One of the most enjoyable things to do once you get a new puppy is to go toy shopping for the new little furry addition to your family. There are many factors to consider when choosing toys for puppies. Sure you have to think about what kind of toys your puppy may enjoy, but you also have to think about aspects like the durability of the toys, the functionality of the toys, and most importantly your puppy’s safety.
Puppies usually love to chew. Just like human babies, they're teething, and chewing on toys helps to soothe their mouths. Some only chew for that reason, while others enjoy squeaking a toy, shredding toys, or playing a game of tug or fetch.
There are a lot of factors that should play a part in your toy buying decision. Doing a little research on the best toys for puppies now could actually save you a lot of money in the long run.
If you take the time to select toys that will meet your dog's wants and needs, you won't have to spend money replacing toys over and over again in the future.
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How to Buy Appropriate Dog Toys for Puppies
Choosing the best dog toys for puppies
The first thing to look at is what breed of dog you have. Is he going to grow up to be on the larger side, like a Mastiff or a Great Dane? If so, you’re obviously going to want to purchase durable toys; otherwise, your dog will probably destroy them in about a day.
Actually, a rule of thumb for purchasing any toy for a puppy is durability and there are many great products out there. Anything made by KONG is ideal for larger dogs or really just for dogs that like to play hard. Kong toys are built to be tough, come in different sizes based on the dog breed, and withstand a lot of wear and tear.
Have a toy breed or a smaller dog? You can probably opt for smaller, less sturdy toys since his bite is not as likely to cause a lot of damage. This isn't a hard and fast rule. You can't decide which type of dog toys to buy based on your pooch's size alone.
Consider the age of your puppy and what stage of growth he may be in. Is he in full-on teething mode or is he past the teething stage?
If your puppy is teething, he’ll want to chew on absolutely everything just to find some relief for his sore gums.
Thankfully there are plenty of teething toys for puppies on the market to keep him occupied so that he doesn’t turn to your favorite bedroom slippers to relieve the discomfort in his mouth.
Again, KONG brand toys, like the company's Teething Stick, are a good choice for this stage of puppyhood. Some of them can be filled with water and put in the freezer to provide some cool comfort for your puppy’s mouth.
Hard nylon toys for puppies are a good choice here too. They are made of hard plastic and are pretty much indestructible. Finally, consider a good-quality rope toy as a teething aid. Similar to the KONG mentioned above, rope toys can be soaked in water and put in the freezer. As your pup gnaws on the rope, the ice will help provide relief for his gums.
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Where will the puppy toys be used?
Another important factor to consider is indoor toys versus outdoor toys. If your puppy has access to a fenced-in yard, consider purchasing plenty of tennis balls or even Frisbees. The idea is to get your puppy running around so that he gets adequate exercise and tires himself out.
Dogs love to chase balls or Frisbees, so make sure to have plenty on hand. KONG toys for puppies and nylon bones, like Nylabones, are made of hard rubber and plastic and can be utilized for outside play as well.
For indoor toys, there are plenty of soft squeaker toys on the market for your puppy to enjoy. These types of toys are a great comfort and cuddle toys for your puppy. However, they are also a toy that you will want to supervise your puppy with.
Some dogs have a tendency to want to rip the squeaker out of the toy. Not only does it damage the toy, but there is the potential for the squeaker to get caught in your puppy’s throat or in his intestine where it can cause some serious blockage.
There are also soft squeaker toys that have no stuffing in them. They are literally long cloth toys shaped like an animal with a long fuzzy tail. They are extremely light and perfect for flipping in the air during playtime. Again, this is a toy where you will want to monitor your puppy during play.
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Repurposing toys for puppies as they grow
When your puppy is a little older and past the teething stage, these toys can be repurposed in other ways. If you purchased a refillable Kong toy, put some peanut butter or broken-up treats in the toy and give it to your pup. He will literally be occupied for hours as he works to get to the yummy treat.
This is a great distraction for your puppy so that he doesn’t chew various things around the house. When a puppy is unsupervised – even for a short time – he can get something in his mouth so quickly. Unfortunately, this breeds the potential for him to swallow things that can be very harmful. If your puppy is working to get the treat out of his Kong toy, he’ll likely stay away from things that can get him into trouble
Use a rope toy to play tug-o-war with your puppy. Again, make sure he’s past the teething stage before engaging in tug-o-war. The pressure from the tug-o-war action could damage his growing teeth.
Of course, nothing says “super fun” like a good, old-fashioned tennis ball. Your puppy will love chasing the ball all around the house or all around outside. Plus, it is a great way to spend quality time with your new pooch.
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Remember that choosing toys for your new puppy does not have to be a complicated task. One of the best things you can do is to purchase age-appropriate, size-appropriate toys for your pup, keep in mind some basic safety, and make sure to keep an eye on your puppy when he’s at play.
Puppies tend to operate with a sort of reckless abandon and it’s up to you to not only make playtime fun but to also make playtime safe. That will set them up for many, many years of enjoyment and quality time with you as their person.
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