They're shiny and pretty, they make fun noises and smell like something indescribably wonderful. Cat toys are an attractive nuisance... or... at least as far as your dog is concerned.
Why You Should Keep the Dog Away from Cat Toys
The trouble with your pup helping himself to the kitty's playthings is threefold. One, your cat may lose interest in a slobber-covered mouse. Two, all the ribbons, feathers, and jingly things may get destroyed. Three, cat toys are made for small mouths. Dogs have big mouths. The result of this is a lot of accidental swallowing, which may end up in choking, unfortunate gastrointestinal problems, and a pricy vet bill. In my own household, I scrambled to find ways to keep the dog away from the toys that don't belong to him, and chances are you, if you're reading this, want to know how to keep your dog away from cat toys, too.
Keep Things Tidy
One of the simplest methods for keeping the dog out of the cat toy box is separating playtime. Play with your cats out of sight of your dog, not allowing him to see those all-too-appealing toys. After your cat has gotten bored, put everything away in a safe place that your dog can't get to. Then whip out your pooch's play things and use up all of his energy. The key here is keeping kitty's things out of sight and well-protected.
Attract vs Detract
One of the trickier ways to keep your dog away from cat toys is to either make the cat's things less appealing or the dog's things more appealing. There are numerous pet safe, bitter-flavored sprays on the market that are meant to deter your pup from gnawing on... well... everything. A quick spritz on a cat toy, and you may dissuade your dog completely. On the downside, if your cat likes to bite while mauling her favorite stuffed bird, this may also dissuade her. Alternatively, you can try attracting your dog to his own toys by coating them in liver paste, basting them with beef broth, or filling them with catnip to replicate the cat toy experience.
Teaching Right From Wrong
If the first two methods simply don't work for you, you can also try training. One way to do this is by presenting your dog with one of his toys and one of the cat's. If he opts for the cat toy, pull it away from him for a moment, then try again. Keep trying until he takes even the slightest interest in his own toy. When he does, offer him a hearty dose of praise and a piece of his favorite treat.
For more advanced pups, you could try teaching him the command "Drop it!" To begin, take him somewhere where there are few distractions. Next, give him one of his own toys and let him play for a bit. After he's blown off some steam, present him with a treat in your hand, and give him the command, "Drop it!" If he does, go ahead and give him his prize. This may not work immediately, so you will have to try a few times. You may also want to reinforce the idea by repeating the exercise on several different occasions. Once he has a good grasp on things, this will make it easier to keep the cat toys away from him.
We all want to share a harmonious household with our pets, and not knowing how to keep your dog away from cat toys can be frustrating. I hope that you have found a few ideas to keep everyone in your home safe, happy, and slobber free!
Cats Will Play is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. For more information, visit our Full Affiliate Disclosure.