Just as children -- and even some adults -- enjoy playing with toys, so do puppies and dogs. Not only are toys fun for your dog, but the best doggie toys provide other benefits to a dog's health and well-being. In the WebMD online discussion, Caring for Your Pet, guest veterinarian Will Draper, DVM, encourages pet owners to get toys for their dogs. They keep dogs busy, allow them to exercise, and help with teething pain for puppies. But he also notes that not all dog toys are created equal or well suited for every type of dog.
First, Draper advises pet owners to match the size of the toy to the size of the dog. Don't get a toy that's so small a puppy or dog can swallow it and choke, or so big that your tiny Chihuahua can't handle it. He also says to look for toys that don't have pointy edges -- which could injure a dog's eyes or mouth -- or small pieces that could come off and get lodged in their throat.
Look for "vet-tested and approved" labels when buying dog toys, Draper says. And it's always good to stick to the tried and true: a sturdy rubber chew toy with no sharp edges -- a hit with almost every dog.
One pet owner recommends the cylindrical Kong, in which treats can be hidden (like a small amount of peanut butter). Her dog gets a workout with his Kong every evening.
Another dog owner has an AKC-approved stuffed pheasant -- well, formerly stuffed. Although all the stuffing has been chewed out, her dogs still love their favorite toy.
What kind of toys do you provide for your canine friends? How do you choose which toys are best?