What Toys Can Dogs Have After Tooth Extraction?

Importance of Toys After Surgery

Toys are very important for dogs recovering from surgery, especially surgeries involving tooth extractions. Toys provide mental stimulation which aids the recovery process. Dogs that have limited activity need mental stimulation to prevent boredom or frustration. Additionally, the right toys encourage dogs to move in ways that help the surgical site heal while avoiding too much high-impact activity.

According to Top Dog Health, interactive puzzle toys are great for recovery as they engage a dog’s mind. Toys like stuffed Kongs or treat dispensing balls provide mental challenges. They encourage dogs to move at their own pace while distracting from discomfort or confinement.

The key is providing engaging toys that don’t require forceful chewing. This mental stimulation aids healing by preventing dogs from focusing on pain or frustration. Additionally, it forms positive associations with recovery rather than associating this time only with reduced activity and confinement.

Recommended Toys

After a tooth extraction, dogs need toys that are gentle on their mouth as it heals. Here are some recommended types of toys:

Soft toys like plush or stuffed animals are a great option. The softness puts less pressure on sore gum areas (Source). Look for toys without buttons, plastic eyes, or other hard attachments.

Rope toys made of flexible cotton or nylon fibers are ideal for chewing and tugging (Source). Choose a sturdy rope that won’t easily fray or come apart.

Rubber toys like Kongs provide moderate chewing resistance without being too hard. Interactive toys can be stuffed with treats or frozen to provide mental stimulation (Source).

Avoid any toys that are rigid or have hard surfaces. Focus on flexible, forgiving textures. Supervise playtime to ensure toys do not cause discomfort.

Avoid Hard Toys

After a tooth extraction, it’s important to avoid giving your dog any hard toys or chews that could potentially damage the surgical site or irritate the gums as they heal. This includes avoiding any bones, antlers, hooves, or other natural chews which are extremely hard and can splinter. According to source, hard chew toys should be avoided until the extraction sites have fully healed, which usually takes around 2 weeks.

Tennis balls are another toy to avoid during recovery. The abrasive felt material can be rough on teeth and gums following surgery. Stick to soft, plush toys instead that your dog can comfortably carry and chew without causing trauma to the mouth.

It’s best to refrain from all tough chewing activities while your dog recovers. Talk to your vet about when your specific dog can slowly be introduced back to harder chewing toys after their extractions have healed.

Supervise Play Time

It’s important to supervise your dog closely during play time after a tooth extraction. Do not leave your dog unattended with toys or other objects they could potentially chew on and cause damage or pain in the surgery area. You’ll want to watch for any signs of chewing, licking or bothering the surgical site.

Be sure to remove any toys or objects if you notice chewing or licking behaviors starting. Provide praise and distraction when your dog leaves the area alone. You may need to confine your dog to a crate or small room when unsupervised during recovery.

Vigilant monitoring for the first 2 weeks post-surgery allows you to intervene and prevent complications from developing. Always monitor play sessions until your veterinarian gives the green light for full normal activity. According to the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance, “The animal must be able to stand up and turn around in [the] carrier, kennel, crate or small room” when confined unsupervised after surgery (Source).

Consider Size of Toy

When choosing toys for a dog recovering from tooth extraction surgery, it’s important to select toys of the right size. The toys should be large enough that the dog can comfortably carry them, but not so big that they are difficult to maneuver. According to the Star of Texas Veterinary Specialists, toys that are too small can become lodged in the throat or swallowed, posing a choking hazard.

The rehab vet recommends choosing durable toys designed for your dog’s specific size. Kong and other brands offer different sizes of the same toy model to suit dogs of different dimensions. Consider your dog’s usual playing style and interest level when selecting toy size. An energetic large breed dog may prefer a more substantial toy they can really sink their teeth into, while a petite dog may be content with a small plush toy.

Discuss your dog’s toy preferences with your veterinarian, and observe your dog carefully with new toys after surgery. Having toys of the appropriate size will make playtime more rewarding and reduce chances of complications.

Safety First

When choosing toys for a dog after tooth extraction, safety should be the top priority. Their mouth will be sore and sensitive, so you want toys that are unlikely to cause further injury.

Look for durable toys made of non-toxic materials like natural rubber, nylon, or rope. Soft plush toys may seem comforting, but they can be easily shredded and swallowed post-surgery. Similarly, toys with small parts could become lodged in their mouth or scratch healing tissues. So opt for safer one-piece toys without detachable squeakers or stuffing.

