It's that time of year: the flocks head south to warmer wintering grounds, the sun says goodbye a little earlier every night, the kids head back to school and we start to set into our fall routine. As the rains return and the chill sets in, we start to spend more time inside, which for a lot of dogs, means less activity. Some dogs handle extra down time just fine but other really suffer from boredom. With the lack of outdoor activities, let's talk about some other ways that we can keep those tails wagging.
Dogs release stress (and bust boredom) in a couple of ways, but one key way is through chewing. Chewing and licking releases endorphins into dogs' brains which in turn, reduce stress. Repeated chewing is great for the teeth, gums, and jaw. It can even help condition the neck and upper body! Having toehold an oddly shaped toy or chew with their front paws is a great work out for the rest of the body as well.
In the last few years, a ton of great treat toys have hit the market. You can stuff them with anything from traditional treats to carrot pieces, peanut butter or bully sticks.These toys encourage dogs to problem solve by figuring out how to get to the food; this is great for their need for mental stimulation. Many of the toys allow you to set the difficulty level to you can start easy and gradually make it harder as your dog figures it out, keeping things more interesting.
Here are a few of our favorite treat toys:
West Paw Toppl
This durable, 100% rubber toy is so customizable. You can use one piece by itself and stuff it with treats or make a fun frozen snack. The Toppl is unique in that the large and small size screw together to make totally new toy. Using it this way works best with small treat pieces or even their daily kibble. The dogs have to roll the connected toy around to get the treats to fall out of the hole. Best perk about all West Paw toys? They are totally dishwasher safe!
West Paw Quizl
The Quizl is designed to hold stick-shaped chews (i.e bully sticks!). The Quizl grips the chew so only the ends are accessible, slowing down the time it takes for the dog to consume the chew. The dog has to figure out how to get the rest of the chew out of the toy! Available in two sizes.
Planet Dog Snoop
The Snoop is award winning for it's unique shape and design. The Snoop essentially turns inside of itself to make a crevice for treats to get stuck. In order to get the treats out, the dog has to maneuver the Snoop around with its nose or paw to get the treats to fall out of the tricky opening. They offer two sizes for large and small dogs.
Planet Dog Guru
This ultra-durable toy features 5 different openings for endless treat combinations. The large center hole is perfect for a bully stick or similar chew and the outer slits could be used for anything from spreadable peanut butter to treats. You could also freeze this toy with peanut butter, yogurt, etc. for a unique twist!
Planet Dog Link
The Link is another totally customizable option for busting boredom. This toy can be used alone as it's original square or you can add other pieces to it and configure a totally new shape, link them together, whatever is interesting to you and your dog! The link works best with smaller sized treats or kibble. This is a great option to use as a slow feeder for those chow hounds too.