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Updated Jun 20, 2022 9:36 AM

One of the easiest ways to ensure your dog is living a fulfilled, happy, and healthy life is by making sure he or she knows how to have fun. Lucky for us dog owners, there are so many incredible pet products out there today. Whether your pooch is young or old, a gentle or rough player, anxious or relaxed, there’s a dog toy that’ll encourage his (and your!) playfulness. Plus, when you provide your dog with the best dog toys, you can worry less about your pooch creating his own toys from mom or dad’s sock drawer.

How we chose the best dog toys

As avid pooch people, we know from experience how to differentiate between a high-quality dog toy and one that disintegrates in one chomp. On top of our own personal experience, we also looked at suggestions from pet stores, impressions from fellow dog owners, and reviews from experts.

What to consider when buying the best dog toys

Anxiety level

Having a dog with anxiety or nervousness can be a tough sight to see. As a pet parent to a dog with this type of personality, you want to do all you can to help reduce these issues and work to increase their comfort and confidence levels. Dog toys can be the perfect aid here. 

You’re the expert on your dog (along with your vet, of course) so think about how your dog tends to make himself feel better when he’s anxious or nervous. For many dogs, gnawing on things seems to help distract them. For others, having a comforting smell or their favorite dog products nearby simply makes them feel better. 

Personality

Apart from DIY canine enrichment games and puzzles, toys play a big role in a dog’s happiness and overall health. If you’ve been a dog owner for some time now, you’re probably keenly aware of the importance of matching a dog toy to your pup’s personality. Oftentimes we get so amped about how cutesy or reputable a particular toy is, only to present it to Pooch and get straight-up denied—there’s zero reaction, and it’s left alone, forever. To avoid this sad scenario, it’s important to anticipate your dog’s needs and wants by considering his or her personality. For example, if you know your dog is anxious, consider getting him a chewy dog toy or something he can gnaw on (this simple action has been shown time and again to decrease anxiety in dogs). If your dog is really playful, invest in a more interactive dog toy that will keep him on his toes and busy for hours. And if your dog is known to tear things to shreds, it’s time to ante up with an indestructible dog toy. A good dog toy can blow your dog’s mind.

Activity level

Whether you have a puppy or a more mature pooch who is still young at heart, sometimes it can feel impossible to find a toy that will actually fulfill their boundless energy needs. One of the best ways to exercise an active dog is by using interactive dog toys—where both you and your pooch can spend hours playing and bonding together. 

In fact, even if your furry friend isn’t the most active, toys can be a great way to encourage some positive fun and physical activity through new forms of exercise. Once they see that you’re having fun, they’ll want to join in and play, too.

Mental stimulation needs

Some breeds—like Australian Shepards, Jack Russell Terriers, and Siberian Huskies—need lots of mental stimulation to live a happy, healthy life. They can take to your couch cushions if not provided with self-entertaining dog toys. If you’re looking for some mental stimulation to keep your pet busy and entertained, dog puzzles and other enrichment toys are an ideal option. They present a healthy opportunity for pets to exert their physical and mental energies on a safe and fun toy. Plus, they can help with decreasing anxiety and improving problem-solving skills.

The best dog toys: Reviews & Recommendations

Much like humans need exercise to live a balanced life, dogs need toys for happiness and entertainment. As a crucial aside, keep in mind that no matter the material, even the best dog toys can break and/or wear with time, so please monitor your furry friend during playtime to ensure they’re having a safe experience.

Best overall: Kong Goodie Bone Dog Toy

Why it made the cut: From mental stimulation to everyday play, the Kong Goodie Bone Dog Toy survives it all.

