Dog toys are one of the most purchased items, and while a classic tennis ball can sometimes still be an old favorite, manufacturers are upping the game.
Experts say most consumers look for something that is different and unique, a product that catches not only their eye, but also their dog’s.
Steve Luhrs, the founder of Bionic, certainly has a toy that stands out. Not only with its bright orange design, but they spent years of doing research on their Bionic Rubber material and combined everything they learned with real-world testing in shelters to find the best designs that could hold up to some of the toughest chewers they could find.
“We offer a safe toy for both your dog as well as the environment,” Luhrs said. “Our products are durable, enjoyable, entertaining and guaranteed to last. We will continue to push the envelope on our designs while always keeping our most important customers in mind, our dogs. We offer a match to any size or breed and can provide hours, days and months of playtime for you and your dog.”
Bionic offers a variety of products including the Bionic Ball, Bone, Urban Stick, Toss-N-Tug and Stuffer.
The Urban Stick was designed for throwing and fetching, and is specifically formulated to handle the most aggressive chewing and playing.
Careful attention was made to ensure their Bionic Bone fit naturally in the curvature of a dog’s mouth. The ridges across the top give a dog the feeling that they are chewing through the toy, keeping them interested in it for months.
“Bionic is the toy for the next generation of dogs,” he said. “We offer something for everyone, from the Stuffer that lets your dog work at getting his treats, to our new Urban Stick that allows you to play fetch with your dog and not worry about hurting him in the process. In a very short time, we’ve had overwhelmingly positive responses to our toys and we can’t wait to launch all of the amazing ideas we’re working on in the years to come.”
Most of Bionic’s toys have some combination of fetching, stuffing, floating and durability all wrapped into one, not as separate KSUs like other brands.
Susan McCann, the national marketing manager for Ethical Products, Inc., said trends in dog toys expanded beyond the traditional squeaker.
There are toys with new types of squeakers as well as various sound mechanisms that are enticing to dogs,” McCann said. “Combining different fabrics on plush toys and fusing multiple layers of fabric for durability are also popular. We’ve expanded our line of toys to include TPR, thermo-plastic rubber, which is a very durable new material.”
Mental stimulation has also become a large trend when it comes to pets.
“There is a huge trend in toys that promote mental stimulation to combat boredom and destructive behaviors,” McCann said. “Plus the side benefit of being able to confirm how smart the dog really is.”
Kyjen makes a full line of toys aimed at making a dog work for their treat or food. Their Dog Games Puzzle Toys challenges a dog and stimulates their senses, while also teaching them step-by=step problem solving skills and offer an appropriate outlet for natural behaviors.
This creates an interactive, positive and fun experience for a dog.
For example, when a tennis ball is dropped through the top of their Mystery Tree, it falls randomly into one of the three “root” chambers. Each root has a unique release mechanism in which the dog must figure out how to successfully retrieve the tennis ball. Each time the drop the ball into the toy, the owner provides a new mystery for the dog.
Quaker Pet Group said the trend in toys is fun characters but more importantly, long-lasting durability.
“Pet parents are willing to invest in toys that last,” Cristen Underwood, director of marketing for Quaker Pet Group, said. “Retailers are looking for eye-catching designs with unique features, technologies, or quality guarantees that stand out in the toy aisle.”
Because of this, it has led Quaker Pet Group to create the goDog toys.
“Quaker Pet Group’s collections of goDog durable plush toys are growing with adding fun new characters, featuring goDog’s proprietary ChewGuard Technology, a manufacturing process that features reinforced mesh lining and double stitched seams,” Underwood said. “New characters like Gatorz and Amphibianz are brightly colored, unique finds. goDog’s new spherical Furballz was designed so there are no parts to chew off. With a quality, one-time replacement guarantee not offered by any other manufacturer on the market, goDog continues to innovate and champion the durable plush category.”