How to choose the right toy for your dog

by Amy Cooper
Toy box

Whether you are playing with your dog or watching them goof around with a toy on their own one of the best parts of owning a dog is how much they love to play! So, you want to make sure your dog has toys that suits it perfectly. This is not only important for your dog’s safety and wellbeing but will also make your dog love you even more. 

What should you consider when choosing the best toys?

The age of your dog 

Lab puppy with toy

Young puppies might like soft toys that can provide comfort. Especially if the toy can be rubbed on the puppy’s mother so it smells of her. Then when puppies get to the teething stage, they will need chew toys to help them with the process. Some teething puppies even like chew toys that can be frozen because the cold helps soothe their gums. As your dogs gets older, they will need more robust toys (especially when unsupervised). This is so they can’t chew and swallow small pieces of the toy.

The size of your dog

Great Dane and Chihuahua

Now this one is pretty self-explanatory! Big dogs need bigger toys than small dogs. Toys designed for small dogs can be very dangerous to big dogs since they can easily swallow or choke on small toys. This doesn’t matter as much the other way around from a safety point of view. Generally small dogs will find it more difficult, and less enjoyable, playing with giant toys.

Your dog’s preference in toys

Hot dog toy

Some dogs just don’t like specific types of toy, it’s that simple. For example, one of my dogs is absolutely tennis ball obsessed and couldn’t care less for tug toys. But my other dog is the complete opposite! So just give your dog the choice of several different types of toy and see what they want.

The activity you intend to use the toy for

Dog playing in water

Certain toys are designed for specific activities. You might want to have a toy that is for in the water, so made to float, if that’s something your dog enjoys. Or a tennis ball for fetch or a rope for playing tug. Again, this one is very dependant on how your dog likes to play so get toys that are suited for what your dog enjoys!

The breed of your dog

Collie in water with ball

Broadly retrievers will generally prefer fetch games so tennis balls will probably be a good choice. Hunting breed will usually enjoy chew toys, puzzle toys and soft toys. Sighthounds will typically enjoy fast moving toys like chaser tugs (basically a giant cat toy for dogs). 

I simply can’t mention every breed of dog here or this post would become a book! But a simple google search of ‘the best toys for ….’ will generally give you a good idea of the type of toy that’s best suited for your breed. Obviously, there will always be exceptions to the rule some retrievers will hate retrieving. Also, if you have a liquorice all sorts type of dog it can be impossible to know what type of toy they will like. In this case go back basics and just give your dog options with different types of toys to see what they like best.

The upshot of this post is to just go with the flow! Give your dog a range of different toys and see what they like most.  

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