Pets are considered members of the family. As pet parents, we do our best to make our furry companions as comfortable as possible. According to the American Pet Product Association (APPA) $56 billion was spent on food, supplies, vet care, live animal purchases and pet services last year. When a new puppy becomes a member of the family it can be very exciting as well as stressful when it comes to supplying what the puppy needs. One need a puppy cannot be without are chew toys. Puppies need chew toys for teething and massaging their gums. A visit to your local pet store can be a bit overwhelming with the wide selection of chew toys. Selecting a chew toy may not seem like a big deal, however there is such a thing as picking a wrong toy. As a puppy grows the puppy can develop unwanted behavior due to the toys that were selected for him. I went to a couple of pet stores and purchased some of these toys for examples.
When I saw Care Bears for dogs, I thought it was a cute toy. When I was a kid, I had Care Bears. And if I had little ones in the house I'm sure they would have Care Bears too. That right there would be a problem. If I teach my dog to chew on a toy that looks like a toy that belongs to my kid, then how can I expect my dog not to chew on my child's toy? I happened to find my old Care Bear at my parents house and noticed some choking hazards if my dog was to get to it.
Every year around Easter I see these Peeps toys at a popular pet store. Visually this toy looks too much like the real product. To teach your dog to fixate on a toy that looks like candy could lead your dog to the real thing. Sugar and marshmallow won't cause long term effects but can cause vomiting, diarrhea and/or a trip to the vet.
The final toy I have for this post is probably one of the most common mistakes that is made. Fuzzy slippers. When I worked in a local pet store, so many customers would tell me that their dog has chewed up multiple pairs of shoes. To try to fix the problem, they felt they would give the dog shoes of their own to chew on. Most of the time it would be an old pair of shoes that the owner doesn't care for anymore. This is a big mistake because not only does the shoe look like any other shoe, the old pair has the smell of the owner, a smell the dog enjoys. If the dog is praised for chewing on a "toy" that looks and/or smells like all your other shoes, then that give the dog a motive to continue chewing on good shoes as well. These fuzzy slippers may not have the owners smell, but visually it's the same. And the fact that it's also a plush toy can also lead to other items in the house such as pillows.
All these toys are very cute and attractive. However, in reality they are designed for our attraction so we will buy them for our dogs. A dog will find a stick just as fun and interesting if the owner uses it to interact with him. When selecting a toy for your pup, try to keep away from toys that resembles any item you have in the house to prevent any damage to your property or your dog. Kong's, Nylabones, rope toys, and other toys that are uniquely shaped for dogs are good choices. Remember to choose toys that cannot fit in your dogs mouth and supervise your dog during play time.
I am an ABC Certified Dog Trainer and owner of Furry Tail Dog Training.
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