How to Choose Safe Toys for Your Puppy
There are so many puppy toys for sale out there, how do you know what’s safe? We’ve got some great tips and suggestions! Keep reading to learn more.
Safety Hazards to Avoid When Choosing Dog Toys
Pet professionals don’t always agree on the same products when recommending toys for puppies, but one thing they DO agree on is that they should be safe. Toys that are too small or have small pieces that can easily be chewed off can be a potential choking hazard as well as an intestinal blockage hazard. Both of which could be life-threatening! Be sure to check the product label to determine what size to purchase and what “chewing type” the puppy is (normal vs. aggressive).
Toys or bones that are made of materials that may break off or splinter into small, sharp pieces are of great concern. These pieces or splinters can get lodged in the throat or, if swallowed, can potentially get stuck or poke through the stomach or intestines. Nylabones and Kongs are both good options here. The Kong website even has some yummy recipes that you can put inside the toy, freeze, and make a special treat which will surely be enjoyed on a hot summer day!
Stuffed Toys and Squeakers
Toys such as stuffed animals or balls oftentimes have a synthetic stuffing or filler inside. These toys are quite popular, but once your dog has chewed his way through to the stuffing or “squeaker,” they need to be repaired or thrown out. Again, both the stuffing and “squeaker” can be a potential choking or intestinal blockage hazard. If your pup is an aggressive chewer, he/she should never be left alone with this type of toy.
Puppy Teething Toys
You can easily make a great DIY “teething” toy for puppies by taking a rope toy (the kind with a knot in it), soaking it in either water or chicken broth, and then freezing it on a plate so that it doesn’t stick to the freezer shelf. You may need to rub a little bit of peanut butter on it to get them started chewing, but once they do, they’ll realize that it actually helps numb their gums and alleviate some of the discomforts of teething. And it’s fun too!
Food puzzles or food toys are great environmental enrichment for puppies and it’s really great if they have an “adaptability” feature. To help grab the interest of the puppy, food puzzles or toys should be a bit easier at first. As the puppy learns how to get the treat or kibble reward out, there should be the ability to change the puzzle in some way to make it harder. Food puzzles or toys provide both mental and physical stimulation and can actually be used instead of a food bowl for meals.
Safe and appropriately sized toys are a fun and important part of your puppy’s environmental enrichment and learning! If you have questions or concerns regarding toys that your puppy chews on or plays with, always consult with a vet. Be sure to monitor your pup while they have their toy.
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