Chew on this: Dogs product test the toys and chews their pet owners are serving up so satisfy their chew and play needs.
When pet owners ask for toy recommendations, do you tailor your recommendations to the particular pooch in front of you? Check out this product guide from the most important consumer of all-the family dog!
Here six savvy canines test some popular toys on the market. We've included their profiles so you can match up pet specs and find some ideas of toys that work-and don't work–for each particular pooch. (And don't forget to remind pet owners to supervise their pets when they play, especially with chew toys, and toss those toys when they show any signs of damage.)
Pet's name: Blitz Patrick James
AKA: Blitzen, Bubby or Blitz Patrick when he's in trouble
Blitz stands guard over his “kills” … er, we mean “toy collection.” Yeah. Toy collection. This precious pooch feels the intense need to “de-squeak” any toys with squeakers. Soft fabric toys, even those with reinforced seams, have met their match with Blitz, who will chew determinedly until he ferrets out their weakness.
Boisterous Blitz, an Australian cattle dog mix, is a 4-year-old medium-sized dog whose favorite activities include chewing things, running and taking a snooze on the couch.
His favorite types of toys include the Kong Wobbler and soft fabric things that are easy to tear up. When Blitz is feeling naughty, he steals things for attention. He doesn't chew them, he just runs because he knows his pet parent will follow him to get it back. His veterinarian has recommended Kongs and rawhide for his heavy chewing habit.
Let's take a closer look as Blitz samples a few top toy picks.
Blitz goes bananas for the Kong Wobbler.
Recently Gus tried a new activity mat designed for dogs.
The BUSTER ActivityMat comes with three activities and space to add more. But Blitz prefers "chase" the best!
Pet's name: Gus (Augustus McCrae in Lonesome Dove)
AKA: Gus Gus or Gus Bean
The JW Pet Crackle & Crunch Ball provides a satisfying crunch for every munch Gus takes on the ball.
This terrific 2-year-old Cairn terrier enjoys romps in the yard and supervising the household from a perch on the back of the couch. He's a moderate chewer and his favorite toys are the Tuffy Ultimates Ring Dog Toy and anything he can fetch.
The Tuffy Ultimates Ring dog toy is a favorite for this moderate chewer. But be aware that bigger dogs like Blitz will likely shred through this “tuff” toy after a while.
Pet's name: Zoey
AKA: Wiggle butt (she has no tail so she wags her butt)
Zoey, an avid chewer, enjoys an Extreme Kong.
Zippy Zoey, a medium-sized 2-year-old Australian shepherd/heeler mix, enjoys playing fetch and chasing the family cat. In her spare time she seeks and destroys stuffed toys-no fluffy stuff is safe when she's on the hunt!
She can be obsessive about playing fetch, and her veterinarian recommended interactive toys. Her pet parent says these are usually fun for a little while, then she wants them to play WITH her. She's a heavy chewer-she's chomped through three Kong toys-two were even the black Extreme Kongs.
The Kong Extreme toy is often recommended for power chewers. Just remind pet owners to watch for signs of wear and tear, supervise play and toss damaged toys.
Pet's name: Elsa Domino Dotted Dreams CGC (Canine Good Companion) Yes, it's really a title!
AKA: Our little linebacker in a tutu.
Elsa tries the Kong Wild Knots chew toy.
Here's a closer look at the Kong Wild Knots toy-BEFORE its total annihilation.
This delightfully dotted Dalmatian is 14 months old and 53 pounds-and still growing! Her favorite pastimes (besides chewing) include walks, training, play days at the vet, meeting and greeting her public, agility and sleeping-on “mum.” Her favorite toys are the ones with the loudest squeaks. Her pet parents are training to tame her tendency to jump up in her enthusiasm to say hello. She's a very heavy chewer-think “I am Vigor the Destructor!”
Elsa eventually masters even the toughest toy, until she "de-stuffs" the toy and her parents take it away.
Good thing she still has her Spike Ball Squeaker dog toy for entertainment!
Pet's name: Cassie
AKA: Cassie (or insert any expletive)
Cassie samples the PetSafe Tug-A-Jug toy at feeding time.
Cassie, the lovable Aussie-Australian shepherd-is a 45-pound 11-year-old lady with a passion for her Frisbee … and pulling food off the counters. She loves anything to play fetch with, and she struggles with separation anxiety. So her pet parents are on the lookout for toys that might offer support and distraction. Her veterinarian has recommended feeding toys to serve up her meals. She's a moderate chewer, but she has chewed on the wooden staircase before!
The Tug-A-Jug toy comes in different sizes, depending on the pooch's size.
Pet's name: Sebastian Tiberius Stewart
AKA: Sebass, Happy Jack, Mr. Man
Sebastian tests the PetSafe Twist 'n Treat. If you recommend a toy like this, don't forget to make a treat recommendation as well. The grocery store treats his owner placed in this toy gave this poor pooch a case of the trots.
This sweet Samoyed mix is a 15-year-old, medium-sized canine with a penchant for watching people walk by on the sidewalk, cuddling, going for walks and playing with his favorite dog buddies. He doesn't dig fetch or tug toys, and he passes on the stuffed stuff. But he does dig Kongs, Greenies and select dental chews. He can be selectively deaf when he chooses to be, and he's a moderate chewer. If he likes a toy he will work on it for a while, but he doesn't feel compelled to chew it till it's destroyed.
This Twist 'n Treat toy provided another option for a food-motivated pooch who enjoys Kong-type toys. Its flying saucer type shape can be tightened to make it more challenging to unlock treats. Got a great idea for products you want pets to test? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.