Dogs require a lot of mental engagement and physical activity and finding the best toys for dogs can be a little tricky. At first, you may find your dog likes one sort of toy and not another, so it can be a little bit of trial and error when it comes to finding the best toys for your dog. However, we have found the top 5 best toys for dogs that are sure to have your dog’s tail wagging.
What You Need to Know about Dog Toys
Choosing the right dog toy for your dog will depend on a variety of factors. As a dog or puppy owner, there are several things you will need to consider before you make your final decision.
First things first, you will need to consider your dog’s age. If you have a puppy that is going through the teething phase, dog toys that are softer, plush, or even snuggly fabrics will be a great fit. If you have a puppy, expect that they will be in their teething phase from three to at least nine months of age. Dog chew toys will be a great option during this time.
Once your dog has grown his or her adult teeth, your dog’s teeth and jaws will be stronger for rubber toys or pull ropes and since they will have the high energy to play, indestructible dog toys will be ideal during this phase of their life.
If you have an older dog, age seven and up, their jaw and tooth strength will not be as strong as it once was. Softer toys or interactive dog toys or even easy to throw balls or sticks are all great options for older dogs.
Size and Texture
The size and texture of a toy is important to mirror the size and jaw strength of your dog. Smaller breeds will need more forgiving toys that can be clenched in their smaller jaws. Larger breeds however, will need something more durable so pieces of the toys do not end up becoming chewed up or even becoming a choking hazard.
A good rule of thumb to follow: if the toy has anything that is small enough to fit in the back molar’s of your dog’s mouth, it can pose as a choking hazard. In addition, any toys that have stuffing revealed or a broken squeaker can also pose as a choking hazard and should be taken away from your dog and replaced with a new toy.
There are several different types of toys out there to engage your dog and give them hours of fun play. Of course there is the classic ball to throw. Balls can vary in size and texture including:
Plush balls with a squeaker
And many more
There are even some varieties of balls that can glow in the dark or even float- these are great options if you take your dog out to play at night or if you have a pool.
A durable material is important for long lasting effects. Balls are a great choice for both the dog and the owner as a game of fetch will strengthen the bond you have.
Tug toys are another popular option among dog owners as many dogs cannot resist a game of tug-o-war. Some vets can warn of aggression developing with this type of play, yet if your dog is properly trained, you will have nothing to worry about.
The most important thing to look out for in tug toys would be their durability. You do not want one that will easily shred or fall apart. Tug toys can be made from rope, linen, leather, or even plush so as an owner it is important to check these toys often for damages.
Interactive dog toys and dog puzzle toys are great for getting your dog to think, stay engaged, and giving them a reward all at the same time. Many of these types of dog toys will include a slot or pouch to insert a dog treat. The treat will provide long-lasting and interactive entertainment since they can be tricky for your dogs to get out. That is, until they figure out how the toy itself works.
Plush toys are a loved favorite of many dogs, but due to their stuffing and soft exterior, dogs can easily rip them apart and expose the stuffing which can pose as a choking hazard. Many dogs will enjoy snuggling up with a plush toy during naps or at night. Just be sure that your dog knows which toys belong to him and which ones do not. This way you can avoid unwanted chewing or playing on pillows or a child’s stuffed animal.
Top 5 Dog Toys
1. Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Dog Toys
The Outward Hound Hid-A-Squirrel Dog toys are plush puzzle toys that give your dog a hide and seek pattern that dogs love. This interactive dog toy is quite durable and comes with three squirrels to hide inside their tree trunk.
The squirrels are sewn to exclude any hard pieces, such as eyes or noses, that are typically seen on children’s stuffed toys. This reduces the threat of a choking hazard. Not to mention, these toys are all very soft and if your dog does not want to play hide and seek with them, he can snuggle up close with them.
