The Best Dog Toys for Puppies, Adults and Seniors

Keep your dog busy and their senses sharp with the best toys for every stage.

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July 21, 2021

Dogs ask for so little — food in their bowl, a cozy place to rest their head, a little love and attention. So it’s always fun to surprise them with a new toy that keeps them busy and stimulates their senses. (Seriously, they need the activity just as much as we do.)

But finding the perfect toy can be a challenge, especially since there are so many options out there. To help, we’ve rounded up the best dog toys for puppies, chewers, adults dogs, seniors and more, so you can support your pet's development and help them live their best life.

Things to Consider When Buying Dog Toys

No Toy Lasts Forever: If you have an aggressive chewer on your hands, then you know that no dog toy is truly indestructible. (Some come pretty close, though.) So if you're concerned about durability, take the following steps: Opt for rubber or "tough" stuffed toys. Rotate their toys frequently, so everything gets equal wear and tear. And finally, consider buying their favorite toy in pairs, so you'll always have a backup on deck.

Size Is Important: Any dog toy has the potential to be a choking hazard. So, to be safe, always read the labels and tags and shop the appropriate size for your pet. As a general rule, dog toys should be small enough to fit in their mouth but too large to be swallowed. Always supervise your pup during playtime, too, and discard items with loose rubber, stuffing or squeakers right away.

Dog Toys Have Different Purposes: Just like humans, dogs need different forms of mental stimulation. So it's important to provide a variety of toys, from "distraction" types like chews and Kongs to "active" types like balls, ropes, etc. Below, we'll walk you through each type of toy and share the best ones for teething puppies, aggressive chewers, seniors and more.

Best Dog Toy Overall

If there's one toy that every dog should have, it's a classic Kong. Crafted from durable rubber with a hollow middle (which can be filled with treats or peanut butter), this toy essentially works as a chew, ball and a puzzle all at once. In turn, it's ideal for puppies (who are teething or crate-training), heavy chewers, active dogs who love to fetch, and intelligent breeds that need a bit more mental stimulation. Kong is a trusted name brand, too, and makes some of the most indestructible toys on the market.

Best Dog Toys for Puppies

New puppies go through a lot of changes in the first few months, from leaving their litters to teething. So one of the best things you can do is provide them with lots of toys during this transition. Use the Nylabone Teething Pacifier, puppy-friendly Kong and NKW Cooling Toy to soothe their gums and redirect them from shoes or furniture. And if they suffer from separation anxiety, introduce them to the Smart Pet Snuggle Love toy.

Best Teeth-Cleaning Dog Toys

Consider this one of the best ways to keep your dog busy and keep their teeth clean. Equipped with grooves, bristles or textured nubs, dental toys offer a healthy outlet for chewing and gently remove plaque. Puppies will benefit from the petite bone below; it's much smaller, softer and safer for their mouths. For adult dogs, though, opt for either the traditional chews or the rope, which is designed to floss their teeth and gums.

Best Indestructible Dog Toys

One thing's for sure: Aggressive chewers will have a hard time destroying these dog toys. Each one is made from super-durable, puncture-resistant material to provide heavy chewers with a real challenge. For best results, consider which toys they naturally gravitate to — balls, sticks, squeakers, etc. — and then swap in one of these indestructible substitutes.

Best Puzzle Dog Toys

If you're looking for stimulating or interactive dog toys, then you need to snag a puzzle. These toys typically come in two forms — plush or plastic — and encourage your dog to follow their nose to discover hidden treats. Some of our favorite designs include Frisco's Hide and Seek Volcano, Pet Zone's IQ Treat-Dispensing Ball, Outward Hound's Brick and Pet Arena's Snuffle Mat.

Best Ball Dog Toys

Balls aren't just for fetch! Give your best buddy something to chase, squeak, bounce and chew with a ball that speaks to their play style. The Kong Squeezz Ball toy is our top pick because it's super durable and has an erratic bounce to keep your dog engaged. We're also big fans of the classic Frisco Tennis Ball set, the Hartz Dura Play Ball (for squeakers and chewers) and the Chuckit! Max Glow Balls for dogs who like to play after dark.

Best Stuffed Dog Toys

Some dogs love to snuggle, while others prefer to toss and shake their "prey." So cover all the bases with an indestructible stuffed squeaky toy. Outward Hound and Kong make some of the softest, yet toughest, plush toys on the market, while ZippyPaws offers a great no-stuffing option if you'd rather avoid fluff altogether.

Best Dog Toys for Small Dogs

Tiny dogs (like Chihuahuas, Frenchies and Yorkies) call for tiny toys. Look for lightweight options that they can easily lift on their own, like the Kong Plush Duck and the Kong Squeakair Balls. These toys are extra small, soft to the touch and relatively indestructible — because those tiny teeth can still do a lot of damage! If your pup loves to chew or play tug-of-war, go with either of the small-breed friendly rope toys below.

Best Dog Toys for Large Dogs

If you're the proud parent of a Great Dane, Mastiff or Bernese Mountain Dog, then you know that good things come in extra large packages. Give your big softie something they can really sink their teeth into with a dog toy that's just as large as they are. For best results, stick with heavy-duty brands like Kong, Mammoth or Gnawsome and supersize their chew toys, balls, ropes, etc.

Best Dog Toys for Senior Dogs

Their eyesight or hearing might not be what it used to, but your sweet senior dog can still benefit from playtime. Take it easy on their teeth and gums with soft stuffed animals, fuzzy balls, gentle rope toys and natural rubber Kongs. The toys listed below are some of the best for older dogs and feature bright colors and squeakers to help get your pet's attention.

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