The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
Although there’s a huge selection of dog toys out there, not all them are good buys. Avoid the cheap, thin rubber toys and anything made of poor quality, brittle plastic. These pose a choking hazard to your puppy.
What toys you choose will depend on several things -
The breed of your puppy
The age and physical size of your puppy
Whether or not he will be supervised during playtimes with this particular dog toy.
If it’s an outdoor or indoor toy
How houseproud you are (explained later)
Certain breeds have more aggressive chewing tendencies than others. This is often the larger breeds and the bull breeds. They have very powerful jaws and need very durable dog toys. This can limit your choices somewhat.
Smaller dog breeds, and more moderate chewers can enjoy a wider variety of toys but you still need to make sure that you don’t pick a flimsy, low quality item or one with small parts that could come off during Fifi’s chewing-fest.
However, lots of dog toys come in a range of different sizes, and there are more coming onto the market every day so there’s something for everyone.
Rubber & Vinyl Toys
There’s a whole host of rubber toys, some better than others. Look for really heavy-duty rubber. Kong toys are great – very durable (in fact they’re pretty much indestructible!).Check out Kong Dog Toys – The Most Popular Rubber Dog Toy Today!Many of them can be filled with treats or peanut butter to up the fun factor.
You can get different shaped rubber toys, some that dispense treats when your puppy moves it across the floor and some that make funny sounds when moved. These are really good for keeping your puppy amused and interested for more than 30 seconds (puppies have very short attention spans so believe me, this is a big plus).
There are many strong, durable vinyl toys available too. You can choose from textured balls, discs, dumbells etc. These are also good choices for powerful chewers.
These dog toys come in a huge variety of different colors, textures, sizes and shapes. If your puppy is a powerful chewer it’s best to stick to one piece designs (those without limbs, ears, eyes etc.) as they can – and will- be pulled off.
I always test the toy really well before I buy it. Pull it in all directions and look for weak stitching or holes. If you’re buying one with limbs or whatever, tug on them really hard to check that they won’t come off. It’s better safe than sorry.
The stuffing and squeaker inside these toys are a danger to your puppy, so once Fido starts to disembowel his stuffed monkey you need to take it away and put it in the trash. Always supervise puppies (and dogs) when they’re playing with these kinds of toys.
A lot of puppies seem to especially love the sheepskin toys, and the ones with rope attachments. Bones
These also qualify as dog toys and come in a ton of different varieties. The nylon or polymer type bones (such as Nylabones) are very strong and wear down slowly. I’d recommend buying the flavored variety as they’re more interesting to your puppy. These kinds of bones come in a variety of sizes and strengths as well, so you’re sure to find one that’s just right for Fifi.
The cornstarch based bones are fairly long lasting if your puppy isn’t a heavy-duty chewer. The same can be said for the ‘edible/digestible’ bones. They can both be pretty messy though and you probably don’t want little Fifi to be chewing it while lying on your Persian rug.
Rawhide bones can be a good choice as long as you choose wisely. The compressed rawhide is the most durable and definitely the safest variety if you have anything other than a very dainty chewer. See our Rawhide Dog Chews page for a close-up look at rawhide. These also have a tendency to be messy though so you’d probably prefer to let Fifi chew her rawhide in the kitchen than in the living room. It’s also very important to always supervise a puppy/dog who’s chewing rawhide as they’re a potential choking hazard.
Natural bones can be a good choice for dog toys but should be used sparingly as they can damage the enamel on your puppy’s teeth. Sterilized bones (the white ones) can also be filled with peanut butter or dog treats to extend their play value. The unsterilized bones, flavored ones etc. can be very messy too, not to mention smelly, but dogs love them.
Always be sure that the bone you choose isn’t small enough to fit inside your puppy’s mouth or it’s a choking hazard. A large-breed puppy or powerful chewer needs a very LARGE bone, and even then he or she may succeed in breaking pieces off it. If this happens take the bone away immediately, and all the pieces, they can choke your puppy, or cause intestinal damage.
Dog rope toys are often a hit. They’re durable and satisfying. Some even have pig hooves or little, natural bones threaded onto them. Choose a good, thick, sturdy rope so that it won’t unravel easily and always supervise Fido while he’s playing with it. Should the rope fibers start to unravel or break off take the toy away to avoid choking.