As important as physical exercise is to the health and wellness of your pooch, mental stimulation and exercise are just as essential. Regular play and interaction with your pooch are not only a great bonding experience for you and your dog but will also provide them with the necessary mental and physical stimulation they need, and including toys in these interactions is a great idea.
When it comes to choosing the right toy for your pooch, it can be a fine line to walk. If the toy is too complicated, your pooch may quickly lose interest. If it is not strong and durable, bigger dogs will chew it to pieces in minutes. When picking the right toy, you need to find the balance of both durability and stimulation to keep your pooch playing for months to come.
It can be confusing to find the best toy for your beloved pooch, but luckily, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up the best dog toys that we could find to help you choose the most durable yet stimulating toy for your canine companion.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Chuckit! Classic Launcher Dog Toy||
|Best Value||Multipet Loofa "Ruff" Latex Squeaky Dog Toy||
|Premium Choice||KONG Classic Dog Toy||
|KONG Cozie Marvin the Moose Plush Dog Toy||
|Chuckit! Ultra-Rubber Ball Tough Dog Toy||
The 10 Best Dog Toys — Reviews 2021
1. Chuckit! Classic Launcher Dog Toy — Best Overall
Balls are a surefire winner when it comes to toys for dogs, and this Classic Launcher from Chuckit! is a welcome addition to a well-tested toy and is our top choice overall. With this launcher, you’ll be able to throw a ball at least three times as far as normal, making for hours of fetching fun with your pooch. The launcher has a comfortable handle with a “hands-free” ball pickup design — no more slobbery balls to pick up and throw! It is made from durable, lightweight plastic and comes with one ball included but will fit most standard tennis balls too. Best of all, you can exercise your pooch in a fun way without getting a stiff and exhausted arm.
The only fault we have with this toy is that the included ball is of poor quality, and most large dogs will chew it up in a manner of minutes.
2. Multipet Loofa “Ruff” Latex Squeaky Dog Toy — Best Value
The Multipet Loofa “Ruff” latex Squeaky Dog Toy is the best dog toy for the money and our top choice if you are on a budget. Dogs love to chase and they love to chew, and this toy is easy to throw and durable enough for chewing. The built-in squeaker will get even the most placid pooches excited and keep them engaged. The toy is made from durable latex that is both safe and strong and a breeze to clean. It’s a simple yet effective toy that won’t break the bank!
As you may expect, this toy is not suitable for large dogs, as they’ll rip it up in a matter of minutes. Also, the squeaker is loud and may frighten puppies or sensitive pooches, keeping it from the top position.
KONG Classic Dog Toy — Premium Choice
The Classic Dog Toy from KONG takes the irresistible concept of a ball and makes it even more fun. It is a conical rubber toy that will bounce erratically when thrown and provide hours of fun for you and your pooch. The toy has an opening at the bottom where you can stash your dog’s favorite treat to keep them engaged for long periods, even while you’re away, and it’s a breeze to clean with soap and warm water. It is made in the U.S.A. and comes in five different sizes to suit any breed of dog.
While this toy is supposed to be almost indestructible, several customers reported that their dogs chewed them fairly quickly, some in a matter of hours. This keeps the KONG chew toy from the top two spots on this list.
4. KONG Cozie Marvin the Moose Plush Dog Toy
This plush dog toy from KONG is soft and irresistible to most dogs and can provide them comfort while you are away. They are made with an extra layer of material for added strength and have minimal filling to ensure minimal mess in case of being ripped open. The toy has a squeaker for added excitement during playtime and comes in two different sizes and 10 different characters. It is also machine washable for easy cleaning.
Dogs are determined animals, and if you have a pooch that loves to rip and chew at their toys, this plush toy will not last long, even with the double layer of material. This of course presents a potential choking hazard too.
5. Chuckit! Ultra-Rubber Ball Tough Dog Toy
The Chuckit! Ultra-Rubber Ball Tough Dog Toy redefines fetch as you know it. The ball is ultra-bouncy and ultra-tough to withstand the jaws of any breed of dog and is made from natural rubber. The ball can be used in water or for fetch, and the super bouncy rubber will keep your dog chasing for hours. The inside of the ball is made from extra-thick rubber that floats and is brightly colored to help your pooch spot it, no matter where it ends up. Combine this ball with a Chuckit! ball launcher for double the entertainment.
While almost no toys are completely dog-proof, even the smallest dogs have been reported to chew these up easily. Not only that, but several customers also reported that the balls split at the seams without much help from their dogs, anyway.
6. Nylabone DuraChew Dog Chew Toy
The DuraChew dog toy from Nylabone is designed to satisfy your dog’s natural instinct to chew without any harmful chemicals or choking hazards. The disc-shaped toy is tough enough to withstand hours of chewing with a textured construction to help promote healthy teeth and gums by removing the build-up of tartar and plaque. The multiple ridges and grooves and chicken flavoring will be irresistible for your pooch and hopefully help stop them from forming bad habits of chewing items that you don’t want to be chewed! It is also made in the U.S.A. and recommended by vets.
