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Published Aug. 19, 2021

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 some awesome toys, you can worry less about your pooch creating his own toys from mom or dad’s sock drawer.

How to find the best dog toy for your pup’s 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 Mr. 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. 

As a crucial aside, keep in mind that no matter the material, dog toys can break and/or wear with time, so please monitor your furry friend during playtime to ensure he’s having a safe experience.

The best dog toys for anxious or nervous dogs

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, too!) 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 material nearby simply makes them feel better. 

Check out the following two options that will help your pooch feel more safe and secure. 

Best dog chew toy: Kong Goodie Bone Dog Toy

Classic and Safe

From the respected KONG dog toy line, this toy bone is designed for the most intense chewers out there. KONG

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Created for large dogs, 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 toy-turned-puzzle and some extra mental stimulation! 

Best comfort dog toy: Smart Pet Love Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Dog Toy

Intimate Stress Relief

This option provides anxious dogs the comfort needed to help cope with everyday stressors. SmartPetLove

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Unofficially known as the sweetest toy out there, the Smart Pet Love Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Dog Toy features both a beating heartbeat and a heat source, which you can turn on and off as you wish. 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. 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!

The best for active dogs

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, these 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!

Best rope toy for dogs: Feeko Dog Rope Toys

Strong and Durable

The playthings are a perfect way to engage your pup in a classic game of tug-of-war. Feeko

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The Feeko Dog Rope come 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. Plus, the fun colors and shapes will attract your pup’s attention away from furniture and shoes, and will surely become your dog’s new favorite! 

Best dog Frisbee: Tuff’s No Stuff Ultimate Ring Bone

Great for the Beach

Step up your Frisbee game with this durable plush ring. TUFFY

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Tuff’s No Stuff Ultimate Ring Bone is made from polyester and fleece, which is super soft on your dog’s teeth mid-catch. 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.

The best for inquisitive dogs

If you’re looking for some mental stimulation to keep your pet busy and entertained, dog puzzles 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. You can read more about the best dog puzzles here. 

Best dog toy with treats: Outward Hound Fun Feeder

An Alternative Feeder

This pick tests your pet’s mental faculties to secure some treats. Outward Hound

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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! Plus, 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! 

Best dog products on a budget: what you can get for under $6

Do you want to keep your best boy as entertained and happy without emptying your wallet? That’s more than feasible these days. Many solid dog toys start at quite a low price point. To start you off, check off the following toys—one great for independent play and the other perfect for an active adventure—that both come in below six dollars!

Best cheap dog chew toys: Nylabone Dental Chew Bone

The Perfect Chew

At under four dollars, this chicken-flavored chew will help an anxiety-prone pup, while also taking care of dental needs. Nylabone

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The Nylabone Dental Chew Bone comes in four sizes (XS – L), 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 and in most cases, severe chewers. This is a must for any dog that enjoys a nice gnaw!

Best interactive dog toys: Flopping Fish Toy for Dogs 

Simulation Fun

This pick is not only fun for your dog (or cat). Maliton

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The Flopping Fish Toy mimics a fish’s appearance in looks and in movement. It has an electric wagging tail that does not require batteries, but rather can be recharged with the included USB cable in any device you already have at home. It is non-toxic, made from a plush fabric, and rings in at under six dollars. And as an owner, you’ll have a total show watching your pet dance around with this fake fish!  

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 he food-motivated, super energetic, curious, nervous, etc.? You’ll want to choose a dog toy that will engage your pup’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!). 

The final word 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 a few toys until you find the one that makes your goodest boy or girl the most joyful!

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