There are thousands of dog toys on the market. The best toy for your canine will depend on Fido's size and preference. Rubber toys have become especially popular for their durability.
Types of Rubber
There are two main types of rubber: natural, from a rubber tree; and synthetic. There are many types of synthetic rubber, the most popular being styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR). Other types include isoprene, butadiene, ethylene-propylene, butyl, chloroprene and nitrile rubber. Dog toys and other rubber products may contain a blend of synthetic rubber types.
Natural or Synthetic?
Both natural and synthetic rubbers must be processed into a usable form. If you prefer natural rubber for your dog toys, look at the label---the company will probably tout the toy's "100 percent natural rubber" content. Synthetic rubber dog toys will be more common because there are limits on what natural rubber can be used for.
There may be some risks associated with putting rubber in your dog's mouth. For example, neoprene---a common synthetic rubber---can contain lead-containing compounds, which can have a toxic effect on human and animal organs. However, dog toys should have passed safety inspections and regulations before going on the market. If you have concerns, consider buying your rubber dog toys from a "green" or "fair trade" company rather than products made cheaply overseas.
You will want to pick a size of rubber toy appropriate to your dog's mouth. Small parts can be bitten off and swallowed, and too-large toys may not be able to be picked up by all dogs. There are literally thousands of varieties out there. To start, check out Dog.com.
One of the most popular rubber dog toys is the Kong. Kongs are thick rubber toys with a hole in the middle to hide treats, peanut butter, medicine and other edibles. They can be used as training rewards, something to keep your dog busy and just for fun.