Multiple sizes available for different breeds
Squirrels squeak for further excitement and engagement
Great for hound dogs or dogs bred to hunt or retrieve
Interactive dog toy provides hours of engagement
Great for fetch, hide and seek, and snuggling
Great for puppies to senior aged dogs
Squeakers can be a choking hazard should they be removed from the squirrels
Highly intelligent dogs may find this toy to be boring or figure it out too quickly
Threads may run over time
Not made in the USA
2. Nerf Dog Ridged Squeaker Football
The Nerf Dog Ridged Squeaker Football is an interactive squeaker toy shaped like a football which is great for a game of fetch. The durable, yet soft rubber, is great for puppies who are teething. This dog toy is water resistant and weather resistant, so playing with this toy in the pool or outside will not cause any damage to the toy.
Around six inches in length, the Nerf Dog ridged squeaker football can be suitable for any sized dog, but is better for puppies and small to medium dogs since it may be too small for large or giant breed dogs.
Soft, yet durable rubber
High visibility makes it easy to find in the yard or the dog park
Great for puppies of any sized dog
Best for small to medium sized dogs
Available in one or two pack
Bright and colorful
Ridges make it easy for your dog to grip on to
Great for teething dogs
Not the best choice for large or giant breed dogs
Squeaker sound is not the best as it is quite loud and can be annoying
Not meant for indoors due to high bounce
Squeaker can become dislodged if your dog manages to destroy the toy
3. Xentyx- Puppy Dog Pet Toys
The Xentyx-Puppy Dog Pet Toys are great tug toys that can provide your dog hours of entertainment. Since there are four different tug toys included in this set, your dog will have plenty of fun options to choose from when they want to play or chew.
Great for a game of tug-o-war or even a game of fetch, these dog toys are made from durable cotton fibers. And since they are made from cotton fibers, these toys will be able to clean your dog’s teeth during playtime. The bright colors make these toys easy to spot and since they are well sewn, they will be long lasting as well.
Cleans your dog’s teeth during play
4 tug and toss toys included
Great for puppies and small to medium sized dogs
Great for chewing and playing
Great for teething puppies
Great for fetch and tug-of war
Not for large or giant breed dogs
Must be careful if using with a puppy as pulling to hard can damage their teeth
Chemical smell when purchased new
Smaller than other tug toys
4. KONG Classic KONG Dog Toy
The KONG Classic KONG dog toy is a well-known dog toy brand that stands the test of time when it comes to durability and long lasting interactivity for your dog. The classic KONG dog toy can be stuffed with a favorite treat or even some peanut butter to engage your dog for hours.
The KONG classic is very bouncy and made to be chewed which is great for teething puppies or dogs who are prone to chewing. The natural rubber compound is very thick and durable, yet very safe for your dog to chew.
Helps distract your dog from barking, digging, or help with separation anxiety
Not best for senior dogs due to the density and durability of the rubber
5. Our Pets Smarter Interactive IQ Treat Ball Dog Toy
Our Pets Smarter Interactive IQ Treat Ball Dog Toy is a fun way to engage and entertain your dog for hours. Simply fill the dog ball with their favorite snack or treats and let the play begin. Your dog’s nose will be kept busy with the scent of the treats and they will use their thinking skills to find out how to get the treats out of the ball.
This is a great toy to use as a distraction for your dog, especially if they like to chew, bark, dig, or even if they have separation anxiety. And since you can adjust the level of difficulty, this toy can outlast even the smartest dogs.
Ability to adjust difficulty level
Easy to fill with treats or food
Easy to clean
Ideal for medium to larger dogs
Keeps your dog physically and mentally stimulated
Slowest form of treat dispensing dog toys when set on the highest difficulty level
High level of sense of reward for your dog
Since the treats will fall out when the ball rolls, it may be too easy for some dogs
Does not do well on carpeted areas
Not for small dogs or teething puppies
Not for a game of fetch
Getting the best toys for dogs can be a process of trial and error because not all dogs like the same toys. However, you can be sure to find your dog a fun toy to play with on this list of the top 5 best toys for dogs.
Our pick among these five would have to be the KONG classic KONG dog toy. Not only does it give your dog plenty of interaction and reward, it is one of the most durable dog toys available. And since there are multiple sizes available for nearly any sized dog, you can be sure to bring home a toy your dog will love.
Make sure you give your dog plenty of time, along with any toy you choose. The best toys for dogs can only be used to the best of their ability if you, as the owner are there to play with them too.