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As we’ve incorporated more in-house testing of pet products here at The Dog People, tapping the expertise of our team of dog-loving writers (as well as an obliging pool of Rover office dogs) along the way, we’ve put a lot of dog toys to the test.
We reviewed some of our most recent, most popular dog toy articles and, along with certified dog trainer Shoshi Park‘s expert picks, came up with this list of tried-and-true dog toy recommendations. Trust us, your dogs are going to love these toys!
From interactive puzzle toys to bouncy balls and durable squeaking plushies, we’ve rounded up some of the best dog toys of 2020 based on our in-house testing and Shoshi Park’s personal experience as a dog trainer.
Best Textured Ball: Gnawsome 4.5″ Spiky Squeaker Ball Dog Toy (Verified Review)
Ideal for medium and large dogs, this over-sized squeaker ball from Gnawsome provides endless entertainment. Plus, the spiky texture aids in maintaining good dental health for your dog.
Verified review: “Iris has about 6 of the Gnawsome spiky balls. They’re her favorite ball, she takes one to the bottom of the stairs each night before bed so that we can play fetch for 10 minutes before she sleeps. The only thing is the loud squeaker is THE most annoying sound ever, but she loves the noise!”
We sourced this review from our article, 10 Indestructible Dog Squeaky Toys.Find on Amazon
Best Plush Puzzle Toy: Outward Hound Interactive Puzzle Toy (Shoshi’s Review)
Outward Hound’s hide-and-seek squirrel tree is one of the most versatile around. Five squeaky squirrels live inside this soft, plush trunk for your pup to extract one-by-one out of several small holes. There’s plenty of extra space inside to add extra toys to increase the challenge or to hide treats and food-stuffing toys for added excitement.
Shoshi’s review: “This toy is like three toys in one. After my dog has pulled out all the squirrels, he likes to snuggle up with the soft trunk or toss the squeaky rodents around. It’s one of the few toys he plays with daily.”
For more reviews of quality plush puzzle toys, as well as other stimulating and well-made dog toys, see our article, Our Favorite Dog Toys Made in the USA.
Best Food-Stuffing Toy: Kong Classic (Shoshi’s Review)
There’s a reason this classic is still going strong. The Kong Classic is ultra-durable, stuffable, chewable, and fetchable. Use it to feed meals, keep a bored dog busy, or help your pup feel better about potentially scary situations such as being left alone or crate training.
Shoshi’s review: “I use my Kongs (yes, I have multiple) constantly, not just to give my dog Buster something to do at home alone but to make him use his doggy brain to eat his meals. This thing can be frozen and put in the dishwasher, plus it bounces and floats. Buster loves it.”
For more about Kong toys (and what to put in them), see our articles, The 6 Best Kong Toys According to Reviews and Rover Office Dogs and The Ultimate Kong Stuffing Recipe Guide.Shop on Amazon
Best Chew Toy: Benebone Maplestick Chew Toy (Shoshi’s Review)
Like a real stick but better, this chew toy is made from a combination of real maple wood and non-toxic, USA-sourced nylon. The woody smell and chewability will keep your dog busy, and you won’t have to worry about splinters. Plus Benebone donates a portion of its products to dog rescue organizations.
Shoshi’s review: “Chewie was skeptical at first but within minutes, he wrapped his paws around the stick’s nubby ends and went to town. It keeps him busy for long spurts of time and so far has held up really well with only a little nibbling at the ends.”
For more expert-recommended chew toy suggestions, see our article, My Dog Is Obsessed With Chew Toys, and These Are My Favorites.Shop on Amazon
Best Tech Toy: Furbo Treat-Tossing Dog Camera (Verified Review)
Keep an eye on your dog with this top-rated high-tech dog gadget. The best part is the treat-tossing feature that lets you praise and reward your dog from afar.
Verified review: “The Furbo is the ultimate ‘didn’t know I needed it until I got it’ pet tech. This treat-shooting pet spy-gear has easy set-up and a user-friendly app. You can shoot treats at your pet, talk to them through the microphone, and sneak a peek at them while you’re away via the built-in camera.
I love it because (1) I now have confirmation that my dog seems pretty content when I’m not around. (2) It sends me a push notification whenever he’s barking so I can turn on the camera and see what’s up. (Spoiler alert: It’s always the mailman.) and (3) I can remind him any time, from anywhere, that I love him. That’s definitely the best part.”
We sourced this review from our article, The Coolest Pet Tech to Make Your Dog’s Life Better.Find on Amazon
Best Indoor Dog Toy: Chuckit Indoor Ball Dog Toy (Verified Review)
When you can’t make it outside, this Chuckit Indoor Ball Dog Toy makes it possible to still play all day. Featuring a lightweight design that protects indoor surfaces, this toy still features the characteristic bounce that drives dogs wild. Plus, it fits in the Chuckit Indoor Launcher to take your fetch game to an entirely new level (and perhaps quite literally have him bouncing off the walls).
