And how to decide which one's right for your pup
As many of you pet parents know, bored dogs can become destructive dogs very quickly.
So to ensure your pristine sofa and spotless carpet remain just that, it’s a good idea to keep a few boredom busting toys around the house at all times. Just which type of boredom buster, will depend on your pup's personality.
When it comes to boredom busters, there are 3 main types:
Treat and food dispensers
If you're new to these types of toys, it'll be tricky to know which style is best suited to your little bud. So before you go wasting any money on a toy your dog will never use, let me bring you up to speed on what each of these boredom busters have to offer, and how to pick the perfect one for your pawed pal.
Toys made from rubber, rope or rawhide that have been specifically designed to withstand lengthy, slobbery chewing sessions.
Bone fiends and heavy-weight chewers!
If your pup loves the challenge of licking every last shred of flavour from an object, then a solid chew toy will be right up their alley.
Opt for chew toys that are made from non-toxic, natural materials like husk rubber or hemp rope. Two of my faves are the Beco Chew Bone and the Beco Hoop on a Rope. Both a super sturdy and come with lifetime guarantees.
Also ensure that any chew toys you buy for your dog are soft enough to dent with your fingernail. Anything too hard (like antlers or bones) can cause dental chipping or fractures.
Lastly, if you notice a chew toy whittling away or parts beginning to break or dangle off, replace it immediately so it doesn't end up becoming a choking hazard.
Just like children’s puzzles, dog puzzles are designed to challenge the mind and promote problem solving. If you can't even begin to imagine what this might look like, I highly recommend checking out the brilliant Nina Ottoson range.
Pups who love to problem solve!
If your dog is forever scheming to get that stray piece of kibble out from under the couch, then a puzzle is definitely for them.
On the other hand, if your dog is a serial chewer who's blitzed their way through every toy you've ever given them, then you may want to steer clear of puzzles altogether. Most dog puzzles are made from plastic. So if they end up in the wrong hands (or rather, paws) they don't tend to last very long.
Be sure to look for puzzles that always provide a reward for completing a challenge. Puzzles that fail to deliver the goods can cause your pup to become frustrated and potentially destructive.
Hollowed out toys that you can stuff with food and treats. As your dog moves the toy about, small pieces of food gradually trickle out.
If your dog has a habit of begging for a second treat before they’ve even finished devouring the first, then a dispenser is the ideal toy for them.
As for those speed-eaters who slurp their dinner down in a flash, you may want to consider getting a food dispenser specifically designed to slow the pace of mealtimes. My top recommendation: the Kong Wobbler.
Always start out with an easy dispenser (something like the Kong Classic would be perfect) and work your way up to the more difficult toys (like the KONG Activity Ball) over time.
Quick tip: When it comes time to clean your dog's dispenser, soak it in warm water for 30 minutes then use an old toothbrush to scrub away any stuck bits of food.
As yes, now for the fun part. There really is no end to the delicious, dog friendly snacks you can stuff into a treat or food dispenser. But my personal favourites include:
One last quick tip: If you find that your dog is emptying their treat dispenser too quickly, you can always up the difficulty by sealing the holes closed with a smear of peanut butter or cream cheese.
Boredom busters are an excellent source of stimulation for your four-legged friend. Just remember to take their skill level into account when deciding which toys to buy for them.
To avoid any fits of frustration, start out with something simple and gradually integrate more challenging toys over time.