Tips for Choosing Dog Toys

Does your canine buddy sometimes run up to you holding his favorite toy? Fido has a pretty adorable way of asking you to play with him! Playing is actually great for your pet. It keeps him active, offers him beneficial mental stimulation, and lets him spend time with his favorite human: you. However, doggy toys are not one-size-fits-all. A vet offers some tips on choosing your pup’s playthings below.


One thing you’ll need to keep in mind is Fido’s age. If your furry friend is still a young puppy, he’ll need soft toys. Once the little guy starts teething, chew toys are going to be at the top of his list. When your pooch is all grown up, he will need toys that keep him active, entertained, and, hopefully, out of mischief. Treat-dispensing toys, Frisbees, and puzzle toys are all good choices for frisky adult dogs. If your canine pal is a senior, he may just want a few treat toys, or perhaps a snuggly plush toy. Toys that make noise are a great choice for older pooches that don’t see well, while light-up playthings are great for deaf dogs.


Consider Fido’s breed and size. Bigger dogs can break or rip toys easily, so they need tougher, more durable playthings than a smaller pup would. Larger dogs can also choke on toys made for puppies or little pooches. Small dogs, on the other hand, can injure themselves on toys that are too big.


Keep your schedule and lifestyle in mind as well. If you often play with your furry buddy at night, opt for toys that glow or light up. If Fido enjoys burying things, get durable toys that will stand up to your four-legged pirate’s treasure-hunting antics. If you’re wondering how to keep your dog entertained when left alone, consider interactive toys that can keep them occupied and mentally stimulated during your absence.


Always put safety first. Choose toys that are durable, and won’t easily rip or break. This is sometimes a problem with plush toys and stuffed animals. Fido could hurt himself if he swallows a squeaker or stuffing. If your canine companion has any aggressive tendencies, or is a bit rowdy, skip the rope toys and tug toys. Some dogs get a bit too into playing Tug-O-War, and can get really riled up. This can be dangerous, especially with larger dogs. Ask your vet for more information.

Our Advice and Tips for Choosing Dog Toys in 2024

How often should dog toys be replaced to ensure safety and hygiene?

Dog toys should be replaced regularly to ensure safety and hygiene, depending on the toy’s durability and the dog’s play habits. Inspect toys frequently for signs of wear, such as tears, broken pieces, or fraying, which can pose choking hazards or ingestion risks. Highly active dogs or those who are heavy chewers may require more frequent replacements. Generally, a good practice is to assess toys monthly and replace them as needed to prevent potential health issues from damaged or dirty toys, ensuring your dog’s playtime remains safe and enjoyable.

Are there specific materials or types of toys that should be avoided for dogs with certain health conditions?

For dogs with specific health conditions, certain toy materials and types should be avoided. Dogs with dental issues should steer clear of very hard chew toys, which can cause further damage to their teeth. Similarly, dogs prone to digestive problems should avoid toys that are easily torn apart or have small, detachable parts that could be swallowed, leading to intestinal blockages. Plush toys with stuffing and squeakers are often unsuitable for aggressive chewers. Always consult a veterinarian to choose the safest toys based on your dog’s particular health needs and chewing behavior.

How can owners determine if a toy is too hard for their dog’s teeth?

Owners can determine if a toy is too hard for their dog’s teeth by using the “kneecap test”: if the toy feels as hard as a kneecap when pressed against, it is likely too tough for a dog’s teeth and could cause dental damage. Additionally, observing the dog’s behavior while chewing can provide clues. If the dog is overly cautious or avoids chewing the toy, it may be uncomfortably hard for them. Always look for signs of wear on the teeth, such as chips or fractures, as these indicate that the toy may be too hard.

What are the signs that a dog is not interested in a particular toy, and how should owners respond?

Signs that a dog is not interested in a particular toy include ignoring the toy, choosing to play with other items instead, or showing initial curiosity that quickly wanes. If a dog consistently shows disinterest, owners should observe the dog’s play preferences—whether they favor toys that are soft, make noise, or are interactive—and offer toys that match these preferences. Experimenting with different textures, sounds, and types of interaction can help identify toys that will engage and stimulate the dog effectively.

How can owners properly clean and maintain different types of dog toys?

To properly clean and maintain dog toys, owners should follow material-specific guidelines. For plush toys, machine washing in a gentle cycle with pet-safe detergent and air drying is effective. Hard toys made of rubber or nylon can be cleaned with hot water and a mild dish soap, then thoroughly rinsed to remove any residue. Rope toys can be cleaned by soaking in a solution of water and vinegar, then air drying to eliminate bacteria. Regular cleaning, at least bi-weekly or more frequently depending on usage, ensures the toys remain safe and hygienic for use.

Please contact us, your vet clinic in Hobe Sound, FL, for all your dog’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help! For comprehensive pet health care, including Veterinary Wellness & Pet Vaccinations, our team is ready to assist you in keeping your furry friend healthy, happy, and well-entertained.

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