Dogs are in constant need of stimulation, whether they are taking on a self appointed job, looking for play time, or are just sitting and watching the world go by. Dogs have a brain that is capable of thinking, but tends to spend more time reacting. Of course, when you are in control of the stimulation he is receiving, you are better equipped to provide him with a safer, happier, and healthier environment. Chew toys for dogs are a necessary part of providing the stimulation that keeps him from searching out his own. We all know how well they tend to seek out their own stimulation.
When you are selecting the perfect chew toys for dogs, there are a few factors that can make your purchase more valuable than others. For instance, if your dog has an excessive amount of energy, you want to keep a wide variety of challenging “thinking” toys on hand. These toys are usually designed around one or more hidden treats that fit inside the toy that allow him to work at retrieving his own just reward. Do not allow him free access to these toys, but rather choose one to give him one week and then alternate it with another the following week. While exercise is a necessary part of a dog’s daily life, you will wear down his excess energy faster and in a more satisfying manner if you challenge his ever evolving brain.
All dogs can benefit from these thought provoking past times. In fact, toys that encourage a dog to use what little reasoning he has have consistently been awarded all types of accolades from all types of pup friendly groups and associations. Not to mention, dogs themselves are prone to give them a high rating, which is obvious by their intense interest in these specially designed toys.
Of course, interactive chew toys for dogs come in at a close second on your puppy’s favorites list. The more he can get you to work with him through play the more you have the chance not only to exercise your authority but reward him for good behavior. Whether he is racing for that special squeaky toy or he is bounding after an indestructible ball, always provide him with a command to follow before you are willing to do what he wants. This activity is a perfect way for both of you to get the most from the chew toy while interacting in a positive manner. Never ever play tug of war with your dog, unless you have trained his to let you win every time. Until your dog is Johnny—on—the—spot with a “drop it” command, allowing him to play tug of war with any toy is setting you up for failure and giving him permission to be your dominant creature, at least for the moment.
There are numerous chew toys on the market these days which have gotten some pretty negative reviews. Some of these reviews are accurate while others are not quite as accurate. The basic rule of thumb goes something like this; if it is likely that your dog can break off small bits, chances are there is at least some choking hazard. Well, that naturally means that nearly every super yummy crunchy toy that is meant to be chewed on isn’t safe, right? To varying degrees, this is true. However, we could say the same thing about humans and gum. Gum is a choking hazard, but many of us chew it incessantly on a daily basis and we don’t choke on it. Rawhides have had a fairly high incidence of choking. What they don’t tell you is that almost every one of those incidents happened during an unsupervised chomping session. Had a human been close enough to reach into the dog’s mouth, most of those dogs would still be alive. However, ingesting anything that isn’t food isn’t healthy for any creature. There are risks of rawhide pieces getting stuck anywhere along the digestive tract. Rawhides, just like all ingestible doggie chews, are a risk that can be moderated. We do use them for our dogs. But we only use them when we are available for supervision and we use them on special occasions. We might purchase them three times a year.
There are plenty of other chew toys for dogs that have a less severe rap out there. And in some cases, what makes a good chew toy for one dog doesn’t make such a great one for another. The personality of your dog plays a factor in what types of toys you bring home for them. For instance, if your dog is a perpetual de-squeaker, then toys that squeak are bound to be shredded (which means ingestion of at least some material) rather quickly. I would consider this a waste of money. Who wants a toy that is destroyed within an hour? That’s not fun.
There are specialty toys designed with dog safety in mind that make it nearly impossible for your dog to shred, tear, mutilate, or annihilate, which may in turn make it a less than fun toy for your dog. However, most dogs respond well to toys that they can continuously attempt to tear apart. It’s a chronic challenge for them, and the fun lasts a lot longer when they are not winning. If you a destroyer on your hands, you might want to try a few of these chew toys.
There are, of course, numerous home products that seem like a really good idea as an impromptu chew toy. Stuffed socks, the junk mail, and even those empty paper towel tubes can make great fun for Fido. While we are guilty of the occasional paper towel tube shred—a—thon, home made toys are generally not a good idea. Unless you are doing ample research on your own, you can never be sure which one of your home made toys is going to illicit negative behavior (how can you get mad at him for chewing on your socks when you allow him to play with socks?) or pose an unknown threat to his health.
Whenever you are selecting chew toys for dogs, always try them out under a controlled and well supervised environment and check out the fun factor as well as the safety factor before stocking up on similar toys. You will want to be sure that your toy selection fits in well with your requirements for safety and his requirements for a good time.