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How to find the best interactive toy for your dog
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How to find the best interactive toy for your dog

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It is common for dogs to slow down a bit as they get older, but it is still important to keep them fit and healthy. Here are three things you can do to prevent obesity in senior dogs.

‌Most dogs have significant excess energy to burn off throughout the day, along with natural instincts for retrieving, chewing and pouncing. Plus, bored dogs can become destructive dogs.

Owners can help satisfy some of these active drives with interactive dog toys.

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Here are five things to consider when shopping for one, plus recommendations on three interactive dog toys to try.

Interactive dog toy considerations

Format

One option is a puzzle-style gadget that a dog must manipulate to access a hidden treat. Owners may want to start out with an easy puzzle and slowly increase the level of difficulty. A snuffle mat, where kibble is hidden within the squares of a cloth mat, is a popular choice.

Other toys are automatic, designed to interact with the dogs independently, allowing them to chase, pounce or retrieve.

Safety‌

The size and design of the toy should be compatible with the size of your dog. Smaller pieces can be a choking hazard to large breeds, and some puzzle toys may be too big for smaller breeds to enjoy. Look out for exposed metal or other sharp edges.

Supervise your dog while they’re playing, to prevent injury or malfunction.

Ease of use‌

An interactive dog toy should be made from durable materials because dogs will instinctively chew or dismantle them. They should also be easy to clean between play sessions since they may eventually hold treats again or spend time in communal areas of the house or yard.

Stimulation‌

Features like flashing lights, squeakers and electronic noises can offer the dog some positive reinforcement or attract attention during playtime. Keep in mind that a dog may become bored of a toy after a while.

Cost‌

Basic puzzle toys or balls can cost up to $15, while more complex versions retail up to $30. Advanced interactive toys such as ball launchers or “smart” games can cost $100 or more.

Recommendations are made independently, but we participate in affiliate advertising programs that may pay us commission if you make purchases at Amazon.com and other linked retailer sites.

BestReviews researches, analyzes and tests products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

Omaha World-Herald: Inspired Living

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