Dogs love to play but for them, it is not just a matter of having fun. Dogs need to play to maintain their physical health and prevent problems such as obesity. Playing with toys also stimulates them mentally and can go a long way to preventing problems such as separation anxiety and destructive behavior.
By choosing the correct dog toys, you can help your dog to stay fit and happy. Some toys need you to be involved – the ball and Frisbee style toys are typical examples. Others provide a challenge because they have tasty treats hidden inside them! Dogs can chew some toys but others are more delicate and require constant supervision. To help you and your pooch decide on the best dog toys for your home, here is our comprehensive guide.
The Best Dog Toy
This a very well-known and hugely popular dog toy that is durable and a lot of fun. It is available in six sizes and in four strengths ranging from puppy rubber up to extreme rubber. The classic rubber product is suitable for the average chewer!
You can play fetch games with this toy and when you throw it, it will bounce in an unpredictable way that dogs love. To make it even more fun, there is a cavity where you can hide tasty treats and your dog will spend hours trying to get it out! At the same time, it will help to keep their teeth clean
Very popular dog toy
Durable and withstands chewing
Cavity for treats
- Weight7.2 ounces
Smooth texture so dogs spend hours trying to chew it
Helps with separation anxiety
Can be put in the freezer
Helps prevent destructive chewing
Some dogs can tear them
Size recommendation may not be accurate
This ball has been designed to withstand chewing! It has a very thick core made from a rubber material and has strong walls. Because it is available in many different sizes, you will be able to find one that is perfect for your dog. It is brightly colored in blue and orange so you and your dog will easily spot it even in long grass.
It has a naturally high bounce and will float on water making it perfect for park and beach games. The smooth surface makes it easy to keep clean. It is compatible with launchers from the same manufacturer for longer throwing games.
Will withstand chewing
Bright colors and smooth surface
Floats on water
- Weight6.6 ounces
Easy to throw
Bounces very well
Quick to wash off after walks
Some dogs can rip them apart
Some cracking of the surface with age
Perfect for stress relief and interactive play, this is a good value set of five fluffy dog toys that will soon become firm favorites. They will suit all breeds but will not be able to stand up to aggressive chewers. They are all in animal shapes and your dog will think that they are chasing prey.
Three of the toys have no stuffing and they are a raccoon, a wolf and a skunk which each have three squeakers inside them to add to the excitement! The monkey and a duck toy are plush. As soon as the toys appear damaged they need to be replaced.
Pack of five toys
Soft and fluffy
Some toys have squeakers
- Weight8.8 ounces
Senior dogs love them
Great to have a selection of toys
Dogs love to walk around with them in their mouths
Perfect shape for ‘shaking’
Many dogs can get the stuffing out
Squeakers can break
This product makes ball toys a lot more fun and makes ball games a lot easier for dog owners. It’s a dog ball launcher which is a bendy piece of plastic with a cup that securely holds the ball at the end.
The classic version of the launcher is 26 inches long so you can pop it in your boot or in your bag for trips out. It saves you from having to handle a ball that is covered in mud and slobber. Also, you don’t have to repeatedly bend down so it protects your back. It’s soft, ergonomically-designed handle bends gently so that it propels the ball for long distances in a controlled direction. It comes with one Chuckit! Ball included.
Ball and ball launcher set
Controls direction of throw
- Weight8.8 ounces
Ball bounces very well
Enables you to throw a long distance
Some owners found it hard to grip the ball
Balls may not stand up to vigorous chewing
You can buy this toy individually or as a pack of two and it will appeal to all breeds. It is essentially a cute teddy toy who is tougher than he looks! He may be soft on the exterior but he has a very durable interior.
The toy contains very little stuffing, instead it has a rope with knots inside that forms a skeleton and resists chewing. Because there is so little stuffing, there will be less mess whilst your dog tries to rip it apart. It is available in four sizes and three colors.
Comes in packs of two
Available in several colors
Rope skeleton instead of stuffing
- Weight8 ounces
Dogs love the rope and squeaker
Many dogs like to cuddle up to it
Some dogs can destroy it quickly
Some stuffing which makes a bit of a mess
A fun and interactive toy that is suitable for dogs of all ages. It’s made from a phthalate-free vinyl material that is gentle on your dog’s mouth yet durable. It’s a bright color so they can spot it easily inside and outside.
