Whether it’s tug-of-war or taking apart a stuffed animal, almost all dogs love to play. Some might grab a toy and get the zoomies, racing around the house. Others are serious about playing ball, over and over again.
Your dog might think there’s always room in the toy box for more toys. But we know that broken, destuffed, and cracked toys are dangerous to your pup and just end up in landfills, so we suggest toys that are durable. The longer they last, the less often you’ll replace them. We also look for options made from recycled and sustainable materials.
Best Overall: West Paw Zogoflex Qwizl Dog Puzzle Treat Toy
The colorful, twisty Zogoflex Qwizl from West Paw is just an all-around great toy. It’s ridiculously durable for aggressive chewers who are up for a gnawing challenge. It’s fun to toss, fetch, and roll around on the floor. It’s recyclable, dishwasher safe, and it floats.
The key feature of this toy is the compartment that runs through the center with little peek-a-boo spots on the edges and in the middle. You can poke biscuits, carrots, dental sticks, bully sticks, or any types of alluring treats to keep your pup interested and entertained. We like to smear peanut butter in the crevices, poke in some kibble or treats, and then freeze the Qwizl for a long-lasting time killer.
Best for Aggressive Chewers: Goughnuts Indestructible Ring Chew Toy
You know your dog has destroyed a toy when there is fluff everywhere, missing pieces, or shredded material. Hopefully, your dog just played with the insides of their plaything and didn’t ingest anything. The GoughNuts includes a “safety indicator” in their nearly indestructible rubber dog rings. If your dog makes it to the bright red center, take it away and they’ll replace the toy for free, for the lifetime of the toy. Damaged toys are recycled and reused as parts of other products include the red core in other rings–talk about circular manufacturing!
The toys are made from the sap of the rubber tree, not a petroleum-based product. “When formulated with other sustainable ingredients like carbon and sulfur, in ultra-high surface area particle sizes, [we] form an insanely durable polymer matrix that is tough to tear but pliable or soft enough not to damage teeth,” founder Amy Rockwood tells Treehugger. For the toughest chewers, opt for the Black Ring Pro 50, the toughest toy.
Best for Large or Small Dogs: Outward Hound Tough Seamz Stuffingless Durable Plush Toy
Another all-around great choice, these Outward Hound Stuffingless plush toys offer something for every dog. There’s a deep, booming squeaker that’s nothing like the wimpy squeak in most toys. There’s a fuzzy outer softness that’s fun to cuddle with when playtime is over. There’s the general tough durability with rugged seams and thick fabric that make these toys fun to chew and tug.
They come in itty-bitty sizes so even small puppies feel grand when they can waltz around with one of these colorful toys. Outward Hound also sells an extra-large, 30-inch “tough skinz” version for large dogs who are serious chewers. There’s no stuffing, so if a dog happens to get through the rugged exterior, there’s nothing to eat.
On a personal note: I have several of these that have withstood lots of chewing puppies and only one of them has succumbed and lost most of an eye, but it still squeaks.
Best Puzzle Toy: Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Brick Puzzle Game Dog Toy
You might take your dog for plenty of walks and play lots of catch, but what are you doing for that big canine brain? Many dogs like figuring out puzzles, especially when there’s food involved. These Nina Ottosen puzzles are ideal. They come in four levels from easy to expert. Just tuck some treats inside and watch your pet’s gray matter get to work.
I have several of these for my brainy border collie mix, but also because I like to challenge my foster puppies and make them work for their meals. The Level 2 Hide n’ Slide is a favorite because it takes some figuring out. A Nina Ottosen spokesperson said it’s made of a food-safe composite material which is part wood shavings and part plastic. Mixing it with wood makes it heavier and sturdier and reduces the amount of plastic used. It’s food-safe, BPA-, PVC-, and phthalate-free and has no loose part for eager contestants.
These are the most durable dog toys.