Best Dog Toys

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

27 Models Considered
68 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
135 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best dog toys

Last Updated August 2019

Dogs are naturally playful animals who love running, chasing, chewing, and tugging. As such, you need to buy a range of dog toys to keep your four-legged friend happy.

Your canine companion would be overwhelmed if he knew there are thousands of dog toys to choose from. The choice might be slightly easier for you, but it can still be tough, especially if you're not sure what types of toys your dog likes best. So, how do you pick the right toy for your dog? This guide will help you!

If you want to buy your pup some tried-and-true toys, check out our five favorites. Read on for our full guide to buying the best dog toys for your furry friend.

Your dog should only play with appropriate toys — some dogs like to play with found items such as sticks or rocks, but these are often unsafe.

Types of dog toys

A huge variety of options fall under the dog toys umbrella. The first thing to do is decide what type of toy to buy for your dog. Once you've narrowed it down, it will be easier to pick the right product. These are the main types of dog toys.

  • Stuffed toys: The majority of dogs love stuffed toys or plushies. You'll find them in varying degrees of durability, for gentle chewers right up to aggressive biters. Lots of these toys contain squeakers or other noise-makers.

  • Chew toys: These are toys designed for dogs to gnaw on. They tend to be much more durable than stuffed toys. They may be made from rubber or plastics such as nylon, and are often designed so they can be chewed on without large chunks breaking off. They satisfy the natural urge to chomp and are great for dogs who often chew items they're not supposed to.

  • Puzzle toys: Whether their goal is to find treats, plush toys, or any other reward, puzzle toys engage your dog's brain and are great boredom busters for when your pooch is home alone or needs more mental stimulation.

  • Tug toys: You take one end, your dog takes the other — and you battle it out until there's only one winner. The vast majority of dogs love playing tug of war, so it's a great way to bond and have fun with your four-legged friend.

  • Balls and similar: Balls, frisbees, and other projectiles are the perfect toys for dogs who love to fetch items or attempt to catch them in midair. Just be prepared for your dog to want you to throw them over and over and over.

Treat time

If you ever owned a Weeble toy (they wobble but they don't fall down), you'll have a pretty good idea how the KONG Wobbler works. Its weighted bottom lets your dog knock it with his nose or paw, but it always returns to its upright position. To make things more interesting, you stuff treats inside, which your dog can work out of the toy by knocking it around, providing hours of fun for your four-legged friend.

Considerations for selecting dog toys

Durability

Some toys are durable enough to withstand the teeth of a 120 pound rottweiler, whereas others fall apart from a light mouthing. If you live with a large dog or an aggressive chewer, you'll need to look for extra-strong dog toys.

No toy is completely indestructible, no matter what it says on the package, but some are much more difficult to destroy. Plush toys are generally the least durable option, but you can find some designed for more determined chewers, with features such as hidden seams, double stitching, and ripstop material.

Size

Pick dog toys of an appropriate size for your four-legged friend. If you buy an extra-large toy for a tiny dog, she won't be able to pick it up, and if you buy a small toy for a large dog, it could be a choking hazard. That said, some small dogs enjoy playing with oversized stuffed toys.

Safety

Your dog's well-being should be of utmost importance, so be sure to choose dog toys that are safe for him to use. First off, only buy toys from a reputable manufacturer. Some cheap dog toys can be made from unsafe, toxic materials. It's not worth risking your dog's health over a few bucks.

As touched on above, your chosen toy should be durable enough and the right size for your dog. If the toy is too small or if your dog can bite off a chunk or some string-like component, he could choke or swallow it and end up with an intestinal obstruction.

Sounds and textures

The sound of your canine companion squeaking her toy for 20 minutes straight might make you want to shove it down the garbage disposal, but it makes her happy. Dogs are drawn to toys that contain squeakers or other noiser-makers, and often engage with these toys for longer than they do with toys that don't make noise.

For strong chewers, look out for toys that contain puncture-proof squeakers that keep on making noise even if your dog puts a tooth through them. You'll also find dogs enjoy chewing on items of differing textures, whether that’s crinkle paper, textured rope, or ridged rubber.

