Dogs are naturally active and curious animals. They need variety of toys to keep them engaged and happy. With the vast assortment of toys to choose from, it is a bit of a challenge to find the right dog toy for your pet. Age and size of your pet, his level of aggression, the toy’s purpose, and pet safety are all things to consider when buying a toy.

Pet Safety
The most important consideration when picking a toy is your pet’s safety. Look for items that fit his age group and size when shopping.

Age
As your pup ages, his needs will change. A young puppy will need something soft and cuddly that is gentle on his baby teeth until he starts teething. Once teething begins, around 3-6 months, your puppy will need a variety of durable chew toys, such as the West Paw Zogoflex Hurley bone. From teething-age until around four-years-old, dogs are active and have fierce jaw strength. During this time, you will want a combination of toys for him to choose. Rubber or nylon toys that are hard and durable are well-suited for your pet in this age group.

At around seven-years-old, your pet’s needs will change again. His teeth and jaws will become weaker, requiring toys that are not as harsh on his teeth and gums. Also, interactive toys will be a vital part of keeping him active well into his senior years.

Size and Breed
Your pet’s size, temperament, and breed will play a large part in which toys are appropriate. Toys that are the right size for a Maltese could choking hazard for a Mastiff. If you have dogs of various sizes, look for toys that are suitable for the larges dog.

Even among dogs of the same size, breed and temperament will determine which toys you should buy for your pet. With chewers that are more aggressive you will want to steer clear of plush toys, and more toward Rubber and Nylon based ones. High-energy dogs, such as a Collie, will appreciate toys that involve more active play. Toys that you can throw, such as ropes or balls, will be a big hit for them.

Types of Toys
Our cute and cuddly friends are descendants of wolves. They have an innate desire to hunt. Toys that remind them of prey are the most attractive to them. Squeaky toys turn on his “seek and destroy” instinct. When you play fetch with him, he chases his “prey”. It is important to offer him toys that tap into his inner wolf.

Chew Toys
It is in your pup’s nature to chew. A good chew toy can help clean his teeth as well as keep him occupied. Having an abundant supply of safe chew-toys around not only will help keep your shoes unchewed but will help your pet be healthier and happier. Benebone offers a variety of durable, nylon bones in different flavors to entice your furry friend.

There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a new chew toy. The first thing to look for is that it is the right size. It should be small enough that it will fit into his mouth, but not so small that it can reach his back molars, where the most intense chewing occurs.

Another thing to consider is whether the toy can readily be broken into smaller pieces, creating a choking hazard for your pet. A hard rubber toy or a nylon bone works well for most dogs. Keep in mind that if a toy is well-used and looks like it could break, it is time to throw it away.



Interactive Toys
Interactive and puzzle toys can engage your dog’s mind more than the average chew toy. Many of these toys have a place to put his favorite treat, and your pet must figure out how to get the treat. Interactive toys range from simple, treat toys with a hole for the treat to more elaborate toys that involve your pet’s problem-solving skills to open the toy and get to the tasty treat inside. These toys, such as the Planet Dog Orbee Tuff Mazee, are an excellent choice to keep bored dogs occupied.



Play
Good play toys should be available to dogs of all ages. As a highly social pack animal, your dog’s favorite playtime will be with you. Ropes, frisbees, and balls keep both you and your pet active and will help you create a bond with him. Many different types of ropes are available, ranging from fabric ropes to tougher toys made out of a firehose. Ropes can be used for tug-of-war either with you or another furry friend, and are also suitable for dogs who like to shake their “prey”.

When buying a ball for your pet, some things to consider are size and durability. The ball should be small enough or deflated enough to fit into your his mouth, but not too small. Also, for aggressive chewers, balls that are not well-constructed may not last long, and parts can break off and be ingested. A Ruff Dawg Rough Ball is an excellent choice for these guys.



Plush Toys
Plush toys resemble prey and are popular with many dogs. They are squishy and often have squeakers to keep him engaged. Keep in mind that no matter how durable a plush toy is, it’s still made from fabric, and your pet will eventually get through the material. For this reason, plush toys should only be used for interactive play and with supervision. If your pup starts chewing on the plush toy, it is best to put the toy up and replace it with chew toy.


With so many toys available, it can be challenging to find the right one. If you offer him an assortment of safe, appropriate toys, your pup’s preferences will become apparent over time. By rotating in similar toys, you can ensure that you and your pet will enjoy a fun and happy life together.