Holiday 2023

The season of playtime

How to find a safe, engaging toy that your pet will love

Holidays offer even more opportunities than usual to spoil your pet. How do you know whether your next pet toy purchase will be a fan favorite or buried at the bottom of the toy box? We’ve got you covered with these tips.

Know your pet’s play style

Some pets play gently by carrying a stuffed toy around with them everywhere. Others want to dig, gnaw or wrestle with their toys. Get the most out of playtime by providing toys that align with your pet’s preferred play style.

The best pet toys enrich or fulfill an instinctual urge, which will vary depending on your pet’s personality, breed and species.

If your dog likes to…

  • Gnaw and chew: Get durable toys they can sink their teeth into.
  • Dig and sniff: Get snuffle mats or hide-and-seek toys that allow them to discover treats.
  • Run and chase: Get tossing toys and launchers that set them in motion.
  • Snuggle and nuzzle: Get soft toys that they can cuddle with.

If your cat likes to…

  • Chase and stalk: Get dragging toys that resemble scurrying prey.
  • Leap and catch: Get a wand that you can flick through the air.
  • Swat and grab: Get interactive toys that are built for continuous movement.
  • Ambush: Create hiding spaces where they can lurk and pounce.
  • Kick and wrestle: Get larger kicker toys that they can grapple and reach with their back legs.

Not sure what your pet’s preferred style is? Try moving around a mix of toys in different ways and see what captures their attention.

Important safety considerations

Toys should be appropriately sized for your pet’s mouth

Toys that are too small can quickly become choking hazards or require care for foreign body ingestion. Alternately, toys that are too big may cause other issues, as our Hambone nominee Maeve discovered when she got her jaw stuck in a large marrow bone.

Choose the right materials

The right material for your pet will also depend on their play style. For instance, if your pet is a shredder, avoid soft toys made of cloth or containing stuffing.

Chew toys are an essential part of pet toy boxes, but many chew toys are too hard for pets’ teeth. Check before you buy—if you can’t make a mark with your fingernail, skip it.

Some pets may require special considerations

When shopping for older pets, choose toys that encourage low-impact exercise and use softer materials that are gentler on teeth. Similarly, a pet with diminished sight or hearing will benefit when you select toys that engage other senses like audio or scented toys.

Brachycephalic breeds with short noses, like pugs and bulldogs, benefit from toys that are designed to make carrying and breathing at the same time comfortable. Since they’re prone to overheating and have difficulty breathing, it’s often best to avoid toys like ball launchers that involve a ton of high-intensity exercise.

Don’t forget the classics

Toys don’t need to be new to be fun. When you rotate toys to prevent them from becoming boring, your pet will enjoy the “newness” of their old favorites. Put some toys away for a few weeks, then get them out and hide others.

Playtime rules
  • Always monitor your pet during playtime. Even “indestructible” toys can be shredded and swallowed.
  • Know when to quit. Some pets will keep playing beyond the point of getting tired—they just can’t stop! Call time out when your pet needs a break (even if they don’t want one) and offer water and a place to rest until panting subsides.
  • Check toys for loose parts and pieces. Broken or shredded toys can quickly become hazardous. If a toy is too ragged and creates an ingestion hazard, it may be time to say goodbye.

For most pets, playtime is most exciting when you’re involved. Few toys will sustain a pet’s interest if their human isn’t around to offer encouragement. Take a break and enjoy playtime with your pet regularly—it’s beneficial for you as well!

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Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet

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