‘Tis the season of giving! As the holidays unfold this month, and you think of your family and friends while shopping for gifts, don’t forget about your new puppy! Puppies need mental stimulation and physical activity in order to grow into happy, healthy dogs. The toys you get for your puppy can greatly enhance his development!
Fun, intelligence-building toys can also help you keep your puppy entertained during periods of the day when he might have to stay inside or spend time by himself.
Are some puppy toys better than others? What toys should you get your puppy this holiday season?
PuppyBuddy has researched and tested some of the most popular puppy toys, and we’re bringing you the very best of the best. Read on to find out which gifts to get your puppy this winter.
Best Toy for Puppies Who Like to Chew
If you’ve never heard of the Kong before, it’s time to step into the light. Kongs are, hands-down, the most popular dog toy, because they stimulate and entertain dogs of all ages, including puppies.
Kongs are made of a durable, chewable, non-BPA rubber that bounces when your puppy throws it around. The key feature of the Kong is that you can put a doggy treat inside it. Your puppy will have to chew, pinch, and shake the Kong at just the right angle to get the treat.
As you can imagine, this type of game can provide hours of entertainment for your puppy that will tire him out and give him a sense of accomplishment and reward. Best of all, when your puppy has a fun chew toy like the Kong, he won’t be interested in chewing your shoes or furniture.
Kongs come in a variety of sizes, too. The price ranges from $12 – $25, and since it’s easy to clean this toy, they tend to last a very long time.
DOG ROPE TOY & MONKEY ROPE TOY
Best for Bonding Playtime
When it comes to rope toys, quality is everything. Depending on the brand, the strength and durability of the rope material can vary. The last thing you want is for your large breed puppy to literally tear apart his new toy, which is why we recommend Lechong and ZippyPaws.
Lechong makes a dog rope toy that is durable enough for your large breed puppy to give the thing a real beating without destroying it. Most importantly, because Lechong tightly weaves the ropes during assembly and uses large knots, there’s no chance of your puppy tearing off bits that could become choking hazards.
The material is made from natural, washable cotton, and is known for being a great texture for teething puppies. Plus, it’s 36 inches long, which allows plenty of space for you and your puppy to play tug-of-war. This product is roughly $17, but prices may vary.
If you have a smaller breed puppy, then we recommend the Monkey Rope Toy from ZippyPaws. This toy isn’t quite as hefty as the Lechong rope toy, but it doesn’t need to be if your puppy belongs to a smaller breed. The ZippyPaws rope toy uses thick nylon at each grip end, and best of all, the middle of the rope toy is a stuffed animal with a squeaker inside. When your puppy isn’t playing tug-of-war with you, he can cuddle this toy. You can find the Monkey Rope Toy for about $16 at most pet retailers.
LAMB CHOP PLUSH DOG TOY
Best for Cuddling
Remember being a kid and opening presents on Christmas? If your memories are anything like ours, receiving a mix of toys and stuffed animals was a source of joy! Your puppy will feel the same way when you give him a cute, stuffed animal to cuddle with and call his own.
There are many doggy stuffed animals out there, but not every product can withstand the chewing, tugging, and tossing that puppies typically do to their toys. The biggest concern for new puppy parents is choking hazards, which is why it’s important to pick out a stuffed animal that’s trusted.
We could easily recommend ten stuffed animal toys in this section, but we’ll stick to the one we like the most. That being said, we encourage you to do your own research to find alternatives. There are plenty of great brands out there!
But our personal favorite is made by Multipet—the Lamb Chop Plush Dog Toy. This stuffed animal is 10 inches long and is made out of a super soft material that can withstand chewing. This is a squeaky toy and has enough weight that you can throw it during a game of fetch. This toy is best for small-to-medium sized breeds.
INTERACTIVE DOG TOYS
Best for Mental Stimulation
We decided to save the best for last… Yes, all of the puppy toys on this list are great choices for the holidays, but if you only get your puppy one gift this winter, it has to be an interactive dog toy. Our personal favorite is the Nina Ottosson Interactive Dog Toy, but you may want to browse the options to find alternatives.
The Nina Ottosson Interactive Dog Toy was voted “Best Overall Toy for Puppies” by PopularMechanics.com, a website dedicated to reviewing new technology and innovations in mechanical science with a special emphasis on analyzing military tech. So, um, yeah, a toy that Popular Mechanics recommends just might turn your puppy into a rocket scientist!
This toy is really a puzzle that provides both mental and physical stimulation for dogs of all ages. There are various “levels” of this toy model that you can buy as your puppy develops. You’ll probably want to start with Level 1.
No matter what the level, the objective of the game remains the same. Your puppy must remove the “bones” from the tray to uncover treats. These puzzle games have been thoroughly reviewed by pet parents of puppies and dogs, and the consensus is that their pets are engaged for hours and love the toy. It’s appropriate for all breeds, and the only caveat is that once you see how much your puppy loves this game, you’ll probably buy him another and another as he grows. You can find these puppy puzzles for roughly $15, but we recommend price hunting. You might find a deal!
Now that you have our puppy toy recommendations, which holiday gifts are you going to buy your puppy this Christmas?