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If you’ve recently brought home a playful new puppy, then you probably noticed just how many dog toys are on the market. The sheer amount of choices can be overwhelming. How can you tell which toys will be right for your pup?
Additionally, when choosing which toys to buy, I know you want to protect your new puppy from safety issues. For example:
- Toys that are too small or have loose parts can pose choking hazards or, if swallowed, cause gastrointestinal distress that will quickly send a new puppy to the emergency veterinarian.
- Harmful human-made fabrics, dyes, chemicals, and other materials in certain toys can hurt your pup over time.
- Some dog toys are poorly sewn and full of stuffing that’s just begging to be ripped out and eaten.
- Others have strings, ribbons, eyes, or other small parts that your dog could swallow.
So, it’s essential to do your research before filling your cart with adorable puppy toys. First, try talking to friends and family who already have dogs. They’ve probably experienced a lot of trial and error in finding the best puppy toys, and you can take advantage of that experience. You can also ask your veterinarian and veterinarian technicians about their favorite puppy toys.
Lastly, you can read the rest of this article for my tried-and-true recommendations. I’m confident that this list of the 12 best puppy toys will help you make safe and healthy choices for your fur family.
Best Teething Toys for Puppies
A teething puppy is full of energy and can quickly turn into a chewing machine without teething toys. Good teething toys can save your clothes, your furniture, and even your doorjambs! (True story: one of our Pet Living pups, Zuzu, used to chew on the front doorposts.) Make sure you give your new puppy plenty of the best chew toys to “chews” from to protect your house and your sanity.
Best Bone for Puppies
Zuzu, the former doorjamb chewer, loves this tough dogwood-style chew toy from Petstages. Its durable material, made of natural wood fiber and safe synthetic materials, imitates the texture and taste of real wood – but it won’t splinter and hurt your dog the way a regular wooden stick could. It even floats on water, making it a perfect choice for outdoor fetch sessions.
Best Teething Chews for Puppies
My foster fail, Tulip, absolutely loved these chicken-flavored puppy teething rings from N-Bone when she was teething. The edible and digestible rings are full of calcium and omega-3 fatty acids for healthy teeth and bones. They will definitely keep your puppy occupied while relieving the pain and soreness from teething.
Best Balls and Chasing Toys for Puppies
Balls and chasing toys are some of the best gifts to help an active pup release pent-up energy. Chasing and fetching will help your dog stay strong and maintain a healthy weight, and can also strengthen your bond with your dog. A word of caution, though: it’s essential to make sure your dog has the right-sized toy. A ball should be small enough for your pup to carry but large enough that it’s impossible to swallow.
Best Ball for Puppy Dental Health
This Gnawesome Spiky Squeaker Toy is one of my favorites. Not only does it feature a loud squeaker and spikes designed to massage and clean your dog’s gums, but it also comes in a variety of sizes and fun colors. Its food-grade rubber material and smart design ensure that your dog can enjoy playtime without choking hazards or health concerns.
Best Ball for Tough Chewing Puppies
Looking for a durable toy that you can use for both fetch and tug-of-war? Try the Chuckit! Ultra Tug. This design can stand up to tough chewers, but it’s simple to clean and easy to spot in tall grass or on the beach. Plus, when you throw it against the ground, the toy will bounce in an unpredictable zigzag pattern, keeping your dog entertained for hours. I especially recommend this toy for large or older puppies.
Best Fetch Toy for Puppies
If you like to play with your puppy during early mornings or late at night, you’ll love the Chuckit! Max Glow Ball. This ball glows in the dark, making it easy for both you and your dog to see in the air and on the ground. Even if your puppy’s mouth is a little too small to get around the toy, he’ll have fun knocking it around with his snout.
Best Puzzle Ball for Puppies
The JW Hol-ee Roller Do It All Puzzle Ball is one of the most versatile puppy toys out there. It comes in a massive variety of colors and sizes and offers nearly endless ways to play. Your pup can tug, fetch, and chew the natural rubber, which is gentle on puppy gums. You can also stuff it with treats or other toys for maximum mental stimulation and enrichment.
Best Plush Toys for Puppies
Plush toys can be cozy, cuddly, and lots of fun. But not all plush toys are created equal. Many are poorly stitched, and even well-built plushes aren’t indestructible. You absolutely don’t want your puppy swallowing small parts, threads, or stuffing. So be sure to supervise your dog while he plays with plushes. Take a look at my favorite plush toys for puppies, which feature strong stitching and even organic materials.
Best Plush for Tough Chewing Puppies
Kong makes some great stuffed toys, like the Wild Knots Bear Dog Toy. This bear features an internal skeleton made of knotted rope, which will satisfy your puppy’s natural predator instincts. It’s also soft and durable, designed to hold up against hours of chewing and playtime. But the best part of this toy is that it only contains minimal stuffing.
I’ll always recommend Petique’s safe and all-natural Eco Hemp Pet Toys. They’re built to be tough and durable, and they always include at least one squeaker inside. The coarse hemp fiber is naturally resistant to mold and bacteria and will even clean your puppy’s teeth as he plays! Your puppy and the environment will thank you for ordering these.
Plushes from Honest Pet Products, like this Eco Rattler, are another excellent choice for puppies. It’s made of natural hemp and wool and features a sewn-in squeaker. Like Petique, Honest Pet Products are always all-natural and eco-friendly.
Best Plush for Small Puppies
Pet Living pup Zuzu loves this colorful and appetizing Donutz Squeaky Plush from ZippyPaws. These bright embroidered doughnuts have two squeakers each for extra sound delivery and contain minimal stuffing for durability and safety. It’s just the right size for small dogs, and it doesn’t unravel or have loose parts!
Bedtime Plush for Puppies
It may also be a good idea to get your dog a bedtime plush that only comes out at night. It’s best to choose a soft, cute bedtime toy with no built-in squeakers that could put your dog in a mood for play. Keep your puppy’s bedtime toy separate from his play toys to help him establish a comforting, relaxing bedtime routine.
Best Puzzle Toys for Puppies
While it’s important to keep your puppy’s body busy, it’s equally necessary to keep his brain active! Puzzle toys can help your pup learn to focus his attention. These toys can also relieve boredom and discourage negative behavior like chewing on furniture and barking excessively. Be sure not to overfeed puppies with food or treats, though. Once they get the hang of the puzzle toy or food dispenser, they may want to do it all the time!
Best Starter Puzzle Toy for Puppies
I started my dog, Tulip, with this simple Interactive Seek-A-Treat Shuffle Bone Toy from Ethical Pet. This is a great design made from wood, so it doesn’t have plastic edges that can become sharp from repeated chewing. Tulip quickly got the idea that she would be rewarded for sniffing out the treats and pawing at the sliders.
Best Food Dispensing Puzzle Toy for Puppies
After my dog Tulip figured out the Shuffle Bone Toy, I advanced her to food-dispensing toys like the Bob-A-Lot from StarMark. Food-dispensing puzzle toys teach dogs to work for their food, keeping their brain engaged and enticing them to play. I also love that the Bob-a-Lot can hold almost a day’s worth of food for constant enrichment.
Puppyhood is a magical time you can use to make precious memories and to set your puppy up for healthy adulthood. I’m confident that, with enough research, you’ll find just the right toys for your new puppy. What are your favorite puppy toys? Go ahead and tell me in the comments!