Dog toys can provide exercise, mental stimulation, and even companionship for your dog. They can also buy you some peace while your pup plays independently with their favorite plaything. However, a poorly thought-out dog toy purchase can lead to an unwanted mess and may even lead to injury or other problems for your dog. With products that include chew toys; plush toys; fetch toys and balls; interactive toys; and tug toys, there is a massive selection.
To help you find a toy that is not only safe but fun for your dog, we have compiled reviews of ten of the best dog toys on the market including some from each category of toy, as well as those that are suitable for puppies as well as adult dogs.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2022
The 10 Best Dog Toys
1. Chuckit! Ultra Rubber Ball + Classic Launcher Dog Toy – Best Overall
|Toy type:||Ball and launcher|
The Chuckit! Ultra Rubber Ball + Classic Launcher Dog Toy is something of an icon in the dog toy world. The launcher has a long handle and a pouch at the end where a rubber ball sits comfortably but not too firmly. It allows you to fling the ball further, and with much less effort, than throwing it by hand, and the long handle also makes it easier to pick the ball up when your pup retrieves it, or when you’ve made the long walk to get it yourself.
The balls are made from durable rubber and have an extra-thick rubber core, so they not only glide through the air for maximum distance on your throws but also float in water so are easier to retrieve if they end up in a puddle or other body of water.
Although most people find the launcher easier to use, it can take a little practice to perfect the technique, and if you have a heavy chewer, you will need to marshal the time they spend with the rubber ball, which is easily destroyed if left alone.
However, the bundle of balls and launcher are well priced, the toy is great for dogs that spend hours chasing a ball around a field, and the design of the launcher means that you will save your arm. This combination means that it is one of the best available dog toys.
2. Kong Squezz Ball Dog Toy – Best Value
When it comes to iconic names in dog toys, Kong is arguably the best known of them all. While they are known primarily for their treat-dispensing honeycomb toys (featured below), they also make some other really good toys.
The Kong Squeez Ball Dog Toy comes in a variety of different sizes so that you can choose one that best fits your dog breed and age. It is made from durable rubber and because it has an uneven texture on the exterior of the ball, it keeps your pup on its toes as it tries to figure out the direction of the bounce. The ball also has hidden squeakers that continue working even if the ball is punctured by sharp canine teeth.
The Squeez is very competitively priced and tends to appeal to most dogs but the rubber isn’t as tough as on other Kong toys so it isn’t suitable for strong chewers, and they do have a rubber smell which might deter some of the more sensitive dogs out there.
Overall, though, these balls are really cheap, last well for light to moderate chewers, and while they might be basic, they are appealing for dogs that like to chew and carry balls, so they are one of the best dog toys for the money.
3. Nina Ottoson By Outward Hound Brick Puzzle Game Dog Toy – Premium Choice
|Toy type:||Interactive puzzle toy|
Interactive dog toys offer an effective and efficient way of keeping your dog entertained while also providing mental stimulation. They encourage your dog to think, and they can even be used for training.
The Nina Ottoson By Outward Hound Brick Puzzle Game Dog Toy is one such interactive toy. Owners hide treats under the different flaps of the toy and then watch as their four-legged friend shows off their detective skills and uncovers the food. Your dog gets to exercise its mind and enjoy the treats that it uncovers. It is possible to increase or decrease the difficulty level of the toy, which means that your dog won’t simply learn repetition and will be encouraged to think dynamically.
The toy is designed for smaller dogs because large dogs will be able to easily pull the toy apart to get to the treats inside and because you are not supposed to leave your dog unattended with the toy, it means that it cannot be used to offer stimulation and activity while you’re out of the house, which is a common use for this kind of interactive toy. Because it is more complex than other basic dog toys, it is also more expensive.
4. Kong Puppy Dog Toy – Best for Puppies
|Toy type:||Treat toy|
There are tons of puppy toys on the market that cater to the needs and preferences of very young dogs. The Kong Puppy Dog Toy takes the durable design of the Kong treat toy and reduces its size so that it is suitable for smaller mouths.
The hard rubber toy is very difficult to tear apart, even when confronted by sharp puppy teeth. It can contain dry kibble, peanut butter, and dog treats, that are dispensed as your dog knocks and throws the toy around, and it has been designed so that it helps ease the pain that your puppy endures during teething. Considering how long it will last, the Kong Puppy Dog Toy is inexpensive, and it is even safe to put the Kong in the top rack of the dishwasher: useful if you have any stubborn bits of congealed, wet dog food and puppy slobber caught right inside the honeycomb center.
Do make sure you buy an appropriate size and, if you have a strong chewer with very sharp teeth, you may find that even the Kong is unable to withstand your dog’s relentless attack. Finally, the rubber toy does smell of rubber, and this can put some dogs off, even when it is filled with food and treats.
5. Mammoth Cottonblend 5 Knot Dog Rope Toy
|Toy type:||Rope toy|
Any experienced dog tug of war competitor will tell you that you need a strong rope toy if you want to avoid accidental nips and rope burn. It should also prevent fraying and be difficult to tear apart.
