Toys are important tools for a child’s optimum development. Every parent knows this. What many new pet parents fail to realize, however, is that the same gadgets that have helped shape the lives of children can also be used to shape the behavior of their respective pet pooches. In fact many animal behaviorists recommend choosing the most appropriate toys for dogs to help them become better-rounded pooches. And in case you’re not sure where to start, allow us point you in the right direction our picks of the best dog toys on the market.
Dogs love to act like the worthy descendants of their mighty predator ancestors in the wild. As such, you’ll often see them running after squirrels in the woods whenever they get the chance to see one. Now you can provide them with endless fun with Outward Hounds Hide-A-Squirrel and Puzzle Plush Squeaking Toys for Dogs.
The set comes with a tree stump complete with holes for hiding the plush squirrels. It’s up to your dog to bring these furry creatures out of their hiding places or you can play toss and catch with your canine friend. Regardless of how you’re going to end up playing with the Hide-A-Squirrel you can bet your dog will be more than satisfied knowing it was able to act out its natural predatory instincts.
Versatile play options
Made of pet-safe, durable materials
Squeaking plush dog toys
This is not the Classic KONG that you may know of, but the Squeezz Dog Toy has all the characteristics of the KONG Classic in a stick-inspired design. KONG is generally known for its excellent use of an indestructible and pet-safe rubber material so that regardless of how mighty a chewer your dog can be, it’s no match for the strength of the Squeezz.
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This KONG creation gives you the opportunity to play fetch with your pooch. And since it’s made of rubber material you can expect it to bounce. Amazingly however, there’s no telling where it will bounce to next. It should be fun to watch your dog make sudden change in direction to fetch the Squeezz.
Stick-inspired dog toy design
Made of non-toxic yet durable materials
Provides erratic bounce and squeaky noise
Don’t ever think of the Our Pets IQ Treat Ball Interactive Food Dispensing Dog Toy as an exercise ball for your hamsters or gerbils, although it does look like one. Made of exceptionally-durable materials, this treat ball – opaque on one hemisphere and translucent on the other – makes for a really fascinating toy for your pet pooch.
As your pet nudges the IQ Treat Ball on a roll, it will learn that doing so will release some of the treats through the center hole on the IQ Treat Ball. This will entice your pet to play more with it, keeping it busy and managing canine boredom. The IQ Treat Ball can be easily washed, too since the design allows for an easy-twist opening mechanism allowing you to clean the insides of the sphere.
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Durable dog treat-dispensing ball
Fully adjustable levels of difficulty
Easy to clean design
The Flip Board from TRIXIE Pet Products is designed specifically for dogs that are already in their second stages of canine cognitive training. If this is your pet’s first time to encounter a puzzle of some sort, you might want to give it something easier first to build its confidence. The Flip Board, while it comes with fully adjustable levels of difficulty, is designed for Level 2 canine cognition.
The different elements on the Flip Board will only reveal the hidden treat if the pet dog manages to execute the correct action. For instance, the board comes with cones that need to be lifted straight up to reveal the treat underneath. Tipping the cone to the side simply won’t work. And since the level of difficulty can be adjusted accordingly, you can always start with the easiest.
Strategy game for dogs
With compartments for hiding doggie treats
Adjustable levels of difficulty
Renowned indestructible treat-dispensing design
Designed specifically for moderate or average chewers
Provides unpredictability in bounce
The Mini Hol-ee Roller Dog Toy combines the indestructible and fun nature of balls with the utility of a doggie treat dispenser. There are no complicated mechanisms on the Mini Hol-ee. It comes in a basket-weave design allowing for treats to easily pass through the small holes. Pooches will love playing with it or as part of your fetch toys ensemble. Since the holes are rather large, it can also function as a pull toy as well as a teething dog toy for puppies. This is quite exceptional since you normally don’t get such benefits on other types of doggie toys.
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Virtually indestructible design made of heavy-duty, pet-safe materials
Open design allows for treat and/or kibble integration
Design for multiple play
Checkers is a fat and plump-looking hen with squeaky feet and crinkly wings. Once your pet latches its teeth onto the basket-weave fabric, you can bet that it will be as surprised as you are when Checkers lets out a noisy squeak. The good news is that no matter how hard your pet will sink its teeth into the plush fabric of Checkers it will never be able to tear it apart because of the inclusion of a durable, heavy-duty lining that features the Chew Guard technology. So your dog gets a soft and plushy funny dog toy on the outside and a really tough and indestructible toy inside. It doesn’t matter how your pooch decides to play with Checkers.
