Crate training is a common practice among new dog owners, especially those with new puppies.
Learning to sleep in their crate overnight and use this as a safe space that they feel is their own is important for dogs and their owners.
If you put your dog in a crate when you go to sleep, you may wonder if you should take out the toys that have found their way in there.
In this article, we will discuss whether or not you should leave toys in your dog’s crate.
Why Do Dogs Need Toys?
There are many benefits of your dog having a selection of toys, they aren’t just something to have fun with.
Toys can help to prevent your canine from getting bored and find other ways to amuse themselves such as chewing your shoes or furniture.
Certain toys also act as a form of mental stimulation which is just as important as them getting enough exercise.
Dogs that aren’t mentally stimulated can often become destructive and disobedient which is the last thing anyone needs.
Playtime with either another dog or their human can create a great bond between the playful pair.
Fetch, tug of war, and chasing each other around are fun interactive ways to keep your pet moving as well as give their teeth a little clean.
Can You Leave Any Toys In A Dog Crate?
Yes you can leave certain toys in your dog’s crate whilst unattended.
There are a few things to consider when deciding what toys you trust around your dog when you aren’t there. The main consideration is durability.
Durability is really important as many dogs are known to shred their plush toys or balls to pieces which creates a choking hazard.
When you are not home or attending to the dog, this is extremely dangerous and could even be fatal.
The toys should also be of a certain size for that exact purpose. The smaller the toy, the more potential danger it poses.
Ensure that the toys you live in your dog’s crate also do not have small attachments hanging off as many dogs will enjoy trying to chew these free.
The Best Toys For Dog Crates
These are the best types of toys to leave in your dog’s crate while you are gone. Just as humans, all dogs have their own personalities and what works for some may not work for others, so it’s important to trail these out.
1. Puzzle Toys
Interactive puzzle toys are great boredom relievers and are fairly inexpensive. These could be anything from a snuffle mat, which encourages the dog to use their nose to find food such as biscuits.
If your dog has a favorite spreadable treat such as peanut butter, you can put this in a lick mat which is a flat plastic mat with grooves that encourages your dog to use their tongue to get the taste.
These types of toys last for ages and are safe to use unsupervised.
Brands such as ‘Kong’ are well-known for their variety of puzzle toys and are a great place to start.
If you’ve never used one of these toys with your dog before, ensure that you give it a trial run before you leave them alone with it to be on the safe side.
2. Chew Toys
Durable chew toys are another great way to keep your dog occupied whilst you’re gone. These chew toys need to be fairly indestructible depending on the tendencies of your pooch.
Some toys have even been created for the crate, meaning you can attach the chew toy to the bars of the cage to add another element of fun.
This means your dog can pull and chew at the same time, which is good for their teeth.
3. Comfort Toys
Just as many human babies are given soft toys when they are young, so are puppies!
This means your pup may have developed an attachment to this toy and would rather snuggle up to it than rip it apart. When they feel alone and need comforting, they may reach out for it.
This could be a soft plushie toy, a blanket, or something that smells like their owner. It’s common for dogs to want to be near things that have their owners scent to make them feel safe and secure.
Toys You Shouldn’t Leave In Your Dog’s Crate
Unless you can trust your dog completely, we would recommend removing plushies unless they are comfort toys in the crate with your dog.
As the stuffing can be ripped out and small parts can be torn off, this presents a choking hazard for your dog.
Another toy to avoid is the much-loved tennis ball, especially if it’s squeaky.
Dogs aim to get to this squeaky soul desperately and as they find it easy to destroy these toys it can easily get stuck in your dog’s stomach, throat, or intestines if ingested.
2. Real Bones
Although you may assume that this would be the perfect thing to leave your furry friend to gnaw on whilst you are absent, it’s actually super dangerous.
When bones are chewed they can break off sharp fragments that may be dangerous to your dog.
Whether this pokes their skin or works its way into your dog’s gastrointestinal tract, it’s easier to avoid these altogether. Bones should always be a supervised activity. Rawhide should also be avoided for this exact reason.
Rawhide isn’t easily digested by dogs, larger chunks of the stuff can sit in your dog’s stomach for months whilst you have no clue!
Many professionals do not recommend giving this product to your dog at all, as they are packed with chemicals.
The Bottom Line
Leaving toys in your dog’s crate whilst you’re not there is a great way to keep them amused and allow them to entertain themselves.
Only certain toys should be left for your dog to chew or play with in order to keep them safe, happy, and healthy.