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15 Best Toys For Puppies To Learn And Play With

Written by: Molly Weinfurter
Molly Weinfurter is a writer for iHeartDogs, and she’s passionate about helping animals in need. She volunteers for Bailing Out Benji and a local dog rescue.Read more
| Published on September 25, 2023

Reviewed by: Dr. Theresa Fossum

Reviewed by:

Dr. Theresa Fossum

Meet Dr. Theresa (Terry) W. Fossum, DVM, MS. Ph.D., Diplomate ACVS – a remarkable animal lover whose passion for animal care and innovative solutions has left an indelible mark on the veterinary world. As the CEO of both Phoenix Animal Wellness and Epic Veterinary Specialists, she's ensuring dogs and cats receive the highest level of care and compassion.Read more
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Puppies love to play, so the best toys for puppies are essential if you’re bringing home a young canine companion. For most puppies, just one toy won’t suffice. Many pups want a variety, including chew toys, squeaky toys, puzzle toys, and outdoor toys. That way, they can keep their minds busy while having fun, making them less likely to get into trouble.

Yet, how will you know what toys your new puppy will like the most? The best way to find out is to offer them a variety to learn which ones they’re most interested in. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of the best toys for puppies in various categories.

Puppy on the beach

Best Toys for Puppies

Best Chew Toys for Puppies

Nylabone Puppy Chew Teething Pacifier
  • Made for teething puppies
  • Soft material safe for puppy chewing
  • Grooved texture for cleaning teeth
  • Several colors and textures to entice curious puppies

Puppies love to chew! So, they need lots of chew toys to fulfill their gnawing needs. This teething pacifier is made with a soft material that’s safe for puppies to chew on. Parts of the toy are textured to clean their teeth and prevent tartar buildup as they chew. If you’re looking for more of the best teething toys for puppies, Nylabone has a variety of other designs, including a dinosaur and bone-shaped toys.

KONG Puppy Toy
  • Soft rubber for puppies
  • Can be filled with treats for mental stimulation
  • Vet-recommended
  • Five size options

KONG toys are perfect for both chewing and mental stimulation. Many dogs love to gnaw on the durable rubber, but the toy can also be filled with something flavorful, like treats or peanut butter, so your dog can figure out how to get it out. This specific product is the puppy version because the rubber is softer to cater to delicate puppy teeth. Vets recommend this toy for teething puppies, and there are five sizes available.

Fresh Mint Scented Dog Bone Toy
  • Varying textures can remove plaque
  • Crevices for hiding toothpaste and treats
  • Mint scent
  • Donates a toy to a shelter dog
  • Comes in two sizes

Not only is this toy perfect for teething puppies, but it’s also a great product for dental health. These chewy rubber toys have varying grooves on the ends to clean your puppy’s teeth as they chew. The rubber spikes can help remove plaque from hard-to-reach places. You can also put toothpaste in between the spikes for added cleaning. Otherwise, you can hide small treats in the crevices to entice hesitant pups. The toy has a mint scent that both puppies and humans can appreciate. This toy comes in two sizes, and each product sold donates a toy to a shelter dog.

Best Soft Toys for Puppies

Mighty Jr Microfiber Ball Plush Toy
  • Durable with 3 layers of fabric while still being gentle on puppy teeth
  • Minimal stuffing around the squeakers
  • Floats in water
  • Machine-washable
  • Comes in several designs

This adorable plush toy is soft and gentle on puppy teeth while still being able to stand up against destructive pups. It has three layers of strong fabric to make it difficult for your dog to puncture it with their teeth. Plus, it has minimal stuffing surrounding the squeaker balls, so even if your puppy destroys it, they won’t ingest any harmful materials. This adorable toy comes in several styles, with the rabbit being one of the most popular.

Heartbeat Puppy Comfort Cuddler
  • Replicates a living dog
  • Helps calm puppies with anxiety
  • Comes with a heartbeat that can be turned on and off
  • Comes with a heat pad
  • Donates a toy to a shelter dog

Some puppies get anxious when left alone because they’re so used to being cuddled and played with all the time. This plush toy can help puppies feel calm, even when you’re not home. The plush toy is meant for cuddling with, and it has a plastic heart inside that replicates a pulsing heartbeat. The toy also comes with a disposable heat pad that can go inside the toy to mimic a living canine. When puppies cuddle with it, they may feel like they’re cuddling with a real dog. Plus, every toy purchased donates a toy to a shelter dog.

