While toys are sometimes viewed as time-wasters in the human world, for pets they are a benefit that can help prevent boredom, encourage them to move around more and strengthen the bond between us and them.
Choosing the toy which will be best for your pet can be tricky given the choice available, but the PDSA have offered some advice on how to choose the perfect toy for your four-legged friend.
Ten top tips from the PDSA vets on how to pick the perfect toy for your pet.
This might sound obvious, but make sure the toy is made specifically for pets. Toys designed for children are less likely to stand up to the rough and tumble of pet playtime.
Pet toys should be non-toxic, and not have any parts that can be easily bitten off, chewed or swallowed.
Toys with any damage should be replaced as they may cause issues if your pet swallows any pieces.
Check that the toy is the right size for your pet – make sure it can’t be easily swallowed whole. Our vets regularly see dogs who have swallowed small objects and cats that have swallowed wool or tinsel after playing and pouncing on them. These items can become lodged in their stomachs and intestines and can be life-threatening. Often major surgery is needed to remove them. Vets advise that the toy is too small if it can be carried easily in your pet’s mouth.
Throwing toys for dogs to fetch can keep them fit – and they love it. There are lots of manufactured toys, such as Frisbees, that replace the traditional stick, which can cause terrible injuries, so are best to be avoided.
Some of the safest toys will have been designed for your dog to carry without being able to get the whole thing into his mouth. Rubber rings and big squashy balls are good but check they are puncture-proof from canine teeth.
Cats love toys that move quickly and unpredictably and this will encourage chasing and hunting-type behaviour. Fishing rod-type toys are ideal for this, as are toys that move by themselves or ones that the cat can bat around. Just remember to keep your hands out of harm’s way!
Always keep a close eye on your pets when playing with toys, unless you’re completely satisfied that the toy is durable enough that your pet can’t destroy it.
Taking your time when choosing a new toy for your pet pal ensures you are both more likely to get hours of safe fun and entertainment from it.
Variety is the spice of life – our pets may get bored looking at the same toys week-in week-out, so do change them around to keep things interesting.