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Best Toys For A New Puppy

One of the most exciting parts of getting a new puppy is buying all the puppy paraphernalia you’ll need. There are thousands of colourful, varied dog toys available to keep your little pooch entertained, and you probably want to buy your precious puppy all of them.

However, buying toys for a puppy is often very different from buying toys for a fully grown dog. There are safety issues, comfort issues, and much more to consider.

So, if you have a new puppy in your home, what toys should you consider buying – and which toys should you avoid?

Good Puppy Toys

Fortunately, there are plenty of suitable puppy toys available on the pet market today. You can easily find toys marketed specifically towards puppies in most pet stores.

· Chew Toys or Teething Toys

The first type of toys you should consider are chew toys and teething toys. Your puppy will start getting their adult teeth at around four months old, depending on the breed and individual dog, and teething can go on until the dog is around six months old.

This means that your puppy will be in discomfort or even pain as their adult teeth come through, and they will want to chew to relieve this pain.

If you don’t provide suitable chew toys, your puppy will find something else to chew. Maybe it’ll be your shoes. Maybe it’ll be the furniture. But one thing is for sure – the cheapest and safest option is to buy your pup a chew toy.

Flavoured bone toys, chew rings, and firm, rubbery toys are all good options for chew toys. Make sure the toy is suitable for puppies when you buy it.

· Kong Toys

A Kong toy is a firm, rubbery cone with hollow insides. It provides a great chew toy for your pup, and you can fill the hollow inside with treats to keep them occupied. You can get Kong toys in various colours, shapes, and sizes, and there are some Kong toys designed especially for pups.

· Balls/Tug-of-War Toys

A ball is a classic dog toy, and most dogs love playing with and chasing balls. Some ball toys come with specially designed throwing arms, which are fantastic for getting your pup to run after the ball and tire themselves out.

Tug-of-war toys are also great for interactive play with your pup and can also double as chew toys. However, tug-of-war toys can teach your pup to hang onto anything they see as a “toy” and never let go – so beware!

· Puzzles

Playtime isn’t just a way for your pup to burn off energy. Play is how your puppy learns, and how they bond with you. Puzzle toys are a good way for your puppy to learn and sharpen their mental skills and agility.

Most puzzle toys use food as a motivation – your puppy will want to figure out the puzzle to get the tasty treat! How successful a puzzle toy is can depend on your dog’s breed as well as its personality. Some dogs are more intelligent and work out puzzle toys so quickly that they’re not a challenge, whereas others lose interest almost straight away.

However, you should still try out some puzzle toys on your pup.

· Treat Toys

Last but certainly not least, treat toys are an important piece of any pup owner’s arsenal. There’s nothing quite like treats to keep a puppy occupied and treat toys (like Kongs or even puzzle toys) can help to calm an anxious pup when you go out.

It’s worth noting that pups that aren’t food motivated won’t be quite as interested in treat toys or puzzle toys.

Bad Puppy Toys

Unfortunately, not every dog toy is suitable – or safe! – for a puppy. Here are some types of toys to avoid.

· Toys for Adult Dogs

Some adult dog toys are fine for puppies, but many of them aren’t. Adult dog toys tend to be bigger, heavier, and harder than the average puppy toy. This can make them uncomfortable for a puppy. At best, your puppy might just lose interest in the toy, but at worst, the toy could actually hurt your puppy’s mouth or paws.

· Toys Not Designed for Dogs

Some pet owners give their dogs toys that aren’t strictly dog toys. These could include plush toys designed for children, old slippers, or even the classic tennis ball, as well as other types of balls.

Giving your adult dog a tennis ball is usually fine, but really, you should always give your dog toys designed for dogs. Other types of toys might have small parts that come off (for example, plastic eyes and noses of plush teddies designed for children can be easily chewed off) or simply might not be able to stand up to a dog’s chewing.

Play it safe. Buy a dog toy.

· Very Small or Hard Toys

Toys designed for adult dogs can be too hard for a puppy’s baby teeth and can even damage their adult teeth as they come through. Just as you would with a baby, never give your puppy anything they could choke on.

It stands to reason that if you have a Great Dane puppy, you really shouldn’t give them a tiny rubber ball designed for a Chihuahua! As your puppy grows, you’ll need to buy them larger toys. A rubber bone that fit perfectly in your pup’s mouth two months ago might not be at risk of being swallowed.

· Toys That Encourage Bad Behaviour

Toys like tug-of-war toys can encourage some dogs to aggressively hold onto anything they see as “theirs”, even if it’s done in play. This can lead to your dog hanging determinedly onto your shoe as you try and pull it away!

Some dog toys resemble things around the house – like slippers, for example. Ask yourself this – can your puppy tell the difference between the toy slipper and your real slippers?

In conclusion, always supervise your pup while they play. Keep an eye on their toys for damage or wear and tear, and replace toys when they wear out.

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