The Best Dog Toys that Your Pup Will Appreciate
When it comes to buying toys for our pets, it’s always best to get a handful of different ones and see what they prefer. Choosing which ones however can be difficult – especially if you have just gotten a new puppy or have a breed that is a large or very small size. Our buying guide below was designed to help you choose the best purchases for you and your new pup and take the guesswork out of spending hours researching what’s worth the buy or should be skipped.
Our top picks
What to look for in dog toys
When it comes to getting new dog toys or toys for your pup for the first time, keep these important factors in mind:
Size – A lot of pet owners overlook this and while it’s generally fine, it’s good to make sure that the toys you’re getting for your dog fit their size, when they’re a puppy and when they grow up. Toys that are too small can be easily choked on or digested, leading into a costly vet bill. And if they’re too big, your dog won’t be able to play with them properly.
Material – Rubbery toys and plushies are always a good choice for dog toys! Most dogs absolutely love them. Some materials can be hazardous though if you have a particularly aggressive playtime dog that chews and tears apart their toys. Just make sure to keep an eye out when they’re playing and if any material pieces break off discard them when you can.
Durability – This ties in with our previous point of materials. Toys built for chewing and biting such as KONG are durable rubber that generally won’t shred or break off into too many pieces and can be replaced. If you’re going through rubber balls and plush toys like they’re nothing, look for brands that cater to tough chewing without being too hard on your pups’ teeth and jaws.
Squeaker toy safety – Squeaker toys are a classic and are well-loved by almost every dog. The only caveat is if you have a chewer that tears apart their toys, make sure that they don’t accidentally swallow or choke on the squeaker inside! They are very small, and it can end up being a costly vet bill.
Rotation – Rotate your dogs’ toys! Give them some new ones, keep old ones in a bin or box they can freely pick and choose from. Just like us, they need fresh stimulation and rotating their toys around can be exactly what they need to get more mental stimulation and energy out. Puzzle treat boxes, new balls with squeakers, plushies – even a cardboard box or something fun that costs next to nothing can be turned into a fun playtime!
The best dog toys for puppies
Gigwi squeaker tennis balls
When it comes to toys for puppies and dogs, the first thing that comes to mind for most are tennis balls and squeaky toys. These squeaker tennis balls are great for getting that playtime energy out with puppies and these are the right size for most breeds to safely handle.
Available in a three-pack that have multiple colours, they’re made from a non-toxic rubber covered in a soft felt fabric that makes them softer than most regular tennis balls. While these are decently durable, make sure to keep an eye on your puppy (or older dog) as they play – just so that if they do tear through it, they don’t choke or try to eat the squeaker inside.
- Great for dogs of all sizes and ages.
- Rough chewers may still be able to break it. Keep an eye out during playtime.
Snuggle puppy plush
This beautifully designed plush toy is perfect for anyone that has a new puppy or an anxious puppy. The heating pack and heart that you place inside for your dog to snuggle with can ease anxiety, stress, and calm down whining. It’s perfect for when you get a new pup, crate training, and travel.
The heat pack is single use and disposable, but the heart you can use indefinitely. It takes two AAA batteries and will last for two weeks continuously, if left on. Simply insert the heart and heat pack into the plush compartment and let your puppy snuggle and play with it.
Most reviews confirm that it’s incredibly durable – even against the most prone to chewing and destroying toys. If not for the heart and heat pack, this is also a great plush toy in general to own.
Editor’s note: I don’t have enough words to describe how useful the snuggle puppy toy was for our family when we got our first puppy about a year ago. It was the only thing that made our 3-month-old pup stop whining in the first few nights with us. It calmed her separation anxiety and helped her to get used to the new home and crate training. It simulated a dog’s heartbeat and body temperature really well. A few days later, she was so confident that she no longer even needed it as a sleeping pal, it became just another one of her toys. We just had to remove the heating pack and the heart to make sure she wouldn’t chew it in case she managed to open the velcro, which she did some weeks later!
- Great design and made for anxious puppies.
- Amazing durability.
- Fur may get pulled off in some instances.
Toozey seven toys puppy pack
This fun pack of seven puppy toys/small breed dogs are a good addition to anyone wanting to get more toys for their pup and learning what preferences they enjoy. The rope toys and cow are the most durable of them, with the meat bone plushie seeing some negative reviews that it can be destroyed quickly – so just keep an eye on your pup during playtime.
