Who doesn’t enjoy having fun with their best canine friend? All work and no play tends to be a bad combination for humans and pets alike. So why should your dog's play time be any different? True, your pup probably doesn’t have an office job that needs relaxing and downtime after. But play for dogs is vital for their physical health through exercise and for keeping them engaged and entertained mentally as well.

A good set of dog toys is one of the best ways to keep your dog entertained and ready to get active. However, if you’re a new pet owner, making a selection as far as dog toys go may seem slightly confusing. Here’s what you need to know.

Why Dog Toys Matter

Finding the best dog toy isn’t just about having fun with your pooch. Dogs need good toys for a few reasons. Primarily, it’s about stimulation. Dogs are intelligent creatures who are curious and playful. Just like human children need toys to keep their brains engaged, so do your dogs.

Exercise is also essential. Even a simple stick can help start a game of fetch, which keeps your dog running and active. If you want to protect your dog from the dangers of obesity, a good toy for rigorous play can be a gamechanger. Making sure your dog gets enough exercise lets you get the most out of your existing pet wellness plan.

Thirdly is the issue of chewing. There are plenty of frustrated dog owners who understand this one. Many dogs will rip up any furniture or paper products they can get their teeth into. By giving them a good chew toy, you provide a focus for their gnawing desire to chomp on something. A good chew toy can be excellent for dental health, making it an excellent companion to dog wellness plans.

Less considered is the emotional aspect. Many soft toys, like plush toys, are good at holding onto scents. If your dog often gets separation anxiety, having a toy around with your scent on it can be a great way to help calm them down.

Getting Safe Dog Toys

When finding the best dog toy for your pet, your first concern should absolutely be safety. Things like dog toys and pet wellness plans for the overall  betterment of your pup, after all. Getting a toy that could injure your dog defeats that entire purpose and you should always consider size appropriate toys based on your dog's breed and age.

What makes an unsafe toy? The most significant danger to dogs will be choking hazards. You need to carefully consider how big your dog is and how large the toy is in comparison to their mouth. Even if the toy seems safe, you should research how well it holds up to strain. If people say that it breaks down into pieces, or gives off flakes or shards, then it could pose a choking or cutting hazard.

By the same token, the best dog toys will always be non-toxic options. It’s also important to understand that toy safety will deteriorate over time. Even the toughest toy may start to fray or come apart after years of use. It’s essential to always be ready to replace toys once they’ve reached the limit of their lifespan.

The size of the overall toy also matters. Whether it's a digestible chew, plastic, rubber, or plush toy, you should always make sure it’s slightly bigger than the size of your dog's mouth. An example being a teacup yorkie or any small breed dog with tiny snouts. You should always have a toy that’s at least the size of your closed fist. Likewise for extremely large breed dogs such as great danes, you’ll want to choose the XXL classic dog toy options.

Buying the Best Dog Toys

Getting a safe dog toy is the most important thing, first and foremost. However, if you’re just getting a new puppy, the wide range of options may be intimidating. There are plenty of businesses that make their money on their unique brand of dog toys. Everyone is going to want to be selling you their latest creation. For new dog owners, here is a quick buying guide.

Best Dog Toys for Stimulation

When it comes to keeping your dog entertained, a good old-fashioned squeaky toy is often a pretty solid bet or a crinkle plush toy if your dog isn’t a fan of the squeaky noise. If you don't know what to buy, start with the squeakers/crinkle toys. However, did you know that there’s a growing market for dog puzzle toys and more mentally stimulating dog toys?

These toys involve hiding a treat, like peanut butter, within the toy, requiring some investigation to get out which activates their natural hunting instincts and makes their brain more active than just passively chewing. These are a great way to focus your dog’s energy and distract them from their destructive impulses and involve a reward for them at the end.

Best Dog Toys for Exercise

Staples like balls and sticks are still great for exercise toys. The game of fetch is a classic for a reason. However, these old favorite dog toys can be easily improved for a better experience for you and your dog.

For example, you can find a variety of non-toxic foam or plastic throwing sticks out there. These reduce the risk of a stick breaking off bits and cutting up your dog’s mouth. Similarly, while the tennis ball is a classic, it can be easily shredded.

Large dogs, in particular, are at risk of swallowing part or all of the ball. Look for foam balls designed to help your dog breathe while carrying them in their mouth. There are a lot of great throwing discs for fetch with your dog as well!

Best Dog Toys for Chewers

Often, the best dog toys for chewers will be the ones that can survive the most punishment. Durable rubber toys are often the most resilient and gentle on even a puppy’s teeth. Rope toys are also very tough and often are machine washable, which is a plus. They’re also great for games of tug-of-war!

Best Dog Toys for Separation Anxiety

Often, the best toys for comfort are simply the ones that your pet enjoys. If you take your dog to a store and they keep trying to take a toy home, maybe give it a closer look! You can get plush dog toys that are advertised as resistant to chewing or helpful for power chewers. However, you may need to do more thorough research when compared to toys made out of natural rubber or rope.

Hide and Seek dog toys such as snuffle mats can also be a great way to distract the minds of an anxious dog regardless of their size. This will keep them busy and have a delicious reward at the end.

Enjoy Playtime With Wagmo

No matter what sort of dog you have, and no matter what fun you have together, your pet’s wellness is essential. Wagmo doesn’t just provide pet insurance plans. We also offer coverage for the everyday expenses of pet care. So you can focus on having fun with your dog, and we’ll focus on keeping them healthy and well.