toyNot all dog toys are created equal.  They can be bouncy, chewy, plush, or interactive.  But choosing the right toy for your dog can mean the difference between hours of fun or dollars wasted on a toy that bores your dog.

Here are the major considerations when choosing a toy that’s appropriate for your dog.

Durability

Probably the most common trait sought after for active dogs is durability.  If you have a highly active dog, or a dog that puts their canines to use, seek durable rubber toys.  Rubber is naturally durable, but squishy and stretchy enough to maintain your dogs interest in the toy (versus your shoes!).

The key to finding a durable rubber toy is looking for a toy with few edges, seams, or extremities.  Dogs will go after any extremities on toys (such as ropes and nubs) first, then will attack holes or any area they can sink their teeth into.  Toys such as the TurnUp™ maintain their shape with even the most aggressive chewers because the organic shape has no edges, and the roundness is difficult for the dog to hold in place.

Size

Choose a toy that is appropriate for the age and size of your dog.  Many companies offer toys for seniors and puppies.  Softer or squishier toys work well for seniors and puppies.

Make sure to choose a toy that fits the size of your dog’s mouth.  A toy should have enough weight and bulk that a large dog can carry it in their mouth without fear of choking, yet small enough to be easily carried around.  The SquareBall™ is an over-sized toy, ideal for big dogs with large mouths.  The small Gourdo™, on the other hand, is a softer, pint-sized toy ideal for puppies and toy breeds.

Age and Activity Level

If you have a dog with good athleticism or fetching skill, you will want to choose a toy that’s easy to throw a far distance.  Look for discs, balls, or toys with some heft and aerodynamics, which will help it cut through the air.

Rubber toys in odd shapes are great for athletic dogs because they bounce high and erratic.  A toy such as the TurnUp™ will fit in a ball thrower (such as a Chuck-It) for extra distance, and will continue to bounce upon landing.

If you have a dog that is an athletic swimmer, a floating toy or disc such as the Hover Craft™ or Lunker™ will allow you to combine running, swimming, and fetching all in one throw.

Older or less energetic dogs do better with toys that are softer on teeth and gums, gain less momentum, and bounce lower to the ground.  Plush toys, or soft rubber toys such as the Sqwash™, are great choices because they don’t require a lot of energy to fetch, move, or play with.

Mental Stimulation

The final consideration when picking out a toy is the level of mental stimulation it provides your dog.  Some toys, such as the TurnUp™ and Sqwash™, provide a hole to place snacks or peanut butter inside them, keeping your dog busy and challenging them to obtain their “treat”.

Other toys are created for training purposes, such as the Lunker™, which is often used in fowl training and water fetch activities.

Try to match your toy with your dog’s patience and energy level.  A high-energy dog left at home will require much more stimulation than a low-activity breed or senior dog.  Switching up toys on a daily basis will also help prevent boredom.

It is always recommended to address highly energetic dogs with lots of interactive activity, such as fetching, running, or walking, but selecting the right toys can help assist in this interaction.