Best Dog Toys & Teething Chews for the Family Pet

Dog toys meet a number of different needs for your dog. Pet toys can meet your dog’s need for mental stimulation, exercise, companionship, and work. Toys vary widely, and include plushies, ropes, dog balls, and dog chew toys. The best toys meet one or more of your dog’s needs while also being safe for your dog’s use.

Dogs need exercise, and it can be difficult to provide your dog with enough exercise. Toys can make exercise easier and more entertaining for you and your puppy. Rather than just taking your dog for a walk, for example, you can take a ball for a game of catch. Rather than just using an ordinary tennis ball, you can use a more durable dog ball that will last longer. A bouncy rubber ball will make the game even more exciting for your pup.

Rope can also be a great toy for exercise. A game of tug can keep your dog entertained and exercised, and when you’re done with tug, your dog might enjoy chewing on the rope. Some dog ropes also floss and clean your dog’s teeth while they play, keeping his teeth and gums healthy.

Dogs, like people, need entertainment. They need stimulation in order to stay well behaved. Without an outlet, they may start to act out, chewing on things they shouldn’t and misbehaving in general. A puzzle toy can keep your dog’s attention while they try to get out their food. It can also slow down their food intake, if they tend to eat too quickly. A “talking” toy can keep your dog’s interest by providing unpredictable responses while he plays with it.

Many dogs are chewers, and without appropriate chew toys, they will turn their attention to your furniture, clothes, or other household items that could be harmful. Dog chews come in a variety of shapes and flavors, so you can find one that will appeal to your pet. Many chews also provide dental health benefits for your pup, keeping their teeth flossed and cleaned.

Plush dog toys can meet your dog’s need for companionship. Many dogs like to care for and snuggle with their plush “babies.” A larger plush can be perfect for cuddling and a pillow for sleeping. A durable plush toy with minimal stuffing can help keep things from getting messy if your dog pulls apart the toy.

Dogs often respond best to a variety of toys that are swapped out every few days so they don’t get bored. Try out different types of toys to find the one that suits your dog the best. If you find your dog getting bored or ignoring a toy, put it away for a few days. When you get it back out again, it will be like a whole new toy for your pup.

No dog toy can substitute for the joy your dog gets from interacting with his owner. The best dog toys enhance that relationship, giving you opportunities to play with your pup and keep him happy when you can’t be around. Keeping your dog positively occupied with appropriate toys will benefit you and your pup.

Our Top 3 Picks

Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel
  • Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Toss and Fetch
  • Price: See Here
Canine Hardware Ultra Ball
  • Canine Hardware Ultra Ball
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Natural Rubber
  • Price: See Here
Kong Classic Dog Toy
  • Kong Classic Dog Toy
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • For Average Chewers
  • Price: See Here

Criteria Used In Evaluation of Best Dog Toys

Dog toys meet a number of different needs for your dog. Different toys meet different needs, though, so each toy was evaluated according to what needs it meets for your dog, and how well it meets those needs. Interactive dog toys can provide mental stimulation, exercise, and companionship, as well as improve the dental health of your dog. Each toy on this list meets one of your dog’s toy needs, and several meet multiple needs for your dog.

Mental stimulation is a vital need for your pup. Without mental stimulation, dogs can become withdrawn and destructive. Toys that provide mental stimulation for your pup need to be challenging for your dog without being so challenging that they frustrate your pup. Toys on this list that meet the need for mental stimulation are also adjustable, so you can tailor it to the needs of your pup. Some are also interactive, providing sounds that mimic the interaction your dog would receive from a person or from another animal. This keeps your dog from becoming bored with the toy.

Exercise is also essential to the health and well-being of your dog. Many of the toys on this list enhance play. Some provide durable enhancements to play, such as bouncy rubber balls or sticks. Balls and sticks can be used for games of catch or fetch. The balls and other rubber toys on this list are designed to be durable, lasting through multiple sessions of play and being chewed on by your dog. Ropes are also great tools for exercise. Ropes can be thrown for fetch or used for games of tug. The ropes on the list are durable and provide cleaning for your dog’s teeth and gums, which is important for your pup’s dental health.