They’re all washable and come in multiple colours, making it eye catching for you and your dog. They’re non-toxic, durable for the most part, and the rope toys don’t shred or tear apart.
- Great value for price.
- The meat bone plush can be torn easily; keep an eye on your puppy.
Best dog toys for super chewers
KONG Traxx Tires
KONG is well known for their products for pets of all sizes and breeds. Their black rubber toys are the best for holding up against aggressive chewers and tough biters. Some reviews have stated that their dogs did still tear these up – so as always, keep an eye on your pup while they’re playing with any toys.
Available in two sizes, Small and Medium/Large, they should work for most breeds. If you have a very large dog though such as a mastiff they might not be as suited.
Made from non-toxic durable tough rubber, these tires are a good bet if you have an avid chewer.
- Durable for most dogs.
- Good value for the price.
- Dogs might still be able to wreck this; keep an eye on it during playtime just in case.
Three-piece set aggressive chewer dog toys
This three-piece set of hard dog toys are made to withstand heavy biters and chewers that love to play rough with their toys. The ball, bone shape, and football are all reviewed very positively for dog owners that have rough playing pups that like to chase and tear up balls and other toys.
They’re all made from durable non-toxic natural rubber and come in three different textures, such as the softer blue bone shape that’s good for chewing or teething dogs, the football squeaks and is fantastic as a fetch type toy, and lastly the red ball doubles as a treat puzzle dispenser so that your dog can get a mental workout as well as a physical one.
- Multiple options for your dog to choose from.
- Great value for the price.
- Some dogs will still be able to break these, but overall reviews are positive.
Pineapple ultra-durable dog toy
A cute pineapple design that’s built from non-toxic natural rubber to withstand biting and chewing from larger breeds might be just the ticket to get for your pup.
The style and size are great for almost all dog breeds and reviews are mostly positive that it’s one of the only toys that has held up against some vivacious chewers. As with all toys, a caution is warranted just in case they do tear apart this toy and accidentally swallow any parts of it. Keep an eye out while playtime is going.
- Cute design.
- Natural non-toxic rubber.
- The top of the toy may be more prone to breaking.
Best puzzle toys for dogs
Nina Ottosson puzzle slide toy
This intermediate dog treat puzzle is a great way to mentally stimulate your dog and for them to get treats. Just simply hide their treats within the compartments and slide the knobs closed for your dog to nose open or use their paws.
It’s BPA, PVC, and Phthalate free, made from food-safe plastics in case they chew on it. You can swivel to hide the treats underneath or place them in the blocks at the top for an additional challenge. It has a non-slip base and is made of a plastic/wood composite that ensures its durability.
- Good for mental stimulation.
- Works well for most breeds of dog.
- May be too small for very large breeds.
- Not all dogs will take to puzzle toys.
Trixie flip board treat puzzle toy
Equipped with flip lids controlled by knobs, sliding discs to the side, and lift up cones that must be taken straight off before the treat is revealed – this flip board treats puzzle is a great way to get your pet engaged and challenged.
You can vary the placement and number of treats you give your pup to increase or decrease the difficulty and switching it up will keep your pet on their toes. The durability, sturdiness, and value for the cost is highly rated and most owners have reviewed this puzzle toy highly.
- Great design.
- Durable against chewing.
- Great value for the price.
- Some dogs may try to chew or eat the removeable cone parts.
Sparkfire dog treat puzzle
This fun dog treat puzzle/slow feeder is a durable, fun design that works especially well for small to large dogs that eat a little too fast or go crazy for treats. It works by your dog having to spin the top-feeder that’s full of treats or food so that it falls down the holes and then the maze-like design underneath will slow them from chowing down too fast.
It makes them think and mentally gives them a workout as well! It is made from non-toxic plastic and has a non-slip bottom to ensure that it doesn’t topple over or slide while your dog is playing with it.
- Durable and well designed.
- Good for slow feeding treats.
- Not suitable for very large dog breeds.
Best KONG dog toys
Everyone knows KONG toys, especially this classic red ball toy. It still holds up over the years and does well against most breeds of dogs and puppies. Really intense chewers might need to move up to the black version that is an even more durable rubber.
The best part about the classic KONG toy is that you can put treats or something like peanut butter in the middle hole as a great way for your dog to try to get them out, mentally work their brain, and have a fun time doing it.
