One million puppy toys on the market, one million toys… Take one down, shred it to pieces, 999,999 puppy toys on the market…
You walk into a pet store and it’s floor to ceiling toys. It’s pretty overwhelming, huh?
You buy something that looks great, cute as hell, all these things that are meant to entice your pup, and within an hour, it has mysteriously exploded.
Well … shoot.
And they’re not cheap either!
Or… worse… you get this wonderful new puppy toy home, eyes bright and shining with excitement for what your puppy is going to love and your pup plays with it for 5 mins and goes “Eh.” and goes and finds something else… Oops.
With all those choices, it’s hard to know as dog owners where to go. What to do and where to invest your money so that we don’t make the difficulty level way too high, too quickly and lose puppy’s interest.
That’s why I’m here, taking that guess work out for you – as always!
As a professional trainer, I’ve helped a lot of puppy parents go through puppyhood and I’ve helped a lot of them to find the perfect toys and learned what works, when and how. So, I’ve pulled together a shortlist of the best toys for your puppy; tried, tested and true. Which is why they include some of my adult dogs favorite toy.
Selection Process For The Best Puppy Toys
All of these toys have been selected by me, because I know they’re incredibly well made, that they last, and that they’re going to stimulate some part of your dogs natural desire to do certain things.
These are intentional puppy toys. Puppy toys with a purpose – and a lot of this overlaps with my general best dog toys, but have been selected deliberately for puppies – and trust me, these are the best toys you can get.
Just remember that whilst these toys are wonderful, most of them need the YOU Factor. You have to be involved in play. Otherwise it’s boring, understandably! Interactive play is what all puppies want.
Note: This post includes Amazon Affiliate links! This is at no extra cost to you, but is just a way for me to cover the costs of running the website. This is how you support Rebarkable and keep the great content rolling. They’re also puppy toys I genuinely love and use myself.
2023’S BEST PUPPY TOYS!
Overall Best Toy For Puppies – Edsel The Elephant – Fluff And Tuff
Best Toy For Small Sized Breed Puppies – CuteSeas – Kong
Best Tuggy Toy For Puppies – Flappy Tuggy Toy
Best Rope Toy For Puppies – Beco Hemp Rope Tiger Toy
Best Ball For Puppies – Ultra Ball – ChuckIt
Best For Aggressive Chewers – Goughnuts
Best Sniffing Toy For Puppies – Snufflemat – AWOOF
Best Interactive Feeding Toy For Puppies – Toppl – Westpaw
Best Destroy-it Toy For Puppies – Hollee Roller Ball – JW (w/ felt strips)
Best Heartbeat Toy For Puppies – Snuggle Puppy Behavioural Aid Toy – SmartPetLove
Ali’s Puppy Toy Top Picks
Edsel is one of our favourite toys in my home, Indie’s had his since he was a puppy, and it’s not one of those plush toys that’s going to randomly explode within 3 seconds flat.
Instead, this one is tough, because Fluff and Tuff have a unique way of making their toys, which has a second layer of fabric, designed to help prevent teeth from going through.
Ours has never had any failures, I don’t even remember hearing any stitch breaks. These are great for dogs who love soft toys, and you’re likely not going to need any other soft toys – unless you’re doing toy rotation.
These are great choices for adult dogs, older pups, because they will last for a long time. Think of this one as an investment!
The only times I’ve seen fluff and tuff toys “go” is with time (years) and with dogs who will literally lay down and chomp through it. For me, I remove it in this instance, because no plush toy is going to stand up to aggressive chewers.
The Squeaker is also not that obnoxiously sharp squeak by the way, and squeaky toys, by the way, really help you simulate prey for your dog and encourages them to bite, making Edsel perfect for teething puppies and for training puppy what to bite.
- Machine Washable
love this little thing. It’s so cute, and the textures on him are great for getting puppy used to things that are a little different in their mouth, that mouth feel can be really important and is often undervalued in your puppy toys – but not with the CuteSeas range!
