New puppies are so much fun to have about the place, but they can be a fair bit of work too. While they are undoubtedly worth every second, it’s always good to have ways to keep your puppy entertained while you get on with what you need to do. That’s where toys come in. Available to suit every size and character of dog, and not to mention every budget too, there are endless varieties out there to choose from. But while having lots of options can be great as it makes it far more likely that you will find something that suits you perfectly, it can also make the purchasing experience a lot more confusing than it needs to be. That’s why we have scoured the expert sites and read hundreds of pet owners’ reviews, so we can bring you the very best recommendations for toys to keep puppies busy when you need them to be.
Table of Contents
- Why Should You Keep Your Puppy Busy?
- Toys To Keep Puppies Busy: Buyer’s Guide
- Best Toys To Keep Puppies Busy: Reviews
- Toys to Keep Puppies Busy: Frequently Asked Questions
- Toys to Keep Puppies Busy: Final Thoughts
Top 9 Toys To Keep Puppies Busy
These days there is an endless array of toys that can keep your fur baby entertained in a variety of ways. These are our personal favorites, along with the links to where you can find out more about them and purchase them if you wish. To see our detailed reviews on each, along with their pros and cons, keep scrolling.
ZippyPaws Skinny Peltz No Stuffing Squeaky Plush Dog Toys. Fun, cute, durable, and noisy, these fab woodland creature-style squeaker tug and cuddle toys are great for keeping boredom at bay with hours of safe, no-mess fun.
KONG Classic Dog Toy. A firm favorite with dog owners everywhere, Kong’s Classic Toy, with its bright colors and unpredictable bounce, encourages healthy solo and interactive play alike.
Pet Zone IQ Treat Dispenser Ball Dog Toy. Perfect for physical and mental engagement, Pet Zone’s Treat Dispenser Ball makes pups really work for their rewards, moving the ball around to try and get what’s inside.
TRIXIE Activity Flip Board Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy. Super bright Doods will go crazy for this activity, strategy game that has them working different techniques on various flaps, sliders, and cones to get the hidden reward.
Frisco Retro Microwave Dinner Hide & Seek Plush Puzzle Squeaky Dog Toy. Frisco’s Hide and Seek Toy, with its cool retro design, plush polyester fabric, and hidden squeakers in removable items, provides endless hours of doggy entertainment.
Piggy Poo & Crew Pig Rooting Snuffle Activity Mat. Intended for pigs but beloved by puppies too, Piggy Poo’s Snuffle Activity Mat is great for slowing down eating with washable fabrics perfect for hiding kibble beneath.
Aquapaw Slow Treater Silicone Lick Mat. A washing/grooming tool that should be in every pet parents kit, the Aquapaw Silicone Lick Mat offers a welcome distraction for pets who don’t love being cleaned.
Starmark Everlasting Treat Bento Ball Tough Dog Chew Toy. Great for powerful chewers, the “virtually indestructible” Treat Bento Ball by Starmark fosters natural foraging behaviors while helping to prevent boredom.
OurPets IQ Double Bottle Treat Dispensing Rope Dog Toy. An excellent two-in-one canine toy that is great for mental stimulation and perfect for promoting dental health, OurPet’s Treat Dispensing Rope Toy is another superb buy.
Why Should You Keep Your Puppy Busy?
With you away at work and the kids at school, unless you have more than one dog, chances are Fido will be spending some time alone each day. This can be a real problem for Doodles, mainly because these gorgeous teddy-bear dogs are so darn clever. When boredom kicks in, it can bring with it all kinds of unwanted behaviors – everything from barking to chewing and digging. Fun!
That’s where dog toys come in. Long gone are the days when all you had to keep your pooch entertained was a tennis ball and a bone. When you start looking around, you’ll be amazed at the variety of dog toys that are out there now – everything from chew toys to fetch toys and even puzzle toys. They all have their place in keeping your pet busy when you are just not around to give them some much-needed attention.
