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So, you've already reviewed the essential items that you will need to prepare for bringing your new puppy home, right? Great!
This article contains a comprehensive list of all of our favorite toys and chews to provide for your new puppy.
Retrievers are considered moderate to heavy chewers and you must have appropriate things for them to play with and chew on to keep them properly stimulated.
A bored puppy is a naughty puppy!
Don't make the mistake of not providing your puppy with daily opportunities to play with toys that are safe and fun, and to satisfy his chewing cravings with chews that are healthy and long lasting.
We recommend giving your puppy a brand new chew inside his crate, away from children. Sometimes puppies get very excited about new, yummy chews and children should understand that it is not appropriate to bother a puppy while he is chewing.
Dogs have personal preferences, just like humans!
We hear from some families that their puppy won't play with the toys that they have, or won't chew on the chews that are provided. Well, it's possible your puppy doesn't like them! While all of the items on this list are items that our retrievers love, it is absolutely true that dogs have preferences just like people.
If your puppy isn't playing with his toys or chewing on what you give him, you may need to try something new.
Rotate puppy chew toys to keep it interesting!
Sometimes puppies and dogs just get bored of what they have. We recommend storing all of your dog toys & chews in a location that your puppy cannot access so that you can switch out his toys & chews every day or two.
This will make your puppy feel like he is getting a brand new toy or chew each time you switch them out!
No plush toys!
Retrievers are moderate to heavy chewers, and they also have moderate prey drive. This means they love things that feel and sound like natural prey, such as a plush toy with squeakers inside!
You will find that plush toys, especially those with squeakers inside, will be destroyed by your retriever quickly. Please don't purchase these toys and then become upset when your puppy destroys them. Plush toys are not appropriate for retrievers.
New Puppy Shopping Lists
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Puppy chew toys that will keep your retriever stimulated (this article!)
Table of Contents
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Toys and Stimulation Tools
Our retrievers love to play fetch! Start encouraging this game when your puppy is young, and when he is older fetch is a great way to burn energy outdoors.
Chuckit! makes ball launchers that help you easily launch balls for a fun game of fetch. We keep one ball launcher at home and one in our car so that it's always ready when we are on the go.
Tennis balls are not safe chew toys. Tennis balls will damage your dog's teeth over time. We prefer to use Chuckit!'s plastic balls that are designed for their ball launchers.
Our retrievers love toys that make squeaking noises! Hyper Pet makes some excellent, durable fetch toys that also squeak. We highly recommend them!
Having a few treat-dispensing toy options is a must for retrievers. We like to fill these toys with puppy kibble instead of treats! Starmark makes high-quality, durable toys that are perfect for dispensing kibble. Allow your puppy to work for his meals by filling these toys with his kibble rations a few times a week.
Instead of buying pre-made products to fill interactive treat toys with, use plain unsweetened greek yogurt or plain canned pumpkin. Fill your toy and stick it in the freezer to make the experience even more long-lasting!
We love Woof Pupsicle products because they give you the option to make your own treat fillers, or use theirs! We love the pre-made treat options, and we keep the freezer molds on hand, too.
We recommend keeping a few synthetic chews on hand because they're ultra-long-lasting, durable, and clean for indoor use.
We spoke with the founder of BetterBone about their products and we highly recommend the products. BetterBones are made from cellulose and sugar cane oil, the same ingredients used to make children's toys. These toys are human-grade, food-safe, and an option you can trust.
We recommend the "Classic" BetterBones for puppies and the "Tough" BetterBones for adults.
Snuffle mats are machine-washable mats made out of tied-on fabric. You can sprinkle kibble or treats into this mat and provide high-value mental stimulation for your retriever! Pick these mats up after use as your puppy may chew on them.
Lick mats are another excellent tool to provide food-motivated mental stimulation for your pup. We like to spread plain unsweetened greek yogurt or plain canned pumpkin on these. You can even sprinkle some kibble on top!
All Natural Chews
You may find a lot of conflicting information and mixed opinions regarding rawhide. There are several concerns when it comes to rawhide. One concern is the process used to create the rawhide. Some rawhide is formed using harsh chemicals that are not good for your dog. Another concern is that rawhide can be a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockages. Blockages can happen when a dog swallows large chunks of rawhide, and these chunks swell inside the intestine.
We have provided large rawhide rolls to our dogs for many, many years. We have never experienced choking or blockages. However, we supervise rawhide chewing to ensure that no large pieces are being swallowed. We also only provide large rawhide rolls, and nothing smaller.
Look for rawhide that is made in the United States with minimal processing.
We do not recommend "rawhide alternatives," as these are not long-lasting options for retrievers.
Finally, rawhide may not be a good option for your retriever if you prefer a long and shaggy coat. These rawhide rolls will sometimes leave a sticky residue on your retrievers' front legs, which happens while they're chewing. We keep our retrievers' coats very short, so this isn't a problem for us.
Antlers are definitely more suited to adult dogs, but puppies can enjoy them, too! Stick to real antlers and not synthetic alternatives.
We hunt for shed antlers every Spring as the local Whitetail Deer begin to drop their antlers to grow new ones for the Fall rut.
You can do the same! Just be sure to only give your dog fresh shed antlers. Do not give your dog old, sun-bleached antlers as these can splinter and crack while chewing, and cause harm to your dog.
Yak chews are a tasty treat for moderate chewers, but may not be long lasting enough for super heavy chewers. Yak chews are an especially great option for puppies. These are made out of fermented, hardened cheese! There are even toys that can hold these chews to help them last longer.
When your pup has chewed their yak chew down to a small piece, it will become a choking hazard. Take this small piece, pop it in the microwave, and now you have a safe, crunchy treat!
Dried cow hooves are a staple here at Rebecca Creek Retrievers! We introduce these to pups when they're very young. These chews are cheap, healthy, and yummy.
We do not like stuffed hooves, as the ingredients stuffed into these are basically like junk food for your dog. Our retrievers love these hooves plain, just as they come.
Your retriever will eventually chew each hoof down to a small piece which will become a choking hazard. Throw these small pieces away and offer a new hoof!