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Pet owners: Your pet’s toys are a vital part of their lives. Here’s why

The Humane Society says, “For dogs and other pets, toys are not a luxury, but a necessity.” You may have noticed a big change in the pet world within the past five years. During that time, almost every store, from grocery to department stores, expanded their pet toy aisle. And then came the pandemic! Pet adoptions soared as people began working from home and not socializing with others. Parents gave in to their kids who wanted a furry friend for company because the kids were home, away from friends, schooling via Zoom. In short, people were lonely. Pets filled an important gap in our lives. And pet toy sales boomed!

Vets and other animal specialists are pleased that pet owners are getting toys for their furry companions.

Here are some reasons why toys are good for your pet:

  • Toys provide exercise, both mental and physical. Dog and cat owners easily understand how some toys give their dogs or cats physical exercise. But mental stimulation for our pets is also very important. The mental stimulation your pet gets can tire them out as much as a 30-minute walk, according to the RSPCA. And a tired pet usually won’t get themselves into as much trouble as a bored, energetic one.
  • Toys can also keep your cat or dog happier and more relaxed. As you’ve probably guessed, your pet enjoys playing with you! The interaction can reduce stress in your fur buddy, and you probably relax with them as you play, too!
  • Dogs especially, being pack animals, are not “wired” to spending lots of time alone. However, toys can keep them occupied and happy until you return or can give them attention.
  • Toys can help your dog or cat learn new things and reinforce their natural instincts for foraging and exploring.
  • Toys for your pet can keep them from developing bad behaviors. For example, if your doggie has a chew toy, she won’t be as likely to chew on your shoes. A cat with a scratching post is less likely to sharpen his claws on your sofa.
  • Gifting your cat or dog with a new toy will endear them even more to you. You’ll enjoy exploring the new toy as it challenges your pet, as well!

A word of caution

As much as you and your pet love toys, always be careful to provide toys that you know are safe. Many imported so-called “knock-off” toys are not made to the stringent guidelines as, say, a national name-brand toy. Imported toys may contain toxins. Some have been known to fall apart and/or cause injury to pets. The last thing any pet owner wants is for Fido to choke on a toy or be injured because of a failed toy.

You can research the toy manufacturer online and check reviews of specific toys before you purchase them for your pet. According to American Pet Products, there are no specific regulatory requirements for pet toys. With that in mind, every cat and dog owner should take responsibility to thoroughly research each pet toy before presenting it to a pet.

Please read this article about popular pet toys by our Pet Vet, Dr. Karel Carnohan, DMV.

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SANDRA S MCINTOSH
1 month ago

The only “toy” our dogs wanted were tennis balls or a stick.

Kate
1 month ago

Our rescue dog doesn’t want to play with toys. Any suggestions on teaching HIM how to play. He loves taking walks, but not playing.

KellyR
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

We got our current dog, Shih Tzu, when she was eleven. She does not play with toys, like our others did. She has basically stated: “Been there, done that, I did that when I was a puppy, but I am now an old lady, let me rest.”

Leslie Schofield
1 month ago

Our dog does not play with toys when we are gone…..he parks himself at the front door and waits for us to come home. When we get home he then wants to play and brings his toys to us to play with him.