Dogs offer us a lifetime of unconditional love, loyalty and companionship and ask for very little in return. As a responsible pet parent, it becomes our responsibility to ensure that they are healthy and happy, just as we would with babies. Apart from the basics like shelter, food, veterinary care and exercise, an important but sometimes ignored aspect of good pet parenting is dedicating thought and energy on buying the right toys to keep dogs engaged.
Just like humans, dogs also need to be kept stimulated engaged for their overall physical and mental well-being. Without adequate stimulation, dogs may become bored, tired and inactive showing symptoms such as excessive barking, destructive activities and flouting routines. Toys help fight boredom and provide them with the much-needed intellectual stimulation.
Given the modern times, where pet owners find less time to dedicate on games and engagement exercises with their dogs, a key to keeping them active is getting them the right toys. To get the best results, it is prudent to do research and understand the purpose of the toys that you get for your dogs. While some toys help to encourage activity, some others help in mental growth and going through the teething process.
The plethora of options of pet toys in the market is sure to make pet parents overwhelmed. Therefore, we’ve put together this list of 5 must-have toys that every pet parent must get for their pets.
The first quintessential toy for your pet, balls are a great choice for various reasons. Fetch and catch games not only give ample opportunities for your dogs to exercise, but they are also great ways to bond with your pet. There are various sizes and materials of balls available in the market and your dog’s size and age would be an important factor in choosing the right ball. Softer, plush balls are ideal for puppies who are teething while rubber or tennis balls are better to promote running among your dogs as they’re easy to throw to a distance. Some balls even contain holes to hide treats in them to ensure some intellectual stimulation. Whichever ball you choose, make sure it is of durable material so that it lasts more than just a few chews.
Benefits of playing with ball:
- It’s a good way of exercising
- It helps in training dogs and improving manners
- It helps in bonding
Plush toys are often regarded as a common favorite among dogs. Research states that dogs like to keep things in their mouth and these soft toys are the ideal option. While some dogs like to carry them around and keep them as a companion, others like to chew and tear them apart. However, it is good to note that if your dog is a chewer then these toys should only be given under supervision as there would be a tendency for these dogs to ingest the material or the stuffing and that could be dangerous.
Benefits of playing with plush toys:
- It gives them a sense of security and companionship
- Keeps them engaged
- Can be made interactive to promote mental development
3. Interactive Puzzle Toys
Apart from keeping dogs safely occupied, these interactive puzzle toys offer pooches the added benefit to stay fit and mentally healthy. In fact, they are an excellent choice for slowing down dogs who eat quickly and preventing unpleasant side effects like vomiting and indigestion. The best part is that you can feed your dog his entire meal using certain food puzzles.
Benefits of playing with Interactive Puzzle Toys
- It helps in problem-solving skills
- It helps in building confidence
- It’s the best answer to your dog’s hunger pangs
4. Tug Toys
Dogs love playing tug-of-war with their owners or other dogs because of more than one reason. Tug toys are great forms of exercise and will give your dog great mental and physical workout. It promotes dental health and helps in building confidence and a strong relationship with trainers.
Benefits of playing with Tug Toys
- It reinforces basic training commands
- It treats behavioral problems in them.
5. Rubber toys filled with treats
Small round tube toys that can be filled with treats are a great option for your dog’s mental exercise. In fact, it is ideal to introduce these toys to them when they are puppies to start them off early. Filling them with treats can keep your dog engaged all day long and also regulate their food intake. You can also play fetch with the rubber toy. However, be sure to replace the rubber toy with fresh, healthy treats every week if your dog plays with it often.
Benefits of playing with rubber toys with treats
- It helps promote problem-solving skills
- It helps in building confidence
- It curbs hunger pangs
These are a few basic tips for your next visit to the pet toy store. Do remember some important criteria to consider while buying these toys like the purpose, material and safety measures associated with them, in addition to your dog’s particular needs. Finally, while toys are important for a dog’s growth and well-being, there is no substitute to the love and time that you devote to your dogs. So, give your dogs what they deserve – the best of you.