ChewGuard durable lining technology
Combination of squeakers and crinkles in the chicken design
Duly-reinforced and double-stitched seams
Plush toy construction
What makes Booda’s Fresh N Floss 3 Knot Tug Toy different from other tug ropes in the market? First its super-tough fibrous construction is embedded with real dental floss so you can bet your dog’s dentition will be rid of plaque and tartar every time it tugs on the fibers of the Fresh N Floss.
Second, it contains baking soda, a known ingredient for preventing the proliferation of tartar and plaque buildup.
Third, Fresh N Floss doesn’t come in a nylon construction, but rather pet-safe cotton fibers, making sure your pet’s sensitive teeth and gums won’t be irritated or inflamed by the rubbing action of the Fresh N Floss. Now wouldn’t you agree that it really is quite different from the others you’ve seen before?
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Unique integration of real dental floss into a rope toy
Non-irritating design to dogs with sensitive teeth and gums
Embedded with baking soda
Outward Hound’s Squeaker Matz Mini Dog Squeaky Toy is a multi-sensorial doggie toy primarily intended to stimulate your pooch’s curiosity by giving it multiple textures, colors, sounds, and patterns in a single toy. Dogs will simply love spending hours chewing, biting, tossing, and playing with the Squeaker Matz toys. And in case you’re worried about the Matz getting shredded to bits, as long as you only have a moderate chewer, it should be just fine.
Provides a variety of squeaking sounds
Made of durable materials
Comes in various textures, patterns, and colors
First and foremost the Benebone Real Flavor Wishbone Chew Toy is not a dog chew that your pooch can munch down as a healthy and yummy treat. It is a dog toy that is made from indestructible nylon material. However, it is laced with real food ingredients such as bacon, chicken, or peanut to make it more enjoyable and palatable to chew on. The Benebone is designed primarily for heavyweight chewers, but this should not make you feel safe at all since anything can happen with toys like these. As such, your active supervision is still a must whenever your pooch is enjoying itself with the Benebone.
Made of durable and nearly-indestructible nylon
Enriched with real ingredients with a choice of bacon, chicken, and peanut for enhanced taste and scent
Designed as a chew toy, not as an edible chew
If you live in a multi-dog household, you probably need not one but several different dog toys that will keep all of your furry companions entertained and occupied for hours. The super-tough ropes for aggressive chewers by Pacific Pups Products are great for dogs of all sizes and ages– perfectly safe, almost indestructible, these ropes can withstand a lot of chewing, shaking and playing, even from the aggressive chewers. The set comes with 11 different ropes, including a giraffe and a carrot floss toy, both of which are designed to clean teeth and stimulate gums.
These ropes are ideal for anxious and extremely energetic dogs as they help focus their attention on one thing, thereby reducing stress and improving mental health. As a bonus, these dog toys were created to support Pacific Pups Rescue, which is a non-profit dog rescue in California. So, if you purchase the set, not only will you help keep your pet entertained and physically and mentally healthy, you’ll also help support dog rescues, which is always a good thing.
11 tough dog rope toys
2 floss toys for dental health
Plastic-free and safe for all dogs (no strong adhesives)
Super-durable, but not completely indestructible
Looking for fun squeaky toys that will entertain your pooch for hours on end? Check out these plush characters by ZippyPaws that provide hours of squeaky fun without the unnecessary need of cleaning up the stuffing mess. The characters include woodland creatures such as the fox, squirrel and raccoon, and each large toy has three round squeakers to deliver more sound, and as a result, more fun!
The Skinny Pelts are quite durable (although not indestructible) and contain no stuffing, meaning they’re as mess-free as you can get with plush dog toys. They come in two sizes (the large one is 18” long, while the small one is 11”), so it’s easy to pick the right toy for all life stages. There are also 2-piece packs available, which are lightweight and ideal for puppies.