GoDog Plush Dragon
  • Soft, bubbly texture
  • Durable seams
  • Built-in squeaker
  • Minimal stuffing
  • Lots of options available

Squeaky toys are a favorite for most dogs, but many puppies destroy their plush toys, leaving a mess for their humans. This dragon plush is the perfect toy for puppies because it has soft fabric, durable seams, and a built-in squeaker. The bubbled texture of the fabric is appealing to most pups. Plus, it has minimal stuffing, so there’s less cleaning involved if your dog breaks it. You can buy this dragon in three different sizes and over 15 different styles.

Blue the Bear Plush Squeaky Toy
  • Soft filling
  • Built-in squeaker
  • Textured corduroy is good for teeth
  • Donates a toy to a shelter dog
  • Several animal designs available

Blue the Bear is a cuddly squeaky toy that dogs of all ages can enjoy. Ted the Bear and Barkley the Dog are two similar squeaky toys that dog parents can choose from. The interior is made with soft filling so the toy will be gentle on puppy teeth, and the textured corduroy on the exterior can clean your pup’s teeth as they chew. Every time one of these plush toys is purchased, a toy will be donated to a shelter dog.

      Best Puzzle Toys for Puppies

      Outward Hound Hide a Squirrel
      • Interactive dog toy
      • Squirrels can hide in plush log
      • Fabric is gentle on teeth and gums
      • Squirrels have squeakers
      • Four size options
      • Replacement squirrels available

      Mental stimulation can be just as important as physical exercise for puppies. Puzzle toys are good toys for dogs because they can keep a dog’s mind busy to prevent them from being disruptive or destructive. This puzzle toy is a soft plush product that’s great for dogs who love squeaky toys. It’s a plush log that has holes for plush squirrels to fit inside. The squirrels squeak, causing dogs to have to figure out how to pull them out of the log. There are four different sizes available, and dog parents can even purchase replacement squirrels if needed.

      Sniff Diggy Mental Stimulation Snuffle Mat
      • Interactive dog toy
      • You can hide treats in the fabric pieces
      • Improves your dog's focus and keeps them busy
      • Multiple snuffle mats can link together
      • Donates a toy to a shelter dog

      Snuffle mats are another great puzzle toy for puppies to start with. To use this product, you can hide your dog’s favorite treats among the pieces of fabric, and then your pup will have to sniff around to figure out where the treats are. It can improve your puppy’s focus and give them something to do. If you buy more than one snuffle mat, you can link them together to create an even larger sniffing space for your dog. Every one of these products purchased donates a toy to a shelter dog.

      Best Outdoor Toys for Puppies

      Tuffy Jr 3 Way Tug
      • 3-way tug-of-war toy
      • Floats in water
      • Machine-washable
      • Sewn multiple times with several layers of fabric
      • Includes several squeakers

      Despite being made of fabric, this toy works well for both indoor and outdoor activities, especially if your puppy loves to play with other dogs. It’s a 3-way tug-of-war toy that floats in water and is machine-washable. It’s sewn multiple times with three layers of fabric, so it’s durable for tough chewers while still being gentle enough for puppies. Plus, this toy includes several squeakers, each one secured in a pouch so it’s difficult to rip out.

      Benebone Puppy Chew Toys
      • Two small, unique shapes
      • Durable, but soft enough for puppy teeth
      • Safe to take outside
      • Maple wood and bacon flavoring
      • Textures help clean teeth

      These chewable Benebone toys are like durable sticks, so puppies can chew on them outside instead of breaking apart real sticks. These chews are strong to the human touch, but they’re a little softer than traditional Benebones to make them safe for puppy teeth. This pack comes with two small, unique shapes that have textures puppies will love. One has a real maple wood flavoring while the other is flavored with real bacon. Thus, even picky pups will feel compelled to chew.

      West Paw Zogoflex Treat Dispensing Toy
      • Durable chew toy
      • Floats in water
      • You can hide treats inside
      • Recyclable and dishwasher safe
      • Comes in several colors
      • Two sizes available

      West Paw has a variety of durable toys that can be safely used outside. This one even floats in the water. Not only is this product a chew toy, but it also works as a mental stimulation toy. You can hide treats inside it, causing your dog to figure out how to get those treats out. Another fun option is to freeze wet food or chicken broth inside. There is a small and large size, along with three colors available. West Paw’s toys are non-toxic, recyclable, and dishwasher-safe.

      Best Ball Toys for Puppies

      Silly Squeakers iBalls
      • Pack of three fuzzy toys
      • No white poly stuffing
      • Durable ball core
      • All the balls squeak
      • Floats in water
      • Machine-washable

      Despite being fluffy on the outside, these balls have no white poly stuffing. Instead, the core of the toy is a durable ball, which helps it last long and reduces the risk of your dog ingesting something they shouldn’t. Plus, all the balls squeak to pique your dog’s interest. These balls work well both indoors and outdoors because they can float in water and be machine-washed after, as long as you let them air dry.

