A dog toy is not just an optional toy your dog may play with, it is crucial for your dog’s mental and physical health and development.
There are different kinds of dog toys available in the market, and they are made keeping different types of dogs in mind. Every dog toy is not just an object to play with but is beneficial for your dog in many ways.
A good interactive dog toy actively engages your dog and performs the following important functions:
- It does not let your dog get bored.
- Calms him down when your dog has too much energy.
- Promotes his dental health.
- Discourages his problematic behavior of chewing furniture and other expensive items.
- It provides mental stimulation and sharpens your dog’s reflexes.
- Strengthens the bond between you and your dog by providing a good playtime activity.
- Acts as your dog’s best friend when he is alone or needs to play.
Getting a variety of interactive dog toys will help your dog in multiple ways, both physically and mentally.
There are many types of dog toys available in the market, but the most common and effective ones include chewing dog toys, puppy toys, training aids, squeaky (sound-producing) toys, balls, frisbees, and similar discs, sticks, and interactive toys.
Get your dog a combination of these toys to obtain overall health benefits.
Features of Interactive Dog Toys
Generally, a huge portion of your dog’s day involves doing nothing, and he may get bored quite easily.
You must have given your dog a different variety of chewable dog toys to play with when he is alone, but there is a limited amount of activity he can indulge in when your dog is all on his own. This is where interactive dog toys come to the rescue. The main features of interactive toys are:
- They are multifunctional toys and offers a lot of option to play in a single package.
- These toys stimulate your dog’s brain and provide your dog with some kind of puzzle to test his capabilities.
- These toys give your dog hours of playtime and fun, which prevents your dog from getting bored.
- They control your dog’s aggression level to some extent. Note that if you feel your dog is getting very aggressive, you may need something more than a toy – it’ll be a good idea to take some professional help.
- They keep them active and drain their energy, so at the end of the day, you do not have a fully active (read as hyper) canine chewing your sofa.
- These interactive dog toys are safe and if some pieces of toys are ingested, they are safe for your dog.
Examples of interactive dog toys are puzzle toys, chew challenge toys, and toys stuffed with dog treats.
If your dog gets bored easily, he may love to explore interactive toys like the ones that have peanut butter (ask your vet first if you can give your dog peanut butter) or dog treats inside, so the more he chews and plays with the toys, the closer he gets to his treats.
Make sure the treats are in a reasonable quantity – you do not want to make your already active dog extra hyper, do you?
The interactive dog toys are ideal for dogs who have lots of energy to burn and are extremely active.
Such dogs need especially designed toys that are more interactive than a piece of toy bone to chew on – they help your dog in mental stimulation as well as physical exercise.
A good interactive toy is versatile, safe, and interesting for your dog to enjoy.
A toy dispenser is an excellent example of an interactive toy. If you think your dog is getting a bit lazy and the plush, squeaky toys and tennis balls don’t excite him much, maybe it’s time you get him a treat dispenser toy.
You can put treats or kibble inside the toy which is normally shaped like a ball, and your little fellow will have to earn his food! When your dog rolls it and plays with it, the treats are slowly dispensed. It is a great way to make your dog exercise while enjoying the process.
In short, your dog’s ideal interactive dog toy should have the following qualities:
- Easy to clean: An ideal interactive dog toy should be easy to clean. Most interactive dog toys involve treats to encourage your dog to play with them. This results in the toys getting dirty (and often moldy) and they hence need regular cleaning or washing.
- Safe: You do not want any unwanted toy pieces going inside your dog’s tummy. Make sure the toy is strong and does not have the potential to break off easily. Also, it should be made up of non-toxic material which is safe for dogs.
- Available in different sizes: A dog toy should be available in different sizes to cater to your dog’s growing age. It should also cater to different dog breeds. A toy that is too big or too small for your dog will lose its utility and may end up lying in the corner for weeks.
- Adjustable Level of Difficulty: Your dog may get bored of playing with one toy. He may figure out the exact technique he can use to get out a certain treat, or certain interactive toys may become too easy for him due to excessively playing with them (practice makes a pup perfect!). On the flip side, a certain interactive toy may be too hard for him to figure out and he may lose interest in it. For this reason, interactive dog toys need to have difficulty adjusting mechanisms.
You do not want to waste your money on a dog toy that just sits there in the toy box and collects dust.
You want to make sure it is right for your dog’s age, size, and breed. If you are getting your dog a toy like a frisbee or a ball when you won’t be around to play fetch with him won’t serve any purpose.
Instead, get him a combination of different kinds of toys: a couple of safe toys made with non-toxic material that he can chew on, along with a couple of multifunctional interactive toys that entice and invite him to play when no one is around.