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  • Writer's pictureSacBulldogs

The Best Puppy Toys for Young Dogs

There’s nothing better than watching a happy puppy romp around and fall over itself when playing with a new toy! Not only is it fun for your puppy, but you’ll enjoy lots of belly laughs and get cute pictures and videos watching their goofy antics.

The best toys for puppies serve multiple purposes by fulfilling natural instincts, meeting physical and mental needs, and helping your puppy work on socialization and training skills. Rotating a collection of fun, safe toys will keep your puppy happy and engaged. You want to provide toys that are made from safe materials, are injury-free, fun, and easy to clean when selecting the right toys for your puppy.

Whether you’re looking for interactive dog toys, soft plush toys, or even a good old-fashioned rope, here’s how to pick the best puppy toys for your four-legged friend.

What to Look For in Safe Pet Toys

Shopping for the best dog toys for puppies should be fun, whether it’s getting the classic rubber chicken or a squeaky toy that’ll keep your pup occupied for hours. But before you go through a catalog of the best chew toys for small dogs, you need to do some investigating.

Researching safe toys for dogs and which toys to avoid for puppies these days doesn’t require a trip to the store, having to stand in the aisles reading each label. Online product descriptions and reviews will help you quickly see if the toy’s materials are okay for dogs. Be wary of toys that do not include a list of tested materials, especially from discount chain stores. Remember to have a safe place to store the toys when not in use for both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Is this toy fun for my puppy?

A puppy toy is meant to be fun! However, you have to know your dog breed’s natural instincts and personality to help choose the best puppy toy for your dog. You want to avoid spending money on something that will last 38 seconds due to easy destruction or become boring. For example, some puppies may adopt “their baby” early on in their puppyhood that becomes a beloved, soft comfort toy, while others can’t wait to capture that squeaker in the cuddly toy and rip it apart at the seams. Likewise, a simple toy may be sufficient in entertaining some puppies, while that same toy could bore a different breed.

Is this puppy toy safe for my dog?

Another factor to consider is if any parts that come out can potentially injure your dog. Big or small, dogs who are rough with their toys and tear them apart may eat the stuffing and small torn-up pieces. Sharp parts sticking out can cause eye injuries. Ribbons, strings, sewn-on eyes, and velcro pieces can cause digestive issues if swallowed. Your pup may even swallow entire balls or squeakers, causing blocked airways and major stomach problems. While breed size doesn’t matter for some toys, other toys are better suited only for smaller dogs or just larger dogs. Always use supervision, especially when introducing new toys to your puppy, and immediately remove unsafe or broken toys.

Is this dog toy easy to clean?

Regardless of the type of puppy toy, it’s extremely important to regularly clean your dog’s toys with a pet-friendly, non-toxic cleaner for a few reasons. First, you’ll extend the life of the toys by keeping them in tip-top shape, examining the toy for any signs of deterioration to know when to replace them. In addition, you need to clean dog toys because they’re one of the dirtiest things in your home! Dogs can ingest potentially harmful bacteria, yeast, or mold lurking on the toys through their mouths, causing significant health issues. Dirty toys can also pose a health hazard to other animals and people in your home.

Pay attention to the recommended care instructions when choosing the best toy for your puppy. For example, if a toy is meant for water play, it’s important to dry it out right away so it doesn’t develop toxic mold and mildew. If it has batteries or plugs, check for corrosion or faulty wires and functioning ports.

Other questions to ask about pet toy care:

  • Does this plush toy require regular hand or machine washing?

  • Is it easy to rinse off with water or a mild, non-toxic cleaner?

  • Does pet hair easily stick to the toy?

  • Is it meant to be an outdoor toy or an indoor toy only?

The Best Types of Puppy Toys

Introducing your puppy to a variety of the best types of puppy toys around 4 months of age can help you both determine which styles, sizes, and shapes your dog prefers. Exposing them to different materials and novel experiences can help build confidence and encourage proper doggy behavior.

Whether you need hardcore toys that can withstand some serious wear and tear, or just need entertaining toys for small dogs to keep them busy, we’ve got you covered. Here are the best puppy toys for dogs of every size and personality.

Chew toys

When you’re looking for the best chew toys for dogs, you must look for durable toys made from safe materials. The best chew toys meet the needs of teething puppies and give an oral outlet for older dogs as well.

Chew toys for puppies can also provide tremendous dental benefits, promoting healthy teeth. Good doggy dental hygiene can keep all sorts of problems at bay, including bad breath, tartar buildup, abscesses, and periodontal disease that can potentially lead to various heart, liver, and kidney diseases. There are some products marketed as chew toys that need to be avoided. Never give your dog rawhide because it easily turns into a choking hazard when it softens after chewing. In addition, stay away from chew toys shaped like real objects they’re not supposed to have, such as shoes or remote controls. Instead, opt for a chew toy that’s shaped like a bone.