      Chuckit Kick Fetch Ball
      • Large ball that dog parents can kick
      • Floats in water
      • Ridges make it easy for dogs to grab
      • Made with durable foam and canvas
      • Has high-visibility colors
      • Two sizes available

      There are lots of balls on the market, but this one brings unique features to playtime. This Chuckit ball is large, making it easy for dog parents to kick it so their puppies can chase it. You won’t have to worry about throwing a slobbery ball with your hands. It’s a great outdoor ball because it floats in water and it has high-visibility colors. The ridges on this ball help dogs of all sizes pick it up. It’s made with durable canvas and foam to help it hold up to strong puppies. It comes in two sizes so you can choose an option that’s suitable for your dog’s breed.

      Hartz Dura Play Ball
      • Bounces and floats
      • Bacon-scented
      • Built-in squeaker
      • Edges help clean teeth
      • Fun for indoor or outdoor play
      • Color may vary

      These durable balls are perfect for dogs to play fetch with, whether you’re indoors or outdoors. They’re bacon-scented, so they’re great for encouraging hesitant puppies to play. The balls bounce and float. The color varies between orange, pink, green, or blue. They squeak, and the edges of the ball can clean your dog’s teeth as they chew.

        Buying Guide for Best Toys for Puppies

        There’s no shortage of dog toys on the market, so here are some aspects to look for to help you narrow down your search.

        Type of Toy

        First, think about the type of toy you’re looking for. If your puppy already has a lot of squeaky toys, you might want to look for something different, such as a puzzle toy or a ball. If you don’t know your puppy’s preferences yet, be sure to choose a variety of toy types so they have lots to choose from. No matter what, make sure you have some toys for teething.


        Puppies aren’t as big as full-grown dogs, so their mouths may be too small to grab onto adult dog toys. So, choose small toys for your puppy to play with while they’re growing. However, keep in mind that a Chihuahua puppy will need much smaller toys than a German Shepherd puppy, even if they’re the same age.


        Material is important because puppies have more sensitive teeth than adults. So, the material should be soft enough for them not to hurt themselves. For reference, you should be able to press into the toy with your fingernail. Also, you should avoid toys with small parts that could break off and become choking hazards.

        Materials that have varying textures are great options because they appeal to teething puppies while also improving dental health.


        Soft materials can still be durable. Puppies love to cause destruction, so they need a toy that can withstand their chewing. Look for toys with strong, yet safe, materials to ensure they’ll last.

        However, “indestructible dog toys” are never a guarantee. All toys will break at some point if your dog is a heavy chewer. So, when you notice your puppy’s toys starting to fall apart, replace them to ensure that the broken pieces don’t pose a risk to your pup’s safety.

        Puppy playing with rope toy

        Frequently Asked Questions

        Do Puppies Need Toys?

        Yes, puppies need toys. Toys can fight boredom, provide comfort, and make dogs mentally stimulated. Having a variety of toys available is great for a puppy’s development.

        What Toys Should You Avoid for Puppies?

        When shopping for a puppy, avoid toys with hard materials and toys with pieces that could be choking hazards. Puppies have sensitive teeth, so they can’t safely chew through as many toys as adult dogs can.

        Can You Use Baby Toys for Puppies?

        Yes, some baby toys can be great for puppies. Baby toys are typically held to higher standards than puppy toys, so they will be safe for puppies to chew on. However, since they’re designed for babies instead of puppies, they might not appeal to puppies as much. They may also be less durable.

        Why are Dog Toys Squeaky?

        Dogs love squeaky toys because of their hunting instincts. The squeaking sound resembles the squeak of an injured animal, so it makes them feel like they’ve successfully captured their target.

        Should I Let My Puppy Destroy Their Toys?

        Yes, it’s okay for dogs to destroy their toys, however, you should remove access to the toy once it comes apart. Broken toys can pose choking hazards to dogs, so you should replace toys once they get to that point.

        Puppy with new toys


        The best toys for puppies vary based on your pup’s behaviors and preferences. Large breeds that love to chew might favor chew toys while small breeds that love fetch might want a ball or squeaky toy instead. The best way to ensure that a puppy is content and mentally stimulated enough is to buy a variety of toys for them. Any of the toys in this article could be great toys for you to try with your new furry friend.

        Looking for more exciting toys? Check out the 16 Best Dog Toys For All Types Of Dogs.

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