Toys prevent boredom and stimulate mental exercise. In general, the more the merrier. In practice, we recommend washing/cleaning and rotating toys periodically to simulate novelty factor. A good way to get lots of toys is to hold a small party for your new family member. (We think pet shops should let owners register for new dog/puppy showers but they’ve foolishly never consulted us; however, we continue to make ourselves available to beta-test this idea.)
- Tug: ropes, lure toys or long plush toys. For human safety, make sure the dog can hold onto the toy while avoiding direct contact with human skin.
- Fetch: Frisbees or enamel-safe (i.e. non-abrasive, gentle on teeth) balls. This does not include the widely used tennis ball. Alternatively, small round plush toys can be used indoor as well.
Never use golf balls or items that are small enough to swallow, break apart easily or cause choking.
Interactive pet activity and puzzle toys
Rubber toys such as Kongs, Jolly Pets that you can hide food treats in. Please make sure you use the right size toys as dogs have been known to break off and swallow large chunks of rubber.
- Besides rubber toys, Nina Ottoson makes many hard plastic toys that are dish-washer safe and easy to sanitize.
- JAs have powerful jaws. Scratched and broken toys can harbor bacteria and should be discarded if you are unable to sanitize them properly.
- Allowable chew toys. Dogs chew! And chew. And chew, and chew, and chew… And different puppies have different preference for chew toys as well.
- Edible chews are covered in the Food, Treat and Supplements section.
Avoid things that splinter, like wood sticks. PetStages make puppy-safe chew toys that are scented and shaped like bones and wood.
- Besides toys previously mentioned, durable dog-safe plush toys. It doesn’t hurt if the toys are really cute! Cute is good!
- Plush toys should be mended or discarded if the stuffing is coming out. Do not allow your dog to swallow the stuffing.
- Mighty Dog Toys have durability ratings on their plush toys.
- If you have a dog who likes to “kill” his plush toys for the squeaker, try stuffing free squeaker toys by Zippy Paws or Petstages or Pogo Plush.
- If the noise of squeaker toys drive you crazy, Ultrasonic HEAR DOGGY!® toys are made with a squeaker ONLY your dog can hear. (If you can hear it, you may be part-dog).
Suggested reading and toy brands:
- Exercise Your JA Puppy
- Tennis Balls and Your Dog’s Teeth
- Tennis Balls and Teeth Wear
- Teaching Your Dog to Play Tug-of-War
- Jolly Pets
- The Kong Company
- Hear Doggy!
- Mighty Dog Toys
- Nina Ottoson Puzzle Games & Toys
- Zippy Paws
- Toys, toys and more toys!