Dogs is a major status symbol in American pet-keeping. Every year, over 12 billion dollars have been spent on dog food and veterinary care alone. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association’s 2003-2004 Pet Owners’ Survey, more than half of dog owners purchase toys for their dogs.
Playing with toys is not the monopoly of little kids but also pets of different kind. Dogs have their own sets of toys to enjoy during their playing time.
Dogs benefit from these toys, health and training wise. There are dog toys that can strengthen their teeth or build their intelligence especially if they also attend a series of training classes with the experts. Like man, dogs are very sociable. Interaction with their companion or a sibling dog is very important in avoiding behavioral problems in the future.
When buying toys for your dog, you may want to match them with your dog’s needs, demands and even personality. Is your dog the type that enjoys chasing and retrieving games, or chewing, sitting and sprawling? You may want to try experimenting first to find out which toys make your dogs the happiest.
Before going on a toy hunt, take a look at this list of toys that may help you identify the right kind of toy for your dog.
* CHEW TOYS. These are perfect for the dog that likes to chew a lot. Instead of your dog chewing your furniture, why not buy these TOUGH little babies for them. These types of dog toy are usually made of nylon or latex rubber. The “King Kong Toys” are among the popular brands of chew toys. You can experiment by stuffing these toys with peanut butter or cheese spread, freeze them and give them to your dog for hours of licking and chewing fun.
Doggie “potato chips” is also a favorite. These “edible chips” can last to a minimum of an hour to a couple of days. They are available in different shapes like pig ears, snouts, cow knuckles, femurs, hooves and bully sticks. Others are bone-shaped made from a variety of vegetables such as carrots.
Another good toy for your dog’s chewing pleasure is the rawhide. These are non- consumable, mummified skin-like toy that you have to throw away when they get soggy, and give your dog a new one. Some rawhides are basted with a variety of flavorings. Be sure to get the “USA rawhide” with a little flag sticker on the label because these do not contain preservative flavorings that are harmful for your dogs.
SQUEAKY TOYS. For these toys, choose the rubber over the stuffed toys for durability and to avoid synthetic materials. These little noisemakers are good for training your dog’s hunting skills.
RETRIEVING TOYS. These are perfect for the chase-and-retrieve types of dogs. Dogs enjoy these toys because they get to play with you. Frisbees and balls made specifically for this activity, are the best to be used. Your dog will get a good workout and so is your arm.
TUG TOYS. These toys are best for dogs that like to grab hold and never let go. Available in rope-like designs.
BRAIN TEASERS. Best for dogs that is left alone a lot. “Biscuit balls” and “food cubes” are great examples. These toys require the dog to solve types of puzzle in order to get a treat.
Various toys of these forms are available in the market.
1. For Chewers of all Sizes
SQUIRREL DUDE – tough, durable and fun too; this hollow rubber chew toy takes on a new level in innovation; this helps to exercise your dog’s jaw a little more with the four little rubber prongs blocking the hole slightly that the dog has to work a little harder to get the goodies out.
2. Ball Launchers and Throwers (Retrieve Toys)
FRISBEES – is an all-time favorite dog toy especially the soft version; fold to fit in a pocket; comes in blue and orange colors, size six to nine inches, prices at eleven to sixteen dollars.
THE ROUND ORBEE – a tough ball hallowed with ½ inch thick membraney surface and it’s softish; it is flexible, durable, grippy, bouncy, and buoyant and has a peppermint scent; good for sniffing-and-getting-the- ball game; prices at five to twelve dollars depending on the size and form you choose
3. Squeaky Toys
SQUEAKERS – available in packages of ten each; dogs that love to silence squeakers are the best for this toy; excellent as attention and pocket squeaker as well; prices go lower if you buy in packages, from five to three dollars each box/package.
4. Tug Toys
LEATHER TUGS – great for tug-of-war games with your dog; made of high grade leather, 3/8 inches thick, tanned and not-treated; dogs like them a lot especially those with active lifestyle.
THE MONGO FETCH TOY – a chew and tug toy combined in one; the natural rubber bar is vanilla scented; rope running through the center gives you a grip for tug games and the soft tasseled ends are made for exciting action with your dogs; medium to large in size, from five to seven dollars each.
5. Brain Teasers
I CUBE – this is a toy that challenges and develops your dog’s intelligence and puzzle solving skills; be sure you are there for supervision; available in junior and jumbo sizes, six to eleven dollars.
DUCK EGG BABY – egg Babies are a plush toy with three squeaker eggs inside; there is an opening on the bottom of the toy so your dog can get the hidden treasures inside; this is a toy that challenges and develops your dog’s intelligence and puzzle solving skills too.
Toys are a fun way to enjoy with your dog in a sunny day at the park. But be sure to apply proper safety measures especially when playing with balls, sticks and stones. You do not want to harm them in any way. Remember, this is a dog-eat-dog world! Even as harmless as playing can cause indestructible damage to your dog.
Mihail Fortomas is a teacher of Biology in a High School of Athens Greece. For the dog owner who wants dog health care information – everything for Dog Diseases and Treats, Foods and Diet, visit: