Picking the Right Dog Toy

You find what you are sure is the perfect toy for your dog.

You get home, eagerly tear apart the packaging, hand it to him…and he gives it a slight sniff and promptly walks away.

It happens. Our dogs are individuals and that means they don’t all love the same toys. If you are unsure as to what your dog likes and doesn’t like, start by a little observation. Is he a power chewer? Does he enjoy a good pursuit? Does he like a challenge?

Once you start getting to know your dog’s play behavior, here are some types to start with.


Your dog plants himself on his bed or near your feet and spends long periods of time gnawing on a toy. Because of this, he quickly destroys his toys. To help keep your dog from ingesting inedible materials, consider getting your dog an edible chew like The Honest Kitchen’s Beams.


If all your dog wants to do is destroy his toys, well, we’re sorry. Chances are that a very determined power-chewing dog will get his wish—but there are toys that will put up a little more fight and last longer. Go with a strong rubber toy brand like GoughNuts or Kong. Some power chewers are masters at picking at the seams of toys. For these dogs, the Kong rubber ball can allow them the chewing sensation they so long for without giving them much area to hold and pick at.

Soft-Hearted Predator

Not all dogs want to destroy things. Many dogs, even large breeds, can happily keep a stuffed toy for weeks and months without even a puncture mark. They may enjoy squeaking them and carrying them around, even shaking them a bit, but not enough to cause damage. If you’re lucky enough to have one of these easy-to-buy-for types, congratulate yourself and go out and get him some fun prey animal stuffed toys as a reward for his gentle nature.


Does your dog bring you a toy in his mouth, trying to entice you to grab it? He may be a prime candidate for a tug toy. Look for tugs that are comfortable for your dog’s mouth and comfortable for you to hold. If he is strong and really pulls back on that tug, you’ll want something you can easily hold with two hands.


Your dog loves to run after anything—a ball, a stuffed toy, a piece of paper, whatever. He has tons of energy and enjoys a good sprint. If you have a large, fenced-in yard or have access to one, you may want to try a ball launcher for that extra oomph for your energetic dog.


You have a working dog that has plenty of toys but seems to become disinterested in them. He paces around, trying to find a new, better toy, but eventually loses interest in that too. He may be looking for some extra brain stimulation. Get him a thinking-dog’s toy that gives him a task and keeps his mind engaged.

With any toy (edible or not), supervise your dog’s playtime to make sure he doesn’t eat inedible materials, choke or power chew to the point of cracking a tooth. Treat your dog as an individual, observe his play behavior and you’ll soon find the right set of toys for him or her.

Meet the Author: Jessica Peralta

Jessica Peralta has been a journalist for more than 15 years and an animal lover all her life. She has had dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, frogs, and rabbits. Her current children are a German shepherd named Guinness and a black kitten named Riot (and he lives up to that name). It’s because of her love for animals that she focused her journalistic career to the world of holistic animal care and pet nutrition. In between keeping Riot and Guinness out of mischief, she’s constantly learning about all the ways she can make them healthier and happier.

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