04 Dec 18
The Mercury News
The holidays are just around the corner, so it’s time for our annual best pet toys column. We’ve done the research for you and have a list of popular and highly-rated toys for both dogs and cats.
Toys for dogs
Kong Classic: This toy remains one of the most popular toys for dogs. It is perfect for play because of its unpredictable bounce, and helps to prevent boredom, separation anxiety and other behavioral issues. It’s designed for stuffing treats and snacks inside, and can keep your dog busy for hours.
The Kong Classic is available in sizes XS to XXL, and prices range from $7.99 to $24.99.
There also is a Senior Kong version for older dogs that is made of a gentler rubber formula, available in sizes S to L. The cost for the Senior Kong ranges from $6.99 to $11.99.
Chuckit! Classic Launcher: Another fan favorite is the Classic Launcher. The hands-free pick-up design means you’ll never have to pick up a slobbery tennis ball again. The Classic Launcher allows you to throw tennis balls two or three times as far as you could on your own, and provides great exercise for your pet. With practice you can fling a ball as far as 140 feet.
The Launcher includes one Chuckit! Ball and is available in a variety of throwing ranges and ball sizes. A single pack averages $9.95 and two-packs range from $28 to $31.
Chuckit! Ultra Ball: The Ultra Ball pairs perfectly with the Classic Launcher. It’s known for its high bounce and buoyancy, high visibility and durability. The ball comes in several different options including glow-in-the dark as well as squeaker and whistler balls.
Ball sizes range from S to XXL, and are available in single, two- and four-pack options with prices varying from $4.95 to $15.95.
Kong Cozy squeaky toy: This plush squeaky toy is great for fetch or just to comfort your furry friend. It is available in 10 characters: Marvin the Moose, King the Lion, Rosie the Rhino, Spunky the Monkey, Ali the Alligator, Bailey the Blue Dog, Buster the Koala, Floppy the Rabbit, Elmer the Elephant and Tupper the Lamb. Sizes range from S to XL and are available in single or two-pack. Single toy prices vary between $4.66 to $14.08, and two-pack prices run from $15.99 to $37.95.
Benebone Real Flavor Wishbone dog chew: A top seller on Amazon, this wishbone-shaped chew toy offers three flavors to choose from: peanut, chicken and bacon. It is available in S to L sizes, and the price ranges from $9.65 to $17.41.
Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel plush squeaking toy: This interactive toy stimulates
mental play with a fun hide and seek game, and each plush toy is loaded with a squeaker. The sizes range from S to XL with different animal options available including squirrel, bee, bird and hedgehog. Prices vary from $6.99 to $18.
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Toys for cats:
Petstages Tower of Tracks: This toy has three circular levels each equipped with a brightly colored ball to ensure your cat hours of chasing fun. The stacked play station has non-skid pads so it will stay in place while your cat is at play. An added bonus is that the tower can be used by one or multiple cats simultaneously, and the balls will never be lost beneath the couch. The price averages $10.48.
Yeoww! Catnip Filled Banana Toy: This handmade toy continues to be a bestseller. It is filled with 100 percent organic catnip and is the perfect size for nuzzling and kicking. It is sold individually or in a two-pack. Average cost is $5 for per toy.
Trixie 5-in-1 Activity Center: This puzzle toy is ideal for a food-driven cat. By placing a few bits of kibble in the multi-tiered peg, globe, alley and tunnel design, the toy enables your cat to swat, paw and strategize on how to best get the treats. It’s well constructed, dishwasher safe and costs on average $29.99.
Fashion Talk cat toys variety pack 20 pieces: This variety pack of toys features balls and catnip, toys with feathers, mice and more, and can keep your cat entertained while you’re home or away. The price is a bargain at $12.88.
Petsafe SlimCat interactive toy and dispenser: This ball toy combines mealtime with exercise to help prevent obesity. It can be used to feed your furry friend daily meals or can just be used for treats. The openings are adjustable for various size kibble. It’s top rack dishwasher safe and averages $6.95.
SmartyKat Skitter catnip cat toys: These mice toys are filled with potent catnip that is chemical and pesticide-free, and the fiberfill is made from 100 percent recycled plastic. They are sold in packs of three and the average price is $1.99.
Pet gifting rules
When giving pet toys, ensure that they are “dog- and cat-proofed,” meaning you should remove any ribbons, strings, feathers, eyes or other decorations your pet could chew and swallow.
Make sure that a dog toy is the appropriate size; if it is too small it may become a choking hazard. Many dogs love squeaky plush toys, but watch for how roughly they play with these. If a dog tears the toy apart quickly and removes and eats the squeaker, this may turn into a trip to the vet.
[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”curated” curated_ids=”5665833,5579902,5535458,5289510,5148849″]Ultimately, you know the personality of your pets and what kind of toys they respond to best, and the best gift of all — what pets want the most — is to spend quality time with you.
We hope these guidelines help you choose safe, fun toys that you and your pet can enjoy through the holidays and beyond.
Nicole Forsyth is president and CEO of RedRover, an organization that focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the human-animal bond through emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education. She writes Dollars and Pets for the Bay Area News Group. Send questions to email@example.com.
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