This toy is extremely hard-textured, and several dog owners report that their dogs would consequently quickly lose interest in it. For dogs that do enjoy chewing it, the toy may develop sharp edges over time and be potentially harmful to their gums.
7. As Seen On TV Wobble Wag Giggle Ball Dog Toy
The As Seen On TV Wobble Wag Giggle Ball Dog Toy is an interactive ball that will keep your pooch engaged and mentally stimulated. The ball makes various sounds when moved around, including giggling, laughter, and balls rolling around inside tubes, all with no need for batteries. It has six “clutch pockets” to allow your pooch to easily pick it up and roll it around and is great for indoor or outdoor use. The ball is made from flexible, durable, phthalate-free vinyl that is safe for pets, and it is suitable for all dog breeds of all ages.
Some dog owners report that their dogs were not the slightest bit interested in this toy, while others said that their dogs were afraid of it. Also, if your dog does enjoy it, the constant noises coming out of it can quickly become annoying, so you’ll have to limit their use of it.
8. Trixie Activity Flip Board Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy
This Strategy Game dog toy from Trixie is made to turn your pooch into a canine Einstein, with multiple puzzles and compartments to play with. You simply hide treats in the relevant compartments, and your dog will need to work out how to get them out. The toy has cones to hide treats underneath, which cannot be knocked over and must be lifted straight up to get the treats out of. The toy has a non-slip rubber base to keep from sliding and is easy to clean.
While this toy is designed for all breeds of dogs, larger pooches will have no problem breaking the levers and compartments to get at the treats. Also, smart dogs will solve the puzzles in minutes.
9. Pet Zone IQ Treat Dispenser Ball Dog Toy
The IQ Treat Dispenser Ball from Pet Zone will make your pooch work for their treats and keep them mentally stimulated along the way. The ball has adjustable difficulty levels, so once they figure out how to unlock the treats, you can simply adjust it for further stimulation. The toy is easy to assemble and disassemble, fits about a cup of kibble, and is a breeze to clean.
Several customers report that this ball has a flimsy mechanism and comes apart easily, allowing all the kibble to spill out. It is also made from hard plastic, which could potentially injure your pooch if they manage to chew on it. The treat-dispensing holes are also tiny, and you may have difficulty finding treats or kibble that fit through the openings.
10. Frisco Flat Plush Squeaking Alligator Dog Toy
The Frisco Flat Plush Squeaking Alligator Dog Toy is made to keep your dog engaged and excited. It has four different squeakers hidden throughout the surface that will keep your pooch guessing. It is constructed without stuffing, so you don’t need to worry about your pooch breaking it open and making a mess. The outer material is soft and cozy and makes an ideal bed for an afternoon snooze.
This toy is most definitely not chew-proof, and despite being stuffing free, even a small dog will quickly rip it to shreds if they feel the desire. Of course, this will release the squeakers and present a potential choking hazard. Other dogs may not be interested in it at all, as it simply lays flat on the ground like a blanket, and the squeakers may even frighten sensitive pooches.
Choosing the right toy for your pooch can be challenging, especially if they are prone to chewing! This is a real problem among large, powerful breeds, but small dogs are more than capable of ripping a toy to pieces too.
Every dog is unique, and the toys that keep them interested and stimulated can vary widely from one individual to the next. Some dogs love to chew, some love to chase, and canine Einsteins love puzzle toys, so you’ll need to pick the correct toy for your dog’s unique personality. This may take trial and error on your part; however, your dog will have likely given you a few clues as to what they prefer already. Does your pooch chew up your favorite pair of sneakers? A strong chew toy is likely the solution. Do you have an energetic dog that loves to run and fetch? A ball or fetch toy may be the best bet. Is your dog highly curious? Puzzle toys may keep them occupied.
With that in mind, here is a basic guideline to help you choose the right toy for your canine companion.
The Importance of Dog Toys
Above all else, dog toys will help form an important bond between you and your pooch. Other than regular training, interactive play is an essential component in bonding with your dog, and toys will greatly assist in this process. Whether you engage in activities as simple as throwing a ball or stick, your dog will see you as a source of fun and stimulation, and any activity will help build trust and recognition between you and your pooch.
Besides essential bonding, toys also provide vital mental stimulation for your dog. Dogs are intelligent creatures and need daily mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. Boredom is the number-one reason for misbehavior and bad habits, and keeping your pooch engaged in daily activity will go a long way toward mitigating these behaviors.
Lastly, dog toys are a perfect way for your dog to exercise, and ball games, “tug of war” with ropes, and chew toys are an ideal way to help your pooch release energy throughout the day.
