Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Don't Be Stingy with Toys!

I'm often surprised by the toys clients offer their dogs. At every age, dogs need new toys--and a variety. Look in your dog's toy box right now: see any he hasn't played with in a while? Hide them for a week and reintroduce them. Or is there a toy he's never played with? Swap with a friend! Dogs have different tastes. Of course.

Now swap out his toys. Don't let him see all of them all the time. Hide them away. Be interesting! Save some toys for when you're out of the houaw and he can stay busy.

What kind of toys should he have? Depends on the dog, of course, but do be careful. When I've looked over clients' dog toy boxes, I'm often appalled to find dangerous toys for that particular dog. Your large-breed dog should NOT have small vinyl squeak toys, no matter how gentle she is! In two seconds flat a dog that size can rip open the vinyl cat and choke to death on the squeaker. And a long narrow rope tie can easily end up in a dog's intestines, potentially causing major damage and surgery. (A senior dog I knew decided one day to eat the belt from a bathrobe without her person's knowledge! Yikes!)

What's good to try? Kongs! Stuffed or even stuffed and frozen! Busy toys and puzzles--there's a zillion on the market now. Galileo bones! Nylabones--not the edible (destructive) kind. Kong Wubbas wrapped in fabric! Katie's Bumpers! Large rope toys! Stuffed and unstuffed animals ONLY when you're supervising.

What household items make good toys? NONE! No, not even the empty Gatorade bottle. You CAN put an empty water bottle in a Katie's Bumper toy and your dog can enjoy that crunchy sound--supervised!

How many? Your dog should have at least 20 toys! Really! How many does your four-year-old child have? Yes, they cost money--but most last and last. You guessed it: your dog deserves the best!