As a dog ‘parent’ you want the best toys for your dog, especially those which promote good behaviour and reduce anxiety. And one of the best ways to choose toys that benefit your dog is to look at the purpose a specific toy is designed for. Whether you want toys to occupy your pet whilst in a dog crate, to entertain a blind dog or stimulate a smart dog, there’s a great toy for every purpose! So take a look at our guide to the most popular dog toys right now.
Toys for dog crates
Dogs need to play, just like children and adult humans! And dogs confined in a dog crate should be entertained with a toy that prevents boredom. Choose a toy that offers several positive outcomes for your dog. For example, chew toys for bored dogs are designed to help pets accept time spent in a crate and decrease separation anxiety. Rubber chew toys are recommended by vets and dog trainers.
Look out for chew toys you can fill with healthy treats. Chew toys are available for all dog breeds in sizes ranging from puppy to giant dogs.
Dog toys to reduce anxiety
Dogs are pack animals and although certain breeds are quite content to make a family their ‘pack’, others need sleeping companion. This need for the warmth and heartbeats puppies experience in their first few weeks of life can continue into adulthood. If this is an issue with your pet, buy a soft-toy fitted with a realistic ‘heartbeat’. ‘Heartbeat’ toys also have a gentle heat source for lonely pets to cuddle up to. Dog companion toys are especially calming to dogs left alone for long periods of time. They reassure your pet and reduce anxiety, whining and barking. ‘Real-feel’ dog toys run on two AAA batteries, which last up to two weeks, if left on continuously.
Toys for blind dogs
Older pets with failing eye-sight also need to have some fun to relieve the boredom of time spent at home. So I recommend an interactive toy that makes interesting sounds when played with. For instance, a motion-activated dog toy that makes 20-plus animal noises. This toy is based on farm-yard sound toys traditionally given to human toddlers! But they are now providing fun and stimulation for dogs with restricted vision. And any bored dogs come to that! Animal-sound toys run on replaceable batteries with an automatic sleep-mode. And this is a great toy for medium and small dogs to play with at home.
Activity-centre toys for small dogs
This type of toy is also an idea first used with small children and now designed to entertain small dogs. The activity centre dog-toy has lids that can be flipped up using knobs, disks that slide left and right, and lift-up cones that challenge your dog’s ingenuity. You can plant treats in a variety of hidden spots under the shapes, so your pet must use its brains to hunt and find rewards. It’s not specifically meant as a toy for a smart dog, as dogs learn as they play and move up to a harder level in their own time. Activity centre dog-toys are available in three levels, from beginners to advanced players. And they are a great toy for bored dogs and small dogs to play with indoors.
Two-in-one fetch & hunt dog-toys
This is another new generation of dog-toy, which combines the companionship of a soft toy, with a dog’s hunting instinct. A typical example of the two-in-one toy is a soft-fabric ‘tree-trunk’ with pockets to hide miniature squirrels. The fun comes from finding and pulling out the squirrels or hedge-hogs, which squeak when pressed by the dog.
Available with a variety of tiny soft animals, this is definitely one of the best toys for dogs that play indoors and outside. You can play throw and fetch in a park, or on your living-room carpet. Pets stay happy for hours, ferreting out the tiny squeaking animals. This is a great toy for an active dog of any size, with 4 sizes to choose from.
Pull- and chew-toys for boxer dogs
Don’t blame your boxer pup for chewing up anything handy, as they need teething toys that are tough and give some pain relief when teething. Adult boxers also have a strong instinct to pull and to chew, so they enjoy dog-toy ropes and special balls with a rope handle attached. This allows you to play the tug-‘o-war games that boxers love!
As you can see, there’s a lot of overlap of dog-toys for large dogs and smaller breeds, so choose toys for your pet based on their purpose. Dogs benefit enormously from the healthy activities encouraged by this selection of best toys for dogs. And you’ll have a ton of fun just watching them figure out their amazing new toys!