See Spot play: green pet toys

Most scientists believe animals play in order to practice skills they need in life. Pet toys are not a luxury since they help your dog stay fit and stop them from being bored, which can lead to behaviour problems. Safe toys It's important to pick safe toys that engage them in their natural play. The common hazards are toys that are too small, toys that break off into tiny pieces or toys with small parts. Your pooch can swallow these small parts and end up choking or with a blocked intestine. Types Dogs play by tracking, chasing, tugging and mouthing so they generally need three kinds of toys: active, distraction and comfort. Catch it Active toys are the ones that get your dog moving. Every dog loves a ball but the old standby tennis ball actually wears teeth down and there is research suggesting the glue may ruin teeth enamel. West Paw Design sells the ultra-light Bow Wowzer Ball made from Zogoflex material, a mix of rubber and foam safe for any canine mouth. Spot will be able to fetch for hours without fear of getting teeth or gums perforated with the soft and durable Throw The Stick from Ruff Dawg. Tough and non-toxic, hemp makes excellent tug toys or Frisbees. Earthdog bones are made of 100 percent hemp and stuffed with recycled poly-cotton -- perfect for chasing or just carrying around. Chew it It can get awfully boring waiting for humans so distraction toys can keep your dog busy while waiting for you to come back home. The Kong is a heavy rubber cone that can be filled with treats or peanut butter. Your dog gets to the goodies by moving the cube around or chewing on the cone. Planet Dog sells a series of chew toys called Orbee-Tuff that come in the shape of vegetables with places to put treats. Hide them around the house for a canine treasure hunt. Check with your vet before giving out rawhide chew toys. Certain rawhide has a tendency to swell up in the intestines and some have been preserved with arsenic. Cuddle it Comfort Toys are those soft toys that Spot likes to carry around for shake and mock-kill games. Kids stuffed toys are not suitable because of the small parts and the indigestible stuffing. If you're worried about squeakers in the toys, check out Simply Fido's organic plush toys with removable squeakers. Lolly the lamb is a best seller. Dogs have acidic mouths which easily absorb the chemicals from the dyes used in most plush toys. So if your pooch is spending a lot of time slobbering over his toy you may want to consider something from Purrfect Play. They use organic cotton without any chemical dyes. West Paw Design sells plush toys made from recycled soda pop bottles – each toy has a life beyond one bite! Fat Cat has a whole series of popular durable canvas toys that last a lifetime. The Big Mean Kitty is their best seller. If the squeaking is making you crazy you may want to invest in The Soniks with its ultrasonic squeaker with a frequency range above 25,000 Hz, above the range of human hearing but still audible to your dog. Get the most Buy a variety of toys – at least one to chase, one to chew and one to carry – and make only a few available at a time. Rotate them on a weekly basis and your dog will never get tired of them. If your pooch develops a favourite then leave that one out all the time. The most important thing is to get your dog playing. We're not playing favourites here! Find toys for your feline by reading Cat and mouse games!