LOS ANGELES – by Ann Masters

There are some dog toys-wait, let me put those words in quotes to demonstrate their ineptitude-“dog toys” out there that are just downright dumb.

Some of them are sold. We’ll talk about that in the next newsletter. Others, may Oprah have mercy on us, we actually create ourselves. Old shoes. Weathered baseball caps. Worn out leashes. Stained T-shirts. Abandoned throw pillows. Even-and I’m not making this up, I saw it with my own horrified eyes-a threadbare pair of men’s briefs.

Why are these toys dumb?

Because they represent items we actually care about. We have other shoes, baseball caps, leashes, t-shirts, pillows and (for some of us who will remain unnamed) tighty-whities that we DON’T want Pickles to play with – but he doesn’t know the difference.

So don’t confuse the poor pooch! Make sure whatever toys you “create” are dog-appropriate. Or get ready to see your favorite pair of Marc Jacobs shoes or limited edition Vans sneakers adorned with a decorative layer of slobber and sporting some nuevo chic incisor accents.

Why is this second selection of canine entertainment implements even less intelligent than their homemade counterparts? Because we actually spend money on them. With that said, I beg of you, please do not purchase stuffed animals that squeak out in agony when being mauled—I mean “played with”—by your dog.

These toys increase the prey drive and can fuel aggression.

Please do not purchase any chew toys that can break apart into pieces. These chews can choke your dog or, worse, get lodged in your pup’s stomach and/or intestines resulting in a life-threatening (and wallet-draining) situation.

Make sure any toys you do purchase are the right size for your dog. And be smart. Even the safest toy on the market can be dangerous to your dog depending on how he/she plays!