Aside from their entertainment value, here are a few of the top benefits of having a good mix of pet toys about the house.
Inherited from their Poodle parents, those Doodle smarts might make it sometimes feel that you could send your dog out to the office if you could only find a suit that would fit them! On a serious note, though, working dogs (such as Poodles) were bred as much for their brain as their brawn. However, without ducks to retrieve or sheep to herd, your pup might need a little help keeping their grey matter stimulated. Enter…puzzle toys!
Packed with an array of features to keep your four-legged friend busy when you just don’t have time, puzzle toys are an excellent buy. One of the ways they often engage your hound is by making them work hard for the one thing that can motivate even the laziest of pups: food. Pack some tasty treats in the right spot and watch your pal as they try to figure it out (except you won’t have the time, of course, doh)!
While some Doods are, right from the start, going to feel like you need some magic kind of anti-adhesive to peel them from your side, others can be a little more aloof at the beginning. A good way of spending quality time with the newest member of your family and getting to know them is with toys that enable you both to get involved in a game. While balls and frisbees are the obvious choices here, tug toys can also be great for bonding.
The great thing about tug toys is that they offer a whole host of other benefits besides shared play. According to experts at the American Kennel Club (AKC), they also help with impulse control issues and building confidence, as well as offering a great way to get exercise. These kinds of games teach your dog that spending time in your company is engaging and rewarding. This establishes an excellent foundation for future training.
It might surprise you to know that dogs can and do get depressed. Depression in canines isn’t so dissimilar to the same condition in people. While it might be difficult to know when you’re dog is feeling a bit down, there are a few symptoms to be on the lookout for. These include tired, listless behavior as well as changes in sleeping and eating patterns. These can also signal medical issues, so always speak to your vet.
While common triggers for canine depression include the loss of a pup friend or owner, dogs can also be very sensitive to changes in their environment. This means that moving house, a new baby, stressed-out owners, or not getting the same amount of attention as before can all be to blame. Toys help redirect your pet’s focus, boosting their mood during these challenging times, and alongside a little extra TLC, can make a world of difference.
In the wild, dogs often choose to chew on objects that they come across as a way of keeping their teeth strong and their jaw healthy. In this way, chewing is very much a natural instinct and shouldn’t necessarily be punished. However, if you find Fido chowing down on something he shouldn’t be, you’re unlikely to be too happy about that. The best thing to do is to provide your pal with plenty of things they can chew on.
Toy bones, ropes, and snacks are all great for helping your pet keep their teeth and gums clean, as well as relieving their boredom. You just want to be a little careful which ones you opt for. Snacks are great, but too many can cause your pup to pile on the pounds, leading to health issues. Any toys need to be well constructed from non-toxic materials in case they accidentally get swallowed (see below).
Your new puppy is going to have a ton of energy, and if you are not able to keep up with them, they are going to find ways to entertain themselves. Chances are these will all be activities that you’re not going to approve of as they will likely include chewing, digging, biting, and barking. With the best will in the world, it’s going to be difficult to stop them from doing any and all of these at one point or another.
The best chance you stand to save your furniture, flowerbeds, and shoes is to provide plenty of canine-friendly items to keep them engaged. Again, this is where toys come in. If you can find the right mix of bouncy, chew, puzzle, and snuggle toys, your puppy will definitely have no reason to complain. In fact, you’ll likely be able to wear them out so well that they will be sleeping right through the night from the very start.
Toys To Keep Puppies Busy: Buyer’s Guide
Now that you have thought about toy function, it’s good to take a quick minute to consider toy quality. Picking out something that looks and sounds great online is one thing…but what happens when your dog destroys it in the time it takes you to grab a quick coffee? Even worse, what happens if they are simply not interested in it at all?
Here are a few points to research to ensure you get a toy that not only lasts as long as you need it to but doesn’t end up simply being an expensive doorstop and nothing more.
