Your dogs need to play. Your dogs love to play. Heck, you wouldn't have dogs if you didn't love all that tail-wagging, tongue-hanging, yard-running playtime! Now, unless you plan on rasslin' with your pooches all day, every day (which could lead to a lot of aggression on their part and grass stains on your parts), you'd better get them some toys to occupy their time. None of these toys have to break the bank, but favorites will have to be replaced when they get too chewed up and gross. Better to do that than keep around an unidentifiable plastic mass that your puppy used to love. No one loves a choking hazard.
Essentially, if your dog wants to play with it, it's a dog toy. (If you also wanted to wear it to a formal dinner, it's a unfortunate case of mistaken identities as well.) You dogs will need many types of toys to keep them occupied, so you'd better acquire a collection of sorts (so Rover doesn't move on to your shoe collection).
However, if you do not want your dog chewing on specific objects, then do not buy toys that resemble those objects. For instance, if you do not want your dog to munch on your daughter's dolls, then refrain from buying toys that resemble dolls. Your dog will not understand why it is OK to chew on one doll and not another. To reduce the amount of destroyed items in your home, the dog needs to know that some items are for sinking its teeth into, while others are not.
Small dogs have special toy needs. Small dogs have smaller mouths, and they're just not as strong as big dog mouths. Small dogs are more likely to react to louder noises, too. Tiny mouths want light, tiny toys with softer squeakers. And styling dogs of course have an iBone to show off to their pals in the dog run.
Questions and Tips
* Do you want this to be durable and hold up against gnawing or do you want it be a favorite for shredding?
* Will it leave shreds of rubber? Plush stuffing? Rope strings?
* Is the animal-shaped toy for predatory play or for carrying around?
* Keep your dogs from playing with your stuff by getting them their own toys. Keep strings, cords, shoes, rubber bands, and all other enticing items away from your dog.
* Generally, don't throw your dog a bone -- if swallowed, bits of bone can cause problems on the way back out. Instead, get a chew toy, which are usually made to look like bones anyway.
* Look for flavored chews for puppies and dental care chews for dogs of all ages.
* Make sure the toys are the right size. Tiny dogs don't need giant rawhide bones and giant dogs shouldn't get little latex squeak toys.
* Squeaking toys should be used under supervision only, lest the dogs find the squeakers, ingest them, and get sick.
* Plush dolls should be washable.