Plush squeaking dog toys
3 fun woodland characters
No stuffing for a mess-free experience
Beautiful design, durable construction
If your pet is a fan of ball toys but gets bored pretty quickly with standard balls, try using interactive ball toys such as the Wobble Wag Giggle Dog Toy by Allstar Innovations. Similar to regular dog balls, only more fun, this interactive toy makes giggly sounds when pushed and shaken around. The sounds it makes as it wobbles engage your dog’s natural instincts and curiosity, encouraging physical activity while providing mental stimulation. The ball has six clutch pockets that makes it easy to pick up by dogs of all sizes and ages. This means there is only one size available, which on one hand makes the selection process much easier, but on the other makes the ball unsuitable for all pets (for instance, it’s too big for some puppies and too small for certain giant breeds).
Overall, this is a fun little toy that helps keep dogs physically active, fit and entertained, even those who quickly get bored with more traditional toys.
Interactive dog toy
Makes sounds when pushed and shaken around
Helps engage natural instincts, promotes curiosity in dogs
Is your dog an aggressive chewer that goes through toys incredibly fast? Check out Nylabone Power Chew Dog Toy that is specifically designed for destructive and powerful chewers. Large and incredibly durable, this chew toy provides lasting enjoyment by helping satisfy your dog’s natural chewing instincts. At the same time, the toy encourages positive, less aggressive chewing habits. And that’s not even all – thanks to the design of the toy, chewing will also stimulate gums and clean teeth, promoting better dental health.
This chew toy contains tasty meat flavor which can also help suppress appetite, thereby aiding in weight management. Since it’s made of durable nylon, it’s almost indestructible; however, if your dog is an extremely aggressive chewer, you may want to check the state of the toy from time to time to ensure they don’t chew off and swallow small pieces of the toy. While this rarely happens even with the largest, most powerful chewers, it is a possibility, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on to toy and your pet during chewing sessions.
Extremely durable, made of nylon
Satisfies natural chewing instincts, encourages positive chewing habits
Stimulates gums, promotes dental health
Last but definitely not least is the Chuckit! Ultra Ball – one of the most popular dog toys on the market. If you’re wondering why a perfectly normal toy ball is one of the best liked toys by both dogs and pet parents, here’s why: simple, yet extremely durable, ultra-buoyant and high-bounce, this ball is perfect for all kinds of exercise. Whether your pup likes to play games of fetch on land or in water, or to chew their toys from time to time, this ball is guaranteed to satisfy all of their instincts and wishes. Thanks to its thick rubber core and sturdy walls, the ball is also bound to last a long time – even if your dog plays with it every single day.
Importantly, the toy is also easy to wipe clean, no matter how much dirt, mud or slobber there is. There are various sizes available too (5 sizes, to be precise), but this 2-pack seems to work best with most dogs.
Extremely durable rubber ball toy
Ultra-buoyant, high-bounce, colorful
Perfect for exercising and playing
Easy to wipe clean
Picking the best toys for your dog used to be a walk in the park. But with so many products and so many safety issues related to the use of these gadgets, choosing the right dog toy has just become a lot trickier. Never fret, though as our buying guide for dog toys should help you zero-in on the right dog toy for your pooch.
Just as toys are important for children when it comes to helping them achieve their full growth potential especially in terms of ensuring their optimum physical, emotional, cognitive, mental, social, and spatial development, toys for dogs, too are equally important for the following reasons.
Dogs have this innate need to chew. It is something that is already deeply ingrained in their genes and there really is no point trying to modify something that is part of the organism’s entire existence. However, rather than giving your pooch your carpet and furniture to chew on, you can give them toys that are virtually indestructible so they won’t easily tear these apart and become a potential source of choking and intestinal blockage issues.
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There are doggie toys that come with soft yet firm ridges which serve to relieve gum swelling as typically seen in puppy teething. These dog toys are exceptional in providing temporary relief to teething puppies.
One of the most important reasons why we give toys to dogs is to help them get through their separation anxiety. Dogs are very social animals and they would love nothing else than be close to their human masters. As such toys can be very convenient and very practical means of providing ‘companionship’ for our pooches especially if they learn to associate the dog toy with moments spent with us.
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There are dog toys that come in the form of puzzles, interactive designs, and treat dispensers. Normally we simply toss our pooches their treats. However, there are toys that can do this for us while also offering dogs some kind of challenge to work for their favorite treat. For instance, we can hide their favorite treats inside these toys and it will be up to them to figure out how they can get the treat out of the toy. These can work to help in the management of their ideal body weights by limiting their treats to what they can ‘recover’ from these puzzles. Check out our guide on the best dog puzzle toys here.