EXPERT TIP

Some rubber or plastic dog toys are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

You can find dog chew toys that are beneficial for dental health.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Check if your chosen dog toys are easy to clean. Unless they're made from wipe-clean material, they should be machine washable so that cleaning them isn't a chore.


Staff  | BestReviews

Dog toy prices

The price of toy toys can vary by a large amount depending on the durability, size, and the type of toy.

Compact balls, chew toys, and plush toys start at less than $5, but won't be suited to large dogs or heavy chewers.

Mid-range dog toys cost around $5 to $10, including some smaller durable options.

If you want heavy duty dog toys, small production/handmade toys, or more complex puzzle toys, expect to pay between $10 to $20, or even more. Your pal is worth it, right?

Tug and chew

Whether your dog wants to chew or play tug, TAILMATE Dog Chew Rope Toys are excellent multifunctional toys that come at an affordable price. This three-pack provides a variety of toys for your pooch's amusement, all crafted from strong recycled cotton rope. What's great about these toys is that you can just throw them in the wash when they become dirty.

Tips

  • Think about the needs and interests of your dog when selecting a toy. There's no point buying a flimsy toy for an aggressive chewer or a ball for a dog who isn't interested in fetching.

  • Consider treat toys for times when your dog is alone. Toys you can fill with treats that your dog must work to get out are ideal for occupying your four-legged friend when you're not home, or if she needs the extra calories beyond her food.

  • Don't leave all your dog's toys out at once. If your dog has access to all his toys all the time, they might become part of the furniture and he won't enjoy playtime so much.

  • Only ever buy your dog toys designed for dogs. You might find a cute stuffed toy made for humans that you think your dog would love, but it won't be designed with dog safety in mind.

Other products we considered

We had to pick just the best five dog toys for our top spots, but there were plenty more we considered that nearly made the grade. If your dog loves to catch and fetch, the CHUCKIT! FLYING SQUIRREL is an excellent choice. The aerodynamic shape makes it soar through the air with ease. It also floats in water and glows in the dark — what more could you want?! If tearing up plush toys is more relevant to your pooch's interests, try the ZippyPaws Skinny Peltz. These durable, stuffing-free plushies are perfect for dogs who normally rip open soft toys and extract their stuffing within minutes. Dogs who love to chew will adore the Nylabone Big Chew. Made from tough nylon, this toy can stand up to the most aggressive chewers and is much safer than giving your dog real animal bones. This chew is sized for large dogs, but you can find smaller options, too. Finally, you can't go wrong with a KONG Classic. Throw it, roll it, bounce it, or stuff it with treats — your canine companion can enjoy this toy in a range of ways, alone or with a human family member.

Try out toys with a range of textures for variety and to find out what your dog prefers.

FAQ

Q. Why do dogs need toys?

A. There are a range of reasons why all dogs need toys. Dogs enjoy playing with them — but they can also act as a reward, help relieve boredom, and provide mental and physical stimulation, which helps maintain their youthful spirit and keep them sharp. Many toys encourage dogs to use natural canine behaviors, such as chasing, scenting, chewing, and retrieving.

Q. Should I buy toys that my dog can play with alone or ones that require human interaction?

A. While your dog should have some toys he can play with by himself, such as puzzle toys and chew toys, it's also great to have toys you and your dog can play with together, such as balls and tug toys. These are fun for both parties and help you bond with your four-legged friend.

Q. Can my dog play with her toys unsupervised?

A. The majority of dog toy manufacturers are overly cautious and suggest almost all dog toys should only be used when supervised. Use your judgement or vet’s recommendations. Plush toys are generally best used under supervision, for instance, unless you're 100 percent sure your dog won't rip them apart and swallow the insides. Durable chew toys, such as KONGS, are generally safe for unsupervised use.

The team that worked on this review
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    Alvina
    Photographer
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    Web Producer
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    Production Manager
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    Writer
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    Editorial Director
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    Post Production Editor

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