Size and Color
Just like kids, dogs are very attracted to how toys look. If it seems interesting to them, they will be more likely to pick it up and start playing with it without needing any other kind of encouragement. Dogs see yellow and blue the most clearly of all the colors. So they are more likely to be visually interested in toys that are predominately these hues. This is something to keep in mind when picking out a toy.
In terms of size, you really want to get your pup something that will comfortably fit in their mouth without the risk that they might accidentally swallow and choke on it. These days, many canine toys come in various sizes to make it easier for you to find the best one for your breed. When purchasing online, many of them include which size of dog the toy is suitable for. If not, then this would be a good question for the manufacturer.
The next thing on your checklist to consider is the toy’s construction. The sturdier this is, the more chance there will be that the toy will actually last a reasonable amount of time before needing to be replaced. While many canine toys these days are designed to withstand a good amount of tooth and claw, they are not all built equally or even meant to be – they are all designed with different needs in mind.
If you know that your fella is a serious chewer, then you need to be on the lookout for toys that have been built to withstand such tooth action. Many more recognizable canine brands have constructed toys with either lesser or more chew power. Another good thing to do is check out the reviews – you will quickly learn about any issues with things coming out or falling apart.
However, even the most robust, most resilient toy in the world will not last forever – after all, nothing does. So when your dog’s favorite chew is on its last legs and finally beginning to give way to their teeth and claw action, you want to be sure that what they end up gobbling down (just try and stop them) is not going to harm them in any way. If toys fragment or contain harmful ingredients, things could get bad.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to look for toys constructed from guaranteed canine-safe materials. These will be more likely to break down into tinier pieces when the time comes that won’t lodge in your pup’s throat or anywhere else, for that matter. They will also be free from harmful toxins that some cheaper and cheerful items could contain. Price vs. quality can really make all the difference here.
Best Toys To Keep Puppies Busy: Reviews
Best for Comfort Cuddlers
If your pup loves a good cuddle but tends to rip through traditional comfort toys, then the ZippyPaws woodland creature plush toys are likely to be a good fit. Made from tough fabrics and with no stuffing to leak all about the house, they are much more likely to last despite their enticing designs and the engaging squeakers that your pet will love.
ZippyPaws Skinny Peltz No Stuffing Squeaky Plush Dog Toys
Reviewers are super happy with these toys, especially because they come in packs of three for a great price. Many comment that they have lasted a really long time, even with seriously tough chewers. Some also mention, though, that the three squeakers going at once can send them a little round the twist, so these might work better as outdoor toys if you are sensitive to noise.
Simple yet effective. These dual-purpose canine toys make an excellent addition to your pup’s existing toy box.
While the toys hold up pretty well, particularly determined dogs seem to be able to access the squeakers quite quickly.
Best for Bouncy Hounds
Kong’s toys really are top of the list for many pet owners. The Classic seems super simple – but therein lies its magic. Making use of all-natural rubber and a stylish, fun design, this interesting take on the regular, old tennis ball is perfect for solo games of fetch. Unlike a ball, the kong toy bounces off in all kinds of crazy directions helping to keep Fido’s attention for longer.
Kong Classic Dog Toy
One of the best things about these excellent toys is that they are available in a range of sizes, so you can get the perfect one for your pup. They also come tailored to suit mild, regular, and extreme chewers. Pet parents love that they can stuff the center of the toy with treats to keep play going and going and going.
An excellent toy from a company with an excellent reputation. Kong is the creme-de-la-creme of canine toys.
That unpredictable bounce can quickly turn a happy game into mass ornament destruction. If you’re a little lacking in space, it might be best to limit the Kong Classic to yard time only.
Best for Kibble Guzzlers
Pet Zone’s Treat Dispenser Ball is great for owners looking for ways to keep their pooch both physically and mentally engaged in one fell swoop. The great thing about this treat toy is that it has varying difficulty levels. So your super-smart Dood won’t too easily get the hang of getting directly to the tasty core each. Increase the challenge and keep them going with trying to figure this super toy out.
