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Choosing dog toys

Dogs love to play with their pet parents and by themselves. Playtime is an important opportunity for your dog to get exercise, mental stimulation and bonding time with you. Make certain your dog has the appropriate kind of toys essential for enjoyment and safety.

Toys you give your dog should be of the appropriate shape, size and condition:

  • Toys too small could be swallowed by your dog, posing both a choking hazard and result in a danger to his stomach and bowel
  • Similarly, string, ribbons or elastic bands may be interesting to your dog but don’t make good toys
  • Any toy with bits that can be chewed off (like plastic eyes on a stuffed animal) should be avoided
  • A good rule to follow is that ANY toy that begins to wear out or disintegrate needs to be replaced

A tennis ball is the classic choice for a dog toy. It bounces, provides an interesting texture to chew and can be easily thrown. A flying disc is another classic choice and is wonderful for playing fetch. When buying a flying disc, look for the soft rubber or cloth variety. They won’t fly as far but they’ll be easier on your dog’s mouth and teeth.

Try a throwing toy that will bounce irregularly. It will be particularly entertaining because your dog can’t predict where it is going. Solid rubber bones and balls with thick rope tails will bounce and roll irregularly.

Insert a treat in toys. Thick rubber toys are a great choice because they can be thrown, chewed or rolled. A great way to keep your dog occupied for a while is to place Hill’s® Science Diet® Treats inside a hollow toy. Your dog is now engaged and must work and chew to remove the treats.

Toys with squeakers inside are fun for some dogs. Ensure the squeaker is well secured inside the toy. Most dogs are content to just chew on the toy and make it squeak, but some dogs feel they have to pull the squeaker from inside the toy. Remember, if the toy is coming apart, it needs to be replaced.

Some dogs like a soft stuffed toy. They’ll "baby" it, carry it around, pounce on it, sit on it and suck on it. A machine-washable stuffed toy is ideal. The best stuffed animals will be the kind you can get from your pet specialty store or veterinarian.

You’ll get the optimum life from your toys by not providing them to your dog all at once. Switch the toys every couple of weeks. This way the toys stay novel to your dog.

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