It has six clutch areas so that your dog can grasp hold of it with their mouth and toss it in the air. It also has a series of tubes which trap air and emit amusing sounds and giggles when your pooch rolls or shakes the toy. This toy requires no batteries.
Requires no batteries
Interactive toy that emits sounds
Easy for dogs to grasp in their mouths
- BrandAllstar Innovations
- Weight1.2 pounds
Dogs get captivated by it
Different from other dog toys
No fiddly batteries to change
Has to be rolled not thrown to work
Will not stand up to vigorous chewing
An interactive toy that exercises your dog’s brain. They will have to think hard to get at hidden treats within the game and that keeps them mentally stimulated and prevents boredom. It can be used by dogs of all breeds and sizes.
Treats are hidden inside shapes fixed to a board and your dog has to adopt different techniques to get them out. There are two cones and other indentations that have lids with hinges or that have to be slid across. It is made out of plastic but has a non-slip ring around the base. You also get a booklet with dog training tips.
Provides mental stimulation
Hidden treats in an interactive board
Rubber ring to stop it slipping
- Weight1.2 pounds
Helps to decrease stress
Can also be used by cats
Dogs with very large snouts may not reach the treats
Best suited to small dogs who will not chew it
You can’t go wrong with this simple but irresistible fluffy toy for dogs. It’s a bright yellow duck that dogs will love to run after and hold in their mouth. It’s also available in another duck design and as a twin pack.
It’s a large toy that is great for retrieving games and is very easy for your dog to grab hold of. Inside, is a filling and a squeaker that dogs will love.
Cute duck design
Bright yellow in color
- Weight1.92 ounces
Dogs get attached to them and carry them everywhere
Very comforting for young/sick dogs
More durable than some other squeak toys
Some dogs will rip it apart
Pets can’t be left unattended with it
Made right here in the US and available in three sizes and two colors, this is a fantastic toy for playing fetch games with your dog. Its frisbee shape will keep it in the air when you throw it but is safe enough for them to catch in their mouth and will not damage their teeth. In fact, it gives the gums a healthy massage which promotes dental health.
It’s made from a non-toxic rubber material which is very durable. The raised rings around the edge make it easy for your dog to grab hold of with their teeth.
Perfect for throwing games – frisbee shape
Durable rubber material
Available in three sizes
- Weight9.8 ounces
Strong enough for tug-of-war games with some dogs
Does not injure a dog’s mouth
Lightweight and flexible
Easy to throw
Some dogs will chew it apart
Newer versions don’t fly as well as the old ones
This is a dog ball with a difference – it stimulates your pooch mentally and physically. You can twist it apart and fill it with tasty treats and if your dog rolls it in a particular way, they can get them out. It’s a great interactive toy to relieve separation anxiety and to slow down feeding.
It’s very easy to clean and comes in two sizes which will suit small and medium dog breeds.
Interactive dog ball
Fill it with treats
Twists apart for cleaning
- BrandOur Pets
- Weight4.8 ounces
Difficulty level can be adjusted
Dogs find it intriguing
Very easy to clean
Different sized treats can be used
Small dogs can get their jaw stuck in it
Some dogs will chew it
There’s something to appeal to all dogs in this six pack of assorted toys. There is an assortment of brightly colored rope toys that are perfect for chewing on. It includes one fluffy toy in a cute elongated dog shape.
They are all made from non-toxic materials that have no nasty tastes to put your dog off. They will mentally and physically stimulate your dog and promote dental hygiene.
Set of six toys
Great for chewing
Made from non-toxic materials
- Weight1.49 pounds
Great for dogs who like shaking things
Lots of variety
Rope is good for tug-of-war games
Great for fetch games
Some parts can be chewed off
Some owners felt the toys were a bit small
An aerodynamic toy that is shaped likes a Frisbee and is available in two sizes. It will stay in flight for longer than many similar toys thanks to the lightweight design. Your dog will run further and get more exercise!
