You pick up dozens of dog toys every day. It seems like your dog’s favorites are always spread all over the house or in your bed. But what about those lonely dog toys in the bottom of the basket that only get taken out when he’s searching for his favorites? He never plays with some of his toys. What’s sadder than a pile of dog toys your dog won’t touch? Well, save your money. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 most disappointing toys your dog will hate.
1. “Mental” Toys You know those toys that claim they can keep your dog mentally stimulated? Some are shaped like a cube you can fill with treats that tumble out as your dog turns the cube over the right way. Unless you fill the toy with cheese or peanut butter or your dog’s favorite-est treat, he’s not going to give it a second look. While the concept is sound, the practicality just doesn’t follow through. Your dog thinks this one’s a bore.
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2. The Stuffed Cat/ Stuffed Squirrel While your dog may love having one of these to chew on, he’ll certainly be confused and frustrated when he’s not allowed to chew on the “real thing”.
3. The Stache Whoever thought putting a mustache on your dog was a good idea, must have had a REALLY laid back dog. Your dog will hate having this thing stuck to his face and will rip it off and chew it to pieces to prevent its reattachment at a later date.
4. Double Balls You know those nifty toys with two balls tied together so you can have one and your dog gets the other? They’re meant to make fetch easier, or teach your dog “give it”. What happens in reality is he chews through whatever holds the balls together within the first day and you end up with two slobbery balls that don’t serve their original purpose. Save your money and just buy the regular balls.
5. Dog Puzzles Just back away from the dog puzzles and no one gets hurt. I know they sound like fun, but unless you have a poodle, your dog will probably hate it.
6. The Super Tug This tug-of-war toy is meant to be tied to a tree to provide hours of tug play for your dog. The problem with that is yoru dog never wins. Therefore, this toy is a big fat zero in your dog’s book.
7. Cheaply Made Plush Toys While it may be tempting to buy the cheapest plush toys available, avoid the temptation. Your dog will rip it to shred in minutes and then be disappointed that his new toy is trashed. Splurge for the better made plushies made to stand up to doggie teeth and claws.
8. The Hard Plastic Frisbee The traditional Frisbee may be great fun for you, but your dog needs a special doggie version that won’t hurt his teeth or break apart after a few tosses.
9. The Sneaker Chew Toy While the chewy shoe might be great entertainment, like the cat and squirrel, the chewy show will only cause confusion and frustration for your dog when he can’t chew the real thing.
10. Chewable Doggie Dollars Do we even have to explain why this one is a bad idea? Unless you want to teach your pup its okay to chew up your wallet, paycheck, or pocket money, don’t go there. It may be a cute gag gift, but it’s sure to cause headaches for everyone.
Unsafe toys for Dogs
While we’re one the subject of bad dog toys, we’d like to mention toys that are unsafe for dogs. Always examine all dog toys for loose parts your dog can swallow (squeakers included). Cooked bones are not safe for you dog to play with as they can easily splinter and get lodged in your dog’s esophagus or shred his digestive tract. Cheap rawhide toys are widely known to be unsafe for dogs to consume, and some popular treats like pig ears can cause indigestion and diarrhea in some dogs. Tennis balls aren’t appropriate for all dogs, as some will chew off the covering and swallow it whole. Plush tys are okay as long as you monitor your dog and make sure she doesn’t swallow the stuffing once she “kills” the toy. Balloons not only freak out most dogs, they can be a choking hazard if he bites them. Small pieces of latex can get lodged in his windpipe and block his breathing.
A good rule of thumb is not to give your dog anything you wouldn’t give a toddler. In addition, you’ll need to check toys throughly for swallow-able parts because the whole point of the toy for him is to chew it to pieces. He’s going to chew, so make sure the toy can hold up to the abuse. If your dog is devoted chewer of everything he finds, eliminate all rope toys from his basket. You’ll also want to keep any toys with loose thread out of reach. Thread, rope, string, and similar objects are known as linear objects and are dangerous to your dog if he swallows them. These items can become lodged in his stomach and extend into his intestines causing blockage of the digestive track. These types of foreign bodies are considered medical emergencies and usually require immediate surgical intervention.
You want your dog to have fun, but he relies on you to keep him safe as well. Only provide size appropriate toys for your dog that have been approved for safe play. If you need a few solid recommendations, ask your vet at your next appointment. And remember, just because a toy is made by a reputable manufacturer or is “made in the U.S.A” doesn’t mean it’s safe for your dog. Just like toys for children, some unsafe toys slip through and are eventually recalled once they’re harmed enough dogs to draw attention to the problem.
What are your favorite dog-safe toys?