This little thing is surprisingly tough. He is built to last! And what more can you ask for? Light and small (in the smaller sizes), this little seahorse won’t leave you longing for something with a little more resilience. It’s a wonderful little toy that can hold up!
This does come in different sizes, but I would really recommend Edsel instead, because it’s really the perfect toy for those who love plush toys – and even for your small breed when they get big enough.
- Not the cutest?
I love overly flirty toy like this, they offer a lot of movement and stimulation! These toys absorb the tug on your arm with it’s bungee cord insides (great for stronger puppies!) and it’ll flirt, tease and tempt them into play with it’s fleece strands too! And the bright colors? Ugh, divine.
They wash great too because of the fleece (fantastic for those sharp baby teeth), and they’re great for dogs who love to tug.
- Absorb impact
- Not the strongest long term
The fleece on this makes this perfect for puppies because it’s lightweight and yet durable enough for chomping needle teeth.
I love this to help puppy parents engage with their pup and wear them out really quickly but stimulate their learning brain!
- Absorb impact
- Not the strongest long term
This is so cute for puppies – and surprisingly strong! I love using hemp rope, and beco are so good at not putting excessive chemicals and things in their products – because they understand dogs.
Rope toys are perfect for playing tug and this gives you plenty of opportunity to do that together!
(naturally, if you see fraying with this toy, it’s time for it to go because strings can be dangerous when ingested)
- engaging in multiple ways
- Hemp is recycled
- Multi-use toy
- Not the strongest long term
So many dogs love balls. Puppies too. These would definitely rank in some of the highest all time puppy toys if there were such a thing. But this? This is soooo much better than the average tennis balls.
And these? These are just the ultimate ball that you could ask for. They’re the single most resistant ball (Yay durable rubber!) I’ve found that still bounces – bar none. And god do they bounce!! Don’t ever waste your money going elsewhere for the ‘true tennis ball’ or the ‘pet tennis ball’ or even those from Kong! Because they just do not last and don’t deserve a spot in the ranks of your puppy toys.
Even better? They come in a whole range come in a whole host of sizes meaning that you can pick one that fits your pup! The small sizes wouldn’t be recommended for large breed dogs, but they have the right size for you. The aim is to make sure they have a ball that cannot pose a choking hazard, and if you’re ever unsure? Go one size too large. Always better too large than too small.
- Long lasting
- Easy to find
Whilst this toy looks pretty boring, and aren’t the most engaging with squeakies or anything like that, these toys are seriously strong. They’re designed from Astronaut grade rubber – yep!
These toys are like very little else because the brand also stands by them – if your dog chews them down, then they will replace them for your heavy chewer.
Now that? That is a great product!
- A little dull looking
Did you know dogs and puppies can see colour? It’s just a slightly limited palette! They see in shades of yellow and blue – which means that the Chuckit! Ultra balls and the tug-e-nuff tug really take advantage of that! Talk about clever puppy toys!
AWOOF Pet Snuffle Mat for Dogs, Interactive Feed Game for Boredom, Encourages Natural Foraging Skill
- Easy to start with
Snuffle mats of any kind are wonderful, but this one is fab for your puppy as it’s a real ‘start you off’ snuffle mat. It’s a bit of an alone-play puppy toy too, and doesn’t require you as much (though the set up definitely takes a little time!). And I love puppy toys that give you just a little bit of down time, because the puppy blues is real!
If you’re not familiar with the concept? The idea is that you hide treats within the folds of material and pop it on the floor and let your puppy forage around! To start with, I always suggest using something that your pup will smell nice and easy, that should act as a great lure – and don’t worry about getting dirty, because you can throw this in the washing machine!
Eventually, you can use regular kibble in this too – once puppy gets the hang of it!