The Mammoth Cottonblend 5 Knot Dog Rope Toy is three feet long and has five knotted sections. The length means that you can keep your fingers well away from your dog’s mouth and teeth, while the knotted sections not only give your dog something to get hold of in their mouth, they also offer you some much-needed purchase so that you can more effectively pull.
Rope toys are especially beneficial to strong chewers. While they can get through plastic toys very easily, and even rubber balls with a little more effort, the rope is difficult to destroy, which means that the 5 Knot Dog Rope Toy should last longer than these alternatives.
However, there are still exceptions to this rule and large breds with strong jaws and teeth, like the German Shepherd, can chew the rope apart, which will leave you worried about them ingesting the rope fibers. Even if your dog doesn’t manage to chew through the whole thing, you may find bits of string on the floor, so it is quite a messy toy option.
6. Pet Qwerks BarkBone Peanut Butter Flavor Chew Stick Tough Dog Chew Toy
|Toy type:||Chew toy|
The Pet Qwerks BarkBone Peanut Butter Flavor Chew Stick Tough Dog Chew Toy is a bone-shaped chew toy made of nylon and infused with a peanut butter flavor that makes it even more appealing to your dog.
Not only is the nylon tough but it is perfectly safe so even if your pup manages to chew sections off, as long as they aren’t large enough to pose a choking hazard, they shouldn’t cause illness or negative effects. Chew toys like this are popular because the chewing motion and the rubbing of the nylon against the surface of the teeth help to remove plaque and keep your dog’s teeth in good condition. Dental problems are a big problem for dogs, and most adult dogs suffer from some form of dental disease, so every bit of help you can get should be considered a helpful bonus.
The bone is hard so won’t appeal to all dogs, and although it is sold as being peanut butter flavored, it is hard to detect the smell, so it doesn’t appeal to all dogs.
7. ZippyPaws Skinny Peltz No Stuffing Squeaky Plush Dog Toys
|Toy type:||Plush toys|
Plush toys are cute and they can become a companion for your dog, with some dogs really growing attached to their favorite toys. However, they do tend to be quite easy to destroy, especially if you have a strong chewer, and if they are filled with stuffing, this means you will be left with bits of foam or other stuffing material all over the place. Or, worse still, your dog will chew and digest the foam, potentially causing digestive problems.
The ZippyPaws Skinny Peltz No Stuffing Squeaky Plush Dog Toys do not have any stuffing inside, but they do contain two squeakers to keep your dog amused. The pack contains three different animals and is competitively priced.
As with any plush toy, these are very easily destroyed by sharp canine teeth and while they don’t have any stuffing, they are made from a plush fabric that can be ingested. Although these plush toys are described as being large, they are quite small and not suitable for big dogs.
8. Benebone Bacon Flavor Wishbone Tough Dog Chew Toy
|Toy type:||Chew toy|
There are a lot of dog chew toys on the market that claim to have different appealing flavors, but many of them use synthetic materials to achieve the aroma and taste. Few of them seem to convince dogs so if your dog doesn’t like the appeal of the toy itself, it will likely turn its nose up at the whole toy.
The Benebone Bacon Flavor Wishbone Tough Dog Chew Toy is infused with real bacon so that it has a convincing flavor of the meat that should appeal to any dog that likes bacon or ham. Its ergonomic wishbone design means that it is easy for your dog to carry around and can even be used for tugging and other games.
Available in a variety of sizes, this chew toy is affordable, and it is designed to withstand the efforts of even the toughest of chewers but, as a result of that, it is a very hard chew and most dogs will struggle to even make a dent in the nylon chew. And, if your dog isn’t interested in the smell of bacon, it is unlikely to want to pick up and eat this toy.
9. Chuckit! Flying Squirrel Dog Toy
|Toy type:||Fetch toy|
Whether you’re looking for something a bit different to a tennis ball, or your dog doesn’t like picking a ball up in its mouth but still enjoys the thrill of a game of chase or fetch, the Chuckit! Flying Squirrel Dog Toy is a good alternative to the more traditional fetch options.
The Flying Squirrel is made of polyester and borrows from the natural shape of the aerodynamic flying squirrel. You can frisbee the toy and achieve a surprisingly good distance. The nylon floats on water, too, so it can be used around puddles and lakes, while the glowing paws mean that you can even find it in the dark. Available in two sizes, the Chuckit! Flying Squirrel Dog Toy is well priced.
Although the toy has apparently been designed to be thrown long distances, it is a real challenge to throw it more than a few feet. Also, the nylon is soft, but it is also easy to chew and most dogs will make short work of it if left unattended with their new toy.
10. Kong Cozie Marvin The Moose Plush Dog Toy
King is usually renowned for its durable and virtually indestructible dog toys, but these are usually hardened rubber honeycombs and balls. The Kong Cozie Marvin The Moose Plush Dog Toy is a moose-shaped cuddly toy that is designed to be a companion as much as a toy.
It comes in two sizes and Kong claims that an additional layer of toughened material makes it more difficult to chew through. It also has a squeaker inside to offer further fascination for your four-legged friend. The toy does have some filling, but it is minimally filled so if your dog does get through the material exterior, there should be less of a mess on the floor than there would with a generously stuffed toy animal.
