Dog Toy
Last updated: 05/20/2020

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Dogs are undoubtedly happiest when playing. They enjoy playing with others, namely their owners. Other times, your dog plays with other dogs outside. They have also been known to play independently.  A good dog toy can only make them happy and provide them with entertainment for hours.

This guide examines the top products currently available on the US market. It will help you understand  your four-legged friend’s behaviors and discuss the most immediate questions you have about how managing your pet in the most effective way.

Key Facts

  • Playing is key for animal wellbeing. With limited available time, pet owners need to offer pets entertainment options, such as toys.
  • Veterinarians recommend that dogs play each day for several hours. This can be inside the home, the garden or outdoors. The types of toys available vary according to the play-setting.
  • Playing styles can indicate behavioral traits in animals. Furthermore, game playing can also help train your dog.

Our Selection of the Best Dog Toys on the U.S. Market

In this section we examine the five most popular dog toys on the U.S. market. We will discuss the main aspects of each product to assist you in choosing the best option.

Best Dog Toy for Aggressive Chewers

Dog Rope Toys for Aggressive Chewers by the Pacific Pups company is an excellent toy for dogs that love chewing.  Not only that but the company allocates significant parts of the revenue to saving dogs from being killed in shelters.  The product is of high quality both for your pet and child (in case your child ends up playing with it). The toy is also a mouth cleaning device – the giraffe flosser rope toy and carrot floss are structured to clean teeth, and provide other dental benefits, including gum health.

Dogs of all sizes seem to enjoy this toy, its all about the chewiness. They challenge aggressive chewers make fun toys for small and medium dogs. These dog toys are also great for tug of war and will entertain your dog for hours.

Best Interactive Food Dispensing Dog Toy

OurPets IQ is a great toy-puzzle that activates your dog’s mind in a creative reward-based way. It has adjustable feeding difficulty levels that continue to challenge your dog as they learn.  As your dog plays and the rolls the ball, treats will fall out to reward them for being active

The toy twists apart for easy cleaning.  With regards to size, it is ideal for small to medium sized dogs.  You can put a portion of your dog’s meal in the ball.  The food is dispensed when the ball is rolled. It can be filled with treats or kibble and set to a desired difficulty level using the ball’s adjustable interior disc. This toy promotes active feeding, giving your dogs the exercise they need and then rewarding them for it.

Best Interactive Squeaky Dog Toy

Your dog will love the ZippyPaws interactive hide and seek dog toy.  It is one of the most popular toy currently on the market in the US and for good reason. It keeps dogs actively engaged for hours. Dogs love digging the squeaky hedgehogs out of their den.  This toy keeps dogs busy and engaged and can be played independently as well as with their owner.

The soft fabric is safe for their teeth and perfect for teething puppies. This toy is especially appropriate for small to medium sized dogs.  Materials are good quality and the toy integrates creative design work.

Best Durable Dog Toy

goDog dragons are another popular dog toy that will keep your pet engaged for hours of productive chewing. It is made with bubble plush and lined with their trademarked Chew Guard Technology, to withstand tough play. Minimal stuffing gives these toys a fun “floppy” feel that dogs love.

While no dog toy is indestructible, goDog seem to be tougher and last longer than most. They actually offer a guarantee that their toys outlast standard plush toys. The toys come in two sizes. The small toys have squeakers, large toys have grunters.

Best Classic Dog Toy

Duckworth is a great toy for your dog.  It is basically a soft yellow duck.  You can toss it and catch it. Your dog will love it.

The best way to play with this toy is to go outside and play a series of catch and fetch with your dog. See if it brings it back.  On its own, your dog will also enjoy just cuddling with the toy. Note – this friendly duck squeaks when bitten.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Dog Toys

Before purchasing a toy for your dog, take some time to understand how the toy works. Some toys train your dog’s mind, others educate your dog, while yet other toys are exercise oriented.

Dog Toy

There are toys to develop your dog’s cognitive abilities and others to keep him active and fit.
(Source: Christian Mueller: 64626244/ 123rf.com)

Why are dog toys important?

Playing helps your dog stay healthy and fit. Additionally, playing helps your pet develop their intelligence.  Hours of playing also create stronger bonds with you and your pet.

