76–79 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Puppy
How to Care for Your Puppy's Toys
Do you remember when you gave your young puppy a toy and came back an hour later with only a shred of fabric or a piece of rubber to show it ever existed? Your puppy is probably going through toys more slowly now and, before you know it, you can likely go a few months without buying him one. Puppies at this age are calmer than they were at three months but they also lose interest in toys more quickly. This is because their hormones are not raging as they were before and the drive to destroy is dampened.
It's best to set up a schedule for cleaning the toys than waiting until a toy looks too nasty to touch. Clean them about once a week and consider rotating them so that you only have to clean half at a time. Never spray the toys with hand sanitizer. It can be harmful to dogs. To prevent bacterial growth on toys, clean them properly and frequently.
How to Clean Your Puppy's Toys
Collect the Toys - For the first cleaning, collect all the toys so you know what you have. Look under couches, beds and tables, around your puppy's bed and outside including under trees and bushes.
Sort the Toys - Sort them into groups such as fabric and plush toys, vinyl, plastic and nylon toys, and natural bones. Discard any that are unrepairable or have any dangerous broken or torn parts.
Clean the Solids - Place all the vinyl, plastic and rubber toys in a bucket. Fill it with hot water and put about a fourth of a cup of dish soap in it (try to use a natural dish soap). Let them soak 30 minutes, rinse them and scrub with a scrub brush. Dump out the water and repeat. No need to towel dry - just place them in the tub and close the door.
Scrub the Bones - Scrub any natural bones in the sink with a scrub brush.
Launder the Fabrics - Either discard any plush toys that are dripping stuffing or repair them. Throw some blankets in the washer, then the toys, then another blanket or two. After they're washed, put on the highest drying cycle to help kills any germs.
If you don't clean your puppy's toys regularly, you risk the growth of bacteria. You also risk the health of your puppy. Be especially diligent with food toys such as Kongs which can be stuffed with cheese or peanut butter. Small pieces of the food get lodged in tiny crevices and promote bacterial and fungi growth.
To increase your puppy's interest in his current toys, consider using a spray such as Wowsers Flavor Spray in bacon. Also rotate the toys frequently. For plush toys, save the innards and re-stuff them. This is easily done by sewing shut the end that is torn. There's no need to buy new toys every week to keep your puppy safe and interested. And, just think, with that savings you can buy more than a few extra cappuccinos.
Advice from Other Dog Owners
Puppies Eat Less When They are Teething
When my dog was teething his appetite decreased quite a bit. Our vet recommended adding water to his food to soften it up, which worked great. He did not recommend that we do that all the time because the hard food helps their dental hygiene. That worked for us! Ice cubes and toys in the freezer also helped (i.e. water down a rope toy and freeze).
~TALIE D., owner of Labrador Retriever