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Making playtime a good time for you and your pet

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  • RSPCA Australia
  • Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Making playtime a good time for you and your pet

There are many toys on the market these days labelled for use by pets. However, it’s important to know the difference in the quality and safety of playtime products to help keep your pet safe and well. Check out our top toy tips below!

1.Safety first

It may surprise you to know there are currently no mandatory safety standards for pet toys in Australia. This means there will be many toys on the market that do not have the durability and quality needed to be played with vigorously by our pets.

When looking for new toys, always look for reputable brands and brands that pride themselves on quality, including testing their products before sale.

Toys that tear apart easily, contain squeakers that are easily removed, or have feathers and pieces of string that come away causing serious issues when ingested, are ones to avoid. You want to find toys that assure durability and longevity.

The KONG Company recommends dog owners frequently inspect their dog’s toys and examine each toy for wear and tear. Toys showing signs of wear i.e. holes or pieces tearing off should be discarded and replaced.

2.Eyes on the prize – Always supervise!

Always supervise your pets when they are playing with toys. This will help you determine if the toy is durable and will withstand playtime, so you can remove it immediately if it begins to fall apart or becomes unsafe.

Some dogs regardless of breed and size can be very gentle on their toys, and these may last them for years. Whilst other dogs may be tough on toys and able to destroy them with ease over a short period of time”, explains Rachael James, Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the KONG Company in Australia.

3.Variety is the flavour of life!

Rotating your pet’s toys is a great idea and helps add some variety to their daily lives. Although some pets may become attached to a favourite toy, others will become bored if presented with the same toys day in, day out. You can hide some toys for a while and then bring them out again when the other toys become overused or boring. Some pet owners even keep a toy box handy and allow their pet to choose the toy they want to play with.

Toys can vary, and as Rachael from KONG explains, “A toy’s purpose can range from an interactive puzzle style toy, a chew toy, a chew toy that can be filled with treats, to toys intended for throw and retrieve style play. It helps to consider the needs of the individual dog when selecting appropriate toys. A dog’s chewing and play needs are a vital component during the selection process.”

4.All pets are individuals

Similar to human children, pets will not be interested in every toy available. For example, some dogs like toys they can chew and throw around; others like soft toys they can snuggle up to; many dogs will like a selection of each!

If you buy your pet a toy and they’re not interested in it, don’t be frustrated with them as your pet is not going to like every toy presented to them. That’s the best part about our pets - they have their own personalities!

5.Toys aren’t a replacement for quality time

Toys should not be used as a substitute for quality, interactive play time. Toys should instead be seen as tools that aid in quality time, but there’s absolutely no replacement for time spent playing with your pet. Make sure you allocate time every day to playing and interacting with your pets. It’s good for their health and wellbeing (and yours too!).

This article was prepared with assistance from The KONG Company. The KONG Company is a great supporter of the RSPCA and generously provides toys for dogs in RSPCA shelters across the country.

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