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For many dog owners, part of the fun of owning a dog is playing with them and seeing their excitement when you give them new toys. Giving your dog new toys isn’t only fun, but toys are essential for their overall well-being.
Some dogs will entertain themselves or sleep when bored, but other dogs need to be entertained with toys. After your dog has accumulated many toys over a few months or years, you may be wondering if there are pros and cons to leaving your dog’s toys out all the time.
So the question is – should you leave your dog’s toys out all the time?
While it’s important to provide your dog with different types of toys to keep them entertained, rotating your dog’s toys is the best method to keep your dog entertained but not overwhelmed. Rotating your dog’s toys also provides other benefits, like extending the life of your dog’s toys, keeping toys exciting, and for safety reasons!
In this article, we’re going to discuss how putting your dog’s toys away when they aren’t playing with them is actually a great thing to do!
Types of Dog Toys
Before getting a dog, did you ever realize how many different types of dog toys there are? There are soft and hard toys, squeaky toys, toys that are indestructible, and toys that are meant to occupy your dog for long periods of time.
Just like humans, dogs can get bored, so it’s good to provide a variety of toys to keep them occupied. In addition to keeping them occupied, different types of dog toys provide different benefits to your dog. Plus, just like with people, some dogs will prefer certain types of toys over other toys!
Plush, Comfort Toys
Some of the first images that probably come to mind when you think of dog toys are the typical stuffed animal type of toys with squeakers. These are soft toys that dogs like to hold in their mouth and nibble on. If you have a dog with strong jaws that’s a power chewer, then you know that these types of toys can often be destroyed in mere minutes.
Despite how quickly your dog may destroy these types of toys, many dogs love them! They are fun to chew on, and the squeaker that’s usually embedded makes some interesting noises.
Chew toys are probably the next category of dog toys that comes to your mind when thinking of all the different types of toys inside a pet toy store. Chew toys are usually durable, hard toys specifically designed to withstand power chewers. These toys allow your dog to fulfill their need to chew on things safely.
Interactive, Enrichment Toys
While you may not be as familiar with these types of toys, puzzle, and enrichment toys are becoming more popular with both the dogs and dog owners of the world! Interactive enrichment toys are typically puzzle-style toys that are designed to encourage your dog to problem-solve for a longer period of time.
Most of these types of toys can also be referred to as activity toys or food toys, since most toys require treats or kibble to be inserted in some way and then present a challenge to your dog, who has to work to get the food out. These are great toys to occupy your dog for longer periods of time while giving their brain a workout!
Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Dog Toys Out All The Times
As we’ve mentioned above, we believe it’s actually best not to leave your dog’s toys out all the time! Putting your dog’s toys up and out of his reach after he’s done playing with them actually has some benefits for your dog!
Reason 1: Keeps Toys Exciting
New, novel things are always exciting – for both dogs and people! When we’re constantly exposed to the same thing over and over again, that item loses its appeal and can get boring, no matter how much we may have loved it to begin with.
For your dog, if you were to leave his toys out all the time, they would lose their appeal. Your dog would be bored with his toys, and he would find his toys uninteresting. It’s possible that even if you were to leave those toys out, your dog would actually become bored. When dogs are bored, that can actually lead to destructive behaviors, like inappropriate chewing on furniture!
By putting your dog’s toys up and out of reach, your dog will be excited and interested in the toys every time you bring them out, almost as if they’re new toys. Rotating your dog’s toys regularly keeps them exciting and entertaining.
Reason 2: Extend The Life Of The Toy
If you’ve been shopping for dog toys lately, you know that dog toys aren’t cheap! If you have a power chewer dog with strong jaws, then you’re probably all too aware of just how expensive toys can be.
Repeatedly buying toys can be a major hit to your wallet. By rotating your dog’s toys and keeping some of them up and out of his reach, you’ll extend their life. This means that you’ll be able to keep some toys in good condition for longer periods of time, which ultimately means you’ll be spending less money on toys!
Reason 3: Safety Concerns
As dedicated dog owners, we mean well and just want to give our dogs a good life, which means giving them fun toys! Unfortunately, some dogs can quickly become destructive with toys. Some toys just simply aren’t durable or tough, and other dogs get bored and enjoy the act of trying to destroy a toy.
Simply put, toys that are left out all the time with your dog can be a serious safety concern. Your dog could continue chewing on a toy out of boredom and curiosity, which could result in swallowing small pieces that have broken off. This could cause serious medical issues like choking or even intestinal blockages.
Reason 4: Interactive Bonding Time
Of course, if you’re keeping your dog’s toys up and out of his reach, you’ll have to take the time to get them out and give them to your dog for a play session. While you could easily just give the toys to your dog and let him play on his own, this would be a great time to take a few dedicated minutes to play with your dog one-on-one!
As dedicated dog owners, the main reason we choose to bring a dog into our lives is to have a furry, four-legged companion to spend time with. Sometimes, our lives get busy, and we forget to be intentional about spending quality time with our dogs.
If you keep your dog’s toys out of reach to provide your dog with the other benefits we mentioned, you could easily use this as a dedicated time to spend quality playtime with your pup!
Should You Put Dog Toys Away At Night?
As we mentioned above, there are a lot of good reasons for putting your dog’s toys away and out of reach and bringing them out intentionally on a rotating basis. One of the main reasons to put your dog’s toys away is to ensure that your dog is safe and isn’t swallowing any small parts of any toys.
In most cases, it is best to put your dog’s toys away at night. If you’re crate training a puppy at night, you’ll definitely want to put his toys away and take them out of the crate. Having toys in a crate while crate training could confuse your pup. Your pup may be inclined to play in the middle of the night instead of sleep!
Even if you have an older dog, leaving toys out at night can still be problematic for the reasons we listed above. Your dog could be confused and entertain himself instead of creating a good habit of sleeping through the night.
In addition, if your dog is playing with toys at night while you’re sleeping, there is an increased safety risk. Your dog could hurt himself or eat a piece of a toy without your knowledge.
Rotating Toys Properly
While you can see we’re big fans of rotating your dog’s toys for several reasons, you may be asking yourself – does that mean you can’t leave any toys out at all? The answer to that is no!
Dogs need toys to entertain themselves, keep themselves occupied, and provide mental enrichment.
If you want to try rotating your dog’s toys to improve his toy and play experience, here are some general guidelines to follow:
- Keep all soft, plush, or easily destroyed toys out of reach unless you can supervise your dog
- Keep only 4-5 toys rotated out for your dog to play with at a time. The rest of the toys should be kept out of sight.
- Rotate those 4-5 toys every few days to a week or so. This will vary depending on how quickly your dog gets bored or uninterested in the toys.
If you want to keep a toy out for your dog because he tends to get bored when you’re not home, opt for durable toys that your dog can’t swallow or chew into small pieces.
Durable, interactive enrichment toys can actually be great options for these times! These toys are meant to withstand power chewers. Plus, most dogs just work to get the food out of the toy but then leave it alone when they’ve gotten all the food out.
Rotating your dog’s toys and keeping them out of reach can benefit your dog. Not only does this help cut down on safety risks, but it also keeps your dog interested in the toys he has, so you have to buy fewer toys overall!
Play is an important aspect of ensuring your dog is happy and fulfilled, so set aside dedicated time to bring out some of your dog’s favorite toys and play with him.