small dog chewing on rope toy

Frequently Asked Questions: What Toys are Best for My Dog?

Toys are essential pet supplies if you have a dog– they can help your dog get much needed exercise, mentally stimulate them while you are away at work, and can be comforting if they are stressed. But have you ever bought a toy you thought your dog would LOVE and turns out, they don’t. What exactly should you consider before buying the best toy for your dog? 

Size

great dane and lab puppy
Breed size is a big factor when choosing a dog toy!

Think about your dog’s size: are they x-small, small, medium, large, or x-large. X-small breeds and small breeds include yorkies, chihuahuas, Maltese and shih tzus and would love a small-sized toy or chew, like Huxley and Kent plush toys or a Benebone chew toy. Medium breeds include French bulldogs and bichons. Large breeds include cocker spaniels and border collies. And x-large breeds include boxers and Portuguese water dogs. Considering your dog’s size allows you to narrow down what brands of toys offer the correct size for your pet. 

Life Stage

Also consider what life stage your dog is in before purchasing a toy. A teething puppy would love a smaller bone like a Nylabone toy to chew on and this will encourage healthy chewing habits from a young age. A adult dog would love some rope toys or interactive toys to keep them entertained and keep them mentally stimulated. A senior dog might like plush toys to comfort them while they nap!

dog sleeping with dog toy
Plush toys can be comforting for your pup!

Personality

If your dog is a tough chewer or very outgoing and active, consider toys that can hold up well, like Ruff Dawg toys. A strong rope toy or chew toy, like Mammoth toys, can also enhance the bond between you and your pup. They are durable and are a great squeaker-free option for dogs that play with toys non-stop! If your dog is more relaxed and is not as energetic, consider getting a plush dog toy that your dog can snuggle with. Comfort toys help with dogs that are more anxious. If your dog likes to carry around plush toys, make sure to get one small enough so that they can carry it around. If your dog likes to “kill” their toys, choose one that’s bigger so your dog cannot swallow any of the pieces¹. Another good idea for a comfort toy is an old shirt or pillowcase that smells like you. If your dog is more anxious, this may help them feel better to sleep next to or carry around an object that smells like their person¹!

Make The Toys Last!

Now that you’ve narrowed down what toys might be best for your dog based on their size, life stage, and personality, how can you make the most out of the toys you buy? A great tip for making your dog interested in their toys longer is to rotate their toys weekly– only have a few toys available at a time instead of leaving them in their bed or on the floor all the time¹. If your dog has a favorite comfort toy, then that toy can stay out all the time. Also, keep a variety of a few toys out at once to satisfy any situation that might come up while you are busy or while you are away. 

Another way to make your dog’s toys last is to wash them if they are dirty. The safest and best way to do this is with warm water and soap. Or usually, plush toys have care instructions on them. 

Related blogs: Frequently Asked Questions: What Toys are Best for My Cat?, April Feed Team Favorites: Tasty Springs Treats and Fun Toys!, May Feed Team Favorites: Fun Toys and Delicious Foods, Even for the Pickiest of Pets!

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¹Dog toys: How to pick the best and safest. (n.d.). [web log]. Retrieved August 30, 2022, from https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/safe-dog-toys.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Matt

    My Jack Russell, Harley, absolutely loves to play with rope toys and plush toys! He is extremely active in an outdoor setting, so I usually end up purchasing toys that will last longer in the elements (dirt, rain, water, etc.) I sometimes tie old t-shirts and socks together to make a longer chain like toy, and he loves to carry it around the house!

  2. Kaniel Saint

    My dog’s favorite “comfort toy” is an old winter beanie! He’ll just pick it up and throw it around a few times before laying down on it- he’s not much for playing, but he loves that the most.

  3. Danette Mock

    I personally feel if you know your dog, you know what toys they love and entertain them. I personally like plush- for those light play days, interactive- when they seem to be getting bored and beef cheek rolls- when they want to full on chew.

  4. Mary M

    Love this! Plush toys can do so much more than be torn apart. Comfort toys for seniors are just what they deserve. For anyone struggling with a destructive chewer, you can train dogs to be gentle with plush toys – just like training your toddler to be nice to your iPhone!

  5. James M

    Great idea about the nylabones for puppies so they can learn to chew properly

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