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Many questions come across my desk and one of the most common is “what kind of dog toys should I get for my puppy?”
If you read yesterday’s blog article then you already know about the 2 dog toys we absolutely do not let our guide dog puppies play with at any time while involved in the guide dog program.
Just in case you missed that article then take a peek at what dog toys are not allowed for guide dog puppies?
Today I’m going in the other direction and talking about different types of toys that I would encourage you to get for your puppy.
Let start off by going over the reasons why your puppy should have different types of toys.
Why Should My Puppy Have Different Types Of Dog Toys?
I’ve probably sat guide dog puppy kindergarten over a dozen times and I must admit that every time I attend these puppy training classes I learn something new about how to train a puppy.
The first day of puppy kindergarten always covers dog toys and which kind of toys are good for our pups and which one’s we should avoid (ummm…tennis balls and frisbees if you’re keeping track from yesterday’s post).
One of the most important things I’ve learned about dog toys for puppies is that you should always get many different textured toys as your puppy may get bored with certain toys, he may not like certain textures, and it’s always good to mix it up to keep your puppy interested in his toys.
I’ve always found that each of my puppies has had a favorite kind of toy, but changing them around and not giving my puppy all the toys at once kept him more interested in whichever toy he happened to be playing with at the time.
So lesson #1 about dog toys for puppies: Get as many different textured toys as possible.
That brings us back to the title and what are the 6 types of toys for my puppy?
What Kind Of Dog Toys Should I Get?
Here are the 6 types of dog toys I’d recommend you purchase for your puppy.
Quoted areas are from our GDA Puppy Manual.
- KONG Toys (affiliate link) – “are bell shaped with a hollow core open at each end. They are made of a durable rubber, and can be a fun toy to toss for your pup, or can be used as a pacifier type toy to entertain your pup when you leave him alone.” My experience with the standard KONG Toy has been hit or miss with my puppies. Dublin and Apache both like playing with the red KONG Toy I purchased a while back. I also recently purchased the black extreme KONG Toy to test out with Apache. Of course Kong has a whole lineup of toys with varying levels of durability. For instance, the KONG Wubba’s eventually get destroyed, but are fun to toss around with your dog. I like to keep a close eye on my dog if he’s playing with a Wubba. The affiliate link above is for one of the many different KONG products. I’d recommend you shop around before deciding on the perfect KONG Toy for your puppy.
- Nylabones (affiliate link) – “are made of durable plastic and can be useful as a teething toy for your puppy’s sore teeth and gums. They come in several shapes and sizes.” Just like KONG, Nylabone has many different products with varying durability. I purchased one Nylabone product that Stetson destroyed in a matter of seconds. However, other Nylabone products have a high durability rating and can last for weeks to months. The affiliate link above is only one of many Nylabone products. I recommend you look at all the different products before deciding which one is best for your puppy.
- Hollow Sterilized Bones (affiliate link) – “can also be good for your puppy to gnaw on.” GDA actually issues us with a hollow sterilized bone in our puppy kits. Until I brought home Dublin all of my pups tried the sterilized bone, but none liked it…then there was Dublin. Dublin loved his sterilized bone and would gnaw on it for hours without barely leaving a dent. I loved giving Dublin his sterilized bone as it was relatively inexpensive and it lasted for several months. However, none of my other puppies liked these bones so I guess if you’re lucky your pup will spend hours on end with a sterilized bone.
- Rope Toys (affiliate link) – “can be fun to toss for your pup to chase. But please watch for loose or frayed pieces from a rope toy, which your pup may swallow.” I’ve heard these toys can be good for your dogs teeth too. Most of my puppies like the rope toys, but they easily fray and I’m always afraid my pup will swallow some of the string. I usually give them one, but I keep a close eye too make sure the toys remain in good condition.
Compressed Rawhide Bones (affiliate link) – “can be useful to help a teething puppy exercise his jaws. Compressed rawhide bones are firmer and denser than the common white knotted rawhides, and can take longer for your puppy to chew. These bones are only to be given when you can supervise your puppy to make sure he will not choke or swallow it whole.” I love the compressed rawhide bones during early puppyhood! When puppies are little they love to chew and these bones can last quite a while as long as your pup is still just a little pup! As your puppy gets older he will eventually tear these things apart fairly quickly. In fact I gave Apache a compressed rawhide bone the other day and he ate half of it in just a couple minutes. I took it away because I didn’t want him accidentally swallowing the other half whole. The affiliate link above is for quite a few compressed rawide bones through Amazon. You can purchase smaller quantities at your local pet store.
- Update: When we first started raising guide dog puppies over 10 years ago pressed rawhide was one of the recommend dog chews. We no longer give our puppies pressed rawhide bones or rawhide of any kind. A good alternative to pressed rawhide that we give to our dogs are Bully Sticks (affiliate link).
- Plush Toys (affiliate link) – “and stuffed animal type toys are quite popular in pet stores. Please be sure to supervise your puppy with these types of toys, as they can shred them quickly, and swallowed pieces can be dangerous. Other pups love to play and carry plush toys around, and can find these soft toys comforting. . So watch your puppy and be careful with these easy to destroy toys.” Probably the all time favorite of most puppies are the plush toys with little squeakers. While your puppy may love these plush toys please be sure to keep close watch when your pup plays with these toys as many puppies like to tear them apart remove and swallow stuffing and squeakers. Bottom line…Make sure you watch your puppy when he’s playing with plush toys! I chose the Kyjen Squirrel dog toy for the affiliate link above. Kyjen makes some of my favorite plush toys.
*Make sure toys are large enough not to be swallowed as your puppy grows.
If you decide to purchase any of these dog toys for your puppy make sure you purchase proper sizes especially as your puppy begins to grow up.
The small puppy size Nylabones should be used with very young puppies, but if you have a larger dog like a Labrador Retriever then as he grows older you’ll need to purchase larger dog toys and chews.
One final note. A lot of people recommend antlers for dogs, but unfortunately it is not recommended by Guide Dogs of America so I do not give my puppies antlers as chew toys.
However, I did write a couple posts on antlers for dogs and if you check out the post and comment section you can see many other peoples thoughts on these products and whether or not they will work for your dog or puppy. Take a look at:
Those are the 6 types of dog toys and chews I’d recommend you get for your puppy.
Remember don’t give him all of his toys at once. Maybe start him off with one or two toys the rotate them out for a different toy or two.
This will keep him more interested in his dog toys and help to relieve some of that crazy puppy energy.
How about you?
Do you have some favorite dog toys?
Are there other types of dog toys you buy your puppies?
Tell us about it in the comment section below.