TOYS AND SUPPLIES
Your new Labrador Retriever has a lot of energy to burn, they also are very intellectual and love having a purpose. This is why they are so easy to train and make such good service dogs. So. now that your new friend will just be laying around the house looking cute and waiting to be loved, he can become a little bored and get into mischief if we do not tend to their needs correctly. Your new walking friend will need at least an adequate exercise regime but more on that later. Right now we are going to exercise his mind and his jaw muscles so that he doesn’t exercise on your favorite items around your house.. There are 2 types of toys and a bonus third one I will tell you about after.
There are dog chew toys and there are dog interactive toys, of course, there are puppy chew and interactive toys as well. They don’t change much from the dog categories other than size and maybe material but they serve the exact same purpose, so for the time being, we will focus on dog toys as a whole. To understand which toys your new mischievous friend requires, you first have to understand why dogs chew things. Dogs do not HAVE to chew like rodents, beavers and such, to help wear down teeth that never stop growing. Dogs chew for the following reasons; teething, opportunity, boredom, anxiety, obsession, to learn, to seek attention and finally to build muscle in their jaws just like you or me, exercising.
Now understanding why our furry friends chew, there are also some dangers to be aware of when choosing your friends, new toys like hard materials can chip or dislodge teeth, allergic reactions to materials, toys that can be torn apart can become choking hazards or create digestive track issues toxins and poisons such as BPA and Phthalates which can be found in cheaper, unknown manufacturers toys as they use cheaper materials.
I am not going to do a “Top Ten list” as they have been done so much and what if I only knew 8 toys I would recommend I would want to pick 2 toys I didn’t 100% believe in, so through my own personal experience, with labs, pit bulls, rottweilers, Sheppard’s, boxers, pugs and Napolean Mastiffs (all dogs I have owned or cared for) these are my top picks for chew toys that will survive all these breeds and keep on getting chewed. These are listed in no particular order and I receive nothing in return for suggesting these, they are just all around durable, keep their attention good old dog fun toys!
CHEW ON THIS, IF YOU CAN...
Goughnuts Indestructible Chew Toy Maxx
Cost: $20-$40 USD
The Goughnuts line of chew toys were designed with one thing in mind, safety for you and your dog. Depending on the model you get they have a green, yellow and black color all varying in toughness and size. If you dog manages to chew into the core of the toy where you see red, send it back and they will replace it. They also offer a Pro 50 series for the ultimate chewer but due to the core reinforcement, the 50 series will not float like the rest of the Goughnuts line-up. If your Lab is a serious chewer, get them one of these and Goughnuts!!
KONG Dog Toys
Cost: $15-$32 USD
Ask anyone who has a dog or cat (yes, they make cat toys too!) and their response will most likely be, “We have a KONG for….” These are a chew toy meets interactive toy for over 40 years and is recommended by vets the world over. Made from a super durable all rubber compound they satisfy dogs need to chew and with an abnormal shape, they bounce erratically fulfilling the dogs need to play. You can also stuff the inside with kibble and peanut butter for keeping your playmate busy longer, KONG also offers their own treats and special topping spray. If that’s not enough, visit the KONG website for healthy recipes you can stuff your KONG with. No matter your puppy, adolescent or senior dog, whether it’s play time at the park or you challenge your dogs’ mind with one of their interactive toys, KONG has the right….KONG for your dog….or cat.
Zogoflex JIVE Ball by Westpaw
Cost: $8-15 USD
Hands down, this is my choice for the best all-time dog toy. First off, it’s Guaranteed so if your dog chews it up, send it back for a new one. They come in 3 sizes (Large for our labs) and they come in 3 super bright colors so it’s easier to find in the tall grass which will never be a problem as every one of my dogs would never put it down. It has a weird V-groove in it so its bounce is abnormal. So your dog is a slobber machine, these fit in the standard ball throwers. They are dishwasher safe for the odd cleanup or you can just throw it in the lake as they float too. If you decided to get a new one, they are fully recyclable! When I trained my service dog, this was the toy she always had to have so it became her reward, just like the police K-9’s are trained. No matter where we went she had to bring it with her even if she was going to bed she had to have it. All my other dogs were the exact same. There’s something about the color, shape, material that dogs go nuts over. I would recommend against taking them to the dog park as every dog wants it! My rottweiler couldn’t break it but my pitbull did take a small piece off and they replaced it no questions asked. If you buy a chew toy or even a ball, make it a JIVE ball!