Those who have purchased the ball like that it is sturdily built and holds their dog’s attention. They mention how it whizzes all about the place, meaning plenty of exercise with minimal effort on the part of the owners. Make sure you get the sizing right, though. Your pup shouldn’t be able to pick up the ball and chew on it. The toy is definitely not up to that.
For smaller dogs who are starting to pile on the pounds, this toy offers a great method of slow feeding that is as fun for your pup as it is beneficial.
Be warned, this plastic ball can be a little noisy when moving about on wooden floors or if your pet likes to constantly pick it up and drop it.
Best for Clever Canines
“Ideal for the intermediate canine gamer,” Trixie has really outdone themselves with their Strategy Game Dog Toy. It is challenging, stimulating, and great for pups who love to sit and figure things out. All you need to do is hide treats in the various hidden compartments and let your pal explore the different levers and other moveable toy parts to uncover them one by one.
TRIXIE Activity Flip Board Game
Reviewers comment that this is a great puzzle toy for those who find more simple toys a little dull. While you may need to help your pet get the hang of it at first, when they do, it’ll keep them entertained for hours. Just be aware that this toy does require supervision as chewers may simply choose to gnaw their way right through to the hidden treats.
Many puzzle toys can be a little simple for the brilliant Doodles. This one takes things to the next level, making them work harder for their treats.
Some pieces are detachable and could easily be sneakily stashed away for later chewing. That’s why you need to keep a close eye on your pet when they are using this toy.
Best for Playful Pooches
With a tray and four soft plushy “food” items, Frisco’s Hide and Seek Toy is colorful and fun enough to grab your dog’s attention, even without the help of the surprise squeakers and the exciting crunchy noises made by many of the pieces. While not quite as taxing as some of the other puzzle toys on this list, it’s great for a little light mental stimulation and a bit of bonding fun.
Frisco Microwave Dinner Hide & Seek Squeaky Puzzle Toy
“Fun and durable” seems to be the general consensus on this fab, fun toy. The play pieces, which are velcroed to the tray, are not just great for interactive play – people to dog and dog to dog – they are also perfect for hiding snacks behind to motivate your pooch to remove and explore the individual items.
Cute and engaging, this toy is excellent for thinkers, cuddlers, and attention-seeking hounds alike.
This is another toy that isn’t so great for mouthy dogs. Although, many reviewers do mention that their chewy pups tended to play gentle with this toy, so you never know…
Best for Treat Seekers
An enrichment snuffle mat toy that is as soothing for dogs as it is fun. Increasingly popular with pet owners, these excellent toys are designed for concealing dry food and making your pup really work for his supper. Most dogs really seem to enjoy using their nose to “hunt down” their chow, so the snuffle mat can stretch meal times out to prevent issues associated with eating too quickly.
Piggy Poo and Crew Pig Rooting Snuffle Activity Mat
A high-quality toy that meets purchaser’s requirements, Piggy Poo & Crew, has created something really cool here. The material is high-quality, safe, and appealing. Yet, the mat can simply be thrown in the wash every week to keep it clean, hygienic, and smelling fresh. It’s also good for teeny teething puppies.
This toy is easy to have about the house; it folds up for storage or can be laid out somewhere out of the way.
While the snuffle mat is likely to be great for puppies, it might not easily hold the attention of smarter Doods as they get a little older.
Best for Bath Time Pups
Getting your pal into the tub is not always the easiest or most fun of jobs. Nevertheless, it has to be done. Save yourself some of the hassle of it by making use of this Aquapaw Lick Mat to distract your pet and keep them busy as you give their coat a thorough washing and brushing. Simply stick it on the wall and cover it in something delicious like peanut butter, and you’ll find this otherwise tough chore breezes right by.
