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No Time Like Playtime

5 Types of Toys for 5 Types of Dogs

Mealtime, bedtime, potty time. These are all important parts of you and your canine’s day, but without a doubt, your dog’s favorite will always be playtime! 

Playtime is of the utmost importance in your dog’s day to day life for several reasons. Firstly, it provides them with much needed physical activity. Whether the toy gets your dog biting, running, chasing, pulling, or jerking, they’re all great ways of allowing your dog to stretch and strengthen their muscles, as well as practice their agility skills. Some even provide your dog with the opportunity to exercise their jaws and teeth, promoting their dental health. Similar to the reason why humans often exercise, physical activity through playtime offers an outlet for your pet to express any pent up energy or frustrations, thus acting as a great way to relieve stress and anxiety! 

Not only does play help your companion to get some exercise, but it mentally stimulates them, too. Instead of your pup putting their restlessness and boredom into behavioral problems like aggression, excessive barking, biting or gnawing at the furniture, they’ll have something productive to focus their energy into. Most toys, especially the highly interactive types, require a lot of concentration, encouraging your canine to engage their senses and brain power.

Even more importantly, playtime gives you the fun opportunity to spend a little (or a lot of!) extra time with your companion. Through the use of toys specifically chosen to suit your dog’s preferences, interests, and needs, you’re directly taking part in a chance to bond! A lot of the time you’ll find them trying to pull you into playtime, whether it’s by dropping a ball at your feet or getting you to chase them around. It serves as a way of communication and lets your dog ask you for some time to let loose or receive some extra love and attention!

Now that the importance of play is established, it’s also equally important what toys you purchase for your pet. There are many factors that go into choosing an appropriate source of entertainment. This includes age. Puppies that are teething and older dogs with weaker jaws and teeth require softer toys for more sensitive gums, whereas adult dogs may not have such restrictions. Another important factor is the size, material, and texture of the toy. The size of the toy should be proportional to your own dog’s size, as smaller toys are easier to rip apart and choke on, and bigger toys may be too stressful on smaller jaws. 

Especially important in the process of choosing a toy is remembering your dog’s specific interests, preferences, and habits. By selecting a trinket specifically geared towards your furry friend’s personality and usual tendencies, you can create an individualized experience that both you and your little friend can enjoy!

Before taking your pick, keep in mind these 5 types of toys for 5 types of dogs:

The Chewer

    Chewing is a natural, innate instinct that all canines have. It’s what their ancestors used to do and what wild dogs currently do! Turn your pup away from your dining room table legs and furniture and toward a good ol’ chew toy or chew treat. These come in a variety of materials, whether it’s rope, nylon, or rubber, all of which are durable and sturdy, making them suitable for even the most aggressive chewers. Chew toys are great because they can keep your dog busy for hours at a time, plus they have a number of other benefits. Actively gnawing at toys helps to keep their jaws in good condition. In addition, chew toys naturally have harder textures that promote good dental hygiene by not only strengthening the teeth through biting, but by removing plaque and tartar buildup. This is what lessens the risk of painful oral diseases and thankfully freshens puppy breath! Of course, nothing beats an actual puppy-safe toothbrush and toothpaste, but there are certainly chew toys and dental treats out there specifically designed to help with cleaning teeth. 

    The Runner

      Picture this: your dog is eagerly laying in the grass with his tail wagging while they look at you. You slowly approach them, and the second you get close enough, they dart and start running away. Then the process repeats. Chances are, they’re purposely waiting for you to get close enough so they can try to evade you again! This is a dog’s version of playing tag! If you have a pooch that absolutely loves to run, a toy that can be thrown and retrieved is ideal for your pet. A classic ball or frisbee is sure to do the trick. But in today’s day and age, there are now a million more options available for retrieval type toys. Upgrade your game of fetch using extra bouncy balls, 2 in 1 rope and ball toys, flingable discs, etc. Your dog won’t tire of running back and forth to bring you back the toy, encouraging them to run and get exercise, while also serving as a method to teach them a new command of fetch, sit, stay, run, etc.

      The Cuddler

        As much as pet owners love to snuggle up to their furry friends, there are many dogs that like to do the same! This is where softer, plush toys come in. These are good choices for two reasons. The first reason is that there are an array of plush toys on the market in super fun shapes and sizes, whether it’s stuffed bears, squirrels, crabs, octopuses, turtles, alligators, moose, etc. These are made from soft, luxurious materials that can certainly provide your pet with their own companion to cuddle up to during bed time. It not only makes their environment more comfy and cozy, but can even help release tension and stress. The second reason why stuffed toys are fantastic is that surprisingly enough, they yet again can satisfy your canine’s natural instincts! Canines are accustomed to hunting smaller prey. Being able to carry a small plush toy replicates that feeling for them, especially since they are easy to manipulate and throw around. Your pet is even more sure to love them if they squeak or make sounds similar to that of a mouse or duck! Regardless of the reason, small plush toys can satisfy either!

        The Competitor

          Some dogs are just born to win. They’re competitive, and it shows in how they play. For this type of pup, ideal options would be toys that could be used by the both of you to encourage a little healthy competition. Tug toys are a timeless choice! Typically coming in the form of a knotted or twisted rope, sometimes with additions like handles, balls, or rings attached to them, these allow your dog to engage in physical activity through pulling and yanking. Using rope toys during a game of tug-of-war has also been said to be an effective way of boosting your dog’s self esteem. By allowing your pooch to have the occasional win, they feel a stronger sense of accomplishment and courage! However, it’s important to not always give them the win to make sure they remember that you’re still alpha! Also essential is to supervise your dog when using these tug toys or ropes due to the fact that stronger, more aggressive chewers have the tendency to shred it apart and consume it.

          The Thinker

            Whether you have a natural Albert Pupstein on your hands or are trying to add a bit of mental stimulation into your dog’s day, interactive toys are the right way to go. Interactive dog toys can refer to a number of new products that have come out. A lot of the time it refers to treat toys, or toys that combine both play and food. They often have compartments where treats can be stored, prompting your dog to find a way to get to it. There is also a vast collection of dog puzzles. Puzzles are great for a few reasons. Not only do they mentally stimulate your dog and teach them new skills, but they encourage your pup to work a little harder, whether it’s for the reward of a hidden treat, mealtime, or just an overall sense of satisfying completion

            A lot of the time it seems like there’s no way you could possibly go wrong in choosing a toy for your pet. But by putting in a little bit of that extra work to find something more suited to your pup’s size, age, habits, and preferences, the both of you can build a stronger connection and play harder!


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