It’s easy to clean as the entire toy is just pure natural rubber, so it’s great to get back to squeaky clean.
Editor’s note: I have a heavy chewer at home, and this is probably one of the few toys she didn’t get to chew into pieces. All of her KONG toys are super durable and easy to clean. Our experience is that dogs don’t love empty KONG toys as much as they do when they’re filled with treats or wet food, obviously. That’s why we see the KONG Classic as a good ally when you go out or need your dog to have some chill time alone. It will keep them distracted for a while for sure, however, they may not engage with it for too long if you don’t put any yummy stuff inside.
- Easy to find.
- Durable and well-reviewed.
- Suitable for most dog sizes.
- Avid chewers can still break pieces off.
KONG Cross knots monkey
The KONG cross knots monkey plush is a double feature toy. One as a cute monkey plush with a squeaker for your dog to play with, and a thick knotted rope inside afterwards when they start to wear down the outer plush layer.
It has minimal stuffing, and one caveat is to keep an eye out if your dog tears this toy apart sooner than later, just to ensure that they don’t eat the squeaker or choke on anything they shouldn’t, such as the stuffing inside. Otherwise, it’s a durable toy that’s great for all breeds as a plush friend and as a rope later on.
- Great for any dog breed.
- Has minimal stuffing.
- Doubles as a rope toy.
- Supervise: Has one squeaker inside it to watch out for.
KONG Jumbler disc
The jumbler disc is highly rated and reviewed as a fantastic KONG toy to play fetch with, to throw, or just as a tug of war toy. It has a tennis ball inside that rattles and shakes as they play, and when the toy breaks or what have you, you can have the ball inside as well to play with on its own.
It comes in various colours and entices your dog to play with the rattling, shaking, and squeaking sounds it can make. Reviews have all loved the tossing, fetching, and tugging play with this toy and most dogs seem to love it.
- Fun toy for your dog to play fetch with.
- Good for most breeds.
- Inner ring may be more prone to breaking.
Best dog enrichment toys
AWOOF Snuffle Mat
Snuffle mats are great enrichment toys for your dog or puppy, for almost all ages and breeds. You can place treats or food inside and watch them dig and snuffle for them among the leaf shaped tufts of fabric. It’s made of felt cloth and can be easily tossed into the washing machine.
This particular one can be fully extended out to be a large green shallow bowl, or cinched up into a tight bowl for feeding time even, to slow down a dog that devours their dinner too fast. Sniffing and foraging for treats and food is shown to help ease anxiety and stress for dogs and allows them to get mental and physical exercise.
- Beautiful design.
- Non-slip bottom and a dual use toy.
- May be harder to clean depending what gets on it.
Kilin dog lick mat
A licking mat or pad is an enrichment toy that functions to calm anxiety and allow your dog to focus on the food, but also a great way to keep them distracted while giving your puppy or dog a bath. It can help when getting your dog accustomed to things such as grooming time, baths, or administering medicines.
It is dishwasher safe and cleans easily with hot soapy water as well if you prefer to handwash it. One half can also be used a slow feeding section if you have a dog that devours everything when it’s feeding time.
- Easy to wash.
- Comes in multiple colours.
- Some dogs may refuse to use licking mats.
Best interactive toys for dogs
Treat dispensing bob-a-lot
A treat/food dispensing bobber is ideal for rewarding your pet during playtime and keeping themselves busy when you’re too tired to go play with them. This durable rubber bell-shaped toy is large enough to fit three cups worth of food inside, while the weight bottom allows it to bob and weave as your dog pokes and paws at it to get the food.
Adjustable openings at the top and bottom allow most dog food and treats to come out of the holes and that also allows you to adjust the difficulty level for your dog to play and get the food outside of it.
- Weighted bottom.
- Can fit three cups worth of food.
- Determined dogs may take the entire top off while playing.
- Can be harder to wash.
This fun light-up petdroid is a cute rechargeable ball that rolls along the floor based on touch and uses its sensors to know when to put itself to sleep, saving some battery life. It also saves you from having to constantly hear or see flashing lights at all hours.
The rechargeable battery is accessed by opening the ball and plugging it in via USB. Which can be a bit of a hassle instead of simply being able to plug it in without disassembling it, but it only takes a few seconds. It can be loud rolling around on hardwood floors and while it does have a harder time rolling on thick, plush carpets, it does well on regular short pile carpet.
- Rechargeable via USB.
