There is a vast world of toys waiting for your dog to explore and destroy. Luckily, we’re here to help you avoid coming home to find the horribly deconstructed remains of a toy that just arrived yesterday, looking so charming and fluffy.
Navigating the dog toy landscape can be a challenge, with cute stuffed animals and a huge variety of balls and frisbees all vying for your attention.
We’ve sorted through the clutter to show you ten must-have dog toys, plus a few extras.
First, here are some reasons to buy dog toys:
- intellectual stimulation
- Relieve stress
- dental health
Types of toys
Toys aren’t just for creating a fun intimacy with your dog. They can be used effectively as a training tool or even as a meal provider. Toys are especially useful if your dog is going to be alone for long periods of time.
As much as we crave time with our dogs, sometimes they also want to play at the most inopportune moment. In such situations, distraction toys can come in handy. The most common distraction toys are chew toys, and you have no shortage of options here.
Creative treat dispensing toys are one of the best toys to keep your dog engaged for a long time. These toys can be used both for entertainment and for training your dog to flex his/her brain muscles.
While nearly every toy can be used for training purposes, some are explicitly designed to be your dog’s training tool. An interesting example is Trixie Pet Toys, which was intended as a therapy-seeking strategy game. You put treats in toys, and your dog has to figure out what he needs to press to get the treats out. Trixie offers a variety of such games with varying levels of difficulty.
take a toy
Pick up toys are for you and your dog to play with. The most common fetch toys are balls and frisbees.
tug of war toy
You sometimes hear arguments about whether you should play “tug-of-war” with your dog. Tug of war can be a fun game for your dog, but be sure to teach a command word to end the game. Also, try to use specific toys in this game so your dog doesn’t think every toy is for pulling. Not featured on our list below, West Paw’s Bumi with Zogoflex is a durable, enjoyable tug toy.
Durability is King
There’s nothing worse than buying a dog toy, and within an hour you’ve turned your head to see the scattered wreckage you thought was a wise purchase. Avoiding this is all about knowing how your dog will interact with certain toys. In general, most plush toys end up dying in a mess if left alone with chewing dogs.
The problem that can arise is that your dog has ingested things that shouldn’t be ingested, like plastic squeaks, which are so much fun for them.
Durability is a top consideration when considering buying a toy for two reasons: nothing is more important than your dog’s safety, and what’s the point of buying a toy that’s not more than a day old?
Without further ado, here are the top 10 must-have dog toys, along with some honorable mentions at the end:
Click on any toy link to buy
10. Chuckett!flying bat
Frisbees are a must-have dog toy for most dogs, along with Chuckit! The Flying Squirrel features a unique design that puts it above other frisbees on the market.
A flying squirrel isn’t technically a Frisbee at all. This toy has four outstretched claws and a raised back, like a flying squirrel, soaring from tree to tree. This unique aerodynamic design provides maximum lift, and it also makes the toy easier to pick up from the ground than a traditional Frisbee.
Bonus toy: There’s also an indoor squirrel that’s designed to be smaller and lighter, but it’s just as popular with dog owners and costs less than $7.
9. Hole Rocker
Kong Wobbler is a classic interactive distribution toy that provides hours of enjoyable distraction and will stand the test of time.
The top half of the Wobbler comes off to quickly fill up on kibble or snacks. Then your dog has to knock the Wobbler so that the goodies come out of the holes in the side. The rocking action provides endless entertainment for you (who can watch) and your dog.
Depending on size, a shaker can also be used to feed your dog a full meal.
8. West Paw Zogoflex Tux – Interactive Treat Dispensing Dog Chew Toy
This toy checks nearly every box to see what you’re looking for in a dog toy. First, it’s very durable. This toy is great for aggressive chewers. The fun of the Tux comes from its unique shape, which makes it bounce unpredictably. Best of all, it’s interactive and distracting for your dog.
Need something done but your dog wants to play? Fill it up with some goodies, bounce it to the ground, and set yourself free while giving your dog a fun and rewarding game. West Paw’s Zogoflex is made in the USA, dishwasher safe, and 100% guaranteed by the manufacturer to not damage dogs.