If it lands on water, it will float and the bright colors make it easy to spot even in long grass. It’s made from a durable multilayer nylon fabric so it will not tear easily. The raised sides and rubber edges make it easy to pick up and grip and will not damage your dog’s gums. There is a glow version available that charges up in bright light and then glows for 20 minutes in the dark.
Frisbee shape for fetch games
Lightweight and aerodynamic
Durable but gentle on dog’s mouth
- Weight0.8 ounces
Feels solid in your hand
Can be thrown long distances
Dogs can catch it in flight
Some dogs like shaking it
It can be shredded by powerful chewers
May not stand up to tug-of-war games
Available in three sizes and three designs, this highly interactive and cute dog toy will keep your pooch entertained for ages. They won’t get bored thanks to the squeakers hidden in this hide and seek game. There are several fluffy squirrels which can be hidden inside a fluffy trunk for your dog to hunt down.
When they find the squirrel and squeeze it, they are rewarded with a squeak. You can also use the squirrels independently for fetch games. Additional packs of squirrels and other characters are available.
Fluffy squirrels are hidden in a log
Can also be used for fetch games
Additional squirrels can be purchased
- BrandOutward Hound
- Weight7 ounces
Dogs get engrossed by it
Great for shaking
Gentle on a dog’s mouth
Not too much stuffing
Some seams come undone
Quite a small toy
This wishbone shaped dog chew toy is sure to be a hit with dogs of all breeds. They will not smell that strong to you but your dog won’t be able to resist the natural bacon, peanut or chicken odors that are made with food-grade additives.
Thanks to their unique shape, your dog will be able to hold them still with their paws whilst they have a good chew on them. These products are not food and must be discarded when damaged.
Unique wishbone shape
Packed with food-grade flavors and odors
Designed to be chewed
- Weight5.9 ounces
Dogs love them
Keeps dogs amused for ages
Can get pierced by sharp teeth
Bits can break off
This is a super cute but strong toy that is available in many different appealing designs such as Marvin the Moose and Rosie the Rhino. They are available in two sizes and as a twin pack. They are a strong toy with an extra layer of material but are not designed for chew sessions.
Inside, there is minimal filling so if they come apart there will not be much mess. They also have a squeaker to make them even more fun.
Fluffy toy available in many designs
Strong but not designed for chewing
Minimal filling to avoid a mess
- Weight1.92 ounces
Dogs love to carry it around
Great for shaking
More durable than many other fluffy toys
Squeaker can get punctured
Some dogs will pull it apart
This toy is designed to help your dog develop their problem-solving skills and will exercise their brain as well as their body. It is a treat dispensing ball so you fill it up with their favorite treats and watch them try to get them out.
Because the holes are large, it will not obstruct your dog’s breathing when they have it in their mouth. It is made from a natural rubber which is non-toxic and will stretch to accommodate all sorts of treats. There are no seams to make it more durable.
Develops problem solving skills
Does not obstruct breathing
Made from safe rubber
- BrandJW Pet
- Weight0.48 ounces
Bright color so easy to spot
Keeps dogs amused for hours
Robust enough for most dogs
Some dogs will destroy it
Smells a bit odd
A gorgeous Lamb Chop plush toy that looks just like the TV character. It is not a puppet but has filling and also has a squeaker.
Your pooch will fall in love with this adorable character and Mr Bill and Sock Monkey are also available.
Fashioned on TV character
Not a puppet
- Weight5.1 ounces
Dogs like to ‘mother’ it
Perfect size for most dogs
Great for shaking
Squeaker could be a choke hazard so requires supervision
Some dogs can destroy them
The fun doesn’t have to stop when you get back indoors if you buy this plush ball. It will not damage your furniture or fittings thanks to the lightweight design that has plenty of bounce. It will roll across tiled and hardwood floors – with your dog chasing after it!
This toy is suitable for a small dog or a pup and is made from chenille fabric in bright blue and orange. It is made to last by including multiple layers in its construction. These balls can be used with the Chuckit! Indoor Launcher.