- Charge lasts for hours.
- Can be loud on hardwood floors.
- One size may not fit all for all dog breeds.
Best small dog toys
Hugsmart pet rubber balls
These fun colourful balls are made from a soft material and rubber that encourage play, and the squeakers inside stimulate that drive even more. They aren’t indestructible and like all toys should be supervised when being played with.
The fabric underlayer does help against ripping and tearing, but if you have a particularly vivacious chewer and biter, they still might get torn up after some time. The value and price are great and according to most reviews, their dogs loved them and were worth the purchase.
They’re great for fetch, throwing, and general chewing to keep your dog entertained for hours.
Editor’s note: Our active chewer was able to tear the covers for this entire set apart in a few hours. However, it really kept her busy and concentrated for a while, and after she was done, she still had the rubber balls around for some weeks. At some point, she started chewing the rubber balls as well, and that was when we knew it was time for her to stop playing, as we like to avoid choking hazards. This provided her with mental stimulation and kept her busy, but it wasn’t super durable and we felt like it was one of those toys that require close supervision. I wouldn’t go out and leave a puppy playing with these balls by itself.
- Comes with multiple toys.
- Gentle on teeth.
- Great for puppies and small dogs.
- Can get destroyed if you have an active chewer.
- Squeaky sound is loud.
Stuffless squeak duck toy
This squeak duck plush toy has been a favourite for many owners and dogs for years. This cute waterfowl is perfect for tugging and tossing. It’s durable and there are two squeakers in it – one at the head and another at the tail end.
They’re a ton of fun and puppies to senior dogs love these plush animals. Cuddling and playing, they get used a lot. It’s easy enough to clean and some owners have even washed these in their washing machines without any damage. Just be sure to let it air dry.
- Cute design.
- Great for tug of war.
- Avid chewers will still destroy it.
Best large dog toys
Nerf Tuff Tug
A tough tugging toy is necessary and when you have a big breed of dog, it can be difficult to find one that works well. This large Nerf brand tugging toy is the perfect addition to a dog’s toy chest.
It’s lightweight, durable, easy to clean, and is constructed from food-grade durable rubber. It can withstand extended chewing sessions as well and is rated highly by a lot of dog owners for how long it lasts, even with rough tug of war sessions and chewing afterwards.
One caveat is that some of the nubs can be torn off, but otherwise reviews look good that this is a very durable toy for large dogs and worth the try.
- Great for most medium to large sized dog breeds.
- May not be big enough for the largest breeds.
For this article we chose our products based on top reviews on Amazon, other trusted peer-review sites, personal use, and considered different breeds of dog, sizes, and several different budgets so that there is a good choice for everyone regardless of what type of dog toys you’re searching for.
Frequently asked questions
Do dogs need toys?
Absolutely! Dogs need enrichment, mental stimulation, and exercise as much as we do – if not more! Imagine having to sit in your home all day with no TV, books, games, nothing. It would get boring and probably depress you. The same can happen with pets if they don’t have toys or anything to play with!
What is the most popular dog toy?
Plush toys and classics like tennis ball style toys are generally always going to be top of the list when it comes to the most popular dog toys around.
What are the benefits of dog toys?
Mental stimulation, exercise, teething relief for puppies, comfort, relaxation – these are the main benefits of dog toys for your pet. Some even have favourites such as plushies that they’ll carry with them like a security toy. There are amazing benefits, and every pet should have toys with them.
How much do dog toys cost on average?
Dog toys on average can be anywhere from $5 upwards to hundreds of dollars depending on what type you’re wanting to aim for. Some dog toys are even completely free such as cardboard tubes, paper balls, you name it.
Can a dog toy be too hard?
Yes! Dog toys can be too hard for some, especially if you have a puppy that’s teething or a senior pup! You don’t want to damage your dogs’ teeth on toys that are too hard. Be sure to check before purchasing and consider the dental health of your pet.
Can dogs choke on toys?
Yes, they can, so do be careful when giving your pup new toys, treats, or bones. If they’re a bigger dog they can easily choke and swallow smaller toys, and vice versa for small dogs that try to bite off more than they can chew.
Be sure to choose appropriately sized toys for the breed you own.
Why does my dog bring me its toys?
Dogs bring toys over to you when they want to play, to show affection, and generally let you know that you’re their comfort person. It never hurts to play fetch or tug-o-war when your dog brings you their favourite toys!
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