We’ve got a new Labrador puppy on the way and I’m starting to puppy proof the house. Part of this deals with two very large baskets of dog toys that have been collected by our two labs from the past fourteen years. A lot of these will be fine for our new dog in time but for the immediate I know I have to store these and get the toys to a minimum for training. With this many toys around it will be hard for the new pup to discern what’s hers and what’s ours. While training toys are a reward.
So what puppy toys are good? What would be the main criteria to look for in some good puppy toys? You know I want to have some good ones for her when she gets here.
As I well remember from my yellow pup fifteen years ago Labrador puppies can be very mouthy. If you do not give them something to chew on you or your possessions will be the target of those little needle teeth. So chew toys are at the top of my list. Do not give vinyl or any materials that may chip off and become lodged in the intestines. Also nothing too hard. Cow hooves and bones are not good for puppies as they may do dental damage. Rawhide that’s dyed is not a good choice. Natural rawhide is much better. Make sure the rawhide is the correct size for your puppy. You do not want to give a large breed puppy small bones that can be swallowed whole. Latex toys are very good and some companies even have special makes for puppies, a little softer. The Kong brand has a couple different shapes for puppies and are made from this special latex. Petstages is another great company making very innovative, interactive toys for dogs and has toys to freeze to relieve puppy teething.
Plush puppy toys are fine but if they start to get torn throw them away. Mechanical parts in a squeaker may be swallowed. Do not give your pup toys with parts that could come loose easily (eyes, ears, strings, sticks etc). My last two labs would rip the labels off the fleece toys first thing. Many makers manufacture plush dog toys with no squeakers and no stuffing. Have you ever have to clean up that cotton stuffing all over the back yard?
Dogs were originally breed for types of functions to help man. These instincts are still bred in your dog and will give you a idea on what types of activities are good for your puppy. As I said before we are Labrador people and have a chocolate female on the way. She is a Retriever so I will working with those instinct for some exercise and training right from the start. Balls are fine again making sure they are latex, not vinyl, and all toys should be non-toxic. Planet Dog makes some fine eco friendly non-toxic toys. Most toy makers have sizing clearly marked on the packaging. Some balls are made like tennis balls but are thicker and heavier. Some are flavored.
Be a good dog owner and get safe toys for your pet from any pet store that carries puppy supplies. First month or so playtime should not be unattended. Manufacturers are very safety oriented and there are lot’s to choose from to give your puppy many hours of fun.