Play is mentally and physically enriching for puppies. Puppy-safe toys are also an outlet for chewing and can soothe teething pain. In this guide, I’ve listed 14 of the best puppy toys, along with tips for choosing the right options for your pet.
Play isn’t just about making sure your puppy has fun. It’s essential for building physical and social skills during the critical development period, between the ages of 8 weeks and 10 months.
Puppies are also natural chewers who explore the world through their mouth. Once they start teething – at around four months – your pup’s desire to gnaw on things increases. In fact, you should expect your young dog to need around four hours of chewing time per day!
A varied selection of puppy toys keeps your dog entertained. Toys for puppies also allow you to redirect your pup’s chewing onto something appropriate, rather than your shoes or furniture.
In this guide, I’ll explain the benefits of rotating a wide selection of high-quality dog toys for your pup. I’ve also recommended 14 of the best puppy toys.
Versatile dog toy that’s great for keeping your pup entertained
The Kong Classic for Puppies is our top pick for a puppy toy. Like the regular Kong, it’s made with durable rubber and can be stuffed with treats to keep your pup entertained. It also doubles as a chew toy and is designed to be softer for a puppy’s teeth.
Listed below are 14 of my favorite dog toys for puppies. I recommend buying several types, such as chew toys, puppy teething toys, rope toys, and food toys, so your dog is challenged to play in different ways.
You may need to experiment to find toys that keep your dog motivated and interested. If your pup is a strong destructive chewer, make sure you choose durable chew toys rather than soft plush toys.
Note: Always supervise your dog when he has a toy. This is especially important with a new toy, as it’s important to ensure he doesn’t destroy it.
|Rank||Name||Toy Type||Why Choose It...|
|#1||Kong Classic for Puppies||Puzzle Toy||Durable and can be stuffed with food|
|#2||Nylabone Puppy Teething Pacifier||Chew Toy||Multi-textured chew toy|
|#3||Petstages Teething Toy||Soft Toy||Soft toy that's freezable and has varied textures|
|#4||Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball||Puzzle Toy||Simple puzzle that challenges to your puppy|
|#5||Kong Puppy Binkie||Chew Toy||Fun alternative to the regular Kong|
The Kong Classic for Puppies is a softer version of the traditional red Kong. This flexibility means it’s gentler on your pup’s delicate teeth and gums. It’s also a versatile and durable puppy toy, making it an almost essential purchase for new dog owners.
If you’ve never used a Kong before, the key feature is that it can be stuffed with food. Challenging your pet to lick dog-safe snacks out of the cavity is a great way to keep him entertained. For an extra challenge, try freezing dog food inside the Kong before giving it to your puppy. A cold Kong provides the added bonus of soothing sore gums.
One of the great things about the Kong is that it can be used for a range of activities, including play, entertainment, and training. It’s great for encouraging your dog to settle, for example, which is handy when crate training, visitors arrive, or you need to leave him for a short time. It also doubles as a fetch toy, as the shape makes it bounce in unpredictable ways.
Make sure you select an appropriate size though. If the Kong is too small, it could be frustrating for a bigger breed to access the food. Also, if your dog is an extreme chewer with power jaws, the tougher Classic Red Kong might be a better option.
Tip: Common Kong stuffing options include doggy-safe peanut butter (make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol), bananas and wet dog food. For creative stuffing inspiration, check out these recipe ideas.
The Nylabone Teething Pacifier is a non-edible and multi-textured puppy chew toy. Although it’s not as interactive as a Kong, the Nylabone is ideal for teething puppies looking for something tough to chew on.
One of the great things about this toy is the combination of ridges, raised nubs, and different shapes. This variety makes it more stimulating to chew. It’s also designed to be worn down gradually, which reduces the chance of big pieces breaking off.
The puppy Nylabone range is more flexible than the company’s tougher adult products. This makes it less likely to damage teeth, but powerful puppies might be more likely to fracture it. For this reason, you should always supervise your dog with this toy (and other puppy teething toys.)
The Petstages Dog Toy is perfect for teething puppies. It combines different textures with a freezable design, making it a stimulating and soothing toy.
Unlike simple chew toys, the Petstages has knotted streamers, flags, and ribbons on the outer shell. This is great for curious puppies, as there are a variety of textures to play with. You can also freeze the toy, which creates a crunchy and cool texture to relieve sore gums.
Unfortunately, the Petstages Teething Stick only comes in one size, although it should be suitable for most puppies. The plush design means it’s not chew-proof, so it’s not the best option for large breed puppies or aggressive chewers.
