dog is going to enjoy toys made for his own size the best – and they’ll be safer for him, too.
3. Not Rotating Your Dog’s Toys
Your dog can get bored playing with the same toys over and over again. Even if he has a whole room full of toys, he can get tired of them all. Rotating toys is a great way to treat your dog without spending any more money. Only allow him to have a few toys at a time, and when he seems bored, take the ones he has, clean them up, and put them away for later. Give him toys you were storing and no matter how many times he’s seen those toys before, it’ll be like they’re brand new! You can throw a new toy into the mix every now and then, but rotating will help toys last a little longer and keep your pup interested in the ones he already has.
4. Not Using Dual-Purpose Toys
The primary purpose of any toy is to entertain your dog. Many toys are made to do only that, but others serve a second purpose. Toys can be used to make many mundane or unpleasant things fun. They can slow down eating (which can help if you have a gassy dog,) or even make tooth brushing fun. It’s likely that your dog has a ball, which is great for exercising his body – but a ball (like this one) with an unusual shape can exercise his mind, too as he tries to figure out which way it’s going to bounce next!
5. Not Buying Toys Your Dog Enjoys
Dogs are just as unique as people, and have preferences the way we do. Pay attention to what your pet likes. Some dogs prefer toys that squeak, others like soft toys with faces, some want toys that are can be chewed all day and not break. Some dogs won’t even bother with toys they don’t enjoy. There’s no point buying your dog a million toys if they’re all things he doesn’t want to play with.
Toys are an important part of your dog’s physical and mental well-being. Be sure to keep him happily playing by avoiding these mistakes!