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Pug Dog Toys

Overview

When is a toy not just a toy? When you need your Pug to be able to sooth teething and chewing urges, when you want your Pug to have something interesting to keep himself busy or when your Pug has a really hard time being home alone and you need toys that will keep him focused on something other than missing you.

One of the biggest mistakes that owners can make when picking out items for their Pug dogs is going for quantity over quality. Buying cheap Pug dog toys (like those found in dollar stores) may give your dog a lot of options, but none will really meet his needs.

Most puppies and dogs will ignore these types of inexpressive toys and those that are left on the floor aren't helping a dog with his chewing and independent-play needs. 
A dog has very few of his own belongings; Other than the water and food dishes and bedding, his or her toy collection is really his only real possessions. And to keep a Pug dog happy, it's important to make sure that those toys are quality ones that fit the needs of the puppy or dog.

In this section we will go over the 3 types of Pug dog toys and exactly why these are needed.
Pug dog chew toys
The 3 Types of Toys All Pugs Should Have

1) Teething & Chewing Toys - Dogs of all ages have chewing needs, though puppies going through the teething stage have a down right obsession.   

With young puppies, teething toys will:

a) Soothe sore gums - Gums are very tender during this time and can have some inflammation. A few of the teething toys you have for your Pug puppy should have some cooling properties that offer relief. These will ones that are meant to be frozen. Some will have gel or other element inside that freezes fast; though having at least 2 is best so that one is being used while the other is in the freezer. 
b) Relieve itching - Along with discomfort, itching can be very intense during the teething phase as adult teeth begin to emerge. This can be so overwhelming that a Pug without proper toys may chew on just about anything. It is usually after a few household items have been destroyed that an owner realizes better toys need to be obtained. Pug dog toys for teething should have various textures and shapes so that a puppy can move it in and around teeth to scratch 'just the right spot'. These types will have a variety of options on each, so that a puppy can find multiple methods of chewing relief without needing to switch toys. Examples are those with textured ropes or braids, soft chewing parts to bite down on and nubs that fit on the gums. 

With Pugs of all ages for chewing needs, toys should:

a) Be beneficial for cleaning the teeth and making jaws strong - While it is very much recommended to manually clean your Pug's teeth on a regular basis with a quality toothbrush and canine paste as part of at-home dental care, the right toys will indeed also play a role in keeping teeth clean. In addition, chewing on the right consistencies will keep teeth strong. Dogs also need to work their jaws to maintain proper jaw muscles. 

b) Satisfy chewing needs - Pugs of all ages (and all other breeds for that matter) enjoy chewing; this is not just something that young pups need to do. Canines have an inner instinct to chew & bite down on things and this really should not be looked at as a negative behavior to be discouraged. When the right toys are given to a Pug dog, he can direct his chewing to those, which helps avoid destructive chewing on non-toy items.

It must also be mentioned that dogs also like to mouth things. They use their mouth like we use our hands and it's extremely normal for dogs to mouth an object just to find out what it is. For this reason, it's highly recommended to routinely 'puppy proof' the house no matter what the age of your Pug.  
2) Toys for Boredom - It's not always easy to be a dog! While we have TV shows to watch, hobbies to get into and can stay busy working, cleaning the house and doing other things, a Pug dog essentially has 3 choices when awake on a normal day: rest, go for a walk with us or play with a toy. And when a puppy or dog has too much accumulated time without actually doing anything, he can get super restless. Boredom for dogs is not just an acute problem; it is one that can build up until a dog gets extremely antsy. 

We recommend bringing your Pug with you to as many places as possible so that he can be exposed to the outside world. It's great for dogs to meet other animals, learn to encounter unknown people when with you and to be socialized to new situations such as outside markets or even walking through a downtown area with you. However, there will always be times when your Pug is in the house and needs the right toys to keep him busy. 
Pug dog toys for boredom
What makes a toy the best one for Pug dogs in regard to entertainment and to encourage independent play, is that it will have an element that draws the dog's attention in and will continue to offer something to keep a dog focused. 
Many owners rely too much on Kongs that hold treats, and these do have their place in a dog's toy collection. We recommend that all Pugs have at least one Kong; however there are several other toys that can really get a Pug excited to play and keep him happy. 

Some great choices for independent play are those that speak; just about every Pug will perk up and be super interested in a toy that calls out to him in a funny voice and continues to do so as he moves it around. These can keep a dog entertained for quite a while. Look for very durable ones that will stand up to tons of play and those that are appropriately sized. With this breed being the largest of all toy dogs, most puppies do well with a 'small' and most adults do best with a 'medium'.

Those that bounce are also good options since they will react when a Pug chews at or paws at it; simulating an 'alive' object and taking it beyond the same old boring, inanimate object. These can also be good for when a Pug is home alone; it he's in a gated off area the toy won't be able to bounce away under furniture. 

Other options are toys that are brightly colored; since dogs see things similar to how we do at dusk, muted colors will not draw a dog's interested. However super bright toys of prime colors red, green and blue are often best.  

