If you’ve ever brought a new puppy into the family, you know that they can be chewers. Fingers, toes, shoes, furniture, you name it, they likely will try to chew it. They’re also curious and need lots of attention and stimulation, otherwise, they may become destructive. If they are very young, and recently separated from their litter, getting them to sleep through the night, as my in-laws recently learned after bringing home their 9-week-old Golden Doodle, Evie, can be a challenge.
Toys are a great way to help keep puppies entertained, focused, happy, and most of all, save your favorite pair of sneakers from the trash. We’ve put together a list of toys to accomplish all of the above.
Puppy teeth can be like little needles and puppies tend to be mouthy. It’s how they interact with you. Babies are able to reach for things they want with their hands, puppies use their mouth. When my two English Creams were with their littermates, they rough housed and nipped at each other. To this day, they do the same when they play. When they are puppies, it’s best to replace your fingers with something that won’t bleed when chewed.
Puppies need a variety of chew toys. Keep in mind that something you like and pick out at the pet store may not be something your pup likes, so you have to try different options to see what works.
Best Edible Toys
When my boys were pups, their favorite things to chew were bully sticks. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and are usually made of beef. Some have a stronger odor than others and that’s something you need to consider. While bully sticks can keep your pup occupied for a long while, there’s a chance it could (depending on your dog’s constitution) upset his stomach. One of my dogs can eat bully sticks with no digestive issues, while the other cannot, so this is one of those “try it and see” scenarios. One word of caution, don’t leave your pup unattended with any bones that can be eaten to avoid possible choking.
Best Kong Toys
One of my favorites are Kong toys, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are very durable. I still have several Kong toys that I bought for my dogs who are now four and six years old and even one that belonged to my beloved Golden who passed away a year ago. Some are just for chewing, while others, like this one, have a place where you can put a treat. Small pieces of kibble and peanut butter work well.
The purple Kong donut and the red Kong treat dispenser are favorites at my house and have been around a long time.
Best Rope Toys
Rope toys are another option that come in all shapes, sizes and styles. There are some with balls on the end, some with handles so that you can hold it while your pup tugs, and some with plush toys attached. This pack by Otterly offers a set of four. Make sure you get a good brand because some rope toys shred more easily than others. It’s always a good idea not to leave your puppy unattended to make sure he doesn’t pull it apart to the point where he might choke on bits of the string.
Evie’s favorite rope toy
As you can see the choices for chew toys are endless and you may have to experiment to see which ones work best.
Best Toys Without Squeakers
A bored puppy can become a destructive puppy, so keeping him entertained is important. Because you can’t be with him 24-7, giving him toys that keep him busy is a good idea. Toys that make sounds are always a hit, but there’s always the concern that your pup may be able to dislodge the sound-maker and swallow it. There are plenty of toys available that make noise to get his attention, but without the hazardous plastic squeaker. PAWABOO makes a stuffingless snake with crinkle material inside. It’s durable and you don’t have to worry about your pup ripping it open and getting the squeaker.
Evie loves her octopus because it has a material in it that makes a crinkling sound.
Another favorite for my dogs is the ZippyPaws – Skinny Peltz No Stuffing Squeaky Plush Dog Toy. I have a half dozen of these things laying around the house. Both of my dogs love them, but Jake especially. Even if I give him and his brother one each, he usually ends up with both. How long they hold up really depends on your dog. Jake loves to mouth them, but then sometimes he starts getting rough and tries to tear it apart. That’s when it’s time to take it away, especially since they have a squeaker that can come out.
Best Toys That Squeak
Squeaky toys, or ones that make other noises, can be loads of fun (though some may get on your nerves). Make sure the material is durable. Even tiny teeth can shred a rubber ball in minutes. The last thing you need is for a piece of plastic to become lodged in your pup’s throat. My dogs love tennis balls, but Jake also likes to pull the fuzz off of it, so not a great choice for him. Instead, we chose the Chuckit Ultra Squeaker toy, it’s durable and it squeaks, something Jake loves to this day.
Jake’s well-worn Chuckit has withstood the test of time.
Best Toys For Destructive Pups
While some puppies are content to nibble, others have a more destructive nature. Even little teeth can do a lot of damage. Finding a toy that holds up to the test of time isn’t always easy. CEESC makes a toy that gets a lot of thumbs up in terms of durability. It comes in small, medium and large and in three colors, blue, green and orange, It says it’s made with non-toxic material, so that’s a plus.
Best Comfort Toys
For small pups separated from their litter and in a strange new home, it can get lonely. Evie wasn’t sleeping through the night when she first came home, so her human parents bought her the SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Toy. It’s definitely not cheap, but well worth it for a good nights sleep. There’s a real-feel heart pulse and a heat pack, so it’s just like sleeping with his her or her littermates.
Evie with her Snuggle Puppy
When our pups came home, each were given a blanket, which had all of the smells of their littermates. This brought comfort to them in their new surroundings. This one from Comsmart is similar to the ones we had. Depending on your dog’s chewing habits, it may or may not last long. I still have the one that came home with Jake, although I keep it in a drawer now since it’s got more holes than Swiss cheese.
Jake’s well-worn puppy blanket
Whatever type of toy you choose, don’t leave your puppy with it unsupervised for long periods of time. Make sure that if the toy starts to fall apart, you remove it immediately and provide an alternative.