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Tennis balls, Frisbees, rawhides, and Kongs. Dog toys line
the shelves of multiple aisles at pet stores. With all of the
choices, which toys should or shouldn't you buy for man's best
Dr. Mark Stickney, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of
General Surgery Services at Texas A&M University College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said that when first
giving your dog toys, buy a variety of toys to see what the animal
"They are going to have a toy preference the same way that
children have toy preferences," he said. "Once you determine their
favorites, you can adjust your selection and your budget
accordingly for the toys that entertain your pet."
To help guide your purchases, Stickney said it's important to
make sure the toy is made of nontoxic material and the appropriate
size toy for the animal. A five-pound Yorkie, for example,
will not be able to use an extra-large Kong toy made for a
Rotweiller. Kong toys, he added, are one of his favorite
brands because it keeps the pets busy by challenging them to get a
treat out of the small hole of the toy.
"Kong toys are fantastic because the animal has to work, but
they are also rewarded for their hard effort," Stickney said.
He explained that they are virtually indestructible because
they are made of a durable rubber.
For most Kongs, an edible treat is placed inside the toy.
For treats, Stickney said, it is important to consider the amount
of calories in the snack. He advised that treats should
encompass no more than five percent of the animal's total
diet. It is important to limit the number of treats given so
the animal does not put on extra weight.
Another edible toy for dogs is rawhides. Stickney said
rawhides are great for the animal to chew on because it will not
damage their teeth. He advises buying rawhides the animal can
chew on for a few hours instead of a few days.
"When rawhides sit around for too long, they grow bacteria and
can potentially make your pet sick," Stickney said.
Ropes are a common toy that pet owners should avoid.
String can get caught in the animal's intestinal track and cause a
"linear foreign body." Stickney explained that when the
animal continues to pass it, the string can end up "sawing" a hole
through their intestines.
"This is similar to them getting a rope burn on the inside of
their intestines," he said. "It can kill them. Nothing with
string of any sort is good for them."
After giving the toys to the animal, Stickney said it is
important to monitor the pet for a few hours.
"You need to watch them to make sure they are not going to end
up hurting themselves on it by tearing it into pieces, swallowing
it, or cutting themselves on it," Stickney said.
Once you know your pets can't get into trouble with their new
toys, it is fine to leave them alone with the toys.
"That is the beauty of having things that enrich their lives,"
Stickney said. "This way, they have something to do when the fun
people are out of the house for a while. It keeps them busy."
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