Tug toys

Tug toys are some of the best small dog toys out there. Tug toys for puppies provide an entertaining way for dogs’ natural instincts to express themselves. Contrary to what you may think, toys that promote a game of Tug Of War do not make a dog more aggressive or encourage bad behavior. Rather, the opposite is true – tugging can be used as a training tool, strengthens human bonds, builds trust and confidence in pups, works on impulse control, and helps redirect tugging instincts toward appropriate toys rather than aiming for your clothes. When choosing tug toys, you have to make sure they are durable, and watch out for toys with ropes so they don’t become shredded and ingested.

High-tech toys

If you have a little bit of extra money to spend, or if you are away from home during the day and are looking for a way to interact with your pup without physically being there, high-tech dog toys may be a great option for you and your puppy!

Have you seen the popular videos on social media with dogs “answering” questions by pushing a talking button? While they can be hilarious for humans, they can actually teach your dog communication skills. Toys with timers can dispense treats at different speeds. An auto-fetching machine can teach your dog retrieving skills and help them stay active while you’re not physically present. At the far end of the high-tech puppy toy range, toys with video screens and WiFi allow you to see and talk to your pet through a screen as well as control various levels of interaction.

If your pet toy utilizes technology, make sure to put your dog’s safety first by regularly checking any ports, cords, batteries, interfaces, or screens for damage.

Fetch toys

Every dog needs at least some exercise a day although their needs can vary widely based on the breed. In fact, one could say the best fetch and retrieve dog toys are essentially a requirement for high-energy breeds that require lots of exercise and a “job” to do. Whether you are having casual playtime or preparing for an agility competition, a good fetch toy will get your dog out there running and having fun.

Balls and frisbees are fantastic pet toy choices that keep your dog active. Playing a simple game of fetch with a toy also taps into their natural instincts to retrieve. Some fetch toys can be as simple as a ball or a frisbee made from pet-safe material powered by your arm. Other fetch toys have a handle to help launch the ball farther than you’re able to naturally throw. Different textures like knobs and thick spikes can keep a fetch toy interesting. There are even toys that glow in the dark for those early morning or evening play sessions!

Comforting plush toys

There is nothing more precious than seeing your puppy form a bond with a special plush toy. Stuffed animals for dogs can provide comfort to your puppy, making them feel safe and secure with a cuddly object with your scent. Puppies may play with a stuffed toy by chasing, retrieving, shaking, chewing, and carrying it around with them wherever they go. They are fantastic for allowing a dog to bite down without injuring their teeth or causing jaw discomfort.

However, the best soft toys for puppies are only meant for dogs who are gentle with toys. Just keep in mind that these are meant to be comfort toys for puppies, and they are not designed for rough play. Plush toys might be too soft for high-energy dogs with strong jaws that view the toy as prey. If the soft toy is ripped apart, the inside materials like stuffing, squeakers, and voice boxes can be hazardous. Make sure to follow care instructions on how to keep soft toys clean.

The best stuffed animals for dogs provide them with a sense of security, without posing a choking hazard.

Durable toys

Different types of breeds may exhibit friendly yet aggressive play, but don’t let a dog’s size fool you when it comes to its uncanny ability to destroy toys! Toys designed to withstand tough use are so important to choose if you have a dog that can crush a toy in one strong bite. Durable dog toys come in a wide variety and can include balls, bones, discs, cylinders, rings, and more.

If a toy is easily destroyed, not only is it useless, but leftover broken parts can cause serious medical issues for dogs requiring surgery or worse. If it’s cheaply made, the toy can fall apart in seconds, even with the most gentle handling. For those reasons, it’s important to choose toys that withstand relentless, rigorous play. It’s always prudent to read reviews on any toy claiming to be durable to see if other people indeed find them sturdy enough to withstand the Chomper Test. Sometimes, durable dog toys can last till they become an adult!

Water toys

If your dog loves water, why not tap into their delight with the best puppy toys designed for water play? Breeds that naturally respond well to water that have hunting and retrieving instincts will love these types of water puppy toys, and most dogs love cooling off in the summer heat.

It’s always good to choose a water toy specifically made to float, as you wouldn’t want to toss your puppy’s favorite toy in the water and learn the hard way when it sinks! Whether your dog loves launching himself off a dock high into the air or just splashing around in shallow water, water toys help infuse that extra bit of fun into your pup’s routine. Don’t forget specialty puppy pool floats, small pools, and sprinklers to provide hours of aquatic entertainment.

Mentally stimulating toys

While we like to think all of our puppies are smart, it’s okay to admit that some breeds are naturally more intelligent than others. The best dog toys for mental stimulation need to hold puppies’ attention long enough to exercise their brains.

Exciting, challenging toys come in all shapes and sizes! Puzzles can teach problem-solving skills and even dispense rewards when the puppies solve the puzzle. While some toys are mainly for entertaining, others can serve a variety of purposes, such as being a durable chew toy with a hole for stuffed treats that also cleans their teeth, or a toy designed to slow down puppies that eat too quickly. Many of these toys also work on training skills.

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