Toys were also included on this list based on how they meet the need for companionship. Dogs need companionship to stay mentally healthy. Plushies on this list are perfect companions for your dog, giving them a cuddly friend to carry and care for. They are also durable and easily cleaned, keeping them safe and healthy for your pup. If you need to be away from your dog, or keep them crated at times, a plush can help keep them from feeling lonely and engaging in destructive behaviors.

Many dogs are chewers. Some can be aggressive chewers. Chew toys on the list were evaluated for durability. Many come in different sizes, so you can find the chew that’s most appropriate for the size and strength of your dog. Flavor and scent are what keep your dog interested in chewing, so the toys on the list are also infused with appealing scents, keeping your dog’s interest for hours. They also help clean your dog’s teeth and gums, improving your dog’s dental health. Chew toys do need to be regularly inspected for wear, and replaced when they’ve gotten worn down.

Another important criteria is the safety of the toy. The health of our pets is important, and toys need to be safe for heavy use by your pup. These toys are durable and safe for your dog, but, as with any dog toy, should be used under owner supervision. Toys should also be inspected regularly to ensure they stay safe for heavy chewing or play. As toys wear down, they should be replaced.

Toys also need to be easy for the owner to care for. Toys on this list can be taken apart for cleaning or washed as needed. Materials used are non-toxic and safe for use in your dog’s mouth. They are made from durable materials that can withstand washing and sterilization.

Most of all, the toys need to be fun for your dog. Though every dog is different, the toys on this list are designed to be enticing. Some are infused with flavor and scent, which attracts your dog. Other toys are squeaky, which appeals to their prey instinct. Other toys are bright and bouncy, making them fun and interactive. Toys are a great tool for bonding with your dog, and there are excellent choices on this list for any type of play your dog enjoys.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which dog toys are the most durable?

A: The KONG Classic Dog Toy is known for its durable rubber plastic. The Nylabone Big Chew Durable Toy Bone for Large Breeds holds up well to aggressive chewing and treatment. The Chuckit! Ultra Ball is also a durable toy, perfect for hours of play. Ultimately, durability is determined by the habits of your dog. If your dog is an aggressive chewer, then look for heavy duty chews that will stand the test of time.

Q: Which toy will my dog enjoy?

A: Your dog’s needs and personality determine which toy he will enjoy. If your dog doesn’t have a companion dog, one of the cozy plush toys will help fill his need for companionship. If your dog needs a challenge, the Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel and Puzzle Plush Squeaking Toys for Dogs or OurPets IQ Treat Ball Interactive Food Dispensing Dog Toy will provide mental stimulation.

Pet Qwerks Talking Babble Ball Dog Toy will “talk” to your dog, which provides it with an interactive element that could be appealing to your pup. If your dog is anxious, the Smart Pet Love Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Toy can provide comfort and companionship.

Q: Which toys are best for large dogs?

A: Nylabone Dura Chew Textured Toy, X-Large is specifically designed for large breeds. Nylabone Big Chew Durable Toy Bone for Large Breeds is also perfect for large dogs. Booda Fresh N Floss 3 Knot Tug Rope Dog Toy comes in multiple sizes. Ultimately, larger toys and best for larger dogs, so if there are multiple size options, order the largest size available.

Q: Which toys are best for small dogs?

A: The KONG Classic Dog Toy comes in various sizes, including one for small dogs. The Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel also comes in a size designed for small dogs. The KONG Squeaker Tennis Balls Dog Toy comes in small sizes that are suited for a small dog.

Q: Which toys are easiest to clean?

A: The KONG Classic Dog Toy is made from smooth rubber that’s easy to clean. The plush toys can be machine washed on gentle cycle. Chew toys, such as the Nylabone Dura Chew Textured Toy, X-Large, are not suitable for cleaning and will need to be replaced with wear.

Q: Where are the toys made?

A: Nylabone Dura Chew Textured Toy, X-Large is made in the U.S.A., as is the Benebone Flavored Wishbone Chew Toy. Other toys are made in China and elsewhere.

Sources

  1. Paws In Training Staff, Why Dogs Need Toys, Article,
  2. Juliana Weiss-Roessler, The toys dogs like best and why, Informative Article,
  3. Dumb Friends League, Dog Toys and How to Use Them, Library/Informative Article,
  4. Esther Johnson, The Benefit of Chew Toys, Blog Article,
  5. Charlotte Walker , Interactive Toys For Dogs, Informative Article,