Why Play Is So Important for Dogs

Play is vital to your dog’s well-being, both physically and mentally, and choosing the right toys makes it even more beneficial.
In today’s busy world, we don’t give play a very high priority. Yet, it’s important to physical, mental and emotional health — not just for us, but for our dogs too. Playing with your dog is not only fun, it’s also good for both of you, and choosing the right toys makes it even better.
Benefits of Play
“Play keeps us young at heart and healthy in our bodies, and it does the same for our dogs,” says Christine Harris of Cooltugs, a company that offers toys specifically selected to optimize the play experience for dogs and their humans. “Appropriate play is great physical exercise: it helps combat obesity, strengthens muscles, and increases overall fitness and health, and thus longevity.”
Along with giving dogs plenty of physical activity, play also provides them with mental stimulation, helping to prevent behavior problems. “A study conducted at Bristol University with over 4,000 dogs showed a significant correlation between an increase in play and a reduction in behavioral issues, such as anxiety and aggression,” says Christine.
The Right Toys
A dog trainer based in Vancouver, Christine has seen a lot of people struggle to play with their dogs in a way their canines enjoyed. “I realised a big part of this was having the right toys — those that are easy for people to use and rewarding for the dogs. My aim at Cooltugs is to find those toys and bring them to the consumer. I look for toys that I know dogs will love as they tap into their prey instinct, but that are also fun for the handler and relatively easy to use, so play becomes fun for both parties.”
Christine states that dog toys tend to fall into two categories — those that are better for tugging, and for chasing. “The number one thing every tug toy must have is an obvious place for the dog to bite or grip that will be a little meaty and and satisfying for him. We carry tug toys handmade by Floramicato; these are soft, plush, squeaky toys designed to excite and attract your dog and make him want to catch and bite them.
“We also carry toys designed by COLLAR, a Ukrainian company.” Christine says that her own dogs’ favorite toy is COLLAR’s PULLER Dog Fitness Tool. It comes as a pair so you have two toys that are exactly the same. “Using them as a pair can provide a great all-over body workout for you and your dog. They were also designed so that your hand is safe from your dog’s mouth on the other side of the ring, and are a safe way to play fetch as they roll well when properly thrown.”
Choosing the right toys for you and your dog enhances the play experience — and best of all, makes it fun!
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