We love seeing our dogs happy, and some dogs are never happier than when they have a brand new, fluffy toy. However, the cost for toys can REALLY add up if your dog has destructive chewing habits. Depending on what you’re looking for, one toy can cost anywhere from $15-30. Obviously, there are cheaper alternatives, but these are the ones that your dog can destroy in no less than five minutes. For some, cost may not be the biggest issue…the mess can be crazy! I have three large, energetic dogs, and if they get a cheap stuffed toy, there will be threads and stuffing ALL over the house (literally). Toy destruction can also be dangerous for a dog due to ingestion of pieces of the toy. Let’s take a look at some things you can do if this sounds all too familiar to you.
Training. It often takes some time and a little (or a lot of) frustration, but you can train dogs to be gentler with toys. Once you give him/her the toy, praise the dog while he/she is playing positively with the toy. If the dog starts destructing the toy, get his/her attention (whatever works for you, such as “no,” “hey,” or a high-pitched noise) so that the dog temporarily stops interacting with the toy. Give praise when he/she goes back to positive interaction. The goal is to not take the toy away or punish them, but to provide positive praise when they are playing nicely. For more information, I recommend checking out the website Pet Expertise. If your dog is aggressive with toys or exhibits territorial behavior, this is not the best option for you. We recommend reaching out to a dog trainer or veterinarian to discuss your options in this scenario.
Toy alternatives. If your dog has non-stop energy, is constantly playing with toys, and is in turn constantly destroying toys, here are a few things you can try. First off, take your dog on more (and longer) walks, which well help your dog get rid of some energy. If you have a fenced in yard, invest in some tennis balls to play fetch. Some dogs love playing with ice, and while ice cubes might not last long, chances are you have an unlimited supply. Are you personally less concerned about toy destruction and more concerned about stuffing on your floor? If so, you can find unstuffed toys for a great price. Just be sure to monitor your dog while he/she plays to keep them from swallowing toy pieces. Finally, consider a puzzle toy to provide both physical and mental stimulation, such as a Kong filled with peanut butter.
Splurge on more expensive toys. In many cases, the more expensive the toy, the longer they last. There are several brands that make toys specifically to hold against high-energy dogs exhibiting destructive behavior. A few well-known brands include Tuff and Kong. Whether you’re shopping in person or online, check the packaging or product label, read online reviews, etc. to see if you think it will last. Yes, these toys are more expensive. However, I can tell you from personal experience that the investment is worth it. A $20 Kong will last me 6 months, whereas a $5 stuffed toy will last 6 minutes (maybe, if the toy is lucky).
There you have it. Just a few suggestions to save you some cash, keep your pet safe, reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning the floors 😊 Do you have any other suggestions to help fellow readers? If so, let us know in the comments!