Well…. If you were to ask your PETS I’m sure they would say too much is never enough. More is better right, or is it? The most important issue with toys is not how many a pet has, but how safe they are and of course do they fit their specific personality.Ideally, your pets toys should not only keep their minds and bodies active but also strengthen the bond they have with you. The goal here is to make sure your pet toys are used often so the can get worn out. Pets can have as many toys as you want and can afford to buy. But if the toys wind up unplayed with and scattered on the floor, and the only time they see any action is when you trip over them, then yes, you probably have too many toys. In other words, it’s better to have a few toys used well than a lot of toys not used at all.
A pets toys should motivate them to ACTION. Your pets toys should be used often and involved in the process of being worn out, they are not museum pieces. Toys are supposed to inspire your pets to workout, just like our workout equipment after awhile it will wear out and you’ll need to get new equipment.
In my opinion there are 2 categories of toys 1. Interaction playtime. Which means these are toys the 2 of you engage in together. 2. Alone playtime. Which means these are toys that your pet indulges in on their own. I feel every pet whether a cat or dog needs a healthy amount of both.
Too many toys at once can create indifference in PETS. To keep that appreciation high and interest peaked do not give too many toys at once. No more than 7 to 10 out at a time, believe it or not your pet has discriminating tastes and they will let you know what is he or she’s favorite. Making sure you find out what kind of toys your pet likes is the sign and duty of a good pet parent. Yep, some prefer soft toys over hard toys and vice versa, some prefer small toys over larger ones, some like toys that make noise and some do not etc. It is our job to be observant enough to see what toys float your pets boat. As a rule when you find out which toy is your pets favorite buy 2 of them and when one wears out you’ll have a spare.
Redirect your PETS natural chewing behavior. Chewing is a natural behavior for Cats & Dogs, not only for teething puppies and kitties but also for adolescents. And some breeds and their mixes seem to need to chew long past those teen years: Labradors and French Bull dogs for example, chew well past the puppy stage. For these dogs, vet-approved chew toys are a must, not only to protect items like shoes and remote controls from being destroyed but also to satisfy your their natural desires to gnaw on something substantial. Because chew toys that are rock-hard can break teeth make sure you get Vet approved ones if you have a heavy chewer.
Eliminate any possibility of boredom. It’s true ALL pets get bored just like we do. Did you know most unwanted behavior in pets stems from boredom or something emotional. All attention from you counts, good is the best but if that doesn’t work pets will resort to doing naughty behavior to get attention from you. Many pets are left alone for hours at a time while family members are at work or school. Most learn to cope with the time alone, but it’s not easy for any of them. Even if a pet doesn’t have separation anxiety, being alone is stressful and especially hard on active young pets. Remember you are your pets whole world and everything is centered around you. We have our social life, work and family, your pet has YOU. Using toys to keep the mind and body busy helps these pets a lot. You can help your dogs by stuffing Kong toys and putting them in the freezer, and handing them to your dogs when you leave. It’ll keep ’em busy and happy. For Cats get mind teasing puzzles with moving parts like balls that are fun to engage in.
Make your PETS work for their treats. Anyone that knows me already knows I’m a big believer in this one. These days pets are “born retired,” and the easy life takes a toll. They’re bored, unfit and, too often, fat. All these things can lead to behavior and health problems. These toys can be simple and relatively inexpensive, like the type that makes your dog roll or nose the item to get it to dispense kibble. For your Cat get puzzles that they have to use their paws to interact. Also more complicated brainteasers that really push your Cat or Dog to use his noodle. I like to give pets a variety of options when it comes to toys, food puzzles & brainteasers for fun. These puzzles can be done alone with your pet or you can be involved with them.
Strengthen the bond you share with your PETS. You may think it’s just a game of fetch but when you throw a ball for your dog to retrieve, it’s so much more. You’re giving him the heart-thumping daily exercise he needs, that too many dogs don’t get ( Cats can be taught to fetch also my BEIJO loved it). When your pets return what you throw and gives it back, they are working as your partner in a game that builds your bond. You can start there and build on this foundation. Also gentle tug of war (remember not to pull too hard because of their teeth) I do this with Cats as well or my all time favorite the DA-BIRD Toy. This toy is a kitty favorite because it unlocks their primitive nature of the hunt. The possibilities are endless, and they all help your relationship.
Lastly always remember to prioritize SAFETY First. Use common sense and supervise playtime when necessary. Discard broken or torn items and balls, cut off eyes or string and examine seams on squeaker toys, never give a pet a hemorrhaging toy that has stuffing coming out, all may be choking hazards. When shopping for new toys, look for child-safe labels and avoid those with stain retardants, fabric guard or chemical odors. Also if toys get really slobbered on give them a good washing and let them air dry before giving them back to your pets, this will keep everybody healthy by keeping the icky bacteria down.
In closing spoil your pets with all your heart, they are with us for such a short amount of time. Until next time remember PETS RULE!