Question: What kind of toys should a dog have?
Answer: Almost every dog loves toys, and the selection of toys for dogs has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years. Dog toys now rival cat toys in sheer variety and availability. Let's take a look at some of the options:
- The Kong
Indestructibly fun, as a throw toy, a treat toy, or just something the boys like to toss around by themselves. Best of all, dishwasher safe. This is something that dogs with separation anxiety can be safely given in the crate while you're out. Fill it with a frozen peanut butter concoction, and your dog will be happily occupied in your time of absence.
- The Buster Cube
My favourite. If only because it actually occupies the furry family members for longer than a half an hour. Ozzy will roll his around all day if I let him ... as long as it has treats in it, that is.
- Squeaky Toys
There is no limit to the variety of squeaky toys. Some are soft, some are hard rubber, soft plastic, or fuzzy, and in all shapes and sizes ... but they all have one thing in common. An ear-splitting squeaker inside them.
Dogs tend to have mixed reactions to squeaky toys. Some dogs, like their owners, wish death upon the squeak, and will proceed to disembowel all squeaky toys in their presence. This, while immensely satisfying, is not a safe exercise. If your dog is a squeak-assassin, please supervise him and remove the squeaker before he can choke on it.
Some dogs (especially Raider) just love the squeaking toys. They will treat it like a baby, carrying it around gently in their mouths, cuddling it on the sofa, all the while giving it loving squeezes (squeak squeak squeak). They will not rip, gouge or tear, and the squeaker will last forever.
Then, of course, there are the dogs who have absolutely no interest in squeaking toys at all, until they see their brother with it. I have two of those. It makes for interesting times.
- Cheap Toys - Stuffed Toys
By far, my greatest frugal discovery ... buying cheap stuffed animals at yard sales for the dogs. Once they are washed in hot water, and all the detachable bits have been removed (eyes, noses, sometimes beads and whiskers) these make a perfectly acceptable alternative to expensive dog stuffies. As a bonus, you can even find them as large as your dog likes. Perhaps, larger than he is.
One thing you should be careful of though; some stuffed toys have been stuffed using small styrofoam beads. These toys are easily identified by the feel and sound of the beads, and are best avoided. Dogs often rip up their stuffies, and the styrofoam beads could cause problems if your dog swallows or inhales them. Make sure any stuffed toy you buy is filled with fibre-fill, not styrofoam beads.
Perfect for retrievers at heart, floating retrievables are a must have if your dog likes water. Easily visible in dark water (unlike sticks), floating rings, balls, and other such goodies make for great summer fun.