- Easy to fill
- Short enough for all puppies
- Can tear
We love toppls because this interactive toy can feed a significant amount of food from these, with a much quicker fill than other toys, they’re also much easier to start your dog off on than other enrichment toys.
Personally, we use for both kibble and meat, and we just mix kibble with some yogurt or pumpkin puree to make it stick – you can even add a little peanut butter!
It’s enough of a challenge to keep it interesting and rewarding, but rarely looses interest.
These can also help your dogs manipulation and problem-solving skills whilst giving pet parents a well needed peaceful five minutes.
Reminder: pick a small size for a smaller breed!
- Dish washer friendly
- Quick to fill
- Not too challenging
- Freezer safe.
- not the best for serious chewers
Some dogs love to tear things apart, like beds! Or toys, or maybe even your shrubs… well, if that’s what they enjoy, why not give your puppy that outlet in a way you’re okay with it happening?
This is where the Hollee-Roller ball comes in! These balls, with small holes when paired with some old cloth, strips of felt or something else that your puppy isn’t likely to try and eat, are wonderful to get puppy pulling and tugging at the fabric, pulling it out of the ball, and are even better if there are dog treats hidden within – which makes a great way to give that destroy-it outlet whilst saving your sofa.
This is one of those puppy toys that makes the game both fun and rewarding, which means you may have just saved your ornamental grasses – hooray!
- Multi-use toy
- not the best for serious chewers
Snuggle Puppy Heartbeat Stuffed Toy for Dogs – Pet Anxiety Relief and Calming Aid – Brown, for All B
As puppy toys go, this one is a little more practical – for you. Especially if you have a pup who might be more reluctant to sleep.
These can be great for crates, or for bed, or as part of a routine to help your puppy settle into their rest schedule. They are warm, and have a soft heart-beat emulator that helps puppy feel like they still have their mother and littermates with them, allowing them to feel calm and safe in a space and settle down for a nap easily, and ease the separation anxiety that comes from leaving his or her littermates.
This particular one is a nice example, it’s been well made and is soft and snuggly, and well sized for most pups! I’ve even known some dogs to find this little fella to basically become their security blanket – which is pretty darn cute if I’m honest.
- Can help puppies settle
- not a “toy”,
We always supervise play, it’s never safe to assume puppy toys (or any toy or chew) won’t pose a hazard and it’s worth always keeping an eye on your puppy to prevent accidents from happening.
Puppy toys are so important for stimulating your pup, for encouraging that interaction and deepening the bond between you. Puppy toys are more than just toys to your pup, they’re often an opportunity to learn, to play, to engage and develop muscles, motor skills and reactions too. Puppy toys are often way more than just fun, and that’s what I’ve really focused on here.
A lot of these toys cover something we trainers call Enrichment. They give your puppy a little of what they need in a constructive way to stop them from finding outlets for their behaviour in less desired ways, and can sometimes be called mental stimulation
Picking your toys is often about understanding your puppies natural desires! Like terriers were often bred for ratting! So something with a squeaky in it, will be greatly satisfying and engaging (this is based on the predatory motor pattern)
Where as? Border Collies were bred for an eye-stalk (aka to keep their eye on things that move!) meaning a ball or a fun, flashy tuggy might be even better for them.
Try to consider your puppy’s innate needs and desires when choosing toys! That’s why i’ve labelled some as ‘destroy-it’ or “Sniffing” to help you target your toys at your pups natural desires.
These things contribute to a happy puppy, and a happy puppy is a puppy that will train easier, be more fulfilled and less destructive.
Happier puppies make happier puppy parents.
Set Up For Success
With all of this in your arsenal, how can you fail? Whether it’s new toy, or the right toys you’re looking for, interactive toys are a great choice for your furry friend. Just remember YOU are the most important part. Engage and play and make sure to spend that quality time with your pup!
Choose your toys to challenge your dog, not just physically. These are the best ways to keep your dog happy and stop undesirable behavior.
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Author, Ali Smith
Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.
Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!