Veterinarians note that dogs that don’t get exercise enough risk developing negative behaviors. A bored or under-exercised dog can suffer health problems and harm household objects. Dog toys prevent this problem from developing

Can dog toys help me educate my pet?

Dog toys are a great tool for obedience training. Through playing, dogs learn to follow rules. When playing, be strict with your dog. Let them have fun, but set limits.  Your dog must maintain good behavior to develop good habits.

Dog Toy

Toys are one of the best gifts you can give your dog.
(Source: Ralf Bitzer: 29866418/ 123rf.com)

What are the benefits of dog toys?

Playing is a fundamental everyday activity. It benefits both owner and pet through relationship building and mutual exercise. Here’s a complete list of benefits of a dog toy:

Benefits Reasons
Your pet’s physical health A dog should be active. Playing allows them to improve cardiovascular health, helps them to lose weight and increases their flexibility
Dog mental health Experts warn that a bored dog can destroy objects in your house. Toys are the best way to keep them active and distracted. Toys are also tools that help develop the brain
Makes your dog more social It’s very important that dogs know how to respect other animals and people other than their owners. Playing with a toy with other dogs is something that facilitates interaction and will help build your dogs interpersonal skills
Physical health for you Sometimes we forget about the importance of exercising or playing sport. Playing with your dog will force you to stay active and enjoy that time outside
You can get to know your dog better Your dog’s behaviour during playtime can give you an idea of your pet’s character and mood. You can know what they like/don’t like, what makes them angry or what type of mood they are in.
Improve the bond with your pet Your dog probably loves you very much, most dogs do. When you spend some special time together, the bond between you and your dog will get even closer.

What are the different functions of dog toys?

Toys will provide your dog with multiple activities and hours of entertainment. Playing is a great way to educate your dog. The following chart, highlights the different functions of toys:

If your dog has this behavior Buy them this type of toy
Bites your furniture, their bed or stuffed animals There are balls, ropes or bones made of materials that are very resistant to bites and that will make dogs that want to constantly bite, very happy. They are specially created to keep your dog from biting and ruining household items
They don’t want to eat their food The balls that contain food are good allies for any eating problems your dog has. Dogs that avoid their food will see their food as part of the game and will improve their eating habits
They are very affectionate There are soft and adorable stuffed animals that will keep your pet company when you have to leave home
They are very intelligent Toys are not only made for exercising but they also serve to fulfil your pet’s desire to learn. There are interactive games for different levels that are ideal for your dog to play and discover where their food is hidden. These help to develop the brain and sense of smell
They eat too fast There are two types of toys for those dogs that can’t control the urge to eat. There are chewable bones with yummy flavours that help them slowly eat between meals. The other option is the already mentioned balls that are used for giving food to your dog in portions

Why is my dog chasing balls and other similar toys?

A moving object catches your dog’s attention and makes it want to run and catch it. Dogs need to learn the difference between a toy and a child to make sure they will treat both the same way.  Playing with toys and educating your dog to play within boundaries can help them, over time, figure out these distinctions.

Dog Toy

Dog toys are especially useful for puppies.
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How can I encourage my dog to use his toys if he doesn’t like to play?

There are several reasons why your dog might not be interested in playing. Keep in mind that not all dogs play equally, this can vary with breed or differences in personality. Also, as your pet ages their personality and energy levels can change, influencing their play habits.

If your dog needs encouragement to play, it helps to give them attention. It’s also helpful to take them out of the house where the they can interact with other dogs. Different types of toys can also help stimulate your dog to play.

Are there toys for older dogs too?

As dogs age playing gets harder. Still, it is important to keep older dogs engaged. There are toys especially designed for elderly dogs to stay active and maintain brain health. Keeping your dog active while they age is important for their physical and emotional health.

Dog Toy

If your pet bites objects from your house, biting toys will help distract them and reduce this problem.
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What is a “Kong” when we talk about dog toys and what is it used for?

The Kong is a food dispenser that educates your pet. It has a hole that is filled with food and the animal must figure out how to access the food.

There are different models of the Kong, each with different levels of difficulty. If your dog isn’t engaging one, it might be too difficult to solve for them. With a Kong, in the beginning the food comes out easily, however, over time this gets more difficult and your dog needs to adapt and innovate to access the food.

