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As a dog owner, it is important to understand not only the physical benefits of exercise for your pet but also the intellectual benefits of interaction with them. Toys are a great way to provide this mental stimulation while also spending time with your dog and strengthening the bond you have with them. Let’s take a look at ten of the best dog toys on the market today and discuss why we love them!
The Overall Importance of Dog Toys
Exercise is the primary reason why many dog owners invest in toys. Having a ball to throw for a dog helps not only to keep exercise rigorous but also makes it fun for both the dog and the owner. Exercise is a crucial part of having a healthy dog because without adequate exercise a dog can become obese and fall prey to a number of illnesses. Obesity in dogs is a serious concern not only due to an increased risk for illnesses like diabetes, but also because it puts additional strain on their joints and their internal organs.
All dogs require exercise not only to help to keep them at a healthy weight but also to ensure that they stay stimulated. Despite being “domesticated,” dogs can easily become bored. There is a saying that a “tired dog is a good dog” and this is particularly true for working breeds such as border collies. Without adequate intellectual stimulation dogs can become destructive, disobedient and downright impossible to handle. With a combination of exercise and intellectual stimulation, however, it is possible for even the most high energy dog to relax.
Dogs are pack animals by nature, and they have a need to bond with other members of their pack and feel accepted. A great way to bond with your dog is to engage in playtime that involves their favorite toys. Not only does your dog benefit from the time you spend together bonding, but researchers have found a proven link between better health and dog owners!
Toys are also a great way to encourage bonding in multiple-dog households. If you have more than one dog, toys can encourage interactive playing and help dogs to bond with each other as well as understand their place in the hierarchy of the home.
Dental health is a difficult concern for many dog owners. It is crucial to a dog’s overall health to have clean teeth. Poor dental hygiene can lead to malnutrition as well as infections, absences and bad breath. Brushing a dog’s teeth can be particularly difficult, especially with dogs that don’t like to have their teeth cleaned. Surgical cleanings can be particularly difficult as well since they involve a significant financial burden and putting your dog under anesthesia. A great way to improve dental health and reduce the need for surgical cleanings, however, is to invest in toys that are designed to clean teeth as your dog plays. These toys encourage chewing which stimulates saliva and helps to diminish plaque and reduce its occurrence.
Top 10 Dog Toys
There are thousands of dog toys on the market to choose from and here are ten of our favorites.
- Benebone Bacon Flavored Wishbone Chew Toy
- KONG Air Squeaker Tennis Balls
- KONG Rubber Dog Chew Toy
- KONG Rubber Flyer Frisbee
- Nylabone Galileo Natural Nearly Indestructible Bone
- KONG Wild Knots Bears Durable Dog Toy
- Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Dog Toy
- Nylabone Dental Dinosaur
- Mammoth Floss Chews Cottonblend Color 3-Knot Rope Tug
- ZippyPaws Skinny Peltz No Stuffing Squeaky Plush Dog Toy
This Benebone chew toy has real bacon flavor, so dogs love the taste of it. The curve of the wishbone makes it easy for dogs to grab and bite. This product is made in the USA and is meant for dogs under 70 pounds.
The ingredients are nylon and bacon, but it is made in a facility where it may be in contact with nuts. So if someone in your household has a nut allergy, do not purchase this product.
This is a chew toy and is not meant to be eaten. The product should be replaced if it begins to wear down including deep teeth marks, cracks or any other sign of it breaking apart.
- Price (Medium): $11.59
The KONG Air Squeaker Tennis Ball are another KONG brand toy that encourages exercise and playtime. This pack of three tennis balls adds an additional element of fun with squeakers in each ball. Made from durable material these balls float and are easy to find in the snow making playtime anytime! Benefits include a nonabrasive material that won’t break down your dog’s teeth, a non-toxic felt cover, the ability to float and erratic bouncing that keeps your dog engaged.
The KONG Air Squeaker Tennis Balls are made from all non-toxic materials.
While these tennis balls are non-toxic, it is important not to leave your dog alone to chew on them since they are not intended as chew toys. Dogs may tend to shred the cover off tennis balls if they are left to their own devices.
- Price (Medium): $6.16
The KONG Rubber Dog Chew Toy has consistently been a best seller since its introduction. This toy is most commonly referred to as “the KONG” and provides a great jaw workout for chewers! Not only is it a great chew toy but the KONG also makes a great chase toy since it bounces all over the place. KONGs are also particularly good distraction toys for dogs recovering from surgery and that have restricted mobility. Distracting a dog is as easy as cleaning a KONG, filling it with a delicious treat like peanut butter and freezing it! Once the inside of the KONG has frozen, it makes a great distraction for any dog. Benefits include durability, entertainment, non-toxic natural rubber composition and erratic bouncing.
The KONG Rubber Dog Chew Toy is made from all-natural rubber making it a safe play toy and a safe chew toy, as well.
