The 10 Best Dog Toys
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in June of 2015. Stimulation is important for keeping a canine pal happy and healthy. One of the easiest ways to occupy a pet is by giving it a toy, so that it's not tempted to treat your shoe as one. This comprehensive selection includes an array of things that can encourage exercise, entertain curious pooches, promote slower eating, and, hopefully, keep them from chewing on your furniture. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
March 14, 2020:
Every pet has a unique personality and its own quirky habits. We wanted to make sure our list provided something for your pup, no matter what excites him, or what habits you're hoping to encourage.
Those who wish their fur babies didn't devour food and treats in a matter of seconds might like the OurPets IQ Treat Ball, the West Paw Zogoflex Qwizl, or the Kong Classic. These can all be stuffed with goodies like bully sticks and chews, and require some effort on Fido's part to get the contents out, so they should help encourage slower eating.
If it's brain stimulation you're after, but you don't need food as the end goal, Outward Hound Plush Hide And Seek is a smart choice. Your four-legged friend should enjoy trying to open the housing to access the smaller toys inside, which then squeak for additional fun.
When you're in the market for a simple noise-making plush toy, the ZippyPaws Colorful Caterpillar Plush, with its long body filled with squeakers, and the Charming Pet Scrunch Bunch, with its built-in handles for tug-o-war, are great picks. The Pawaboo Plush lost its spot because it lacks squeakers, so it doesn't offer much to keep pets intrigued for long. We also removed the ZippyPaws Hide And Seek because it tends to shed its fibers everywhere, and pet owners don't need any additional messes to clean up.
Keeping hyper or athletic dogs happy should be easy and fun with the Chuckit! Paraflight, which can be thrown like a frisbee for games of catch, or the Chuckit! Kick Fetch, which you can punt like a soccer ball and Rex can grab and retrieve using the integrated grooves.
Wild One Toy Kit This kit contains a toy for fetch, tug-o-war, and treat-stuffing. It's curvy Twist Toss is great for throwing around for a game of fetch, while its Bolt Bite can be filled with goodies Fido might like digging out, and its Triangle Tug has a strong rope attached to a tough rubber piece for pulling. The set is made with 100% natural rubber and organic cotton, and comes in four colors. wildone.com
CivilNavy Smart Interactive Pet Toy If you need a toy to keep your pet engaged when you cannot, but also allows for some fun bonding when you can, this is a great option. This intelligent device can go on auto-play mode, which allows it to respond to your pet's moods. When Fido is playing softly, the toy will move around accordingly, and when your dog is getting aggressive, the toy will jump abruptly in response. When you're ready to play, put it in control mode and use your Bluetooth device to dictate the item's actions. civilnavy.com
Why Toys Are Important For Your Dog's Wellbeing
If you rub them on your neck and chest, your scent on those toys will comfort your pet when you leave the house.
Dog toys aren't just cute accessories you get to scatter around your home when a puppy moves in. They're also an important part of your dog's emotional and physical health. You may have noticed that your dog has certain toys he likes at certain times of the day. That's because each one serves a purpose in keeping him happy and helping him expel energy. Your dog's toys can act as important bonding tools between the two of you. Have you ever noticed how your dog runs to his toy when you get home and brings it to you with those particularly loving eyes? This is his way of connecting with you. (Your pup releases the "love hormone" oxytocin when he looks you in the eyes, by the way, so be sure to make plenty of eye contact as you play).
If you want a fun way to teach your dog to do things like sit and stay, using toys is a great way to accomplish that. When you use toys as training tools, you can wean your dog off of always wanting a treat for his reward. He can learn to be just as excited about getting to fetch his ball once he has obeyed your command as he used to about getting a treat. This means that keeping dog toys around can also help you fight obesity in your pup. This is especially important since an alarming number of pets are overweight, which can lead to health problems for them just like it does in humans. Toys also provide great exercise. If you have a particularly athletic dog, you may not be able to run as far or as fast as he can. But if you get him a good toy launcher, you can give your dog hours of calorie-burning fun.
Another reason your dog should have plenty of toys is that he gets bored. Your dog doesn't have e-mails to answer or errands to run all day long like you do. He mostly just lays around until you take him out for walks, but giving him toys can offer him a way to entertain himself while you're busy. Plus, an entertained dog is a well-behaved dog (read: a dog who isn't chewing on your designer shoes or furniture). Toys can be items of comfort for your pet, too. If you rub them on your neck and chest, your scent on those toys will comfort your pet when you leave the house.
The History Of Dog Toys
Before the late 1800s, dogs mainly just played with things humans already had lying around, like tennis balls, sticks found outdoors, and bones from the butcher. Around the late 1800s, humans became interested in behavioral enrichment, a concept that pertains to enhancing the environment of captive animals through toys and other items.
The early 2000s saw the emergence of interactive toys like the Wubba that require both the owner and the dog to play, creating a bond between the two.
The late 1800s saw the beginning of toys made with dogs in mind. Companies began to sell stitched leather balls since they were much more durable than standard tennis balls. By the 1920s, department stores began carrying rather basic pet toys. Dogs actually have World War Two to thank for the emergence of more creative toys. During the war, technological advancements in rubber were made, making rubber toys possible. Even after those advancements, there weren't many companies dedicated exclusively to making rubber toys for dogs for quite some time. Instead, baby toy companies took advantage of the emerging market and started producing a few toys for pets.
In 1976, the Kong came on the market. The toy had a rough start, however, with many pet owners not understanding the concept. It wasn't until the mid-1980s that the Kong finally took off. It eventually inspired several spinoff toys, called food delivery toys that essentially contained treats for dogs, releasing the food in a timely manner as the dog played with them. Slightly after the Kong came out, so did large pet stores selling nothing but pet supplies, like Pet Supplies Plus. The early 2000s saw the emergence of interactive toys like the Wubba that require both the owner and the dog to play, creating a bond between the two.
How To Choose The Right Dog Toys For Your Pup
It seems like the first thing some dogs do when they get a new toy is try and rip the stuffing out. If this sounds like your furry friend, there are fortunately plenty of toys today made without stuffing, for this very reason. Ropes are a great option for teething puppies or adult dogs who just love to chew. Some even have materials mixed in that can help clean your hound's chompers as he chews, helping to prevent problems like periodontal disease. Ropes are also perfect for a good old-fashioned game of tug of war.
Owners of athletic dogs might want a frisbee-style toy that you can throw for your dog in the park. These tend to be made from a soft inner material encircled by a rubber exterior ring, so they don't hurt your dog's mouth the way plastic frisbees can. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, a rather complex condition researchers are still trying to understand, he likely eats things he isn't supposed to and makes messes while you're away. A food delivery toy is a good option for a dog like this because it will keep him busy trying to extract the food that's inside, instead of trying to extract the stuffing from your couch.
For dogs who are intrigued by noises, there are squeaker toys as well as toys that contain little speakers that play music and sounds while your dog plays with them. If your dog loves the water, there are some toy options that are both waterproof and can float, helping your pup keep an eye on his toy while he swims after it in the ocean or pool.