The toy is not suitable for heavy chewers and is best suited to those dogs that like to carry a stuffed animal around with them or take one to their bed for company at night. It will not withstand being chewed, the squeaker can be annoying, and despite there being less filling, Marvin still has the potential to cause a real mess when your dog inevitably pulls the insides outside.
Buyer’s Guide – Purchasing the Best Dog Toys
Dog toys serve several purposes. They keep your dog entertained and can buy you a moment’s peace. Other toys, such as balls and tug toys, can build a bond between you while keeping you both entertained, and interactive toys can exercise your dog’s mind as well as its body. However, whatever toy you choose should be suitable for your dog and its interests. It should also be safe and you will want something strong enough to withstand your dog’s level of chewing aggression.
With literally hundreds of toys on the market, the first thing to decide is the type of toy that your dog will appreciate and that will give you the benefits you’re looking for. The most common types are:
Literally designed to be chewed, these are ideal for dogs that like to try and eat everything. They are usually flavored with something like peanut butter or bacon, or a synthetic ingredient that is designed to replicate these ingredients. Bear in mind that if you have a strong chewer, there is not really any chew toy that will be able to withstand your dog’s jaws while still offering some level of appeal. At least ensure that the toy is safe to chew and that it won’t create a choking hazard if your pup does manage to pull it to bits.
Plush toys are only really suitable for those dogs that like to have a toy that they treat like a companion. If your dog walks around with a blanket or another toy in its mouth without causing it any damage, a plush toy is suitable. On the other hand, if you have a puppy that likes to chew through socks and even walls, a plush toy is likely to end up as a piece of shredded fabric. Avoid those with too much stuffing and consider whether you want to give your dog a plush toy with a squeaker inside. They might offer more appeal to dogs but they can be infuriating when you’re watching TV.
Fetch toys are those that are designed to be thrown or kicked away so that your dog can chase after them. Ideally, your pup will also retrieve the toy so that you can do it all over again, but you may find yourself peregrinating across the dog park to pick it up yourself so find a fetch toy that is easy to locate and lift.
The ball is the most common fetch toy. It is ideally shaped to fit in the mouth and easy to throw, but there are bigger and heavier balls that are better suited to kicking or pushing around too. Some dogs love balls, others are indifferent to them.
Interactive toys are those that require some logical thinking on the dog’s part. Typically, they dispense food or treats when your dog has figured out a puzzle. An interactive toy can be as simple as a cone or ball that sheds kibble when it is rolled across the floor. It can be a more complex puzzle-type toy that requires the dog to locate where the treat is and then lift a door. Great for intelligent dogs and to keep a dog’s mind active, some dogs will find alternative ways to get to the treats inside.
Rope And Tug Toys
Rope toys are a little controversial in the pet owner world. Poor quality ropes fray easily and the individual fibers can get stuck in your dog’s throat or stomach. However, a good quality rope shouldn’t fray that easily, and one can make a great toy that encourages playtime between you and your pup and offers hours of entertainment. Check the length of the rope and opt for one that has one or more knots to make it easier for you both to grab.
There Is No Such Thing As An Indestructible Dog Toy
There really is no such thing as an indestructible dog toy and even chew toys that are designed for heavy chewers may not make the best toy because there is little to no appeal to chew on them. If you do have a strong chewer, such as a German Shepherd, you should look for hard nylon toys that are designed for this very purpose but be prepared for the fact that your dog may still make short work of them.
Related Read: 8 Best Dog Toys for Australian Shepherds in 2022 – Reviews & Top Picks!
What Toys Do Dogs Love The Most?
Every dog is different. Some dogs love nothing more than charging around the yard or a field trying to retrieve a ball, only for you to throw it away again. Others prefer to activate their brain and try to figure out how to get to the biscuit that is secured within an interactive toy. Choose a toy that best fits your dog’s character and how it enjoys spending its time or buy a good selection of different toy types to meet every occasion.
What Is The Most Durable Dog Toy?
In terms of durability, the rubber or nylon bone usually has the longest life and is the most difficult to destroy. Toys like plushies and rubber balls are easily chewed and quickly destroyed.
What Are Puppies’ Favourite Toys?
Just like adult dogs, every puppy is unique and will have its own toy preference. But puppies teethe and it can be an uncomfortable and even painful experience. In these instances, the puppy will appreciate having something hard but safe to chow down on because it will relieve some of the pain they are suffering.
There are many different dog toys available to owners, ranging from simple tennis balls for fetch to complex interactive toys designed for the most intelligent dogs as a way to activate and entertain their brains. Safety should come first when buying a dog toy, but enjoyment and appeal are also important. The classic Chuckit! Ultra Rubber Ball & Classic Launcher are classics for a reason. They are reasonably priced and make fetch more fun for your dog and easier for you. The Kong Squeezz Ball Dog Toy is cheap, reasonably tough, and offers plenty of entertainment for your pup.
Featured Image Credit: Nata Bene, Shutterstock
Oliver (Ollie) Jones – A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master’s degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.