If you want to introduce your young dog to puzzle toys, this treat ball from Omega Paw is worth considering. It’s a simple toy that’s challenging for puppies, without being frustrating or scary.
The internal cavity of the Omega Paw can be filled with dry treats or kibble. Your dog must roll the ball around to get the food to fall out, which forces him to use both his brain and physical abilities.
An advantage of the Omega Paw is that it’s made with flexible rubber that’s soft, safe, and easy for dogs to grip. The softer design also makes the ball quieter than harder treat balls, so it’s a great option for noise-sensitive puppies.
Make sure you select the right size and always supervise your pup. Power chewers might get their teeth into this one, as it’s not as durable as a Kong or Nylabone.
The dummy-shaped Kong Binkie Teething Toy is made from more flexible rubber than a traditional Kong. This makes it a gentle chew toy for soothing a puppy’s gums during the teething phase.
Like the Classic Kong toy, the Binkie can be filled with treats and even frozen. This makes it one of the best puppy toys for when you need to keep your dog entertained for longer periods. The handle also makes it easier for your dog to carry and grip when chewing.
The Binkie’s softer rubber means it’s not as chew-resistant as tougher Kongs, however, which is something to keep in mind if you have a powerful breed.
The Chuckit! Ultra Squeaker is one of my favorite dog balls. It’s tough and durable, while still having great bounce, buoyancy and flexibility. The Chuckit is also available in three sizes, so there is a safe option for nearly all puppies.
Unlike harder balls, you don’t need to worry about your young dog damaging their teeth when playing with the Chuckit. The durable rubber construction is also easy to clean and won’t fall apart after a few squeezes.
The squeak makes this toy ball even more stimulating for your dog. Having a squeaker can also be handy for getting your puppy’s attention for play in the garden or on walks.
Note: High impact and repetitive games of fetch can put too much strain on your puppy’s soft and growing bones. Any retrieval sessions should be short, and you shouldn’t encourage your dog to leap for the ball. Rolling it on the ground is a better choice. Avoid ball throwers when playing with puppies.
The Mammoth Cloth Squeaky Rope is a versatile toy that’s both a rope and squeaky toy. It’s perfect for playing tug, throwing, and providing relief during the teething phase.
Unlike cheaper dog toys, the cotton rope is thick and tightly woven. It won’t fall apart after a few tug sessions or a gentle chew. The rope is also a generous length, so your hands are less likely to get nipped if your dog gets over-eager during a game of tug.
The rubber squeak adds another dimension to the toy and makes it more interesting to play with. Unfortunately, it’s not made from the toughest material, so you should always supervise your dog when they’re playing with this toy.
Outward Hound Invincibles Squeaky toys are more robust than your average soft dog toy. This makes them a good choice for chewy puppies that aren’t interested in rubber teething toys.
There are several variations of the Invincibles toy, including snakes, lizards, and owls. I’m a fan of the snake, as it provides two textures, but the low price means it’s not too expensive to experiment when finding your pet’s favorite.
Each toy has reinforced binding along the edge, so it’s more difficult for a dog to break the stitching. There’s also no stuffing, which makes the toy safer if your pup rips it open, and an “invincible” squeaker. In fact, the squeaker will continue to work even after it gets punctured.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though. This is still a soft toy, and it won’t stand up to chewing the way a tough rubber chew toy will. You’ll need to supervise your puppy, as the squeaker could be a choking hazard if they manage to get it free.
If you’re looking for a durable chew toy that’s not too harsh on your puppy’s teeth, the Kong Puppy Tire is a great option.
As with other toys in the Kong for Puppies range, the rubber isn’t as hard as traditional Kongs. This means it’s gentler on sensitive teething gums and growing teeth. You can still insert treats into the inner rim of the tire and freeze it for a soothing effect.
If your dog is an expert chewer, you may want to purchase the more durable Kong Tire for Adults. Some breeds, like the Bully breeds and Labradors, are determined chewers with strong jaws that might be too powerful for the Puppy Tire.
The Nylabone Teething Rings provide a variety of textures and shapes for your pup to chew. This makes it much more interesting than a basic chew toy, while also relieving some of the pain associated with teething.
Although they aren’t as hard-wearing as a traditional Nylabone dog toy, the rings are less likely to damage your pet’s teeth and aren’t as harsh on inflamed gums. The meat flavor infused through the chew also helps to keep your puppy’s interest.
Always supervise your pooch with Nylabone puppy teething toys. While their dog toys are tough, there’s a small risk of your dog breaking a piece off, which could be a choking hazard.