Qwizl Treat toy by Westpaw
Cost: $14-18 USD
This is an award winning design for keeping Fido from chewing your shoes. This is a treat dispensing toy and boy do your furry friends have to work at extending play time as well as treat time. It’s made of the exact same material as the JIVE ball that is latex free as well as BPA-and-phthalate-free, and FDA approved. Unlike most treat dispensing toys this WILL hold up to serious chewers…guaranteed!! You can also extend playtime by freezing them with the treats inside which also makes it great for teething puppies. They also come in the same 3 bright colors as the JIVE ball Tangerine orange, Granny Smith Green & Aqua Blue
Tux Treat Toy by Westpaw
Cost: $15-19 USD
I know another Westpaw product! This has been their best seller and what Westpaw is best known for because of it’s near indestructible construction. My rottweiler loved this one only caused it had treats in it but once they were gone it was back to the JIVE ball. Same 3 colors, same super safe material but unlike the Quizl that’s strictly an indoor toy, we would also take this to the park as it bounced really well and really kept the dogs on their toes as it bounced like a football. Same guarantee.
Hurley Dog Bone by Westpaw
Last Westpaw product I promise. But there’s something to be said with all Westpaw, also known as Zogoflex, all their products being Latex, BPA-and-phthalate-free, all being guaranteed and all dogs loving them. The Hurley Dog Bone is designed for super long chew sessions and this is the only one I found a downfall too. This one can get noisy as the dogs great right into contorting and twisting it makes this sound. It’s fine as long as your not trying to watch tv or a movie. Now the Hurley Dog Bone was my Labrador Retrievers favorite, so much it had to have two! It had an Aqua blue one for inside and never ever went outside, his choice, not mine but the Ruby red, yes this also comes in a Ruby Red, for outside but never ever came inside, he would always drop it at the bottom of the stairs. What makes all these Westpaw products great is that they are super durable chew toys but at the same time they are also all interactive toys with the odd shapes for weird bouncing and being able to be frozen of stuffed with treats. Westpaw has, even more, toys that carry all the same characteristics but I have not tried them all yet but I am sure I can assure you, you and your new furry friend will love them for a long, LONG time to come.
WHY CHOOSE WestPaw GUARANTEED PRODUCTS?
Now I get people asking me when I recommend chew toys, how come majority are Westpaw product? I look for key elements in a chew toy. First and foremost, are they made with the safest materials, being Latex, BPA and Phthalate free. BPA stands for Bisphenol A, this is a chemical found in cheap plastic and rubber compounds and is linked to reproductive issues that will work its way through blood lines. Phthalate is a chemical found in vinyl or polyvinyl chloride, or PVC that causes liver and kidney issues. Latex can contain both of these compounds.
Next, these toys do not look like anything in your house, even baby toys, so Fido won’t mistake what is a chew toy and what is not. These toys are all designed for serious chewers and are near indestructible and if they CAN manage to tear it apart, there’s that great Westpaw guarantee. These toys can also be used many different ways such as a chew toy, a water toy as they float, obviously, an interactive toy with your lab but also because of their shape. When Fido is playing by themselves, these toys will roll or bounce in odd ways giving them their own interaction. Some can dispense treats and all can be frozen which makes it great for teething.. You can throw them in the dishwasher to freshen them up and if you have to upgrade a size, don’t throw it out, recycle it They can all be had from $10-$20USD which is a great deal for a quality, fun & safe dog toy and the #1 reason I choose so many Westpaw products, DOGS & PUPPIES LOVE THEM!!
ALL NATURAL OPTION FOR YOUR LABRADOR RETRIEVERS CHEWING NEEDS
Lastly, I want to talk about deer antlers. Dogs love these but there are a few things you have to be aware of. First, just like a bone, your dog has a chance of breaking a tooth as the antlers are harder than most bones. Unlike bones, whole deer, elk and moose antlers do not splinter, split or chip. If you purchas the split half antlers, this is a very different story. First they have a very nasty edge. Just like bones, antlers have a softer marrow center, with the hard exterior make chipping teeth even a greater risk. Split antlers also age very different from whole antlers as they dry out and can splinter and break off in chunks, so be sure to always purchase whole antlers. Deer, elk and moose antlers are very healthy as they are a great source of calcium, glucosamine, and chondroitin. Whole antlers also last a very long time, however they are quite expensive from pet stores averaging $27USD and as high as $40USD. If you google them online, you can usually find a wholesaker close by that sell 4, 5, or 6 paxks starting ar $20 USD and are fresher. Just don’t let your dog drop one on your foot as it hurts!! Antlers also do not gum up or leave a residue like rawhide and best of all, they do not make your dog gassy like rawhide and regular beef bones. Although they do come in small enough size for a puppy, do not give them to your Labrador Retriever Puppy, wait till all their adult teeth come in as puppy teeth are much softer