Toys are GOOD for your dog

Did you know that dog toys are actually good for your dog, and not just an indulgence on the part of the owner?

There are all kinds of uses for different types of toys.

First, starting as puppies, toys give your dog a distraction from other would-be toys like your couch or your favorite pair of shoes.

My dogs all love ropes. Every single one of them that has ever had one played with them until they were tiny pieces of thread.

Ropes serve a couple of great purposes, in addition to keeping your dog from chewing your house up like termites.

First, it's great bonding for you and the dog if you engage in a good game of tug-og-war. It also helps them exercise. Our dog Sadie is one big mass of muscles. When we play with the rope, she uses her entire body to try to get it away and you can just see all of her muscles flexing. She's a Black Lab and has the most beautiful, sleek black coat.

Rope dog toys also help keep their teeth clean. Who wants to have a dog with teeth problems? I mean, you really don't want to go into that pointy landmine when your dog is in pain and irritable, do you?

Like people, dogs are comforted by familiarity. So dog toys that they know and love are great travel companions. They help give your dog a little extra comfort when you're away from home or take a vacation with your dog.

Here are some tips to consider when buying dog toys:

Make sure they do not have small, choking parts. Dogs are like babies here, they put it in their mouth and can choke. They don't know Heimlich!

Don't get realistic looking toys like, say, shoes or food. You don't want them thinking that your shoes are toys or that hot dog sitting on the counter is really his toy.

Don't buy too many toys. Rotate the ones they already have. I do this with my kids too and it works great. It's like getting new toys all over again.

Tina Spriggs Editor of Dog Lovers Newsletter

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