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What are the best toys for puppies?

Labrador puppy chewing on a toy

Choosing the right toys for your puppy is important!

© Photology1971 - Shutterstock

Puppies love playtime, so having a good selection of toys for puppies will keep your little four-legged friend happy and stimulated as they grow and develop.

By Zoë Monk

Published on the 13/06/2021, 17:00

If there's one thing that we can all agree on when it comes to puppies (aside from their incredible cuteness), it's that puppies love playtime. They are naturally very playful and curious, so they need to have plenty of toys to help keep them entertained.

There are all different types of toys for puppies with plenty of colourful options to suit all little canine companions. So, if you are looking to stock up on your dog supplies and puppy accessories, let's dive into finding the pawfect boredom buster for your new pup.

How many toys should a puppy have?

How many toys a puppy should have will largely depend on the dog, but a handful of quality, hard to destroy toys are better than lots of cheap ones. If you find they are ignoring many of their toys, then they probably have too many. When it comes to choosing the best toys for puppies, quality is more important than quantity. Your puppy needs interesting and interactive dog toys that will make them think and keep their attention.

What toys can puppies play with?

When choosing toys for puppies, you need to keep your pup's changing size and strength in mind. As your puppy grows, they will likely grow out of their toys fairly quickly. The toys that were once suitable for them may quickly become too small and even turn into a choking hazard, and those toys they couldn't chew before can now be easily shredded. So as your puppy grows, make sure they have plenty of toys that are appropriate for them. Before you let your puppy loose on a new toy, you need to consider the following:

  • A toy shouldn't be small enough that it can be accidentally swallowed or inhaled
  • Toys for puppies shouldn't have parts that they can easily pull off
  • There shouldn't be any sharp parts or areas that can become sharp when chewed
  • Please don't give your puppy hard items such as hooves or large cooked bones that could break their teeth
  • Don't let your puppy play with string, socks, ribbons or rubber bands that they can swallow
  • Before giving your puppy a stuffed toy to snuggle up with, check that the label says the toy is safe for children under three and it doesn't contain harmful fillings
  • Don't give your puppy rubber toys that have a small hole in just one end as they could get their tongues stuck in the hole
  • Check if the toy has a battery and if so, never leave your puppy alone with it

What are the best toys for puppies?

Puppies should play with toys that are appropriate to their size. For instance, balls should be large enough for your pup to carry but not too small that they could be easily swallowed or get lodged in your pup's throat or mouth. Puppies tend to chew toys with a lot more vigour, so they need toys made from tough rubber and are cheap and rugged. Tug toys are great for puppies and provide a way for you to bond with your pup while also helping to reduce the build-up of tartar and plaque on their teeth.

If your puppy is a little older and passed the chewing stage, they will likely enjoy toys that offer a challenge alongside a tasty reward. Puzzle toys have hidden compartments, and your pup has to work out to find them. Meanwhile, some pups enjoy snuggling up with a soft toy, although others will prefer to tear it to shreds. It's made up of small sliders and compartments where you can hide a few treats and then let your pup work out how to get them.

What toys should you not give a puppy?

While your puppy needs toys to chew on, play with and keep them entertained, it's important to consider safety and function too. Not all toys for puppies are durable or safe for young dogs. Here are some examples of toys you should not give a puppy:

  • Stuffed soft-toy animals
  • Toys with a bell inside
  • Squeaky toys
  • Latex toys
  • Painted dog toys

What are the best chew toys for puppies?

Puppies need to chew to relieve the discomfort of teething and help with the removal of puppy teeth and encourage the adult set to come through. Puppies also use their mouths to explore and pick things up, and chewing is one way they find out more about their world. You can help to satisfy your puppy's need to chew with a variety of different chew toys. For example:

  • Chews: Dental sticks, pressed hide and rawhide twists
  • Kongs: Firm rubber toy that has a hollow middle where you can stuff in biscuits or smear cheese spread for them to lick out
  • Activity balls: Hollow dimpled balls, with two holes, about the size of a small football

Best toys for eight weeks old puppies

Toys for eight-week-old puppies will usually be centred around teething. Teething chew toys help to soothe their mouths but make sure that any chew toys you give a puppy this age are suitable for their age and size and tested for safety. Stuffed, soft toys are great for giving young puppies some extra comfort. Just pick one that's large enough to prevent accidental swallowing but small enough that they can carry around with them. While there are plenty of soft toys for puppies on the market, even just your old t-shirt, towel, pillowcase or blanket can be very comforting to a young dog.

Best toys for puppies in a crate

When your puppy is spending time in their crate, certain toys can be useful in helping to keep them busy and stimulated. A Kong toy stuffed with cream cheese, dog treats or even peanut butter can provide an excellent distraction. You can even freeze the Kong too so that it lasts longer. Your puppy will be kept busy trying to work on getting the treats out or may fall asleep while trying. Another safe option for a crate toy for your puppy chewable, flavoured bones that don't come apart or splinter and can also help to keep your pup's teeth nice and clean. Don't forget to put a soft and durable toy in your pup's crate so that they can snuggle up to while they get used to being in the crate.

Check out our tips on crate training your dog.

Best rope toys for puppies

Rope toys are another great toy for puppies that help to satisfy their need to chew and give you the chance to play some gentle tug to war games with them. There are all sorts of rope toys for puppies on the market. Just remember that you must take care not to tug too hard with any rope toy or let your puppy dangle from the end of the rope.

Toys are so important for a puppy's well-being. They are fantastic boredom busters when you aren't there to play with them and comfort you when you have to leave your dog at home or feel nervous. The best toy for your puppy will depend on their personality, so take time to experiment until you find the perfect toy for your pup. Not forgetting that you'll probably have to replace it as they grow. Daily play with your dog is all about having fun. After all, it's one of the best bits of having a canine companion!

Frequently asked questions

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