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Dog biting a torn stuffed toy
Dog with a torn stuffed toy | Image by skeeze from Pixabay 

It can happen to even the savviest shopper: The Kong toy you bought is mauled to pieces within 7 minutes or maybe that durable  Goughnuts no longer excites your dog as before.

Don’t toss your new purchase in the trash and hope for better luck next time. Figure out why your dog toys don’t last and what you can do.

And, that’s exactly what we’ll do in this article – find out the mysterious reasons your dog toys barely last a minute.

However, to do that we need to start from the basics. Why do dogs need toys and other playthings in the first place?

Why do dogs need toys?

Dog playing with a stuffed toy
Dog with a stuffed toy | Photo by marieke koenders on Unsplash

Everyone agrees that dogs need toys to play with.

But, why?

Dogs need toys to keep their mind sharp. They’re important tools that assist in fulfilling a dog’s emotional and physical needs. Though today’s dogs are perceived as companion pets, they still need something to fill their time with.

They cannot just sit idle all-day until you’re available and ready to play fetch or cuddle. 

No, if they find themselves in such a situation, they’ll choose their toys starting with your shoes, pillow, or toilet paper. 

Then you ask “… if they need a plaything that bad, why do they destroy the toys you bought them?”

What are the 8 reasons your dog toys don’t last?

1. You think every toy serves the same purpose.

All dog toys are not the same! They serve different purposes which we’ll briefly go over 

Active toys.

Think of the toys that make your dog expend the most amount of energy.

Toys such as the Kong classic and Nylabone are active toys that make a dog work hard for treats. These sorts of toys are usually durable for aggressive chewing and have interesting textures to keep dogs interested.

Dogs that like tug-of-war and chewing interesting textures would appreciate woven and rope toys such as West Paw Zogoflex and Pacific Pups Dog Rope Toy(s).

Though tennis and Chuckit balls are great for running around in a game of fetch, that’s all they’re good for. They don’t stand up to aggressive chewing and shouldn’t be left with the dog without supervision.  

Distraction toys.

Imagine your dog doesn’t have space to run around or isn’t in the mood to do so. What type of toys will help keep him from dying of boredom?

Kong®-type toys, treat tossers and other toys, especially those that can be filled with treats, can keep a puppy or adult dog engaged for hours on end.

These toys are more focused on exercising your dog’s mind rather than working their muscles.

“Keep me company” toys.

These toys are not necessarily for playing, they help keep dogs calm and comforted.

Most stuffed toys are in this category – they are not very durable to serve as active or distraction toys. However, they are not suitable for all dogs.

If your dog likes carrying soft toys around the house and he sees them as companions and not chew things. Then this has a chance of working, but you have to pick toys that can easily be carried. Make sure they’re not too small or too big!

Sometimes, you don’t even need to buy a toy. Just give him something with your scent on them.

For instance dirty laundry, such as towels or blankets, socks, an old t-shirt, pillowcases, etc. There’s little chance of getting these items back in one piece, so choose items you no longer use.

2. You don’t know your dog’s personality.

“…what has personality got to do with making dog toys last longer?”

A lot, my friend, a whole lot!

Imagine giving a puzzle game to an energetic child that loves to run around and climb things. Or trying to teach me math – Yeah, time hasn’t changed how I feel about math.

It is bound to fail, right?

So, before choosing a toy for your dog, you must know what your dog’s personality is.

It’s quite easy to figure out.

Try to be as precise as you can; which of these descriptions best fits your dog?

Destroyers.

If your dog often attempts – and succeeds in – destroying whatever has the misfortune of getting in his mouth, then he’s a destroyer.

Sometimes they swallow the bits and pieces. Other times they just leave them at the entrance to welcome you.

Be careful with this type as they could cost you more, not just in the number of toys, but medical fees if they swallow broken toy pieces.

Nibblers.

Nibblers are lovers, not fighters. They like to savor the moment by licking, giving the toy a nudge with their noses, or slowly chewing them. They give their toys maximum respect and attention.  

Chasers.

These are the dogs that enjoy feeling the wind in their face. You’ll see them run after a fetch toy with a grin plastered on their face or their tongue hanging outside. You can spot them by how fast they run to the front dog when they hear a knock or see you bring out their favorite toy.

Gulpers.

These are the magicians among us!

Gulpers quickly bite off and swallow huge chunks of edible chew or plastic toys – they do the same with their meals. However, you need to watch out for those whose personalities overlap the destroyer and gulper. They can be very difficult to shop for.

