Dog toys - Does your dog really need them?

>> 8/7/09

Everyone knows that dogs love to chew. Have you ever returned home to find your favorite shoes damaged by your dogs teeth or your favorite book ripped to shreds? Sometimes dogs get bored, and playing is essential for keeping them mentally occupied. If dogs are not given toys to play with, they will find something else to play with or, rather, destroy. Chewing is normal behavior for puppies who are teething but some adult dogs may show destructive chewing behavior, and some dogs are more destructive than others. Toys should not take the place of human attention and regular exercise, but if your dog is left alone and you don't want him to chew your personal items, make sure he has plenty of toys to keep him satisfied. It's been said that a dog should have at least 10 toys at all times to keep from chewing on things he shouldn't.

Recently there has been concern about the safety of dog toys that are imported from other countries, but there are high-quality, non-toxic dog toys on the market that are made in the USA. There are different types of toys, including plush dog toys with squeakers sewn into them, tough chew toys, tug toys, toys that can be tossed like balls and frisbees and toys that can have treats hidden within them to make them more challenging to your dog.

Plush dog toys, even though they are made with reinforced and strong fabric, typically do not last as long as other types of dog toys, depending on the chewing behavior of your dog, but they can easily be cleaned by throwing them into the washer and dryer.

It's a good idea to rotate your dog's toys to refresh his interest in them as "new" toys are more interesting than old ones. Stash away some of your dog's toys so that only a few are available at one time. This helps to prolong the life of each toy, while rekindling his interest. The toys can be washed in between use so that the dirt and slobber do not become "ground in."

When washing squeak toys, sometimes the squeaker will become water logged. Most of the time this will clear up quickly if the toy is shaken and the squeaker is repositioned to promote drainage. Also letting your dog squeak it to force air through it may help with the problem. If your dog's squeak toy becomes so battered that it can no longer be repaired and is not safe anymore, the toy can be quietly disposed of when your dog is distracted, and if you've been rotating his toys all along, he'll be happy when you pull a "new" one out of the closet.

Chew toys often last longer than plush ones and there are even "guaranteed tough" dog toys that are guaranteed to last or you can get a free replacement. For anyone who wants to "go green," you can find dog toys that are made from recycled materials, and some of the toys are even recyclable again. You may also consider toys that can be stuffed with treats as these toys often hold a dog's interest longer at one time, especially when left alone. Interactive dog toys are fun for both dogs and humans, and it's easy for your dog to get exercise while he catches a frisbee or fetches a ball.

Dogs really do need toys, that is, if you don't want them chewing your personal things. Dog toys keep dogs mentally occupied so that they don't get into mischief and help puppies with teething, so it's important to make sure your dog has enough toys readily available to him or her at any given time.

Dog toys - Does your dog really need them? by Anita Funkhouser

Author Resource:

Anita Funkhouser is the owner of, offering high-quality, eco-friendly dog beds, toys and sweaters made in the USA from recycled soda bottles, and Blog, a blog about tips on dog care, dog product information, dog training ideas and more.

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