Durable, fun & safe. Over the years my dogs have tried, tested and destroyed most toys easily. Following are my top five quality dog toys that I have a feeling your dog, too, will love! And you will love them not just because you see pooches having fun, but also because they will save you money in the long run.
I will say, that most of my volunteer canine “product testers” are bigger dogs with strong jaws. But if the toy withstands their destructive power, rest assured that smaller or more gentle mouthed dogs will get even more life out of those toys.
Before we get into it: Let me remind you, that most toys are not meant to be left out for your dog to self-entertain! They are meant to play and engage with you and be put out of pupper’s reach, when the play session is over. Only chew toys and a few others are meant to “self-entertain”. My “Favorites Selection” (updated for 2020) is a mix of both. Here we go:
Katie’s Bumpers Double Tug
I love this brand! They make a whole assortment of different size, color and style toys for dogs of all sizes and a lot of them are suitable and durable enough to use in dog sports, such as Dock Diving, IPO (Schutzhund), French Ring Sport, Agility etc.
The Double Tug Firehouse Toy is one of my favorites of the line for various reasons. For one, I love having two handles. It provides a solid grip, lets you present the tug in a safe way, with fewer chances of your dog’s teeth landing on your fingers, rather than the tug. The handles are sown in solid and even my 75-pound Malinois hanging off it mid air hasn’t been an issue. The tug is made out of stuffed firehose, so it’s literally nearly indestructible. Another upside: it floats! I’ve used it in Dock Diving pools and to play fetch in the Ocean. It’s lightweight, so easy to carry!
The Double Tug (largest size) will run about $15. You can snag yours here!
Katie’s Bumpers Original Dog Toy
Another great one for interaction! Katie’s Bumpers Original is mainly meant for water retrieves. It’s easily visible, even in darker environments due to the bright orange color. Compared to the Firehose toys Katie’s Bumpers make, this one is rigid, made out of thick, recycled plastic. The attached string makes throwing it easy to throw further – even for the weakest of throwers, like me. As mentioned before, this toy is made mainly for water retrieves. It will work on land, of course. It is, however, definitely not a tug toy or meant to be chewed on. It’s great for water play-time or to train your retriever and other hunting breeds.
The “Original” runs about $20. Retrieve yours here!
Nero Ball Ultra ™ – New Version
This is the last one on the favorites list, that’s meant for interaction with you, not for self-entertainment. If you’ve read my post on “Dangers of Dog Toys”, you know that balls the size of tennis balls and smaller can easily get lodged in your dog’s throat. Fast ball, caught at just the right angle or inappropriately chosen size ball vs dog is a recipe for disaster. That’s one reason why using a proper sized ball on a string could be a life saver. Even if that ball were to get stuck, you are able to safely and quickly remove it from your dog’s throat. Believe me – trying to reach down your dog’s mouth is rarely done without involuntarily getting bit. You might not feel it in the moment, as adrenaline is high, however, the weeks to come are painful and not fun, dealing with bruising, punctures and scratches! But back to more lighthearted things… Quality balls with securely attached strings, such as the Nero Ultra, let you throw the ball quite far, give you that life line – if if it ever were needed. It also keeps you from having to grab the slobbered and/or dirty ball with your hand. Very well made ones will allow for some tugging (depending on your dog’s size), but if you overdo it, the rubber of the ball will eventually give and the string will rip out.
The Nero Ultra will cost you between $15 and $20. Grab one here!
The “original” Kong is a great chew toy for self-entertainment of your pup. It’s one of my Malinois’ favorites and he has yet to manage to destroy it (largest size)! You can stuff the Kong with yummy goodies. Kong makes different pastes, but you can also use peanut butter, carrots, dog food, treats or whatever else is fun for your dog. If you use the paste, peanut butter or other more liquid consumables, you can place the Kong into the freezer for a while and the fun will last a little longer. Make sure you get the right size for your dog. When in doubt, go one size up to avoid risk of swallowing!
The largest size Kong Xtreme runs about $13 to $17. Pick yours here!
This ball is my dog Yogi’s all time favorite entertainment toy! The ball is made of plastic hard enough to not dent and too large to bite into. Though durable, this ball is fairly lightweight. Your dog trying to grab it turns into a chasing game, since it slips away easily and is fun to chase. You can sit back and watch your dog self-exercise. Just make sure you don’t let your dog “overplay” and exhaust itself or risk heat stroke! This is a toy so fun that your dog might not want to stop and will ignore the fact that exhaustion is near. So, keep an eye on your dog’s energy and a time-limit on the interaction with “Boomer”!
You will have to spend about $30 to $40 for largest size ball, but it’s well worth the expense in durability and in the fun it brings. You can get one here!
What are your favorite Dog Toys and why?
Share your favorites with us and leave a comment below!