Well, yesterday I spent a few hours puppy proofing the living room and cleaning and partially puppy-proofing my bedroom. These are the two places he’s going to be spending the majority of the time–since those are the places where I spend the majority of my time when I’m home so they are where I’ve focused my effort.
In my cleaning and puppy proofing spree, I realized that although I have baskets and baskets of dog toys in the house, I have very few toys that are geared toward puppies. I suppose that shouldn’t be much of a surprise considering it’s been 2 years since I had anything even close to a “puppy” (and Rio came to me at 4 months old). I realized that I have to go out and buy some puppy-specific supplies for foster puppy. I figured that I would let you in on the items on my puppy shopping list (not that foster boy is getting all of these but we’ll see what I can find).
Well, with a 10-11 week old puppy coming into the home of adult dogs, I’m going to need to get puppy food since what I generally feed fosters has giant kibble pieces . I am not sure what brand I’ll be feeding yet… it largely depends what types of puppy food my local independent pet supply store carries. I know Taste of the Wild has a puppy formula and I’m hoping to find that since it tends to be less expensive and will hopefully have smaller bites. I don’t even remember what I fed Rio when I brought him home because I so quickly switched him to raw.
Well, since the pup is only 10-11 weeks old, he will likely be here when he starts to lose his chompers. To prevent inappropriate chewing, I want to provide a plethora of appropriate chewing options. Here are some of my favorite options. Any time I give a new toy, I always make sure to observe the first few chew sessions–I want to know how a puppy goes about chewing. Is the puppy a gnaw and swallow or just a soothing chewing type dog? With that information, I try to select more appropriate chews.
CHILLY BONES–I really like these for puppies who are teething. They provide nice soothing relief to sore gums and encourage puppies to chew the right thing. Plus it’s interesting for them to experience chewing on cold items.
PUPPY RUBBER TEETHERS–I also like these toys by Nylabone for puppies who are starting to teethe. Once the puppy’s adult teeth are in, this toy should be taken away, but until that point, they are nice options. I also like the various textures on the toy.
DURA CHEW “ACTION RIDGES”–Once puppy has a few adult teeth, I like using these ore durable chew toys to satisfy their need to chew and destroy. Generally speaking, I invest in more “post puppy teeth” toys since the puppy can chew them even before they have the adult teeth without problems.
ORKA STICK–I like this one because it mixes a rubber texture along with fabric/rope so it has a few different things to chew on. They are not super duper durable, but they hold up to most puppies for a while.
ANTLERS–Although not something I would leave out for frequent chewing for a puppy, they were a favorite for Rio for short bursts of chewing, particularly when his molars were coming in.
COOL TEETHING STICK–Another freezable chew toy. What I love about this one is the wild and crazy colors mixed with the variety of things to chew and textures to experience.
Food Stuffable Toys
The pup will likely be spending regular amounts of time in the crate–in and out of the crate regularly throughout the day–and part of him acclimating nicely to a crate will be using toys that I can stuff food into for him to lick out. It gives them something to do in the crate, makes the crate a happy place, and can actually tire out the puppy so they actually go to sleep.
KONG–I don’t bother getting the “puppy” Kongs, but I couldn’t imagine life without Kongs. You can fill it with nearly anything and keep puppies busy and happy. I don’t have to go buy any of these… just have to move all the couches to find the missing ones!
ZOGOFLEX (by West Paw Design)–Another puppy friendly stuffable toy. These are a little more expensive than Kongs but I really like providing a variety of toys that are stuffable because each one requires different techniques to empty them so the pups have to do some extra mental work.
JACK (by Orka)–This has smaller spaces but I like to put just a tiny bit of peanut butter in all the little openings for them to work on so they have to move it around a bit to get all the openings.
KONG BONE–Just one more style of toy that can have food/treats put into it to help keep puppy busy in the crate.
I do have plenty of toys but I want to get one or two puppy specific items that may have many different textures and sounds that aide in puppy’s development and mental stimulation. Puppies do a lot of learning through play and having them play with things that are very different helps them acclimate to those different textures/sounds and become confident players. Play is also an important piece of the canine/human bonding process so having many interactive play items like tugs, balls, and stuffed toys is important. These are just two of my favorite toys that I’ve always wanted but never got (because lets be honest, there is no lacking for interactive toys in this house!).
FLOPPY FRED–I have wanted Floppy Fred since he came out a while back and now I have a reason to get him. He’s got crinkle sounds, rattles, and squeakers… floppy, flappy extremities of different colors and textures, etc. I mean, look at him, he’s crazy cute!
HAPPY MOPPY–Similar to Floppy Fred Happy moppy is awesome looking! Even I’m really engaged by all the colors, textures and sounds it makes. It’s perfectly shakeable, pretty durable, yet soft and snuggle-able.