Verified review: “This toy brought an intense amount of joy to both my dog and the Rover dogs who were staying with us this weekend. I was surprised that the ball was big enough for two dogs to play tug of war with it, which made the challenges of sharing a ball fun instead of competitive. It also did an excellent job of not making marks on my walls during our indoor fetch sessions.”
We sourced this review from our article, The Best 16 Dog Fetch Toys for Hours of Endless Play.Buy Now on Amazon
Best Stuffing-Free Plush Toy: PetSafe Pogo Plush Dog Toy (Verified Review)
No need to worry about cleaning up piles of poly-fill with this popular plush. Stuffing-free, this toy, available in multiple sizes and styles (including the panda pictured here and a fluffy bunny style that we tested) features a durable, inner bouncy frame that’s covered with super-strong (yet cozy) faux sheepskin. Just make sure to toss it if your dog manages to chew it down to the rubber inside.
Verified review: “Enzo was jumping up and down for this toy, likely because it is hairy and reminded him of squirrels. I liked how the fabric seemed thicker, and the toy was compact and easy to throw around. Enzo was infatuated with it!”
We sourced this review from our article, 10 Best Plush Dog Toys Your Dog Won’t Destroy Immediately.Shop on Amazon
Best Fetch Toy: West Paw Zwig Squeezy Dog Stick Toy (Shoshi’s Review)
Bendy, squishy and super tough, this knobby “Zwig” is great for fetching and chewing.
Shoshi’s review: “My dog had a scary incident a few years ago when part of a stick got lodged in his throat. Ever since then, he hasn’t been allowed to have them. This toy is a good replacement for the real deal. It’s easy to throw and my dog loves carrying it proudly home from the park.”
For more fetch toy ideas, see our article, The Best 16 Dog Fetch Toys for Hours of Endless Play.Find on Amazon
Best Outdoor Ball Launcher: Chuckit! Classic (Shoshi’s Review)
Chuckit’s lightweight launcher has an ergonomic handle that makes tossing the ball a breeze and comes with a durable rubber ball for hours of fetching fun.
Shoshi’s review: “Been using this thing for years and I’m sure it’s saved my shoulder a lot of wear and tear since I can throw much farther than with my puny arms alone. My ball-loving dog would be lost without it.”
For more fetch toy ideas, see our article, The Best 16 Dog Fetch Toys for Hours of Endless Play.Shop on Amazon
Best Stuffing-Free Ball Toy: Dizzy Hedgehog Squeaky Dog Toy (Verified Review)
Instead of stuffing, this dog toy has an extra durable squeaky ball hidden beneath its plush shell. It’s designed this way because the manufacturers understand dogs have an innate desire, as they explain in the product description, to “annihilate their toys,” know the mess that can result from chewed-up, overstuffed plush toys, and that one way or another a determined dog will eventually destroy any toy. Our tester’s pit bull put it to the test and loved it.
Verified review: “My power chewer loved it! Looks sturdier than a tennis ball, and I like that the eyes and nose are stitched in and not removable pieces. The ball is non-toxic and there’s no stuffing to deal with. It has a bright squeak, but the outer cover kept her focused on ripping instead of crushing the ball in her jaws. It was just the right size to hold steady in her paws while she tore and ripped at the outer cloth cover.
It did not take long to reach the ball. Within 15-20 minutes, she had about .25 of the ball exposed. However, the cloth cover holds together pretty well, in spite of a determined chewer. I would love to give her a Dizzy Hedgehog every few months.”Shop on Amazon
Best Advanced Puzzle Toy: Trixie Mad Scientist Turn Around Interactive Dog Toy (Verified Review)
Let the experiments begin! Your dog will be challenged to flip the canisters upside down and keep them balanced until the treats fall out. This toy comes with several lids with varying hole sizes for increased or decreased difficulty and is likely best for a dog who’s familiar with puzzle toys due to its exacting nature.
Verified review: “This toy is a little more challenging and is designed for the intermediate canine gamer. It has three rotating beakers that can be filled with treats. Each beaker can be covered with two included sets of lids which can be mixed or matched to make it easier or harder.”
We sourced this review from our article, 18 Best Puzzle Toys That Actually Help Bored Dogs.Find on Chewy
Best Rope Toy: Mammoth Flossy Cotton Blend 5 Knot (Shoshi’s Review)
This extra-long rope is made with big, beefy knots for added durability and a toothsome chew. Made from 100% cotton, the tug does double duty as a dental toy that gently flosses your dog’s teeth as they play.
Shoshi’s review: “I love playing tug with this rope toy. It’s super strong and durable and when my doggo’s teeth get a little out of control due to excitement, there’s several feet of rope to keep him from accidentally munching my hand.”
For more chew toy ideas for chomp-happy dogs and puppies, see our article, 20 Chew Toys for Puppies That’ll Save Your Shoes.Find on Chewy
For more about Shoshi’s favorite dog brands, how to spot a dangerous knock-off dog toy, and other pet toy recommendations, check out one of the stories below.
- Our Readers’ Favorite Pet Products of 2019
- How to Buy a Quality Dog Toy (and Avoid a Dangerous Fake)
- The Best Cat Toys for 2020 According to a Few Hyperactive, Playful Cats