Keeping your dog entertained is important to his health and wellbeing. Oh and of course dogs love to play and play and play! Dog toys can help keep your dog fit, healthy and they can also be part of your dog's education when used with treats to help with training.
When Should I use Dog Treats?
Not all dog treats are created equal. While every dog enjoys treats you will find that your dog prefers some to others. With so many choices now on the market it's not a difficult task to find a dog treat that he prefers. Once you've found the ideal treat you can start to use it as a training tool. That doesn't preclude you giving him a treat because you love him but by treating your dog for good behavior you are re-enforcing positive actions which will become a habit for your dog.
What is the Best Type of Dog Treat?
There is a wide variety of dog treats available. Some are sweet, some are hard, some are soft, or crunchy or savory or a combination of these. As with us, your dog will prefer a different type at differnt times. Some things to be aware of if you've chosen a hard or crunchy treat are that it's not too hard and that it won't hurt or break your dog's teeth. You may be surprised to find that some treats are designed to clean your dog's teeth and remove that bad dog breath! You will find that as your dog ages his preferences will change too and you should change the treats that you feed him to suit his age.
Be aware that not all dog treats are beneficial. A lot of them have sugar, preservatives or chemicals that are bad for your dog, so always check the label. If you have a dog with allergies you'll need to check the labels to find a treat that does not cause allergic reactions and that your dog likes. Your vet may be able to help you in this case.
If you don't locate the perfect dog treat you should think about creating your own. It's not as difficult as you may think and whole companies have started from a kitchen table and a good recipe. Some ingredients to consider are chicken, rice, carrots and peas. It's fun to do and your dog will appreciate the effort! If you've any left over consider selling them to your local pet store. Many carry small lines of homemade treats. If you need some recipes try searching on the internet, or just invent your own. Once you've made your treats keep them in airtight containers. This not only helps keep them fresh, but also keeps them safe from your dog too!
What to Look For in a Dog Toy
One of a dog's favorite pastimes is chewing. Most dogs just love to chew! Oh and chew :-) So don't be surprised that a lot of the dog toys on the market today are focused on chewing. A dog toy that can be chewed provides a benefit for your dog's teeth and supports his natural tendency to chew. This not only helps dental health but is a non destructive and safe outlet for your dog's need to chew.
Before you go and buy a chew toy you need to think about how your dog likes to chew. A canine that chews hard and vigorously will need a stronger toy made out of hard rubber or nylon. Latex and vinyl toys are designed for canines who are lighter chewers. Whichever type your dog is, you will need to keep a watch when he's playing with the toy, especially squeaky toys, to make sure that you can take away the pieces as it falls apart. Some toys can be destroyed in a matter of minutes.
For the moderate or average chewer and for puppies there are dental or flavored chew toys made out of rawhide that can be eaten. These are great, just give it to your dog and let him have at it! Also for puppies there are the plush toys that he can carry around and snuggle up with. Make sure it's machine washable though otherwise it's going to get really dirty!
For fun you might like to try out a Tricky Treat Ball. This is an entertaining toy that gets filled with treats, usually dry like kibble. You can also try out cheese, carrots or meat cut into small cubes. Put the food into the ball and give it a shake. Then let your dog play with it and the food will fall through the holes in the ball. Your favorite friend will love it!!
You can go even further with this idea. There are gumball machines designed to use treats or dry food for your dog. Just add the food to the machine and let your dog play with the gumball machine.
It's important to keep your dog entertained with good dog toys and treats, and he in turn will keep you entertained for hours!
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Article Added on Thursday, December 7, 2006
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