How to find awesome pet toys

Intro – keep pets healthy

Do you love pets and want to help keep them healthy? Just like us, pets need their basics needs met like food, water, grooming, sleep, and physical & mental activity. Pets, like us, are supposed to be active, move around and use their wit to succeed in nature. An inactive lifestyle is unhealthy for our pets. That’s why pet owners invest in their care with various objects or structures that encourage movement, exploration, play, and thinking. The goal is to create a stimulating environment to encourage pets to behave much like they would in the wild.

The best way to create a stimulating environment is to focus on both physical & mental activities that mimic the natural skills and instincts like climbing, swimming, hunting, fetching and digging.

A bit of science

The process of using objects to promote species-specific activities is called environmental enrichment. Environmental enrichment ensures pets are challenged in ways that are appropriate and healthy for their species.

Without the challenges of a natural environment pets may become bored. They need the challenge of finding food, guarding territory, or avoiding predators to keep their minds and body sharp.

Stimulating toys can be used to great effect to counteract the effects of an enclosed urban environment.

Understanding play toys and pet personalities

Pets have their own personalities which is why one type of toy might captivate one pet but not another. In much the same way humans have a favourite toy so do pets. In-fact each pet will have a specific preferences to the types of toys they like. More specifically your pet might love their chewed up ball, a favourite feather or even a blanket with a unique scent. Engaging with the types of toys that suits them is best.

What makes a toy interesting

Matching basic instinctive behaviours that pets typically experience in their natural environment with the various types of toys would be the ideal choice. When a toy matches the specific skills/activities of your pet it triggers the prefrontal cortex of their brains. This ultimately improves a number of different physical and mental facets.

Finding the perfect toy

It’s time to find some toys that bring out the best playtime for your pet. What excites them the most – both physically and mentally? What type of personality do they have?

What to consider

  • Shy or cautious pets might not enjoy new toys added to their environment or they might need help from you showing them what to do or that the toy is safe and fun.
  • Age. Older pets tend to approach new toys differently compared with younger pets. They also might have sore joints or not need to be as active.
  • Different breeds and species. All pets are different. Think about their specific skills and focus on what they’re naturally good at.
  • Understand your pets unique instincts

Targeting a full range of senses

  • Vision. Colours or movement could be an ideal toy choice
  • Hearing. Squeakers or toys that make some sort of sound
  • Smell. Various different types of scents can be applied to pet toys or just something simple like their own scent. Alternatively natural scents from the garden or house could be interesting.
  • Taste. Similar to smells taste is an easy addition to a pet toy. You could also add some food treats to make the toy even more enjoyable
  • Touch. Physical objects that they can fully engage with. This could be a chew toy or an obstacle that they need to navigate.

Natural traits and instincts

  • Foraging for food
  • Finding objects or Hide n Seek
  • Hunting
  • Herding
  • Sniffing and Tracking
  • Running
  • Digging
  • Kneading
  • Nesting
  • Jumping
  • Swimming
  • Climbing
  • Marking
  • Pouncing
  • Vocalizing
  • hiding


Always think about safety. You don’t want a toy to hurt or injure your pet. Think about the types of materials used and how your pet might react to it. If they like chewing then a toy that breaks apart into sharp shards is a bad idea.


Toys can be purchased or made at home from a variety of different materials.

  • paper bags
  • boxes
  • balls
  • sticks
  • shoelaces
  • pieces of fur or wool
  • different thicknesses of string or rope with and without knots
  • clean
  • empty
  • plastic containers
  • cardboard tubes
  • marbles
  • mirrors
  • full-size photos of other pets
  • crumpled paper
  • old clean socks
  • bells
  • and dry kibble or treats make great!

Your animal is unique. Whether old or young, shy or social, you will find out what kind of toy captures and holds his or her interest.

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