Specs

  • Sizes: Small, medium, large
  • Breed recommendations: All breeds
  • Dimensions: 1.9 x 5.15 x 1.25 inches for small; 2.63 x 7.13 x 1.75 inches for medium; 3.35 x 8.5 x 2.25 inches for large

Pros

  • Multiple sizes
  • Warranty
  • Durable

Cons

  • Some dogs cause quick destruction despite durable claims

The Kong Goodie Bone Dog Toy will satisfy your pup’s instinct to chew while encouraging problem-solving. If you have a food-motivated dog, you can even fill the “Goodie Grippers” on each side of the bone with some of his favorite treats—go ahead and stuff them in there for a fun toy-turned-puzzle and some extra mental stimulation Kong’s durable red rubber stands up to wear from your canine’s canines. In case the toy is destroyed, this durable dog toy comes with a warranty, perfect for serial toy destroyers.

Best for puppies: Smart Pet Love Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Dog Toy

SmartPetLove

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Why it made the cut: With a soft outer cover and an internal heated element, this toy is a cozy hug for nervous puppies.

Specs

  • Sizes: One size
  • Breed recommendations: All sizes
  • Material: Plush

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • AAA batteries, heat pack included
  • Long-lasting

Cons

  • Doesn’t work for all puppies and dogs
  • No auto shut-off
  • Need to purchase additional heatpacks

Unofficially known as the sweetest toy out there, the Smart Pet Love Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Dog Toy features a heartbeat-like vibration and a heat source, which you can turn on and off as you wish, for puppies who are in need of some mama-like comfort. If your dog is particularly anxious, you’ll be happy to learn that AAA batteries and a heat pack are included and last for two weeks of 24/7 use. Puppies are known to be messy—thankfully, the toy is easy to clean as it’s machine washable once you take out the heartbeat insert. Plus, it comes in four adorable color schemes to match your puppy’s coat.

Best rope toy: Feeko Dog Rope Toys

Why it made the cut: With its cotton construction, this tough tugger is fun for your dog and good for their teeth.

Specs

  • Sizes: Two sizes included: 19.5 inches and 30.5 inches
  • Breed recommendations: Medium and large dogs
  • Material: Cotton

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Cleans teeth
  • Durable

Cons

  • Not for small dogs

The Feeko Dog Rope comes in two sizes (19.5 inches and 30.5 inches) for medium and large dogs to play with themselves, their human friends and family, or with their dog peers. The all-natural cotton knots are designed for aggressive chewers, and as a bonus, the fibers help floss your canine’s teeth. Take that, dog breath. Plus, the fun colors and shapes will attract your pup’s attention away from furniture, shoes, and couch cushions. Additionally, the durable cotton rope is machine washable, in case Buddy keeps one rope for indoor fun, and the other for outside playtime.

Best dog Frisbee: Tuffy No Stuff Ultimate Ring Bone

Why it made the cut: This new take on a classic style of toy is safer for dogs’ teeth and more durable than other plush toys.

Specs

  • Sizes: One size
  • Breed recommendations: All sizes
  • Material: Fleece, industrial-grade luggage material, plastic coating

Pros

  • Durable
  • Better for dogs’ teeth
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Squeakers pose a choking hazard

The Tuffy No Stuff Ultimate Ring Bone is made from polyester and fleece, which is super soft on your dog’s teeth mid-catch. The toy is lined with luggage material and plastic, meaning it’s just as durable as it is entertaining for pups. It weighs a mere four ounces, perfect for throwing in the car for long road trips, and it floats, meaning it’s a must-bring on your next lake or beach trip. The Ring Bone features squeakers so that every catch can be as intriguing as possible for your furry friend. However, this toy is a potential pass if your dog is prone to ripping out squeakers.

Best with treats: Outward Hound Fun Feeder

Outward Hound

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Why it made the cut: Barking brainiacs will get plenty of mental exercise while eating their food at a safe pace.

Specs

  • Sizes: One size
  • Breed recommendations: All sizes
  • Material: BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free plastic

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Benefits behavior and health
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Only holds one cup of food

The Outward Hound Fun Feeder not only should replace your dog’s boring old bowl, but also provide a fun way of slowing down his eating pace. Holding up to one cup of food at a time, the bowl wobbles and rocks and it’s up to your pet to figure out how to use his paws or snout in a way that will release his kibble. Additionally, the non-slip base is quiet on hard floors and won’t scratch or scuff floors while your dog plays. This toy doesn’t only have to be used at mealtime—go ahead and put a few tasty treats in there at any time of day when your dog is ready to play. The top removes for easy cleaning, and it’s made of safe materials for worry-free use.