While the KONG Rubber Dog Chew Toy is a durable toy, even the extra strength version of this toy can be destroyed by an intent chewer. It is important to supervise your dog at all times as they are playing with this toy.
- Price (Medium): $4.69
Watch Louie the Beagle review this KONG toy!
The KONG Rubber Flyer Frisbee Dog Toy comes from the well-known company KONG and adds a new dimension to playing fetch. This flying dog toy is made from all-natural rubber and, like other KONG toys, is durable and flexible. Unlike plastic flyers that can crack and splinter, hurting your dog’s mouth, this soft rubber toy is gentle on your dog’s mouth as well as fun. Benefits include being easy on the mouth, made from natural rubber, durable and flexible, and safe for your dog.
The KONG line has been around since 1976 and is a reliable name in pet toys.
It is important to remember that the KONG Rubber Flyer Frisbee Dog Toy is not a chew toy; it is a retrieval toy. Leaving your dog alone to chew this toy can result in choking or obstruction.
- Price (Large): $6.96
The Nylabone Galileo Natural Nearly Indestructible Bone goes down as the world’s strongest nylon dog bone and is proven to help keep your dog’s teeth clean. A combination of vigorous teeth cleaning and gum massage come together to help keep your dog’s mouth healthy while keeping them entertained at the same time! Benefits include durability and dental hygiene.
The Nylabone Galileo Natural Nearly Indestructible Bone is made from nylon.
As with other Nylabone toys, it is important to maintain a close eye on your dog’s dental health. If your dog has any chipped or cracked teeth, it is best not to allow your dog to continue to chew on the bone because it could cause further dental damage. Read this to learn more about some Nylabone product warnings.
- Price (Medium): $10.11
The KONG Wild Knots Bears Durable Dog Toys has an internal knotted rope to satisfy your dog’s natural instinct. There is minimal stuffing, so your pup won’t make a huge mess. The toy is soft and durable to last longer than one play cycle. It squeaks to peek your pup’s interest and is best for medium to large breeds.
We could not find a list of the composition materials for this toy.
Always supervise your dog while they are playing with this toy and make sure to check the toy periodically for signs of damage and wear to avoid accidental ingestion.
- Price (Medium/Large): $7.51
The Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Dog Toy is every dog’s dream come true. Our dogs go crazy on walks when they see a squirrel. This toy includes three squeaky squirrels and a plush tree trunk. You can play hide and seek with your dog, and the two of you will have a blast. The toy comes in various sizes so you can choose the best size for your dog’s breed. We’re sure your dog will have a blast capturing these sneaky squirrels!
We could not find the materials this toy was made of.
The Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Toy should be inspected regularly to make sure the toy isn’t damaged and to avoid accidental ingestion.
- Price (Junior): $11.99
Nylabone Dental Dinosaurs are another great toy idea from Nylabone, and they come in three shapes – Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex. These chew toys are naturally flavor-enhanced to encourage chewing, and small nubs make great dental cleaners as the clean teeth and massage your dog’s gums. Benefits to the Nylabone Dental Dinosaurs include dental health, healthy chewing activity and better breath for your dog!
Nylabone Dental Dinosaurs are made from nylon as are other popular Nylabone products.
Always be sure to keep an eye on the condition of your dogs Nylabone Dental Dinosaurs toy. As it wears down, replace it with a new one.
- Price: $8.02
If your dog loves rope toys, this is a great pick that’s also inexpensive. Your dog can play tug-of-war with it, fetch or just chew on it some. It’s available in various sizes too, so your dog can have the right size toy for him. The fibers in the rope help floss your dog’s teeth.
This rope toy is made of premium cotton-blend rope fibers.
- Price (Medium): $7.12
This value pack includes three skinny plush dog toys (one of each: fox, raccoon and squirrel) with three squeakers in each of them. The toys are 18 inches long and there is no stuffing in them. These are ideal for medium-sized dogs.
We could not find the materials this toy was made of.
- Price (Large): $9.46
Puppies are known for being destructive with their constant chewing. This 12-piece teething, chew set is a must for anyone with a puppy. It includes squeaky, plush, ropes, chew and frisbee toys. Not only are these some of the best dog chew toys, but they also help clean your dog’s teeth and control plaque and tartar buildup. These are some of the best dog toys for puppies.
These toys are made of fabric, rubber and cotton.
These toys are not suitable for large dogs. Do not let your dog swallow these toys.
Which Is the Best Toy for Your Dog?
While your dog would likely choose every one of these toys as their favorite, choosing the right one is up to you. Only you know your dog’s likes and dislikes as well as their destructive tendencies. For example, if you have a dog who loves to play ball then a Nylabone isn’t going to do the trick. If, however, you have a dog that adores plush toys but can get a little carried away then the Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Dog Toy might be the right choice for you. If you keep your dog’s preferences in mind, you won’t go wrong with any of these dog toy options. If you’re looking for another idea to gift your dog (or pet parent) check out our dog gift guide.
What’s your dog’s favorite toy and why?