A large dog on the floor with rope, rubber, nylon, and bone chew toys.

How to Choose the Right Toy for Your Dog

How to Choose the Right Toy for Your Dog

When choosing your dog's chew toys you want three requirements met. Safety. Fun. Durability. There's a tidal wave of options in dog toys. Toys are expensive. Having a toy basket filled with toys that never lived well to see the next day, or didn't serve their purpose costs money. Let's pare all that color and chaos down to what your dog needs in their toys. 

Choose a chew by what you want it to do.

Dog toys are employment opportunities. An unemployed dog is a dog certain to get into things they aren't supposed to be getting into. Consider what employment you need to offer your dog. Consider what you need to gain from the job. Dental care toys are not like tug of war toys. Define the goals, then go shopping. 

  • Entertainment
  • Dental Care
  • Mental exercise
  • Heavy play between two dogs. (Tug of war)
  • Snuggle company on the couch.
  • A favorite tag along toy.
  • Crate companion on trips.
Large dog with a dental care chew toy.

    Choose a chew by what your dog does.

    There is no such thing as a top 10 list of toys for dogs. There is only your dog's list. The quickest way to their right answer is buying their preferences. Save your money chasing lists. Chase your dog's habits and opinions.

    • Heavy chewer
    • Toy basher
    • Rum runner in the backyard
    • Bone toss professional
    • Hunter gatherer
    • Enticer to their fellow dog
    • Crate collector
    • Couch filler
    • Bedtime compiler
    • Bang and Clanger
    Medium sized dog playing with plush toy.

      Choose a chew with the most bang for your buck.

      Durability and the ability to keep the toy clean for use.

      Small dog with small dental chew.

        It's the materials that define the safety. Rawhide is not listed in this article because rawhide is considered dangerous by veterinarians. Digestive complications as well as the chemical processes in creating rawhide make them a bad idea for a dog.

        The size of your dog doesn't dictate materials. There are large dogs that treat their toys like golden property. Barely chewing them, while carrying and curating all their favorites. There are small dogs that will chew a hole through drywall if allowed. Their little dog toys are murdered with great joy.

        • Consider your dog's age and gum health. Older dogs do well with cloth and reinforced cloth toys. Their gums are tender.
        • Consider your dog's jaw size and strength. A too small toy, or too large can pose dangerous moments as far as swallowing or jamming during overexcited play.
        • Some dogs nurse on toys like a puppy. Rope toys with frayed ends. Those threads can get swallowed causing digestive tract issues.
        Medium sized dog with bone that is too big.

        It's the little things that are personal to each dog that makes each toy choice specific to them. Modifying and finding your dog's habits and preferences will require you playing along and checking toys at the end of the day. Once you've dialed in your dog's demeanor, forget the lists. Stick to what you and your dog have curated for yourselves. Dog toy designs are created to get you to buy a toy on impulse. Weed out the sales pitches and get to your dog's real employment.

        Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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