Best interactive: Wobble Wag Giggle Ball

Wobble Wag Giggle Ball

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Why it made the cut: The Wobble Wag Giggle Ball’s giggle sound intrigues and entices dogs to play.

Specs

  • Sizes: One size
  • Breed recommendations: All sizes
  • Material: Phthalate-free vinyl

Pros

  • Easy stimulation
  • Good for dogs of all sizes
  • Safe materials

Cons

  • Not safe for chewing
  • Noise can be annoying to humans

The Wobble Wag Giggle Ball features six clutch pockets across its surface, allowing any pup to easily grab and carry the ball. This ball is not battery-operated—its interesting giggle sound is created by internal tubes when the ball moves—making it long-lasting and safer for play. However, this dog toy might be more suitable for herding breeds who enjoy rolling a ball with their nose, since it is not durable enough to withstand chewing. The name might be hard to say five times fast, but this toy makes for easy pooch entertainment.

Best budget: Nylabone Dental Chew Bone

Nylabone

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Why it made the cut: The Nylabone occupies, entertains, and helps keep your dog’s mouth healthy.

Specs

  • Sizes: Extra small/petite; small/regular; medium/wolf; large/giant
  • Breed recommendations: All sizes
  • Material: thermoplastic polymer

Pros

  • Promotes dental health
  • Good for moderate chewers
  • Lots of options for dogs of all ages, sizes

Cons

  • Not for strong chewers

The Nylabone Dental Chew Bone comes in four sizes—extra small/petite, small/regular, medium/wolf, and large/giant—and features rounded “bristles” that are perfect for tackling tartar and plaque. It comes vet recommended and is made from a rugged thermoplastic polymer that is perfect for moderate chewers. Its chicken flavoring makes it particularly tantalizing for dogs.

FAQs

Q: How to choose a dog toy?

All dogs have unique personalities and preferences for how they like to spend their playtime. Consider your pup’s quirks—is the doggo food-motivated, super energetic, curious, nervous, etc.? You’ll want to choose a dog toy that will engage your pal’s personality accordingly. Consider some of the options above to start your dog off right.

Q: What are the most durable dog toys?

It’s important to understand that there is virtually no indestructible dog toy—you’ll likely see some wear and tear on any type of toy over time. That said, you always want to look into the materials that are used in any dog toy to check for durability and safety. There are many toys (like this Kong chew or this dog rope) that have been designed for ferocious chewers and will last over time. 

Q: Are stuffed animals OK for dogs?

Sure! Stuffed animals can be a great sense of comfort for nervous or anxiety-prone dogs—especially the Smart Pet Love Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Dog Toy. As always, check the materials that it’s made with, the size of the toy (just like children’s toys, you don’t want there to be any small pieces that your dog could accidentally swallow), and consider your dog’s personality (hint: if he tends to be destructive in his biting, your stuffed animal may not last the night). Dogs tend to rip the stuffing out of their toys because they are bored, or because they view the toy as prey and want to destroy it.

Q: Why does my dog walk around with a toy in his mouth crying?

There are many reasons why dogs do this. They might want to hide or bury the toy and are frustrated that they can’t find a proper place to do so. They might be mad you haven’t rewarded them for catching what they perceive to be a high-value item. They might just be excited. However, the crying could be caused by teething, a tooth injury, or anxiety. Visit your veterinarian if you think your dog crying while carrying a toy is a cause for concern.

Final thoughts on the best dog toys

As pet owners, our dog’s happiness is generally our number one priority. To ensure your dog is leading a happy, healthy, and fulfilled life, buy him a dog toy (or two, or five)! There are plenty of amazing products out there designed for all ages, all sizes, and all environments. Think about what makes your dog’s tail wag the most, and align that with the type of dog toy you want to test out. It’s OK to trial and error with a few toys until you find the best dog toy that makes your goodest boy or girl the most joyful!

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