If your pup loves a game of tug and is also a fan of soft dog toys, then the Ethical Pet Mini Skinneez Tug could be an excellent choice.
This stuffing-free squeaky toy has a tightly woven rope that extends through the body, which is brilliant for gripping when playing tug-of-war. Aside from the rope, the plush section of the toy is also fun for your dog to carry and squeak.
Keep in mind that the toy is only 14 inches long. This is perfect for small puppies, but could make it difficult to play tug with larger breeds.
It’s also only suitable for supervised play. Although tougher than your average plush toy, it’s not designed for intense chewing and the squeaker could be a choking hazard.
If your puppy loves a snuggly and comforting soft plush toy, the HuggleHounds Barnyard could be a good match. Despite the soft design, it’s well-made and relatively durable – although it can’t match the strength of a rubber chew toy.
What makes this toy more durable than the average soft option though? The HuggleHounds has a double-layer liner, no visible seams, and solid stitching, so there are fewer weak points. It’s not chew-proof, but should resist your dog’s attention for longer than most soft puppy toys.
An interesting feature of this dog toy is the knotted arms and legs. These are perfect for your dog to grab and chew. And, if it gets slobbery, you can pop it on a gentle cycle in the washing machine.
Keep in mind that you should always supervise your pup with these types of toys. The inner stuffing and squeaker could be dangerous if your dog accesses them.
The Nylabone Teething Puppy X Bone has four hard-wearing textured nubs for your dog to get their teeth into. This makes it another great option for dogs that like to chew.
As with all puppy Nylabone products, these are flexible enough that they shouldn’t cause discomfort to delicate gums or teeth. A determined chewer could break a bite-sized piece off, so supervision is required.
The X bone isn’t the biggest chew toy either, so it’s best suited for small to medium breed puppies.
The Mammoth SnakeBiter is a long and tightly-woven rope toy that’s one of the best puppy toys for games of tug. It’s made from 100% natural cotton and provides the added benefit of flossing your dog’s teething during play.
Unlike shorter toys, the long length reduces the chance of your puppy accidentally biting you during a game of tug. It’s also great for games of indoor fetch.
The SnakeBiter, while well made, isn’t designed to be a puppy chew toy. A dog left alone for long periods might pick off loose fibres, which could be dangerous if ingested.
The best dog toys provide many benefits for puppies. These include mental and physical stimulation, an appropriate chewing outlet during teething, and a way to strengthen the bond between you both.
Playing also teaches your pup that toys are both fun and rewarding. This playfulness will benefit your dog throughout his life, as you can always entertain him by providing new and interesting toys.
Puppy behavioral issues, such as barking or destructive chewing, are often linked to boredom and a lack of physical and mental enrichment.
There’s still debate around how much exercise a growing puppy needs. It’s widely accepted, however, that it’s best to start with short walks and gradually increase the amount of exercise your pup receives. This means that many puppies still have plenty of energy left to burn after their walk.
Play is one of the best alternative methods to alleviate boredom and keep your dog active and mentally engaged. Toys for puppies can be just as tiring as a walk, so they are great for keeping your puppy happy and stimulated when indoors.
A selection of dog toys also makes it less likely your pet will chew on items like furniture, pillows, or shoes. This doesn’t happen automatically though – you’ll need to practice redirecting your dog’s natural chewing onto appropriate puppy toys.
Playing with dog toys keeps your puppy active and encourages them to use their body in different ways.
This can stimulate muscle development, body awareness, and flexibility. Just like humans, dogs need to develop their physical abilities or risk losing them.
It’s important that dogs have the chance to practice their natural behaviors. Sniffing, foraging, chasing, and ragging are all instinctive behaviors that improve your pet’s mental wellbeing.
The best toys provide an outlet for these natural behaviors. By having access to a wide selection, you give your pet the chance to practice a variety of beneficial activities. As a bonus, these behaviours are great for tiring out your puppy!
Tip: Puzzle toys that dispense food are brilliant for providing mental stimulation and intellectual development. Most of the best puzzle toys are too complicated for young puppies, but you can start to introduce them as your pet gets older.
Dogs are social animals who find it tough being left alone – even if you’re just in another room. Playing with toys during the puppy development stages can teach your pet to relax and have fun even when you aren’t around.
Distracting puppy toys, such as stuffed Kongs, can also reduce the chance of separation anxiety developing when your puppy is left alone for short periods. There’s even evidence that playing with toys can build confidence in nervous puppies and reduce anxiety.
