Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dog Toy Safety

Let's face it, dog toys are fun for you and your dog. But they are not only fun, they are kind of a necessity. Toys provide comfort and fight boredom in your dog. They can also be used in training to provide mental and physical stimulation to ward off undesirable behaviors in your beloved four-legged family member. When dogs are not provided toys in the household, they will often find other objects to use as toys. Often, the items they choose will be things that you do not want destroyed or big time safety risks.

There are many toys on the market and some of them are perfect for a canine. Other toys can be a waste of money or downright dangerous for your dog. So, how do you as a canine owner, wade through the endless rows of dog toys to find the perfect one for Fido? Let's start with safety:

Making Toys Safe:
  • Size is important. Make sure the toy cannot be easily swallowed or lodged in your dog's throat. When choosing a toy, you must take into account your dog's size and behavioral tendencies. 
  • Cut off any ribbon, strings or "googly eyes" that can be ripped off and ingested.
  • Supervise and inspect: Always keep an eye on what your dog is doing with the toy. Discard any toys that are starting to rip or break into pieces that can be ingested.
  • Squeaky toys! Some dogs absolutely LOVE squeaky toys. Often, the squeaker is placed right in the middle of a stuffed toy and your dog will want to destroy that squeaker. Hence, a destroyed stuffed toy. Please supervise your dog during squeaky toy play. If your dog conquers the squeaky toy, discard the remnants... including the infamous squeaker, which can be a choking hazard. 
  • Check labels. If the toy is designed to be a people toy, but your dog really wants to play with it, check to make sure it is safe for children 3-years and under. Also, stuffing should not be made out of nutshells or those little polystyrene beads (ughhh). Your dog should probably not ingest any sort of stuffing, but nutshells and polystyrene beads are the most dangerous.  
  • Stuffed animals must be small enough for your dog to carry, but large enough that your dog can shake it. 
  • Rawhides--You should consult your veterinarian about giving your dog rawhides. These can give your dog serious obstructions. If you give your dog a rawhide, PLEASE supervise and always choose the right size for your dog.
Awesome Toys For Canines
  • Rope toys with knotted ends make an awesome game of tug-o-war. Plus, dogs really like to do what I call the "shake-kill" maneuver on them. 
  • Kongs are an absolute favorite. You can fill them with frozen treats or just plain ol' treats and keep your dog busy for quite a while. Just make sure the Kong is the right size for your canine. 
  • Tennis Balls! They can be thrown, they bounce AND they get slobbery wet! It's a dog's dream toy. But again, frequently check for wear and tear.
  • Busy Boxes-- These are large rubber cubes with hiding places for treats and provide mental enrichment for you dog. 
  • DIY enrichment games. Click here for ideas!
  • Of course, you can always go local in Bozeman, MT. and buy West Paw toys. We love them at Bark City! They are an environmentally friendly business and they recycle some of their toys into new toys. You can find West Paw Toys in other states as well.
Above are just some suggestions on awesome dog toys. Bottom line is that you, as a doggy parent, must provide your dog with mental and physical stimulation in order to ward of bad behavior habits spurred out of frustration and pent up energy. Also, toys should not just be a "babysitter" for your dog. You need to make sure your are interacting with your dog on a consistent basis. Dogs are social animals and can become very depressed when socially deprived. We at Bark City are always trying to find new and innovative ways to keep our dogs enriched. For ideas, you can always check out our Facebook page to see what we have going on in the daycare.  Go out and PLAY!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer Themed Enrichment Activities

We have been having a lot of fun with our new Enrichment Program and getting creative in how we can offer new stimuli to your dog to keep them learning and growing into smart pups. This week, we launched our Summer Themed Enrichment Activities (even though this summer has been kind of hit and miss on the weather). Here is a list of what kind of themes are up our sleeve:

Keep in mind, being the creative individuals that we are, we may fly by the seat of our pants and add a different theme on any given day. These themes are not set in stone! We will be rotating themes EVERY DAY. That means, your furry friend will have new toys to play with and games to solve that are completely different from the day before. In fact, with all our themed ideas, your dog may hit a different theme every day of the week.

 Here are a couple of pictures from earlier this week when our dogs went camping and to a dance party:

We have Dance Party USA going on complete with glow sticks and colored lights.

When you camp, you obviously need to go fishing in the ol' fishin' hole.

Balls in tents to complete our camping trip. If only this picture had the majestic Rockies in the background.

Coming up these next three days are: Baseball, Luau and Picnic (if it's nice out. If not, we will have another activity up our sleeve). Be sure to stop by our Facebook Page to check out all the photos. We update them multiple times a day.