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The Role Cat and Dog Toys Play in Pet Health

Most pet owners buy pet toys for their pets simply because they enjoy giving their furry companions something special, but there are actually many reasons to give your pets toys. Toys and playing are crucial to any dog’s or cat’s social development. Playing with toys keeps pets occupied and stimulates them mentally. Proper playtime with toys helps pets develop a wide variety of skills and helps enhance desirable personality traits.

Some of the ways pet toys enhance the lives of dogs and cats include:

  •  Stress Reduction and Comfort. Having a soft, plush toy or stuffed animal can help pets cope with stress, including separation anxiety. Dogs in particular like having a security blanket or “woobie” that they can snuggle with.
  • Offering an Alternative to Destructive Behavior. Chew toys and tug toys will give your pet something to chew on or tear apart instead of your favorite shoes or the legs of your dining room table. Each time your dog chews on something or your cat starts scratching the furniture, gently redirect them to a chew toy or a scratching post.
  • Keeping Boredom at Bay. Pets get bored just like people do. Keeping pets entertained with appropriate pet toys will keep them from finding their own kind of mischief.
  • Physical Stimulus. Getting your pets moving are critical to keeping them healthy and happy. Playing with interesting and challenging toys will keep your pets from becoming overweight and lazy.

Choosing the Right Cat and Dog Toys

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of dog and cat toys on the market, but they aren’t all equal. Some toys will hold your pet’s interest for months while others will lie forgotten in a corner after just an afternoon of play. So how do you choose the right pet toys? Look for toys that are both durable and challenging.

Dog toys and cat toys that will keep your pet’s interest over time will have some of these key features:

  •  They will engage pets with mental and physical challenges.
  • The toys will help correct a problem such as chewing on shoes by offering pets an alternative to chew on.
  • The toys will exercise different parts of the body such as their jaws in pulling and tugging games and strengthening their limbs when playing fetch.
  • An engaging problem to solve, such as opening a box or toy in order to get to a treat.

If you’re not sure what toys will engage your dog or cat, take them to a local pet supply store and let them choose a few toys themselves. Your vet or groomer can also suggest appropriate toys for your pet’s age, temperament and personality.


  1. Nancy Wallace

    January 3, 2017 1:38 am

    My cats received several balls with bells in them for Christmas. Not only did my kitten enjoy them but an older cat who never seems to play has been batting them around too!

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