Puppies love to play and can often be seen rolling around with littermates. By playing with your puppy, you and other family members can develop a bond that’ll last a lifetime.
Once your puppy learns that toys are fun, you can also use them to reward appropriate behavior. Some toys can even be used as an alternative to treats during training sessions.
There isn’t a limit on how many toys your puppy should have. If you’re like me, it can be great fun choosing toys and seeing the joy a new one gives your pup!
Studies have shown that dogs are neophiles and are more attracted to novel toys. This doesn’t mean you need to buy new toys all the time though. You can keep them interesting by regularly rotating the toys your puppy can access.
Puppies need multiple toys to fulfill different needs. Not all toys are safe or appropriate for puppies, so here are some of the things to consider.
It’s vital to choose the right size toy for your puppy. Even the best puppy toys become unenjoyable or even dangerous if the size isn’t correct.
A dog toy that’s too small could be a choking hazard if swallowed by a large puppy. If the toy is too big, it can be difficult to grip or play with.
Some types of toys, particularly the interactive types, come in multiple size options. You may need to move up a size as your pup grows. If you’re unsure about the sizing, it’s always safer to choose the bigger option.
A toy that’s fun for a large Husky puppy may not be for a Chihuahua – and not just because of the size difference.
Understanding your dog’s natural drives can help inform the type of toys they might like. Breeds like Labradors, for example, are known for being power chewers. Terriers, with their high prey drives, are often motivated by squeaky or rag toys. Spaniels or Collies, that love to fetch, may enjoy playing with a ball.
Every dog has their individual preferences too. You’ll need to experiment to find your pup’s favorites.
Any toy you buy for a puppy must be able to withstand sharp teeth and rough play. No toy is indestructible, but the best options don’t splinter or have appendages that could become a choking hazard.
Rubber toys are often the most durable. These chew toys should have enough flex to provide relief during the teething stage, but strong enough to prevent your dog breaking pieces off.
Plush toys are less durable and won’t withstand hard chewing. For this reason, always supervise your pet when he’s playing with them, especially if the dog toy has stuffing or squeakers. Soft toys with reinforced stitching and durable exterior materials are likely to last longer.
Try to provide your puppy with a variety of different toy types. Dog chew toys, teething toys, puzzle toys, rope toys and fetch toys all provide unique benefits and allow for different games.
The more variety your dog has, the more mentally and physically stimulating his playtime will become.
Puppies explore the world with their mouths and sophisticated sense of smell. Having toys that activate these senses in different ways, such as with varied textures or infused scents, provides more enrichment for your puppy.
Lots of dogs also enjoy squeaky toys or ones that make other interesting noises. These toys tap into the dog’s instinctual prey drive and can also be soothing for some puppies.
Many of the best chew toys for puppies are infused with flavors, like bacon flavor or peanut butter. These can make the toy more enticing for your pup.
Infused flavors can also give your dog the sensation of licking a tasty treat without the calorie intake and mess. Flavored chew toys are never going to beat real (dog-safe) peanut butter though!
Gentle games of tug can be lots of fun. They are great for strengthening your bond, redirecting mouthing behavior, and teaching impulse control.
When selecting a tug toy, make sure it’s long enough to avoid your puppy accidentally nipping your hand when playing. It’s also important not to be too vigorous with your dog’s toy, as this can injure your puppy’s teeth or neck.
Many toys are fun for puppies, but there are a few that new pet parents should avoid. These include:
Keep in mind that you may need to replace toys as your dog grows and their drives change. For example, a soft toy with a squeaker might have been great for a young puppy, but an older dog who enjoys chewing may quickly destroy it.
Tip: Does your dog seem to be scared, wary, or disinterested in his toys? If so, read our guide to why dogs may not like toys.
Toys are essential for your puppy’s development. They provide an outlet for natural behaviors, strengthen your bond, keep your pup mentally stimulated, and are an appropriate chewing item during the teething stage.
There’s always going to be some trial and error when choosing puppy toys. Puppies have different motivators, so you’ll need to find toys that match your dog’s tastes and drives. It’s always a good idea to provide a variety of types, as different toys enrich your pet in different ways.
My top pick is the Kong Classic for Puppies. It’s a versatile dog toy that can be stuffed with food, chewed, and even used as a fetch toy. A stuffed and frozen Kong is also perfect for keeping your puppy distracted for an extended period, which can be a lifesaver during the first few months.
I hope this article has helped you choose the best puppy toys for your new pet. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know in the comments section below. You might also want to read our guide to the best dog toys for adult dogs.