The holiday season is fast approaching, and this means gift shopping for many pet parents. If you’re planning on purchasing a present for your dog, there are many toy options other than your basic stuffy that can give your dog mental and physical stimulation, as well as enjoyment for you as an owner! Here are a few suggestions for enriching gift ideas for your dog this holiday.
Food toys: food toys are fantastic for encouraging your dog to think while eating meals. Choose toys that have different shapes and pockets for food, allowing your dog to interact with the toy to get their meal or treat. Toys like treat balls are great for feeding meals and encouraging interaction; dogs will roll the ball along the floor with their noses to get the treats out, which is also great to encourage slower feeding! If you’re planning to fill a food toy with treats like cheese whiz or peanut butter, freezing them prior to giving your dog will prolong their interaction with the toy.
Puzzle toys: puzzle toys are generally designed with an area where food can be hidden, encouraging your dog to find it with differing degrees of difficulty. Like food toys, puzzle toys can be used as an alternative way of feeding your dog meals.
Tug toys: some dogs love to tug! Toys like rope toys with knotted ends, of long fabric toys, are great for encouraging tugging play with your dog. Just make sure that these toys are used only for tugging and are not used for unattended play; rope and strings can be dangerous if ingested.
Chase toys: instead of using your usual tennis ball to get your dog running, toys with a ball or a toy on the end of a long rope on a stick are great for encouraging your dog to chase. These aren’t just for cats! Spinning around with the stick end in your hand so the toy drags on the ground, or running while dragging it behind you will satisfy chase behaviours in dogs while also allowing you to get your exercise!
Many of these toys can be found at your local pet store, or through online retailers. Happy shopping!
Written by: Dr. Justine Antunes, DVM