Dog toys can be used as rewards during training, playtime with your dog, and playtime on their own. But, it’s not always as simple as just picking a toy and giving it to your dog. Here are some common dog toy mistakes to avoid:
Mistake #1 – Choosing the Wrong Toys for Your Dog
A dog toy is a dog toy, right? Wrong. Not all toys are right or safe for all dogs, especially when you are dealing with puppy toys and toys meant for adult dogs. Toys meant for puppies are specifically manufactured to fit smaller mouths with developing teeth or that are going through puppy teething.
Giving these toys to adult dogs can be dangerous as they can break or splinter more easily, which creates choking hazards and risks of intestinal damage or blockage if pieces are ingested. At the same time, giving toys meant for adult dogs to puppies can end up breaking or splintering their puppy teeth or damaging their developing teeth.
The size of the toy is also important. Giving tiny toys to large dogs is a choking hazard. Giving huge toys to tiny dogs can cause strain and damage over time depending on the toy. And, if you know your dog destroys certain toys in seconds and tries to ingest them, it’s probably better to avoid those and try a different type of dog toy.
Mistake #2 – Never Cleaning Your Dog’s Toys
From rubber or nylon toys to soft, plushie toys, stuffable toys, and more, there are a lot of different types of dog toys. Regardless of the type of dog toy your dog prefers, one of the common dog toy mistakes is never cleaning them.
In general, dog toys can get really gross over time. Toys that allow you to insert treats, peanut butter, food, etc. breed bacteria and, if left uncleaned, can grow mold and even lead to illness. It’s important to clean dog toys regularly to make sure those toys remain safe for your dog and aren’t making them sick.
Mistake #3 – Not Monitoring Chew Time
There are a lot of reasons why dogs chew and one of them is that it is a fun thing to do. But, it’s important to monitor your dog when they are chewing on a toy. You don’t have to sit and watch them the whole time, but you should be around to keep an eye on things.
When dogs have a chew toy, those toys can splinter, they can break, your dog can break off small pieces and eat them, your dog can choke on pieces that break off, etc. You want to be able to step in, remove the toy, and replace it with another one if the toy is no longer in good enough condition for your dog to chew on or play with safely.
Mistake #4 – Keeping Toys That Should be Thrown Out
At some point, your dog’s toys will reach the end of their life. They’ll be too destroyed, broken, torn apart, etc. to continue to be a good option for your dog to play with. It’s important to get rid of toys when they reach this point and replace them if needed. Keeping toys around when they should have been thrown out puts your dog at risk.
These are just a few common dog toy mistakes to avoid to help keep your dog safe when they are playing.