Pet Toys

Best Cat Toys
Cat Toys: Treat Balls
Dangerous Dog Toys
Durable Dog Toys
Organic Pet Toys and Supplies
Pet Toys for Multiple Dogs
Rubber Chew Toys
Stuffed Pet Toys

Tip #77: Best Cat Toys

Cat chews on rope toy

The best cat toys are ones your cat can enjoy more than once or twice. Some of the most interactive choices are toys with feathers or fur; these allow your cats to engage in play that simulates their hunt for prey in the wild. Even for outdoor cats this activity maintains vital muscles and coordination, helping them stay more active, alert and happy.

Avoid toys that can shred, tear or can be easily swallowed. Small toys or objects (such as a squeaker inside a mouse or bells) can be ingested by your cat, causing choking and intestinal obstruction.

Even if the toy looks like a great bargain, avoid it if it has pieces that can detach. The best cat toys don't have to be expensive; sometimes cats get the very best play out of a simple rolled-up ball of paper or a wine cork!

Tip #78: Cat Toys: Treat Balls

Kitten plays with toy

Are you worried that your cat isn't getting enough stimulation and exercise while you're at work all day? The perfect cat toys in this situation are treat balls: toys that you can fill up with your cat's favorite treats. Just fill up the ball, place it where your cat will find it, and let the fun begin. Look for a cat treat ball that is dishwasher safe for the easiest cleanup.

There's even a cat treat ball that allows you to record your voice. When your cat plays with the ball the familiar sound of your voice is there to comfort him. The ball dispenses treats periodically as it rolls, so your cat has to play to continue enjoying treats. It's a great way to know that your cat is getting some play time even when you have to be away from home. Be careful; excessive treats lead to obesity in pets.

Tip #79: Dangerous Dog Toys

Your dog loves to play, and play is a great form of exercise. Just be careful what kind of toys you choose for him because not all of them are safe. For example, bones and sticks might seem like the perfect fetch toy, but they can splinter and break, leaving sharp edges that can injure your dog or be ingested and cause internal damage.

Other examples of what to avoid include:

Two dogs share a stick
  • Soft dog toys like socks and latex toys. When they shred your dog might eat them, causing an internal obstruction.
  • Rawhides aren’t a good choice either, even though they are sold across the nation as toys and chews. They can block the intestines if they are swallowed whole, and some are coated a preservative that may be toxic to your pet.
  • Balls, like tennis balls and other play balls, can be swallowed by larger dogs and cause choking. If the ball has a squeaker inside, and the ball tears or rips, a dog might swallow the squeaker. This can cause choking or internal problems. 

Tip #80: Durable Dog Toys

Kong toy

If your dog is extra tough on toys, look for dog toys that are guaranteed not to break. There is a plethora of such toys on the market, and many of them bend, float on water and are guaranteed not to harm your dog. Durable dog toys last longer so your dog will get more use out of them.

Keep in mind that most cheap dog toys aren't resilient, so you'll end up buying more of them in the long run. Invest in durable dog toys, which might be more expensive up front but will last far longer.

Tip #81: Organic Pet Toys and Supplies

Kitten plays with toy

Organic pet toys and supplies are a growing trend in the pet market. Several manufacturers have created organic and recycled products from bedding to organic food and treats. These sustainable goods help save vital resources on the planet, but they have another benefit. Because they are created out of organic materials, they are often safer than your average toy for your pet to enjoy.

Several of these pet toys and supplies are created from recycled materials like plastic or rubber, while others are made out of sustainable resources such as hemp. They are still tough enough to stand up to rough play but they won't harm your pet or the environment.

Tip #82: Pet Toys for Multiple Dogs

Dog toy

Dog toys and cat toys may have similar designs in some cases, but since dogs are pack animals their toy needs are more complex. There are many schools of thought on sharing toys in a multiple dog household, but your best bet is trial and error unless you've already seen some evidence of territorial behavior associated with dog pet toys. If you are introducing a new dog into the pack, or starting a two-dog home for the first time, try keeping the new dog's toys separate until the dominant dog has asserted itself and the situation is stable.

When you feel the time is right to try sharing, try introducing some new, cheap dog toys and see what happens. You may see some dog toy sharing even before you have a chance to buy new dog toys, but chances are this won't happen until the pecking order is sorted out. Never try to force dogs to share when they don't want to, sometimes the best policy is simply to buy two of everything.

Tip #83: Rubber Chew Toys

Dog toy bone

Be sure to avoid soft rubber chew toys with rubber nubs or bumps on the surface. These small pieces of rubber are very easily broken off of the toy and swallowed. A better choice in dog chew toys are natural toys made of safe, organic materials, or hard rubber or nylon toys that won't break or shred. However, be aware that even a hard chew toy can break under constant chewing.

NOTE: If your dog chews off a piece of a hard chew toy or starts vomiting after playing with one, take him to the veterinarian immediately.

Tip #84: Stuffed Pet Toys

Black Labrador retriever

Never give your pets a stuffed toy that wasn't created especially for animals. The toy could be adorned with plastic eyes, decorations and other accouterments that your pet might swallow.

Many stuffed toys are filled with materials that could be toxic to your dog if the toy breaks open and he eats the stuffing. Keep in mind that toys made for children won't stand up to the type of rough play your dog can put a toy through, so even if they are non-toxic, sooner or later you'll end up with a mess of filler all over your house or yard. Stuffed pet toys are created especially for animals; they are more durable and animal-appropriate.

Make sure the stuffing in the pet toys you buy is non-toxic and that the seams and details are strong and secured. If you have any doubts about stuffed pet toys, ask your vet or look for another toy that may be more suitable for your particular pet.

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