Best Toys for Puppies and Kittens
Toys are a fantastic way to keep your puppy or kitten entertained (and fun to watch too!) however, there are also a number of health benefits associated with particular types of toys. Behaviour training, physical exercise, dental health and mental stimulation are just a few of the positive outcomes that can be achieved through play and the interaction with toys. Introducing new toys and playing together with your new furbaby will also help to build trust and strengthen the bond between you.
Puppies are active, curious and sometimes destructive! Toys that are specifically designed for natural behaviours such as chewing will not only support your puppy’s development, they will also assist with basic training and help to keep your best pair of shoes safe!
It’s important that all toys are:
Safe - they do not contain any small parts which could break off and cause a choking hazard, and they are manufactured with non-toxic materials and dyes.
Durable - the toy is strong and flexible enough to sustain chewing but not hard enough to damage teeth.
Rotated regularly - to maintain your puppy’s interest and prevent boredom.
Teething (eruption of adult teeth) can start at around 4-5 months of age and last until your puppy is 7 months old. Puppies will chew on objects to relieve the discomfort and their teeth are sharp, so toys made of thick durable rubber are recommended.
Kong makes an excellent Puppy Teething Stick which gently cleans teeth and soothes sore gums.
Toys that challenge the brain and encourage physical activity promote mental stimulation and prevent boredom. Puzzle toys, treat dispensing toys and tug toys will keep your pup occupied for longer and introduce the concept of reward-based training.
Stuffed teddies and plush toys can help your puppy to feel safe and secure, especially when they are adjusting to their new environment. Ensure that toys are made from non-toxic materials and that small parts (such as teddy eyes and noses) cannot be chewed off and swallowed.
If your puppy doesn’t respond well to food-based rewards a fetch toy can also serve as an effective training tool. Balls and frisbees should be made of softer materials to protect your puppy’s teeth and you should avoid balls that are too small or easily punctured.
Try a launcher if your puppy likes to run fast!
Toys will encourage a cat’s natural instinct to hunt, pounce and play! For kitten paw-rents there’s nothing cuter or more entertaining than watching your kitten getting ready to pounce on imaginary prey, or chasing a ping-pong ball around the room at a hundred miles an hour.
Toys with a feather or toy attached to the end of a stick are a cheap and easy way to interact with your kitten. Dangle the toy and move it around to entice your kitten into action!
Small, lightweight balls such as ping-pong balls are difficult to catch, will move at the slightest touch and keep bouncing around the room until your kitty is worn out! Toys containing a bell or movable balls can also be attractive to inquisitive kittens.
Toys infused with catnip are a great way to encourage play and exercise. Catnip can help to reduce stress and anxiety, and in some cats it stimulates a euphoric response.
In addition to satisfying your kitten’s natural urge to scratch, a scratching post can become a designated play area by attaching spring toys that move when swatted. Try rubbing some catnip on the scratching post to encourage your kitten to use it instead of scratching on the furniture.
Please remember to always supervise your puppy or kitten when they are playing with toys, monitor toys for damage and replace them as soon as they become worn.
If you are unsure which toys are suitable for your new puppy or kitten, please speak to one of our qualified vet nurses for further advice.