In the early stages of crate training, the most challenging aspect is how to keep your puppy inside its crate without whining. This is where their favorite toys will come in. Dog toys are like the security blankets of toddlers and preschoolers. They feel more comfortable, secure, and safe with their blankie with them. The same is true with puppies and dogs going through the first stages of crate training. Giving them something that they associate with comfort should make them want to stay inside the crate.
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Do you know why a lot of dogs ‘misbehave’? Well, to get your attention, of course. Now give them their favorite toy and they won’t really mind if you’re going to stay up all night in front of your computer. They won’t dig nor bark since they now have a toy to play with.
This is akin to giving your pooch the attention it needs. They say that dogs need mental stimulation or else it will grow bored and begin showing undesirable behavior. The point is that toys can make dogs feel less bored especially if you’re going to give them interactive dog toys.
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There are many materials that can be used in the manufacture of dog toys primarily intended for heavy or tough chewers. For instance, heavy duty nylon and durable hard rubber materials are typically used in the toughest and most indestructible dog toys in the market. As a matter of fact, hard rubber is the material of choice for the toughest dog toys. Another material that is perfect for heavy chewers is rope especially those that are made of thick, large-numbered cotton threads. These are also exceptional when it comes to cleaning your pooch’s teeth.
Whenever you have to decide about buying something, there are certain factors that you really have to consider in your decision. The same is true when picking a toy for your pet pooch. Here are a few things you have to consider before buying dog toys.
Young puppies will have fragile baby teeth so it’s important to go for toys that are soft or plush so as not to damage its teeth. If your puppy is already teething, choosing a dog toy that has a firmer texture but not exceptionally hard should be ideal. You may also want to stock up since your growing pooch is really going to be very tenacious in its bite. Once your pup has passed through the teething stage, you can go for harder, more indestructible toys. Rope toys and balls should be perfect. However, by the time your dog reaches old age, it’s time to soften up on its toys as its jaws and teeth may no longer be as powerful and strong as they used to be. This guide to the best chew toys for puppies will be helpful.
Understanding your dog’s chewing behavior is also crucial to making the right choice for dog toys. There are dogs that will take an occasional swipe at an object, but nothing really serious. There are also those that will tear and shred objects by really latching onto these. They won’t usually stop until there’s really nothing left to chew on. And then there are those in the middle of the pack, neither passive nor aggressive. The point is for you to evaluate the kind of chew behavior that your dog has so you can choose the right dog toys that last.
It goes without saying that the right-sized tough dog toy will go a long way towards bringing a whole lot of benefits to your pooch. Too small a toy and you risk it getting swallowed by your pooch which can increase the risk of choking or intestinal obstruction. Too large and your pooch will lose interest in playing with it for the simple fact that it cannot get the toy into its mouth. It is therefore important to look for a toy that your pooch can easily pick up with its mouth.
Dog safety around toys is an important aspect of being parents to these adorable creatures. They are like very young children who simply don’t know about what is safe and what is not safe in this world. Here are a few tips on how to provide toys with your dog’s safety at the top of your mind.
We already said that it is innate for dogs to chew. Regardless of how ‘mild’ a chewer your dog may be, there will always be instances when it will shred an otherwise ‘safe’ dog toy simply out of boredom, determination, or willpower. The important thing to remember is to never underestimate your dog’s capability to chew. As such always go for materials that are more durable than what your dog is accustomed to chewing.
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So-called indestructible dog toys do deteriorate over time. It is for this reason that you should always check the dog toys for any sign of deteriorating condition or even the completeness of its individual parts before you give these to your canine friend. If there is already a piece that is nearly torn off, don’t give it to your dog.
Under no circumstance should you take your eyes off of your pooch while it is playing with its dog toys. Accidents can happen in a flash. One moment it is chewing on its chew toy. Next thing you know it is already choking and cannot breathe. You may find this article on Nylabone helpful. If you cannot supervise your dog, postpone their playtime activities until you can actively supervise them. If not, get another responsible person, preferably one who understands the importance of canine supervision, to keep a watchful eye on your pooch while it is playing with its toys.
Dog toys are important tools for keeping our pets happy and free from boredom. These are also important in building that bond we have with them. It is thus important that we take the time to study the behavior and characteristics of our dogs so we will be able to choose the right toys for them.