Most of us live busy lives so keeping an active dog happy can be tough. Some have more energy than OPPD. If they become bored they start looking for things to do and that can get them into trouble.
The Nebraska Humane Society offers some tips on keeping your canine occupied. Believe it or not, toys are a necessity for many dogs, but with so many on the market how do you make the best choice?
First off think safety as toys should be appropriate for your dog's size. Balls, bones or soft toys that are too small can be swallowed, become obstructions in the gut and have to surgically removed. They are also a choking hazard.
Lots of dogs like a stuffed animal to maul, but button eyes, string tails or other small parts can be easily chewed off, so all dog toys should be made for dogs. Soft toys and even stuffing-less toys should only be allowed when you are there to supervise so your dog doesn't end up ingesting pieces.
Toys that are great for active dogs include very hard rubber bones like Nylabones or antlers. These can provide hours of chew time without the destruction. Kongs can not only stand up to chewing, they are great distraction toys, filled with peanut butter or squeeze cheese and broken up treats. Dogs in the NHS kennels spend hours getting the last little bit out. Make sure you choose the appropriate size Kong and check with your vet before feeding peanut butter to your dog.
Another great distraction are busy toys that have hiding places for treats and your dog has to work it with his nose and paws to get to the treasure.
Some cautions: Dogs love to chew the squeaker out of squeaky toys so these should only be played with under your supervision. The same goes for rawhide toys, but as always first ask your veterinarian which are safe.
Toys are also a good correction tool. When they grab something and you tell him no and take it away it gives them something to think about.
The Nebraska Humane Society is at 8929 Fort Street in Omaha and is open weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekdays between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. You can always look up animals and find information at nehumanesociety.org.