*** If you're not happy with the types of toys that your Pug has for teething and chewing needs or to stay busy, see recommendations under 'Toys - Chewing, Teething, Boredom' in the Pug Dog Specialty Shoppe.
Pug dog in cape
 "Woof, rufff, rrrr...grrr... UMPHF!"
Translation:  "Tweets for treats...? ... or share for... ahh...  a pear??? 
Well, you get the gist!  Show me some love & share this month's Pug blog before you read on!"
3) Toys to Help with Separation Anxiety - Helping a Pug cope with the isolation and stress of being home alone can be tricky; there are several things that all work together to help a puppy or dog. This includes the set up you have for him, leaving on a light, having appropriate background noise… and even window vs non-window views make a difference. Another huge factor will be the toys that your Pug has available to him; as this collection will be his only real form of entertainment.  

The best toys for when a Pug is by himself will be those that offer a soothing element and those that keep a Pug super focused. 
In regard to soothing toys, while a Pug may take to a blanket or become attached to a stuffed animal, one type that goes above and beyond this is one that has what all living creatures have… a heartbeat…. And this is one element that can truly help make a dog feel as if he is not really alone. These are also sometimes referred to as companion toys. 

You'll want to look for ones that are super durable; since many Pugs quickly become attached to these and look to it to ease loneliness; a worn out toy that no longer works can quickly turn into a bad situation. Pugs will often cuddle up to these when wanting to rest and others will simply press their head to it every now and then to receive acknowledgment that they have a 'friend'.
comfort toys for Pug dog
*** To see all recommended Pug dog toys including comfort/ companion toys, look to the Pug Dog Specialty Shoppe
Tips for Toy Cleanliness and Safety

1) Be sure to choose toys that are sized appropriately for your Pug. While they will vary, most puppies need a size small and adults will need a small or medium. Sizing is important; if it is too small it can present a choking hazard and if it is too large it will be too difficult for a Pug to chew it, carry it or otherwise engage with it. Keep in mind that as your dog grows, he will need larger toys.  

2) Double up on favorites. It can be really disheartening for both a dog and an owner when a favorite toy is so worn out that it's not safe anymore, but it can't be replaced since it's either out of stock or no longer manufactured. Pet supply companies are always coming out with new ideas, so if your Pug has a favorite toy, even if it's super durable you may want to get 2 or even 3; keep the extras hidden away and that way, if the original one ever needs replacing, you'll have it right at hand. 

3) Go for quality over quantity. You don't need to spend a fortune to have a great toy collection; most recommended Pug dog toys are in the $5 to $12 range; however try to keep away from super cheap ones that you can grab at dollar stores and other discount places. Not only will these be too generic to really do much or satisfy any needs, many are made with unsafe dyes and have pieces that can break off.  

4) Routinely clean your Pug's toys. Due to small food particles, drool and slobber that makes everything wet and having been on floor surfaces, toys need to be cleaned on a regular basis. It's a good idea to keep the packaging since that is where the cleaning instructions will be placed. Many can be simply cleaned with hot water and dish soap in the kitchen sink. For stuffed animals (or those with batteries such as speaking or heartbeat toys) be sure to read the directions as many can be washed but must then be air dried. 

5) Inspect toys for rips and signs of wear. A Pug will keep on playing with a toy until it is a pile of crumpled bits, so it will be up to you to regularly check them for signs of damage and a wearing down that tell you it's time to replace them. Look for any small pieces that may have become loosened and any rips since these can often become much larger when you're not there to supervise. As mentioned above, if you have a second one stashed away, you won't have to worry about hunting down a favorite that is no longer found in stores or online. 

Toys for Both of You

Simply toys such as those used for playing fetch are also important since doing activities like this is a great way to bond with your Pug. It's gets an otherwise sedentary dog moving around (even in the winter when this is done indoors with a soft toy thrown down a hallway) and most Pug dogs really look forward to this one-on-one time when an owner is focused on them. 

In addition, there are other toys that are made for owner/dog interaction. These are toys that are mazes of some sort, in which the owner teaches the dog which levers to push on with his nose and/or which buttons to press with his paws in order to receive treats that are hidden inside. These can be tremendously fun and rewarding for both owner and dog. When you take the time to teach your Pug something new, this can give him a tremendous feeling of accomplishment that can make the dog more self-assured and confident.
 
How Many Toys a Pug Needs

When you have the right ones, most Pugs do okay with 6 to 8 toys. This usually consists of 5 to 6 chewing toys and 1 or 2 companion toys if the dog has separation anxiety.

Many owners find it helpful to have a second collection that is tucked away somewhere and these collections are switched out every so often to make a Pug feel as if he is getting new toys. Do be sure, however, to let a Pug keep favorites since taking those away can cause a lot of stress. 

Summary

The right toys are an essential part of caring for a Pug and keeping him happy; please take the time to choose fun, interesting and helpful ones for your Pug that will meet his needs. With this said, while toys have their place and can help with everything from chewing needs to loneliness, do not depend too much on toys. These cannot be a replacement for quality time spent with your puppy or dog. Pugs thrive on human companionship and simply love being included in things. A Pug would much rather be by your side as you wash your car or go along with you to the hardware store then be inside with a toy.  

Finding the right balance of time spent doing things together, times of simply relaxing side-by-side and times of your Pug having independent play are crucial to giving a Pug a rewarding, happy life.
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