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Lucie Larochelle, owner of Global Pet Foods HRM, a chain of three pet stores in Nova Scotia, says that the best thing that new puppy owners can do is to ask for advice at a local, reputable pet store. "They may be able to recommend dog toys that are most liked by certain breeds based on the feedback they get from customers, co-workers, friends or suppliers, or they themselves may have had the same kind of pet," she says.
However, to get you started, here are five dog toys and accessories you should consider getting for your new puppy:
1. Chew toys
"Puppies really need something to chew, and if you don't give them something to chew, they will go find something," says Larochelle. "So, it's better to invest in dog toys instead of having to replace shoes or furniture." Rope toys are a great buy for puppies, and Larochelle says that if you soak them in broth or water, then freeze them, they can be very soothing for young puppies' teeth.
Other great chew toys for puppies include the Kong (which comes in a softer, puppy-sized version), Nylabone (which is great for heavy chewers) or rubber balls designed specifically for dogs. "When dogs are chewing, as well as it being good for their teeth, it releases serotonin, the happy hormone, which is soothing for them, too," says Larochelle.
2. Heated toys
There are various dog toys on the market that you can throw in the microwave, which provide comfort to very young puppies and help keep them warm. This is great for smaller breeds that really feel the cold. Heated toys come in various forms, such as beanbags, stuffed toys, or rubber discs that look a little like a Frisbee. "It makes them feel like they are still with their littermates, and can be very comforting," says Larochelle.
3. A crate
Puppies tend to feel safe if they have a space of their own, which is why Larochelle recommends getting all puppies a crate.
"It gives them a safe spot in the home that they can go to, and this is especially important if you have children that never want to leave the puppy alone," she says. "You can tell them that if the puppy goes in its crate, it is time to leave him be, because if a pet never feels safe somewhere, it will lead to behavioural problems later."
4. Soft toys
Some breeds really love having soft toys to snuggle with, or to wrestle with, and the type that would suit them best depends on the breed and the individual dog. "Greyhounds especially love fleecy stuffed toys, and find the material very soothing, whereas another type of dog might just rip that apart to get the stuffing out. Consequently, several companies manufacture unstuffed toys, so the dogs really enjoy flapping them around and pretending to kill them, but there is no mess," says Larochelle. You'll find a huge range of stuffed and unstuffed dog toys to choose from at any pet store.
5. Beef chews
Another good way to keep your puppy entertained and happy is to get him a beef chew. "The smellier the better. These make puppies really happy," says Larochelle. One thing that Larochelle does not recommend for puppies is rawhide chews, as they can get soft and the puppy can choke on it.
"But you should monitor your puppy when eating any kind of treat. Don't just give them a bone in their crate and then go off and leave them with it. You want to ensure that your pet is safe," she says.