Thursday, September 1, 2016

5 key benefits of having too many dog toys (or cat toys!)

Sinead the Boston terrier with her sunflower dog toy

When it comes to dog toys or cat toys, I often hear humans say things like, "I know I have too many of these things. I can't bring one more toy home!" or "My pets are spoiled and have too many toys. I'm going to give some of them away."

While I'm all for conscious consumerism, and I love the idea of donating toys to something like an animal shelter when you truly have too many of them around, I'm also of the mind that having a huge backlog of dog toys or cat toys is an incredibly good thing. And I'm going to give you 5 supporting reasons.

1. A huge inventory lets you rotate toys and stave off boredom.

Some dogs and cats like things to remain the same, day in and day out. But plenty of the pets I know crave a little excitement, and they aren't likely to get much excitement in a traditional American home. My cats see the same darn thing out their windows every day, and the dogs and I tend to walk the same routes morning and night.

When your toy stash is big, you can pull forgotten toys from the bottom of the pile and give your pets something new every single day. If you keep your supplies small, you won't have new things to show off.

2. Plenty of toys means plenty of distractions. 

Life with a kitten like Fergus is sometimes challenging. He gets into trouble from time to time, and when he does, I use positive reinforcement techniques to help him turn things around. When he tackles Maggie, for example, I toss him toys to redirect his energy onto.

Fergus the kitten and his toys

Sometimes, if he's feeling really crazy, I need to lob more than one toy in his direction to get his attention. If he's in the plants, for example, one ball won't cut it. Since I have so many toys and all of them are different, I have a well-stocked selection of tools close at hand when those crisis moments hit. 

3. Your pet's taste in toys can change periodically. 

The toys my pets love one day tend to be toys they completely ignore the next day. And sometimes, I keep toys the pets simply didn't like when I brought them home and I find that they're favorites a few days or weeks later.

If you're committed to keeping a toy selection small, you have no opportunity to account for these changes in taste. 

4. When you have plenty of pet toys, you can throw out broken or ruined bits without guilt. 

While most toys are designed to be played with and loved and chewed, they will also break apart if they have been loved too much. Liam the pug is an excellent toy killer, and years ago, I would repair his toys when he broke them.

Fergus the kitten and Sinead the Boston terrier and their toys
Having a ton of toys keeps my repair list small. I don't need to fix toys, because he has a zillion more. And if he loves to break them (which he does), I can let him do that because I know there are more to choose from. 

5. Toy parties are epic fun for dogs and cats. 

When you have a bunch of toys, you can throw big parties where all the toys come out and the dogs and cats cut loose. I try to do this once a week or so. And when it's in full swing, my house looks like this.

Sinead the Boston terrier in the middle of a room of toys

So many toys! It's a tripping hazard (and it makes me happy Lucy the blind cat now has her own room in the basement, so she won't have to deal with this). Sinead and Fergus really love to party like this, and when they're done, they sleep so soundly.

So where do you land in this debate? Do you have tons of pet toys (I used to call this toy addiction)? Or do you limit the selection? Leave me a note in the comments and let me know where you stand.


  1. Mr. N gets limited to one toy box and I'll weed through every couple of months and donate a couple. He has a few favorites and he really loves new toys lol.

  2. Duke & Relic are destroyers, so they don't have too many toys. A toy party does sound like fun though!

  3. When we reach a critical mass, we donate some toys to the shelter. But it takes a lot of them to reach that point. Ha ha.

  4. Yep, we definitely notice that toys are hot and cold here. Definitely a good idea to rotate them out.

  5. Fergus and Liam and so adorable! I love these pictures of them. I have a huge dog toy stash and it really does help, they get bored with a toy so fast. Rotating them out helps. I've done all these things except the Toy Party, what a great idea! Perfect for this holiday weekend, thanks for sharing.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them