Dear Jake & Scout,
I’m sure you guys get this question all the time, but I have to ask. I have adopted my very first dog and would like to buy him some toys. Having children, I know to look for toys that are suitable for their age because some may be dangerous for them. Is it the same for dogs? What guidelines could you give me in my search for appropriate toys for my new friend?
What a smart new pet owner you are! Yes, there are many things to consider when selecting toys for your pets. There are many factors that contribute to the safety or danger of a toy. Many of those factors, however, are completely dependent upon your dog’s size, activity level and personal preference. Toys should be appropriate for your dog’s current size. Balls and other toys that are too small can easily be swallowed or become lodged in your dog’s mouth or throat. Always take note of any toy that contains a "squeaker" buried in its center. Your dog may find the squeak-source and could ingest it, in which case squeaking objects should be "supervision only" toys. Other goodies that should be given with supervision include "chewies" like hooves, pig’s ears and rawhides. Also avoid any toys that aren’t "dog-proof" – those with ribbons, strings, eyes or other parts that could be chewed and/or ingested. Very hard rubber toys, like Kong brand toys are safer and last longer.
To get the most out of your toys and protect your dog try rotating his toys weekly by making only four or five toys available at a time. Because you have children, you also understand the importance of making these toys interactive. "People time" is a very important part of your dog’s life and contributes greatly to his happiness. Throwing a Frisbee or playing fetch is a fun alternative to the same old toys and work to strengthen your bond with your new friend. Hope this helps!