If you are a dog lover, everyone today is National Pet Day. But the official holiday is celebrated on April 11, which gives us another excuse to pamper our beloved furry friends with gifts and toys. There are an endless array of dog toys to choose from, from Frisbees and balls to squeakers, puzzles and food-oriented gadgets, but as any dog owner knows, a toy can be hit or miss. Maybe yours pet shows zero interest in it – or worse, they chew or pull on it for a few minutes and it instantly crumbles. So how do you find the best dog toys that guarantee hours of engagement and play?
We polled dog parents at CNET and rounded up their pups’ tried-and-true favorites. Finding an indestructible dog toy can be a difficult task, but these toys they have survived ferocious play, endured endless chewing sessions, and provided hours of daily doggy fun — we even got three votes for the wildly popular Chuckit.
Since every dog has unique quirks and preferences, you’ll find a wide variety to choose from here. Whether your four-legged friend is a big or small dog, a chewer or a puller, you’re sure to find something they’ll like on this list. These are the best dog toys available that our dogs really go crazy for.
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Table of Contents
The best dog toys
When you have a dog that requires near-constant attention, you’ll do anything to keep him occupied for a few minutes. I use this toy puzzle for just that. There are three rotating trays where you can hide treats, making your dog work for his reward. My pup has to use his muzzle to turn the trays to reveal the compartments and I have to hope this keeps his brain sharp because he has to problem solve to get all the treats. I have the tier two (intermediate) version and would buy it again in a heartbeat. –– Sarah Mitroff
This toy is durable and covers all the things that can keep a dog entertained forever. It has a rope inside and some squeaks to get and hold their attention, and it usually ends up as my dog’s cuddle toy. –– Theodore Ligians
Banjo gets anxious when left alone, but like most labs, he is a lot powered by food. Mochi, our little guy, is just extremely chewy. If he doesn’t have something to chew on, he’ll start digging holes in the carpet in our living room. So when I know I’m going to be gone for a few hours, I pull out the Kongs. I fill them with mozzarella or peanut butter (or both) and voila, my two dogs stay happy and busy the entire time I’m gone. –– Desiree DeNunzio
My dog is a beast when it comes to toys and he almost ruined himself everyone one toy we gave her within a day or two. That was until we came across the Kong Extreme dog toy line which works perfectly for her, entertains her and we can use it as a reward by filling her with peanut butter when she has been good during the day. There are several different shapes and sizes and she seems to enjoy them all! –– Jared Dipane
Most stuffed toys are no match for my dog Junebug, who rips them to shreds in minutes. But this ball of Fluff and Tuff takes her weeks to loosen even a thread. Consequently, she’s obsessed with it and carries it with her everywhere (even though it’s too big for her small body – an adorable bonus). She remains loyal to him even after she’s nothing but a sad, chipped, hollowed-out shell. I end up throwing it away and buying her a new one and the cycle starts again. She’s at her third beach ball in about a year! It’s worth the money. –-Kim Wong-Shing
My dog loves two things (besides people): food and toys. And this puzzle combines both for endless fun. I received this dog treat puzzle as a gift after months of rolling up towels and old t-shirts to make stimulating mental toys for my chihuahua mix. Now I use it whenever I can’t take my dog on her long evening walk.
All the moving plastic parts make it look complicated, but it’s actually easy to set up. Just hide your choice of treats or pellets in the hidden boxes, cover them with the plastic door, push the slide to keep the door closed and that’s it. I’ve found this to be a great indoor opportunity for my dog to burn off some energy and test the brain you are –-Alexandra Garrett
My dog, Alistair, has been crazy about his Dogobie flying disc since we’ve had him, which is 14 years. A disc made of flexible silicone, it’s almost indestructible and easy for me to throw and him to take out, and it’s easy to find in the brush after a miscast thanks to its neon colors. Alistair is getting on in years but still gets excited every time he sees his Dogobi come out to play. Now only to return it with as much enthusiasm as when chasing it. –– Jim Hoffman
Frequently Asked Questions
Do dogs really need toys?
It’s easy to overlook the importance of toys in a dog’s life, but toys are necessary for your dog’s well-being—and your own peace of mind. A tired and mentally engaged dog does far less mischief than a bored puppy. Toys can help change bad behavior, keep your dog mentally occupied, tire him out, and provide a suitable outlet for dogs prone to destructive chewing.
What toys do dogs like the most?
All dogs have different personalities and activity levels, so you’ll want to understand your pup’s individual needs to find the toys that will suit them best. Dog toys generally fall into three categories:
Active toys: Balls and Frisbees, as well as ropes and knitted pull toys, are great for interactive play and giving your dog much-needed exercise. If your dog is very active, such toys can also be used as training motivators.
Enrichment Toys: These toys keep your dog busy and mentally stimulating. These can range from puzzles and treat-dispensing toys to a durable, rubber toy that you fill with treats like a Kong. By working to get the treats, your dog is trying to “solve a problem,” which stimulates his brain and gives him something to do. These types of toys are designed to engage your dog when you are busy doing something else or can’t do it.
Comfort toys: Did you have a favorite doll or doll when you were a child? Dogs are not that different and can get just as much comfort from carrying a favorite toy. In particular, anxious dogs can benefit from a plush companion. Just be careful as some dogs chew aggressively and should not be given soft toys. And avoid the jam with squeakers that can easily be pulled out and swallowed.
What are the best dog chew toys?
Chewing is a natural canine behavior, but if your puppy tends to chew on things he shouldn’t, it’s a good idea to find suitable alternatives. Most of us know that cooked bones are a big no-no as they can crumble and break and get lodged in your dog’s throat or intestines. Your best bet is something that is easily digestible and commercially available (like Greenies), or even better, a hard gum like Nylabone or Kong. As always, consult your veterinarian regarding the safest options for your dog.
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