Let's admit it, we all love toys and we all look forward to receiving our favorite toys as gifts. My toys include my crafting tools and new gadgets for my computer. Toys can be anything that brings pleasure when you touch or look at or use it
Pets love toys, too. A toy can be as easy as a ball of yarn for a cat or an old tennis ball for a dog.
While we're speaking of cats, they love things that move and make them work. The fishing pole type toy above will make your cat think he's hunting and chasing big game. It's a fun way to get an older, more sedate cat interested in moving around.
Another cat toy is this ring with a ball inside. The cat can't get the ball out, but can spend hours trying.
Pet birds like toys they can preen and chew on.
These rope and straw toys provide hours of fun for birds. My two birds play with theirs all the time.
It's easy to make bird toys with string and shiny items all fastened together and it's a great deal of fun to watch them examine their new toys.
Dog toys come in several different categories. Think about the individual dog you're shopping for and also about the family's life style.
Balls are probably the most popular dog toys. Most dogs love them and they come in all sizes, shapes and colors. Some things to consider are the size of the dog, very little dogs can't pick up large balls and the age and health of the dog. Very old dogs may not be able to play with a ball anymore and a dog with arthritis or other disability may not be physically able.
The balls above are my pack's favorite, glow balls. They glow in the dark, if you enjoy playing ball at night. They come in two sizes and are pretty tough for strong chewers.
These Holee Roller balls are great tools for teaching your puppy to catch. We've had one for years and it's in perfect condition. My dogs haven't chewed it up. Once they learn to catch, they usually move on to other types of balls. You don't want to pick soft rubber or thin plastic for heavy chewers, but they're both fine for more gentle dogs.
Some dogs are lovers, not chewers, and for them soft, stuffed toys with or without squeakers can be perfect. My dogs all love stuffies, but I have four who feel it's their duty to dismember them. If you don't want to pick up cotton stuffing, consider the new ones that are unstuffed. If you can't stand the sound of squeakers, there are some made without them or with other sounds.
We gave these to friends one year. We picked up several take out boxes from McDonalds and put the burger toy inside. Dogs seem to recognize those little white boxes and they get very excited when you hand them one with a stuffie inside, all for them.
If your dog is bonkers for squeakers, try this. It has one or two squeakers in each leg. It's also a good tug toy for a multi dog family.
Some dogs love to retrieve. A hard plastic frisbee can be a hazard to the teeth as we learned the hard way. We use soft frisbees and our favorite is this one, the Flying Cow. We currently have three of them and have given them to each of our puppies who left for new homes. The company, Bamboo, guarantees all it's toys and will replace them for free, even if chewed. We've had ours replaced twice thanks to Morgan.
The Flying Cow is Samba's favorite toy and she taught her pups how to play with it when they
were about six weeks old.
Bamboo makes lots of different toys, all guaranteed. We have this one, too and it's good not only for retrieving, but for games of tug.
Here are more soft frisbees. These things can really fly and if the dog catches it mid-air, it shouldn't crack his teeth.
One of the newer toys, but a big hit with my group, is the Wubba. It flys thru the air for retrieving, it has long legs for tugging and some of them float for play at the beach.
If your dogs enjoy games of tug with you or with each other, there are lots of options. Most dogs like these rope toys, but be aware that they also enjoy pulling the strands out and leaving them all over the carpet and furniture.
If you have a multi-dog household, this is a good tug toy. It stretches and takes a lot of abuse.
A popular new category of toy is the one that makes the dog work for a reward. They come in all sorts of styles. This simple clamshell unscrews for loading with treats. Then the dog must work the treat around to the opening.
Or in my house, Bailey just ate away part of the clamshell letting all the treats drop out.
These soft puzzle toys are popular. You load the little squirrels, or chicks or whatever, into the large toy and the dog has to work to get them out.
We haven't tried these yet because Morgan and Bailey would use a shortcut, just eat the large toy and the little ones will fall out. They are cute for less aggressive chewers.
I'm fascinated by these puzzle toys and hope to get one for my pack this holiday. There are several styles where you load the treats in, then the dog has to move some part to expose the treat. I've seen several dogs demonstrate this and they really have to work at it.
These toys are rather expensive, but watch for sales.
If the family spends time at the beach, consider a floating toy that the dog can retrieve. Several companies make them specifically for water play.
A traditional bumper style is always fun and can also be used for training. They come in many materials such as the canvas above or plastic.
There are also floating frisbees and Wubbas.
Buying toys for pets can be fun and they can be found almost anywhere. Check out dollar stores and thrift shops, vet clinics and grooming shops. There are many pet supply sites online. Think about the pet you're buying for and what it's lifestyle is like. Then enjoy watching as the animal plays with his new toy.
If you need help locating any of the toys shown, email me and I'll tell you where they can be found.