While hard nylon bones and antlers are normally fine for healthy dogs, they should be avoided after tooth extraction. The pressure they put on gums could lead to pain or reopening of wounds. Stick to softer rubber chew toys until your dog fully recovers.

It’s also wise to supervise playtime and remove any toy if you notice signs of aggression. This prevents excessive chewing that could disrupt healing. But don’t eliminate toys altogether — mental stimulation is still important. Just select gentle, durable options and watch them closely. With some common sense, you can keep your dog entertained while protecting their healing mouth.

Keep It Fun

It’s important to keep your dog mentally stimulated after surgery to prevent boredom. Rotate different types of toys to keep things interesting. Food puzzle toys are a great option to make your dog work for treats. These provide mental exercise as your dog figures out how to get the kibble or treats out of the toy. Some examples of food puzzle toys include:

Kong Classic Dog Toy – Stuff this durable rubber toy with peanut butter, cream cheese, or your dog’s favorite treats. The erratic bouncing keeps your dog engaged as they try to get the goodies out.

Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Dog Toy – This plush tree trunk comes with squeaky squirrels for your dog to remove repeatedly. It combines their love of plush toys and fetch.

PetSafe Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug Treat Dispensing Dog Toy – Food dispensing toys like this bottle make mealtime an interactive game. As your dog tugs, kibble is released through the holes.

Nina Ottosson Puzzle Toys – These interactive wooden puzzles come in various difficulty levels. Sliding pieces around to reveal treats stimulates your dog’s mind.

By providing a variety of novel and interactive toys after surgery, you can keep your dog’s mind engaged in positive play. This will prevent restlessness and boredom during the recovery period. As always, supervise playtime to ensure your dog is playing gently and not roughhousing.

Avoid Tug of War

While tug of war may be your dog’s favorite game, you should avoid playing it while they recover from tooth extraction surgery. The pulling and tugging involved in this game can put too much strain on your dog’s mouth so soon after surgery. Even if you play gently, the pressure from tugging could dislodge blood clots and delay healing in the surgery site.

Vets typically recommend avoiding any tug games for at least 1-2 weeks after your dog has had teeth extracted. This allows time for the gums to heal and minimize chances of complications. You don’t want your dog to accidentally rip out stitches or reopen wounds in their excitement to play. Be patient and find other games you can play together during the recovery period.

Once your vet gives the all-clear, you can slowly reintroduce gentle tug games using soft toys. But your dog’s health should come first – avoid anything that could set back their recovery. With some creative thinking, you can find other engaging activities to satisfy and stimulate your dog after surgery.

Discuss Options with Vet

Every dog’s situation is unique, so it’s important to consult your veterinarian for individualized recommendations on toys and activities after surgery. The vet performed the procedure, so they will have the best understanding of your dog’s condition, recovery timeline, activity restrictions, and any other special considerations.

When meeting with the vet, come prepared with questions about types of toys that would be appropriate. Factors like the location of incisions, vulnerability of the mouth and teeth, your dog’s temperament and play style can all impact what toys are safe or motivating during recovery.

The vet may have specific suggestions based on the complexities of the tooth extraction procedure. For example, they may recommend softer toys after multiple extractions or small, gentle toys if stitches are still healing. Their guidance will ensure your dog has fun, stimulating toys to play with, while avoiding anything that could hinder their recovery.

Keeping an open dialogue with your veterinarian allows you to adjust your dog’s activities as they progress through recovery. The vet can let you know when your dog is ready for more interactive play or tougher chew toys. Following their tailored recommendations helps provide your dog enrichment during recuperation.

Be Patient

It’s important to allow adequate time for your dog to fully recover before engaging in rough play or strenuous activity after surgery. Most vets recommend restricting activity for at least 1-2 weeks post-surgery to allow the incision site to heal properly (Post-Operative Instructions in Dogs – VCA Animal Hospitals). Even after the incision has closed, internal healing is still occurring so it’s best to avoid any vigorous play that could cause pain or reopen the incision.

Try to curb your dog’s natural enthusiasm during this recovery period. Take short, gentle walks on a leash instead of running and playing at the dog park. Hold off on games of tug-of-war or fetch that could put strain on the surgery site. Provide puzzle toys or chews that encourage calm activity. You want your dog to rest as much as possible after surgery to ensure proper healing.

Stay patient with your dog during the recovery process. Following your vet’s post-op instructions will help ensure your dog heals completely before engaging in normal play and activity again. The patience and care you provide now will pay off with your dog’s successful surgery recovery.

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