The market offers a wide array of dog toys and treats, but when it comes to choosing the right ones for your protection dog, safety and health considerations should top your list of priorities. Not only does this ensure your protection dog’s well-being, but it also safeguards your investment. While we strongly advise against leaving your dog unattended with toys, as any toy can pose a hazard, these are our go to’s. Engaging in interactive play with your dog is the best way to go in terms of mental stimulation. When making a selection, choose quality over price. Always opt for high-quality toys made in the USA. Cheaper alternatives, particularly those from China can contain chemicals and tend to be less durable. Here is our guide to Selecting Safe Toys and Treats for Your Protection Dog:
Unlike the popular Kong toys you’ll see in every pet store, the majority of them are made in China, and although they have been tested in the USA, we have found that Goughnuts are more durable and crafted from natural rubber while being made here in America. They offer an exceptionally durable range of toys, such as the Black Ring Power Chewer, along with an assortment of sticks, balls, and more. What sets these toys apart is the Goughnuts safety guarantee; if your dog manages to chew through the outer layer, they will replace the toy. Goughnuts toys also feature a “chew toy safety indicator,” making it clear when it’s time to remove the toy from your dog. You can check out Goughnuts here; https://www.goughnuts.com/.
Another American-made option, Farm Hounds, offers rolled hide chews that will entertain your chewer for hours. Unlike traditional rawhide, these chews consist of all-natural animal hides that are dried and rolled and are free from the chemicals found in regular rawhide, making them easier to digest. Farm Hounds also offers a variety of treats, all without the use of fillers and preservatives. Their delivery is impeccable, with treats arriving beautifully packaged, and the label even indicates the farm of origin! You can check out Farm Hounds here; https://farmhounds.com/
Bully sticks present a healthy alternative to smoked and cooked bones. They are entirely natural and provide an excellent chewing opportunity for your dog. However, it’s essential to ensure the stick’s size matches your dog’s needs. For our protection dogs, we typically recommend a 12″ stick. Keep a close eye on your dog, especially initially, as some dogs take hours to chew them down, while others are more vigorous chewers. Once the stick has been sufficiently chewed, it’s time to remove it before it becomes a potential hazard. For added safety, consider using a bully stick holder so that you can be less worried about the small ends when your dog is done chewing.
**Items to Avoid**
1. **Tennis Balls** The abrasive material on tennis balls can wear down your dog’s teeth and, in some cases, pose a choking hazard. Balls that are too small, have been chewed apart, or flattened can pose both a choking hazard and blockages.
2. **Sticks** While playing fetch with a stick may seem simple, dogs that snatch them quickly can risk throat obstructions or injury to the delicate tissues in their mouth.
3. **Soft Stuffed Toys** Soft toys and protection dogs typically don’t mix well, as these toys can easily come apart, potentially leading to ingestion of small parts and blockages.
4. **Rawhide (Traditional)** Traditional rawhide products are laden with chemicals, challenging to digest, and can cause choking or blockage if large pieces break off and are ingested.
5. **Smoked/Cooked Bones** These bones can splinter into tiny fragments that your dog may ingest, posing a risk to their digestive tract. They can also damage your dogs teeth for those that are hard chewers.
6. **Marrow Bones** The central hole in marrow bones can trap a dog’s teeth or jaw, potentially causing injury. These bones may also fracture or damage teeth.
Lastly, always steer clear of toys that may contain pins, springs, or batteries, as these pose additional risks to your protection dog’s safety and well-being.
Don’t have a Protection Dog yet? Check out our Available Dogs: https://protectiondogsplus.com/our-dogs/.