Designed for indoor use
Soft yet robust
Can be used with launcher
- Weight2.4 ounces
Will not damage your home
Suits senior dogs with dental problems
Just the right size
Doesn’t get slippery
Some dogs will chew it
Soft fabric can peel off
There are so many ways to personalize this toy that you will have no problems getting one to suit your dog’s needs. This textured bone-shaped toy is available in six sizes to suit little pups through to the largest breeds. You can also select the required chewing strength which can be from gentle chewing to extreme chewing.
The irresistible flavors (bacon, chicken or peanut) make your dog fall in love with the chew. It’s even good for dental health thanks to the raised bristles.
Available for powerful chewers
- Weight6.4 ounces
They last several months
Dogs love the flavors
Your dog will happily gnaw it all day
Hurts like mad when humans step on it!
They eventually get stretched
You can take ball games to the next level with this interactive toy which is both mentally and physically challenging for your dog. There are internal compartments for you to fill with tasty treats and your dog has to work hard to get them out.
You can adjust the difficulty level and it has a weighted bottom so it bobs around.
Chambers can be filled with kibble
Weighted bottom so it moves
Mental and physical stimulation
- Weight1.6 pounds
Easy to customize
Helps to space out meals
Some dogs will destroy it
Difficult to clean inside
Best Dog Toy Buying Guide & FAQ
What to Consider When Buying Dog Toys
Buying the right dog toy can be a challenge because there is so much choice! Here are some of the things that you should consider.
- Age, size and breed of your dog
Dogs have particular needs when it comes to dog toys. A toy that suits a pup may not suit a senior. Similarly, a toy that suits one of the toy breeds with delicate jaws would not suit a Great Dane! Many toys come with size recommendations and the reviews from owners can be very useful. If your dog spends a lot of time indoors, outdoor dog toys and not going to be the best option. Instead, choose an indoor toy.
- Your dog’s chewing ability
Dog toys are meant to be tough but few will be able to stand up to a very determined chewer with powerful jaws. It is important that you choose a toy that matches your dog’s chewing habits. Some toys are available in different chewing strengths ranging from a material suitable for a little pup to material that would suit a powerful chewer.
- Will it provide mental stimulation?
Toys are not just for physical exercise. Mental stimulation is also important especially if you are getting the toy to help with issues such as separation anxiety.
- Is it safe?
Safety should be your prime concern. There should be no small parts that could break off and cause an injury or become a choking hazard. Supervision is needed for most toys.
- Will it last?
Some dogs are just very good at destroying toys – even the ones that are supposed to be indestructible. There is no point in getting a toy that will only last for five minutes! Durable dog toys that have been tried and tested on real dogs are always the best option.
- Will your dog like it?
This is a difficult thing to predict. However, you will know if your dog prefers throwing toys, interactive toys or chewing toys so that is a good place to start.
Reasons Your Dog Needs Toys
For dogs, playing with toys is not just about having fun. Here are some benefits of dog toys.
- Physical exercise
This is essential for a healthy heart and lungs and to prevent obesity. Dogs need to move around and toys make moving fun.
- Mental stimulation
Dogs also need to be mentally stimulated to keep them happy. They love a challenge!
Many dogs have hunting instincts and an instinct to discover and shake prey. Toys can let them indulge that instinct which is very good for them.
- Relieve boredom
Boredom is not good for dogs and can lead to stress and excessive vocalization. Toys are great at preventing this. If dogs get bored with toys you can rotate them.
- Helps separation anxiety
This is a big issue for dog owners who are out all day. Interactive dog toys that keep dogs engaged for hours can help a lot.
- Prevent destructive behavior
Dogs suffering from boredom and separation anxiety can become very destructive. Your home could pay the price! Toys can provide a welcome distraction.
Types of Dog Toys
Dog toys fall into several distinct categories. Here are the main ones.
- Throwing toys
These are a toy that you can throw for your dog to chase. They can be shaped like a ball and some come with launchers so you don’t have to keep bending over to pick it up. Others are shaped like a Frisbee that dogs can snatch out of the air. They are not designed for chewing.
- Interactive toys
Interactive dog toys provide mental and physical stimulation. Your dog has to do something to the toy to get a reward. That reward could be a funny noise or a tasty treat. Indestructible squeaky dog toys are very popular. Most stimulating dog toys will stand up to some chewing but not too much.