Types of Dog Toys
There is a vast array of different types of chew toys available for dogs, but they all fall into several basic categories. If you are unsure of the type of toy that your pooch may prefer, look through these different options and see if any seem like they may be right for your dog. Again, you may have to try a few at first to find out what your dog enjoys.
Almost all dogs love to chew, though some more so than others. If you have a pooch that chews everything that they can get their paws on, a strong chew toy may be just the ticket. These toys will help satisfy your dog’s natural instinct to chew and can even aid in dental health. Some chew toys are made with ribbed and textured designs that can help reduce plaque and tartar build-up and are tough enough to withstand intense chewing and exercise your dog’s jaw.
Rope toys, hard and tough chew toys, and certain bone toys are all great options for moderate to aggressive chewers. Of course, these toys need to be strong enough to handle constant chewing without breaking apart. While no toy is really 100% chew-proof, it should at least last several months without breaking into potentially swallowable pieces, and it should be made from non-toxic, dog-safe materials. For senior dogs, a softer, vinyl, or latex dog toy is ideal for their sensitive gums. If your pooch is a keen chewer, avoid plush toys or softballs, as these will likely last a few minutes at most.
For energetic pooches that love to bring you things from all over the yard, fetch toys are a great choice. They will give your pooch plenty of exercise, help with obedience training (as they don’t always want to bring the toy back!), and assist their coordination and agility skills when trying to catch the toy flying through the air.
Retrieving toys that bounce erratically, like asymmetrically-shaped bouncing balls, and frisbees that fly at different heights, angles, and speeds are great choices that will keep your dog guessing where they’ll go. These toys will keep your pooch entertained and stimulated and get them nice and tired out without tiring you out! Balls with launchers and frisbee-style toys come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and you should choose one according to the size and energy level of your dog.
Made for dogs who prefer to cuddle than chew, cuddle toys come in a few different forms, from plush toys to pillows and blankets. These toys are great for smaller pooches that suffer from separation anxiety, as the toy will slowly gain their scent and become a familiar source of comfort. Some of these toys are stuffing free in case of chewing, some have squeakers built in for added stimulation, and some have various materials built in that have different sensations when chewed on.
Remember to keep a close eye on these toys, as some of them have squeakers or other additions that may be a choking hazard if chewed.
Mentally stimulating puzzle toys are a great way to keep your pooch engaged and mentally active for hours, without you even needing to be there. These toys often have hidden treat compartments that your dog will need to figure out how to open, and most dogs will not give up until every last morsel has been released.
These types of toys are great for dogs that are left alone during the day and suffer from separation anxiety, although of course, they are no replacement for regular interaction.
Toys to Avoid
Some toys should be strictly avoided, notably any kind of human toy. Be sure to also avoid any toys that are made from plastic and can be easily chewed up, as these can become potential choking hazards. Toys with metal parts like bells or wires should also be avoided, as well as toys with any small parts, like beads or buttons, that can be swallowed.
We also recommend avoiding cooked bones as chew or fetch toy replacements, as these can splinter and cause dental damage and intestinal blockages. Rawhide is also a popular choice among dog owners; however, they may contain bacterial contamination, cause gastrointestinal obstructions, and even cause broken teeth if they are too hard. While rawhide is generally okay for your pooch, you should keep a careful eye on them and only give them to your dog occasionally.
Our top choice overall for the best dog toy is the Classic Launcher from Chuckit! It allows you to throw a ball at least three times as far as normal, has a comfortable handle with a “hands-free” ball pickup design, and is made from durable, lightweight plastic. What we like most is the ability to exercise your pooch in a fun way without getting an exhausted arm!
The best dog toy for the money is the Multipet Loofa “Ruff” latex Squeaky Dog Toy. This durable toy is easy to throw and tough enough to withstand chewing, the built-in squeaker will keep your pooch engaged, and the toy is a breeze to keep clean.
It can be time-consuming and expensive to find the right toy for your pooch. Hopefully, our in-depth reviews have saved you time and helped you find the best toy for your canine companion!
Featured Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Dog Toys — Reviews 2021
- 1. Chuckit! Classic Launcher Dog Toy — Best Overall
- 2. Multipet Loofa “Ruff” Latex Squeaky Dog Toy — Best Value
- 3. KONG Classic Dog Toy — Premium Choice
- 4. KONG Cozie Marvin the Moose Plush Dog Toy
- 5. Chuckit! Ultra-Rubber Ball Tough Dog Toy
- 6. Nylabone DuraChew Dog Chew Toy
- 7. As Seen On TV Wobble Wag Giggle Ball Dog Toy
- 8. Trixie Activity Flip Board Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy
- 9. Pet Zone IQ Treat Dispenser Ball Dog Toy
- 10. Frisco Flat Plush Squeaking Alligator Dog Toy
- Buyers Guide