3. The toys you buy don’t match your dog’s personality.

Now that you’re done pretending to be a psychoanalyst, take a look at the toys listed under each personality type to guide you when choosing your dog’s next toy.

DestroyersNibblersChasersGulpers
Rubber toysRope toysFrisbeesRubber toys
Edible chew toysRubber chew toysBallsBalls
Eck antlerBallsRubber toys.Stuffed toys
 Edible chew toys. Rope toys

Just because a type of toy is listed under your dog’s personality type doesn’t mean you can be carefree about this. You still need to look out for their safety and supervise play sessions.

4. All his toys are of the same type.

Remember in point #1, we saw that different toys serve different purposes.

Active toys help your dog expend energy. Distraction toys prevent boredom. And ‘keep me company’ toys prevent feelings of loneliness.

If all the toys you have makes your dog expend energy, what happens when he is exhausted? 

He’ll be bored to death.

Same thing with distraction toys. If they’re all you have to offer, then trust me, a dog with pent up energy will chew them to pieces.

Try to have at least 3 of each type of toy.

This way, you can rotate them and restrict access to the rest, effectively preventing your dog from getting bored too soon.

5. Your dog has unrestricted access to the toys.

It’s very simple if your dog doesn’t have his toys with him all day, then the chances of destroying them are less.

Make sure your dog is only allowed to play with a couple of toys at a time. Another thing you need to do is switch the toys regularly.

This will prevent them from getting bored of playing with the same old, same old toy.

6. Your dog can play with his toy wherever he wants.

Aside from restricting access to the number of toys your dog can play with, you also have to control where he plays with them.

Some dog toys, for instance, fetch toys, are built to withstand being tossed about in the elements. However, they still need to be brought inside.

Leaving them outside, especially in moist conditions, will affect the integrity of these toys which will damage them sooner.

So, prevent your dog from taking indoor toys outside. And even if he does, make sure they are all brought back inside and stored somewhere safe.  

7. You have one, maybe two toys.

If this is you, I won’t blame you much – you probably didn’t know better.

However, think of it, a couple of toys won’t last very long. Especially, if your dog is keen on using them to release energy and kill boredom.

Imagine if you wore the same pair of shoes everywhere, how long do you think they’d last?

Not very long!

So get as many toys as you can, but make sure they’re of different types (remember, active, distraction, and company toys). I suggest aiming for 7 and above.

You might be doing all these and your toys still don’t last long and that’s because…

8. Your dog isn’t getting enough exercise.

Walking your dog every day is a tactic you can use to extend the lifespan of his toys.

If you don’t have the time to walk your dog, at least once a day (twice is better), get a dog walker.

The reason is that dogs that get to take long walks each day, will be calmer compared to dogs that don’t.

Without exercise, dogs become restless and have excess energy coursing through their bodies. Offering a toy, in a bid to get rid of this energy, is a death sentence to such a toy because it will be torn to pieces.

There are many benefits to exercising your dog, many experts overlook the connection between an exercised dog and how long their toys last.

How do you make your dog’s toys last?

How to make your dog’s toys last!
Image by Mylene2401 from Pixabay 

Now you know why your dog toys don’t last, all you need to do is address those individual problems and you’re good to go.

I recommend you start by thoroughly exercising your dog every day!

This one simple step goes a long way in dealing with behavioral problems such as aggressive tendencies in dogs.  

Make sure that you have many toys that match your dog’s personality. And that they serve different purposes (active, distraction, and companionship).

You must rotate and restrict access to the toys. This will prevent your dog from growing bored with playing with the same toys every day.

One thing I didn’t mention is dogs love good surprises – emphasis on good, don’t ever startle your dog.

Since they have a strong sense of smell and they think they’re the best hunters around, you can satisfy this instinct by filling toys with treats and hiding them where they have to be found. Your dog will be happier than, say if you just brought out the toys and handed them over to him.

Focus on specific tasks and try to make most of his play sessions interactive. This helps make the bond between you two stronger. Plus, it’s a great way for both of you to kill boredom and stretch your bodies.  

Remember, even if the package says “indestructible toy”, there’s no guarantee it’ll hold up to your dog’s playing style. If your dog has a knack for chewing his toys to pieces, follow the advice in this article and use that knowledge to choose some durable toys for your dog.   

Your turn! What’s that simple thing you do that makes dog toys last longer?