Most of us know that man’s best friend is naturally playful, curious, and intelligent—especially when they’re still young and learning about the world. Because of this, a happy and healthy pup needs lots of stimulation to get its gears turning.
Adequate playtime and great toys are crucial if you want to keep your new puppy away from being bored and destroying your furniture.
Buying toys for your new pup is always exciting, but not all toys are equal. Just because it’s cute doesn’t mean it’s the best for your best friend. In fact, many toys marketed for dogs aren’t suitable for our pups, as some of them actually pose health hazards.
There are many horror stories of broken teeth or swallowed items caused by the wrong toys—and we all know that vet visits aren’t the most fun experience for our furry pals. So, it always pays to look closely at the toys we’re giving them.
We all want our pets to have fun as safely as possible. Because of this, we’ve compiled a list of the best dog toys to buy for your new pup. Read on to learn more!
Soft Toys for Younger and Smaller Pups
Younger pups (under 12 weeks) don’t need chew toys just yet—their baby teeth, if any, are still developing. They just need warmth, enrichment, and comfort at this stage. Because of this, soft comfort toys like the KONG Cozie Baily the Blue Dog Toy are ideal for them.
When giving plush toys to puppies, it’s best to ensure they’re durable, have reinforced seams, and don’t have dangling tags, buttons, and ribbons that your pup can pull off. Machine washable options are a plus, especially because these types of toys accumulate dirt easily.
If you’ll give your puppy a toy with bells or squeakers inside, it’s best to check it often for damage. The bells and squeakers may pose a choking hazard or block your pup’s digestive tract. If possible, avoid these toys altogether.
It’s important to note that although soft plush toys are great for younger pups and smaller breeds, they’re typically not designed for larger dogs and those that chew hard. If this is the case for your dog, you may want to opt for more durable toys like ones made of nylon.
Hard Nylon Teething Toys
It’s no surprise that some materials are better than others when it comes to toys, and hard nylon is one of the best ones out there. The good thing is that hard nylon toys are common and readily available. Hard nylon products are great for dogs who like to chew because they’re durable and non-toxic, making them safe for our munchy little pals.
Puppies’ baby teeth start to fall out at around 12 to 24 weeks of age, and they’re replaced by their adult, permanent teeth. During this period, your pup may chew a lot. This happens for numerous reasons—they’re strengthening their jaws, practicing their skills, and relieving the pain caused by teething. It’s a rather uncomfortable time for them, and it’s not fun for the pet parents either.
To help ease their discomfort (and save your shoes, toes, and furniture), it’s best to give them enriching toys to munch on. You may opt for hard nylon chewing toys like the Nylabone Puppy Pacifier Teething Toy, which can provide a lot of textures that your dog can investigate while being strong enough to endure their hard munching. Small pups may also enjoy the Nylabone Just for Puppies Teething Chew Toy, which contains flavors they can enjoy.
The KONG® Puppy dog toy is also a popular choice for many pet owners, as it doubles as a food puzzle toy. You can fill it with puppy kibble or dog-safe peanut butter to provide your pup with a little treat while it chews on the toy.
Of course, when choosing chew toys for your dog, it’s best to pick one that’s appropriate for its size. Smaller pups may not be able to chew big toys properly, while larger dogs may accidentally swallow tiny toys.
Hard Rubber Toys
Rubber is also another excellent option for your new pup, as it’s also durable and elastic, making it great for dogs who like to chew. However, if your dog is a hard chewer, you may want to supervise them when they play with rubber toys. It may shred them and bite off small pieces, which can lead to unexpected vet visits.
Toys like the Chew King Supreme Rubber Fetch Balls or some good old-fashioned tennis balls are great choices for your pup. You can bounce them around and encourage positive play for your dog. They’re a great way to spend some time and bond with your little furry buddy.
Durable Rope Toys for Older Puppies
Rope toys are a great option if you want to bond with your older pup. Dogs love a good game of tug-of-war, and these toys are excellent for that. However, you should exercise caution when playing with it. Make sure you’re not tugging too hard, and don’t attempt to lift your dog up while it’s biting on the rope. Doing so can injure it and even encourage aggressive behaviors.
As mentioned above, however, rope toys are better for older puppies. Younger ones (below 12 weeks of age) are more susceptible to injuries when playing tug-of-war. Their baby teeth are fragile, and so are their jaws and necks.
Make sure you’re getting rope toys made with durable materials like tightly braided cotton fibers. One good option is the Mammoth Flossy Chews Cottonblend 5-Knot Rope, which is large and durable. Its knots are designed to be resistant to unraveling, which prevents accidental swallowing for your pup.
Is Rawhide Safe?
Many pet parents want to offer their pets more “natural” toys like those made of rawhide, but some experts warn against them. Rawhide can contain toxic chemicals, and it can also be a choking hazard. It may also be susceptible to bacterial contamination, which can make your pup sick.
Your new pup needs various toys to be happy and regulate its destructive habits, but choosing the right ones can be tricky. Hopefully, this guide has helped you decide which ones are appropriate for your pup. Just ensure that the toys you get are just right for your dog’s size and chewing habits!
PetPal is an excellent resource for pet-related content—sign up now and connect with other pet lovers!