- Chew toys
As the name suggests, dog chew toys are designed to be chewed. They are made of safe materials that are very tough. However, the most powerful chewers can destroy even dog chew toys so it is wise to supervise. Some rope toys can be chewed. Dogs with strong jaws need indestructible dog toys to keep them happy.
- Plush toys
These are like cuddly toys for children but are for dogs! Often a pooch will fall in love with them and walk around with them in their mouth. They can get torn apart but some have rope inside to make them more robust. These tend to be funny dog toys that you and your dog will love.
How to Bring New Life Back to Old Toys
Dogs will eventually get bored with toys so toy rotation is always a good idea. Once your dog has tired of a particular toy, check it for damage, clean it and then put it away for a few weeks. When you get it back out it will be like a new toy to your pooch!
Also, hiding new treats in a toy is a great way of bringing new life to it. A tasty (and smelly) treat will soon get your dog engaging with the toy again.
Finally, why not make up a new game with the toy? An old toy soon becomes a favorite again if you use it to play a tug-of-war game or hide and seek.
Best Dog Toy FAQ:
Q: How do I wash dog toys?
A: Dog toys will end up getting very dirty – there is no avoiding that! A mixture of slobber, mud and something unpleasant that it landed in in the park is no joke for the owner. There are several methods that you can use to get them clean.
Some toys can be put through the dishwasher or the washing machine but only do this if the manufacturer’s instructions make it clear that it is safe to do so. Otherwise, you could end up damaging the integrity of the toy and it may not stand up to chewing. Also, the very high temperatures in the machines could cause toxins to be released from the toy which could cause health issues.
Rubber, plastic and nylon chew toys should be scrubbed in warm water and an antibacterial wash. If they are very dirty, you may want to soak them in a dilute vinegar solution first. Always rinse well and air dry.
Rope toys can be put in the washing machine and then air dried. Many plush toys can survive the washing machine but they may benefit from being put in a rope bag first. They also should be air dried.
Q: What can I put in a Kong for a puppy?
A: There are plenty of things that you can put inside Kong dog toys that pups will love. You can feed your pup their meals in a Kong if you are having problems with them eating too fast and never being satisfied. Kibble is the obvious choice but you could also mix kibble with wet dog food or use wet dog food alone.
Then you can use a variety of dog treats. You can buy commercially prepared treats or you can prepare your own. Many dogs just love cottage cheese or yogurt and peanut butter is always a good choice. Peanut butter also acts as a seal to keep kibble inside for a bit longer.
You can even prepare a recipe especially for inserting in the Kong. A good option for puppy toys is a mixture of ground turkey, brown rice and steamed vegetables. This is sure to be a hit!
Q: How do I choose the best size for my dog?
A: Many manufacturers offer their toys in a variety of sizes to suit different breeds. They may also suggest sizes that would suit different breeds or weight of dog. It is sensible to follow these guidelines.
Toys that are too large for your dog may frustrate them. If they cannot get their mouth around a chew toy, they will soon lose interest. Also, some larger toys can be a hazard for very small dogs because they may get their jaw stuck in them.
Toys that are too small are also a hazard. Never choose a toy that your dog can get completely in their mouth because it will present a choking hazard. Choose a size that they can bite on but that will not fit in their mouth.
Q: What games should I play with my dog?
A: There are plenty of games that you can play with your dog using toys. The obvious place to start is a fetch game. Any sort of ball or frisbee type toy is great for this. Give your dog lots of praise when they bring the toy back to you.
Hunt the toy is another great option and works well with toys that have an odor. Your pooch will love sniffing them out. Tug-of-war is another good option. Many dogs (especially the terrier breeds) love to pull a toy in their mouths whilst you hold onto it. When they eventually win, they will love to shake it to death!
Our Top Pick
KONG - Classic Dog Toy
Our top pick of the best dog toys is an iconic brand and hugely popular toy. It is durable, fun and available in six sizes and four strengths.
You can play fetch games with it and it bounces in an unpredictable way that dogs love. To make it even more fun, there is a cavity where you can hide tasty treats and your dog will spend hours trying to get it out! At the same time, it will help to keep their teeth clean.