Toy Trouble: It’s Worth the Price!

08-161-QP05-LR-stuffing-free-dog-toyOne of the biggest complaints I hear when it comes to dog toys that they just don’t last and that they are a waste of money. I would like to address these complaints with the following 5 reasons you should feel good about spending $$ on toys for your dog.

  1. Playing with toys stimulates your dog’s mind and can help promote problem solving skills.
  2. Toys keep dogs busy. And guess what? Your busy dog doesn’t have as much time to get into trouble.
  3. Toys help fulfill instinctive drives including: shredding/ripping, hunting/finding food, chasing and herding.
  4. Toys help expend energy. Fetching/retrieving activities expend pent up energy. If you are a part of the fun, then you get the added bonus of additional “bonding” time. So go ahead and play a game of fetch with Fido!
  5. Toys help with emotional balance: dogs that get adequate physical and mental stimulation tend to be healthier and more emotionally balanced.

Please don’t deprive your dog of toys because you think it is a waste of money. Consider how many children’s toys need to be replaced because of damage over time. Toys are made to be played with….and with dogs, that often means annihilation . So, with that in mind, determine how much you can spend on toys each month and consider it an investment in your dog’s emotional well-being.

These are a few tips on making the toys you choose last a little longer:

1. Change out toys every week. Novelty seems to be something that many dogs love when it comes to toys.

2. Keep at least one interactive toy out of reach and use it for special occasions. Pull it down and use it for a reward during training or to help keep your interactions with Fido “amazing” in his eyes.

3. Some toys are tougher than others….Kongs, Marrow Bones, and many food dispensing toys should be around awhile.

4. Toys made from material will have a shorter life expectancy, especially if you have a “shredder” on your hands. Just sit back and enjoy watching your dog rip it to pieces (make sure he doesn’t ingest any of it) and properly dispose of any small pieces.

5. Appropriate chews will help fill the gap when it comes to expense…..back straps, pig ears, deer antlers, bully sticks, and Himalayan Chews are all great choices for filling your dog’s need to chew.

Some dogs need a little help when it comes to toys, so try a variety. You should eventually find something that your dog likes! And remember that the small investment in toys is worth a happy, mentally healthy dog!

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Positively Expert: Amy Weeks

Amy Weeks, M.A. (VSPDT, CPDT-KA, CAP-1, CGC Evaluator, Family Pet Paws Presenter) is owner of “Amy’s Canine Kindergarten”, a dog training company based out of Tampa, Florida which provides in-home and group training as well as bite prevention presentations.


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