Dogs are human two year olds with thick coats of fur and four limber legs. They need to do something, go somewhere, discover new things, eat their favourite foods and challenge their brains around the clock to stay occupied. While dog toys can’t fulfil all of the above, they can dramatically enhance a dog’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, acting as rubber boredom busters and comfort objects. Eager to learn more? Let’s explore a few ways you can invest in your dog's overall health without visiting the park on the hour, every hour.
Benefits of Dog Enrichment Toys
Did you know interactive dog toys relieve boredom and separation anxiety? Canines need toys like humans need Netflix, books and podcasts - these mechanisms stimulate the investigative side of their brains while keeping them entertained, engaged and away from your sock collection. Some other benefits include:
- Mental stimulation
- Discouraged destructive behaviour
- An outlet for physical energy and teething
- Socialisation opportunities with other dogs
- Dental health
- Exercise jaw muscles
- An increased bond between owner and dog
Stimulating dog toys increase the bond between you and your pooch, replicating the play and hunting opportunities they’d have if they were surrounded by their dog friends opposed to their human pack.
What are the Best Dog Toys for Boredom?
Dog enrichment toys come in many shapes, types, squeaks and sizes; walking into a pet shop can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Before filling your cart with a dog-focused care package, think about the personality and needs of your pet:
- Rubber toys are great for teething puppies and aggressive chewers
- Activity toys (e.g. Frisbee, balls or floating toys) are suitable for dogs with high energy levels and are great for bonding
- Squeaker toys may not be appropriate for dogs that are frightened of unfamiliar noises or dogs with a strong chew.
- Educational toys that require puzzle solving (e.g. find the flavoured treat inside) are good to provide dogs needing mental stimulation
- Toys are available for dogs with special needs (e.g. a toy that requires the use of scent and hearing is suitable for a vision impaired dog)
- Comforting toys can assist dogs that have separation anxiety Variety and rotation
What do we recommend?
Our customers love the Kong range for its versatility, durability and entertainment factor. There is no right answer for all dogs - Corporal Corgi may not love the same toy as Larry the Labrador, and that’s okay. If you’re not sure about what to buy, remember we’re always here to back you up with inside knowledge.
Safety First - Making Sure You’ve Selected the Right Toy
Did you know chew toys have the potential to cause blockages in the wrong jaws? Large parts and the squeaking sound-makers can get lodged in the dog’s throat, transforming a fun moment into a potentially fatal situation. What can you do to ensure the toy you choose is suited to the safety needs of your dog? At Best Friend’s Pets, we encourage customers to:
- Read product labels and watch your dog at play with the toy to determine if it is safe
- Ensure the toy is sturdy enough for your dog’s chewing strength and level of play
- Avoid toys with small parts that can break off and be ingested
- Remove any toy that becomes broken, torn, chipped or damaged
- Dog-proof your home from everyday items that your dog may consider a toy that could be ingested (like socks, rubber bands, children’s toys)
What if My Dog Tires of New Toys Quickly…
We understand. Doggos have wandering interests, playing with a new toy for hours on end before dumping it under the table and ignoring its existence for the next month. Instead of buying a trove of new toys and filling the spare cupboard with barely-used toys, consider investing in a variety of toys that offer both mental and physical stimulation, rotating what’s on offer every few days to alleviate the potential for boredom.
Still not sure where to start or what to buy? A Best Friends team member can give you expert advice on the most appropriate toy for your dog’s individual requirements.