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Have you ever been walking around your house, minding your human business, when your dog lets out a huge, dramatic AF sigh? Seriously, these dogs are exasperating — as if they have to go to a job and pay bills and remember dentist appointments!
But before you spend 20 minutes lecturing your dog on being grateful for their pampered lifestyle, keep in mind that dogs do, in fact, get stressed. Although they don’t often communicate this emotion through sighing (most of the time they are literally just breathing), stress in dogs can manifest in pacing, panting, and whining.
Longterm stress can also result in destructive or dangerous behaviors and affect both your pup’s and your own quality of life. Stress in dogs can be triggered by pain, separation anxiety, boredom, and more. Most importantly our dogs’ stress should be taken seriously — even if they are an unemployed mooch of a pooch.
After taking the necessary steps to address the root cause of your dog’s anxiety, a great way to help your dog channel their stress is through toys that engage stress relieving behaviors like licking, chewing, and mental enrichment. No matter the toy you select to help relax your pup, each one should follow a very simple rule.
“All of these toys should allow your dog to ‘win,’” says trainer, pet lifestyle expert, and The Wildest Expert Collective member Nicole Ellis. Ellis goes on to say that stress toys should be de-stressing — not distressing. “It is important to ensure dogs don’t get frustrated or stressed with toys. The goal is to have them win and stay engaged.” With that in mind, here are The Wildest’s picks for the best toys for chillaxing to the max.
Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)
Two vets on the pros and cons of these canine classics.
Let the games begin.
The brand’s snuffle mat gives pups the chance to stuff their faces into a fluffy pizza pie.
Once your dog gets ahold of this gorgeous toy, they’re gonna “need to calm down” for sure.
Let your dog win.
Rebecca Caplan is a writer based in Brooklyn whose work has been featured in The New Yorker, Reductress, and Vulture. She lives in Brooklyn with her perfect, toothless dog Moose.