Your puppy loves playing with toys because it simulates the "hunt," helps him with teething, and prevents boredom. Boredom means destruction of carpets, furniture, baseboards, etc. Puppies should have safe toys that they like. Here are some tips to choosing the right toy for your puppy.
What Kind of Toys Do Puppies Like Best?
Puppies prefer toys that:
- Move (bouncing or rolling)
- Have a sound (squeaking or rattling)
- Are edible
- Can be torn apart
Which Puppy Toys Are Safer?
Take your puppy to the pet store with you and let him choose, but be safe. For your puppy's health and safety, don't let his feet touch the ground, and don't let him interact with other dogs at the store. Purchase your toys from a trusted source: a well-known manufacturer, your local pet store, or an online store that has investigated the quality manufacturing and source materials of the toy. Many pet stores have higher standards and more knowledgeable sales people than discount stores for choosing the items they sell.
Look at each of these factors for your puppy's toys.
- What it's made of
- Where it's manufactured. Try to stay away from third-world countries unless the toy comes from well-known manufacturers, which is critical because they generally have investigated and tested their source materials. There are no governmental standards regulating toxins such as lead in dog toys.
- Whether it has toxic dyes and other chemical substances such as preservatives
- Whether it can be broken up into smaller pieces and eaten
- Whether the quality is tough enough so it won't break or tear
- Whether it has small parts that can come off
- If it smells like chemicals (yuck!)
Be careful with tennis balls and only use tennis balls which are specifically made for puppies and dogs. Tennis balls contain a substance which acts like sandpaper on your puppy's teeth. If he's an aggressive chewer, chewing on these balls can wear his teeth down to the gums.
What Kind of Toy Is Best for My Puppy?
Get one each of several different kinds of toys to discover which ones your puppy likes best, and then go back and buy multiples of that kind. Look for toys that:
- Are not hollow with a single air hole because those toys can create suction and your puppy's nose and/or tongue can get stuck, which means a very expensive trip to the vet.
- Are the right size toy for your puppy. A large puppy can outgrow the toy which can become dangerous since it can be swallowed whole or cause choking if it gets stuck in your puppy's throat.
- Can't be broken into pieces and cut the inside of his mouth
- Don't have parts that can be easily chewed off. Toys that look like animals have ears, legs, and tails that your puppy can chew off and swallow.
- Aren't hard enough to break or chip a tooth.
- Match your puppy's chewing styles. Aggressive chewers need sturdier toys such as those made of nylon or solid rubber. For moderate chewers, choose a toy that lasts a long time and can't easily be chewed apart.
- Aren't made of latex. Tiny dogs or light chewers can have latex toys, but be careful because they can chew the squeakers out.
Does My Puppy's Breed Matter?
You can try to match toys to what your puppy was bred to do. Sighthounds and terriers like to chase things, so balls, flying discs, or flirt poles might be a good choice. Scent hounds like to use their noses, so puzzle toys are a good choice.
How Should My Puppy Play with His Toys?
Supervise your puppy to make sure that the toy he plays with is safe. During playtime, put all toys away so he doesn't think everything on the floor (such as your slipper) is a toy.
Even if he has 20 toys, just give him 3-4 at a time and rotate the choices every day to avoid boredom.