Aquapaw Slow Treater Treat Dispensing Mat
“Absolute Bath-Time Game-Changer!” is how the product reviews go down here. The toy seems to be, as you might expect, particularly handy for owners who have dogs that are terrified of the tub. Not only does it give them something else to think about while you’re giving them a going over, but licking is also actually a soothing action in itself for pups, so this mat helps for a completely calmer dog.
A basic product design, which is reflected in the price, and yet this toy seems to work so well at what it is intended to do.
You’ll need to ensure that your hound doesn’t decide to remove this from the side of the bath and eat it instead of just licking.
Best for Strong Chewers
If you’ve been scrolling through this list and seeing all the ‘not great for chewer’ comments, you might have been wondering just what you were going to do for your pup. Have no fear! The answer is here! Starmark’s Treat Ball is constructed from highly durable, tear-resistant material that the company claims will hold up to even the toughest of chewers.
Starmark Everlasting Treat Bento Ball Tough Dog Chew Toy
Pet parents confirm that the product lives up to the promise. As one reviewer says, “We have a dog that has the superpower for toy destruction, and this is the first ‘tough’ chew toy that actually held up to its name.” Moreover, the toy seems to easily get and hold canine attention. Although it certainly helps that you can slot an edible treat into the top part (this one doesn’t last quite so long).
Finally, a treat-dispensing toy that seems to be able to withstand a lot of mouth work with its “virtually indestructible” material.
Some dogs figure out how to remove the treat from the ball pretty fast, but the ball does seem to hold some interest beyond that.
Best for Dental Health
OurPet’s Dispensing Rope Dog Toy is a wonderfully versatile product that provides mental stimulation, helps with bonding, and supports dental health. Perfect for games of tug and fetch when you have the time and solo play, retrieving the treat when you don’t, it really is a great all-rounder and great for the price. Moreover, it’s built using high-quality materials designed to last, so you won’t constantly be replacing it.
OurPets IQ Double Bottle Treat Dispensing Rope Dog Toy
Another toy that can hold up well even with power chewers. Reviewers mention that the whole toy, including the plastic bottle part, is indeed very sturdy. The exciting design and multifunction features seem to hold dogs’ attention, who quickly get bored of other toys. Be aware that this is another one that might end up noisily clattering about on your wooden floors, though.
This treat-dispensing rope toy is the equivalent of three toys in one – at least, making it more likely to keep your puppy entertained for longer.
Some buyers comment that it didn’t take their pup too long to figure out how to access the treats, so you might need to think up ways to make it more challenging.
Toys to Keep Puppies Busy: Frequently Asked Questions
How do you keep a puppy entertained all day?
Anyone who has ever taken on a puppy knows just what a challenge this can be. If you let them, these little balls of energy will quickly run rings around you. While this may be fun in the first few days, you might soon find that you simply don’t have enough time to keep them entertained. That’s why toys are so helpful to have around.
What do I do with my puppy when I’m out at work?
One of the toughest things to figure out is what to do with a newly adopted puppy while you’re away at the office. If they get bored, they might decide to take this out on your furniture and floors. Many people opt to either crate their pup or gate them into a designated area of the house with some toys to keep them busy.
How do you tire out a puppy?
Tiring out a puppy seems like no easy task when they are busy climbing all over you. However, with a few games of tug, fetch the ball, and a little running about the yard, you’ll be surprised at how quickly they crash. Then they will be out like a light… until they are ready to start all over again, that is.
Toys to Keep Puppies Busy: Final Thoughts
If you’re looking for ways to keep your pet occupied when you’re away from the house or simply because they have too much energy for you to deal with, then toys are certainly the way forward. However, just because a product has ‘dog’ on the label doesn’t always mean it will be suitable for your pet or that they will be interested in playing with it in the first place. The toys included in this list are all tried and tested by dog owners, so you can have confidence that they are more likely to match all your needs and keep your puppy busy and, more importantly, happy.
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