The reason we rank it ahead of Wobbler is for fun reasons. While the Wobbler is usually still, Tux is fun to have your dog bouncing around the room as he tries to get all the last food out.
Available in small and large sizes.
7. Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball
Endless entertaining tricky treat balls like the West Paw Tux act as a treat dispenser to exercise your dog’s body and brain. The Tricky Hospitality Ball gets a higher rank than the Tux because it has a higher replay value as a ball. It’s also harder to get snacks out. The Tricky Treat Ball gives your dog more challenges while also providing a longer distraction.
Available in small, medium and large.
6. KONG Scrunch Knots Raccoon
A common theme in this list is versatility. Toys that provide multiple uses or have multiple playable parts.
KONG Scrunch Knots Raccoon features a unique design with a stuffed animal exterior sewn onto a multi-knotted rope.
Eventually, the raccoon may tear off the knotted rope, but without the padding, you’ll be left with minimal mess, and now your dog has two different toys at his disposal.
5. Outward Hound Tail Teaser
Outward Hound’s TailTeaser is a popular toy perfect for indoor sports.
The TailTeaser comes with two plush toys attached to the ends of a nylon cord that you can control with a pole. Mimic prey and dazzle your dog with lifelike movements by bouncing toys around the TailTeaser.
The TailTeaser can be a useful training tool for teaching your dog to release on command without having to grab a drooling toy.
4. Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Dog Toy
The Hide-A-Squirrel is one of the highest-rated toys we’ve seen, and it makes sense. There’s no denying that little squirrels are not only cute, but this toy is both an interactive brain teaser for your dog and a fun grab target.
Amazon’s Pick: “Boring Dog Toys.”
Honorable Mention: ZippyPaws Woodland Friends Burrow
3. Nylabone Original Dura Chew
Nylabone earns a prominent #3 ranking for its extreme durability. Regardless of how durable certain toys claim to be, certain dogs often find a way to destroy them over time. Not only does a broken toy create a mess when you burn a hole in your pocket, but most importantly, a broken toy is a safety hazard for your dog. The value of an almost indestructible toy cannot be overemphasized.
Nylabone comes in many shapes, sizes and flavors. The original is a stolen add-on for under $6 on Amazon.
2. King Kong
The original KONG is a must-have classic toy for dog owners. Thanks to its unique shape, the KONG will bounce in unpredictable directions, providing your dog with endless chase entertainment.
KONG stands out for its versatility and durability. KONG is rarely destroyed and can also be used as a snack dispenser.
Staff tip: Sometimes away from the house for a few hours, I know my dog may have to deal with dinner, and I stuff a KONG of kibble and put some peanut butter on top to seal the food.
Available in a variety of sizes.
1. Chucky!dog ball launcher
There is no more useful dog toy than Chuckit! Dog Ball Launcher. Comes in durable Chuckkit packaging! Tennis, this launcher is perfect for use with other tennis balls in the yard or any other 2.5 inch balls.
Not only does the launcher allow you to throw the ball farther than you can throw it, but it also relieves stress on your arms, making picking up the ball from the ground a breeze.
My dog has an uncanny ability to throw the ball out of my reach when I sit down, and the launcher by my side is invaluable for keeping the good times going. I also don’t mind that it allows me to exercise her in the comfy chair.
Another great benefit is that using the launcher keeps your hands clean, which is critical after long hours of drooling gaming.
Chuckit has multiple benefits! Dog Ball Launcher tops the list for the limitless value it offers.
With so many dog balls on the market, it’s hard to justify any one dog ball making the top 10, but my personal favorite is Planet Dog’s Orbee Tuff style ball.
The snowball is always a fun and durable toy, and although it is 3 inches, it is slightly heavier than some other Orbee balls. A distinguishing feature of the Snowball is its incredible durability. Its unique shape also makes bouncing fun.
For a glow in the dark Orbee tuff ball, my dog personally loves this peppermint oil infused 2.5″ ball.
Some of the funniest toys are probably old objects around the house. Tennis is a timeless classic that dogs love and is perfect for use with Chuckit! launcher. You can buy a bag of 18 durable balls for less than $13 here.
Another toy that makes some dogs very happy is an old deflated basketball. They’re durable and a fun and safe chew toy.