Recommended Puppy Toys
Toys are a great way for your puppy to learn, interact, and burn off energy all at the same time. And of course, just like human kids, puppies love to play and always love a new toy. We have lots of toys and rotate them, putting some away for a few weeks and then reintroducing them. It keeps the toys 'new' and our dogs think those toys are extra fun even though they've played with them before. Always consider the size and durability of toys before purchasing. As your puppy grows he will need larger, more durable toys especially while going through the teething stages. Be sure toys are not too small that they pose a choking hazard - buy larger sized toys as your puppy grows. A standard size tennis ball is too small for most adult dogs.
Toys for our adult dogs include an 'unstuffy' skunk, a well-worn Wubba, two nylabones, a blue Jolly Ball, pink Good Cuz, and a latex pig.
Kong makes a wide variety of toys in puppy to large dog sizes. The classic rubbery ones are essential toys for pups and some of the safest that you'll find. The classic Kong shape is always a winner and has a hole in the middle where you can put treats or a smear of peanut butter. You can keep this type of Kong as a special treat for your puppy to have only when he's in his crate, since it will give him something to do while crated. For puppies I recommend to get the medium size (the small size is too small and will quickly become a choking hazard as your pup grows). Kongs are color coded based on hardness. For adult dogs red Kongs are for average chewers and black are for power chewers. I buy either color and haven't had any red ones destroyed. I buy large or XL size for our adult dogs.
Kong makes other durable toys too. The balls and Wubba's are favorites. Kong Cozies are more durable than most stuffed toys and come in a variety of critters. Medium size or larger will ensure your puppy won't outgrow his toys too soon.
By playing with interactive toys, your puppy learns while playing. Hide n Seek toys are a favorite - cute little 'stuffies' hidden inside a larger toy. Best for supervised play - you're going to be entertained by watching your pup pull those little creatures out one by one! Then stuff them back inside to start all over! A 'snuffle mat' is a great way to encourage your puppy/dog to use his nose. Hide treats or kibble in the mat, and watch your pup sniff them out. Works well for dogs who eat to fast too.
Outdoor games are perfect for burning off some excess energy. If you want to play fetch, using a Chuck It is the only way to go and will keep your hands slobber free - haha! I use two balls, so when my dog brings one back I have the second already in the handle ready to throw. When she sees this, she'll drop the one that's in her mouth and get ready to go for ball #2. Remember, puppies can't follow a fast moving ball with their eyes like an adult can. Start out by rolling the ball short distances, then throwing short distances, and gradually increase the distance as your puppy matures. Don't encourage your puppy to jump, as that is hard on joints! Get the medium size ChuckIt for puppies, Large size for adults! Bubbles are a big hit with some dogs, but others are indifferent. Blow bubbles low to the ground to discourage jumping.
JW Good Cuz toy is a favorite here - the feet are easily chewed on but the rest of the ball is pretty durable and it has a squeaker inside. The latex pigs are fragile and play with them should be well supervised - but they make a hilarious grunting sound that our dogs love and we find entertaining. The Grunterz octopus toy makes the same noise and is more durable. The Jolly Bounce Ball is really tough - ours is riddled with teeth marks but still perfectly fine! We use it indoors but it'd also be good for kicking around outside. The small size is good for puppies, and medium size for adults.
Last year we had a herd of these long legged animals that we put into puppy 'go home packets' and they were a big hit. They have multiple squeakers in the feet and hands. Nylabones come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and flavors. I don't recommend the Nylabone 'edibles'. The favorite here is the textured bone shape shown. There is one for puppies, and several flavors available in the adult. If your dog isn't interested at first, spread a little peanut butter on it. The no stuffing toys have squeakers but no stuffing to make a mess. We call them 'unstuffies'.