Are there puzzles in the dog toy market?

There are puzzles that allow your dog to play alone and think. These types of toys also teach patience.  Brain stimulation involves giving your dog problems to solve where they receive a reward for success.  Behavioral problems among dogs are caused by emotional problems.  Problem solving challenges for dogs help remedy these issues.

Dog Toy

Dog toys can teach your pet to socialize with others.
(Source: Christian Mueller: 64343577/ 123rf.com)

What toys are suitable for dogs who like to bite?

Dogs may bite for fun or out of anxiety. There are several toys created with durable materials to resist your pet’s teeth and keep them interested in biting toys rather than household objects.  If your pet loves to eat, there are also flavored toys which they will really enjoy for hours. There are also biting balls, as well as frisbees for dogs with big teeth.

Buyer’s Guide

When choosing a toy for your dog, analyze its personality and habits. To help you with this decision, we present several different aspects to keep in mind:

Forms

There are many forms of dog toys, each with a different shape, size and function. They are useful for different situations and different needs depending on your dog. The following section discusses the most common forms of products available .

  • Ropes: With these toys, dogs can pull one end while you pull the other, they are great for dog-owner bonding.
  • Bones: They satisfy pets who love to eat a lot.
  • Ball: They serve pets who enjoy chasing and have high levels of energy.
  • Plush: They are made to resist bites are also appropriate for attention demanding dogs.
  • Kong: They look like a snowman and serve as food dispensers.
  • Frisbees: Ideal for playing. They let your dog run whilst carrying them in their mouth.
  • Puzzles: They help develop your pet’s cognitive abilities.

Types According to Use

There is an enormous range of available dog toys. It is important that your dog likes his toy to make it a worthwhile purchase. According to their use, we have the following advice:

If you want the toy for Buy your dog
Playing at home A stuffed animal or a rubber bone to bite
Playing outside A ball or a frisbee
Your dog to play alone A stuffed animal gives your dog company while alone. A Kong bounces and allows your dog to entertain themselves when you’re not around. Interactive toys to develop intelligence and smell will also keep your pet entertained whilst they are alone
Playing together Balls to throw or ropes to play tug-a-war
Burn energy inside the house Rubber biting toys will tire your pet in the little space that a house usually offers.

Materials

It is important that a dog toy is durable to withstand the wear and tear of your dog. If the toy breaks, your pet may swallow its pieces. Many toys are designed for biting, so they must be resistant. The most common materials are:

  • Soft plastic: They can break more easily and fall into the mouth of a big dog.  If the toy breaks, throw it away before your dog eats it.
  • Hard plastic: More resistant to your dog’s bites. Since it is a hard material, avoid throwing this toy.
  • Rubber:  a flexible and resistant material. If it’s 100% rubber then it won’t be toxic.
  • Fabric and rope: Fabric animals can break easily. To avoid materials that could harm your pet, many manufacturers lace the insides with a strong rope.
  • Vinyl: It is very difficult for a well-made vinyl toy to break.
  • Latex: Also soft like plastic, but even more resistant.

Size

A dog toy should be chosen based on the age, strength and size of the animal. If it is too small, your dog may swallow it. At the same time, if the toy is much bigger than them, they won’t enjoy playing with it.

Color

Take into account that the color of a toy. Blue and yellow are the easiest colors for a dog to distinguish, meanwhile green, red or pink are more difficult.

User Opinions

Before purchasing a dog toy, check out user ratings on social networks or Amazon. Read opinions left by pet owners who are similar to your. The reviews of others can be helpful.

Summary

Playing is a key part of a dogs healthy routine. To maintain their physical and cognitive health, dogs need suitable products, adapted to their needs and made of safe materials.

There are toys to develop your dog’s cognitive abilities and others to keep him active. A dog that spends several hours a day playing is likely to be healthy.

Did you enjoy reading the article? Feel free leave a comment with your feedback or share this article with your friends on your social networks. Thank you very much!

(Source of Featured Image: Lurii-Sokolov: 34369428/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Alexandra Williams Dog Expert and Trainer
Alexandra works as a dog trainer and is the owner of a dog school. She rescued three stray dogs from her local animal shelter and basically knows everything there is to know about dog training and dog food. She enjoys writing all about these loyal animals.