SPRING IN YOUR STEP: BEST DOG TOYS FOR MENTAL EXERCISE
Are you and your dog getting cabin fever from being stuck indoors all winter? These dog toys for mental exercise should help put some spring back in your dog’s step. Maintaining your dog’s mental wellbeing is equally as important as keeping up their physical health. After all, a bored dog is a bad dog. Giving your dog an entertaining toy to play with indoors can go a long way in terms of keeping them out of trouble. If your dog is playing with a toy, then hopefully that means they aren’t chewing on your sofa or digging up your flower pots.
TREAT PUZZLES AND BALLS
When it comes to the best dog toys for mental exercise, treat puzzles and balls come in at the top of our list. Most dogs are motivated by food rewards, which is exactly what makes this type of toy so mentally stimulating. Expect your dog to stay amused for up to hours on end trying to crack the code and earn a treat. We suggest baking your own healthy treats to go inside these puzzles so you know exactly what your dog is consuming. Don’t forget that you’ll need to be careful you don’t overdo it with treats to avoid weight gain and other health concerns.
A bouncy, unevenly shaped Kong or ball is sure to keep your dog amused for hours. The strong material is safe for teething pups and adult chewers, although we always recommend watching out to ensure it isn’t starting to fall apart. We suggest opting for bouncy materials so your dog can throw and chase the toy, adding a little extra physical activity to their day. Lastly, some of these toys can be filled with a treat, such as a tiny bit of peanut butter. Keep in mind peanut butter is not healthy for your dog to consume regularly. Sugar-free peanut butter containing Xylitol is toxic and should be avoided entirely.
Squeaky toys can be a nuisance if your dog likes to play with them all night long. If you’ve found some sturdy toys that can withstand chewing, then why not let your dog play with them while you’re working in the yard or making a trip to the store? As long as your neighbours aren’t being disrupted, you can let your dog amuse himself with squeaky toys. Most dogs get very excited by the high pitched noises that mimic prey, bringing out their innate drive to hunt.
ALTERNATE TOYS REGULARLY
No matter how engaging or mentally stimulating a toy is, your dog may become tired of it eventually. Keep things fresh by only leaving out a couple of dog toys at a time and switching them up regularly. We suggest putting toys that aren’t in use completely out of sight or access so your dog has time away from them. Once you introduce items back, it’ll be like giving your dog all new toys to play with. We love this technique because it keeps your dog entertained without breaking the bank or creating unnecessary waste through continually buying and discarding toys.
What recommendations do you have for dog toys for mental exercise? Do you have any homemade favourites we should add to our list? We’re all about introducing a variety of activities to keep our dogs content and amused. When a dog gets bored they’re more likely to display undesirable behaviours such as digging, chewing, and barking. Investing in a handful of toys that are specifically designed for mental stimulation is a good way to combat having to pay for repairs and replacements down the line. Don’t forget, this goes hand in hand with including regular daily exercise for your dog. Up next, read about the Best Dog Toys for Physical Exercise.
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