Dog toys can greatly enrich the lives of our pets by offering them something to chew on, something to chase, and just to have something that is theirs and theirs only. Small dogs need toys just the same as their larger counterparts and should be offered items made for their size. Dog toys made for small breeds are easier for dogs to grip onto and engage with, but they're also safer. Similarly, toys made for small dogs shouldn't really be offered to larger dogs as they can present a possible choking hazard if they become swallowed or stuck in their mouths.
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What to consider when purchasing toys for small dogs
Safety: When it comes to shopping for any dog toy, offering your dog something that will keep them safe should be your top priority. Toys made with nontoxic materials, toys that are the correct size for your dog, and items designed for your intended purpose will give your pup the best and safest playtime experience.
Preference: Because toys are intended to enrich the lives of our pets, not all will be created equal in their eyes as not all dogs get enjoyment from the same things. Some dogs love to chew, while others may like to toss their toys around, or just snuggle up to them. If you're not sure what type of toy is best for your dog, safe options to offer include a chew toy, a plush toy with a squeaker, and a ball to start.
Size: Finding a toy in the right size will not only ensure that your dog enjoys playing with it or chewing on it, but it can also keep them safe. Small dogs can still range in size and weight, and a toy that's too small can present a choking hazard if the dog is a little too large or if they tend to chew on toys a lot. All dogs, especially young puppies, should be supervised as much as possible when playing with toys to guarantee safety.
Teething: Being a teething puppy isn't synonymous with being a small dog, although the toys used by each of them are often interchangeable. That said, if you have an adult dog who is a small breed, you may not need to look for toys specifically designed to encourage or withstand teething as you would for a puppy. Teething toys are almost always designed for use with baby teeth, so if you have a small dog who's a strong chewer, find a small-sized toy that can withstand the pressure of adult teeth.
The best overall toy for small dogs
ZippyPaws Skinny Peltz No Stuffing Squeaky Plush Dog Toys, 3-Count
The best dog toy for your small dog will depend on their preferences, but if you're looking for something to offer them and aren't sure where to start, these toys are best sellers for a reason. They contain a squeaker to keep dogs interested, have a soft plush cover that's easy on the mouth, and are designed to be on the longer side for easy pulling and chomping, all without excessive stuffing that could leave a huge mess to clean up. Available in 11- and 18-inch options, these toys also come in a variety of styles, including raccoon, weasel, wolf, and snake.
The best budget toy for small dogs
R2P Pet Instincts Chew Double Dentals Dog Toy
Small dogs can do a lot of damage to toys just like their larger counterparts, and sometimes, having a low-cost option to offer is just the more practical option. It'll be hard to find anything less expensive than this option, which still offers durability, quality, and fun despite its attractive price tag. Made with thick, knotted rope and fitted with a rubber chew in the center, this toy can be bounced or tossed for fun playtime, or offered as a dental chew toy for healthy teeth and gums.
The best plush toy for small dogs
Multipet Lamb Chop Squeaky Plush Dog Toy
When most people think of a dog toy, something soft, plush, and cute usually comes to mind, which is exactly what this Lamb Chop character toy is. At 6 inches (mini) or 10 inches (regular), this extra-soft toy is made for small breeds and puppies and is fitted with a squeaker to keep your best friend entertained for hours.
The best interactive toy for small dogs
Pet Zone IQ Treat Dispenser Ball Dog Toy
All dogs, be they large, medium, small, or tiny, need enrichment activities in their lives, and little is more enriching for a dog than working for their meals. Interactive dog toys like this one make it fun and easy for dogs to keep themselves entertained while working toward a goal, which is excellent for their self-esteem and sensory development. Available in three and four-inch sizes, this lightweight and easy puzzle toy is small enough for small breeds and puppies to play with, and can be adjusted to be easier or more difficult depending on your dog's physical and mental ability level.
The best chew toy for small dogs
Nylabone Power Chew Textured Ring Dog Chew Toy for Aggressive Chewers
Large dogs are usually thought of when you hear about aggressive chewing, but small dogs and puppies can hold their own when it comes to chewing up a toy. Puppy teething time is especially dependent on chewing, so offering a durable nylon ring like this one can meet your dog's chewing needs for hours at a time. Designed with a ribbed texture to soothe gums and enhanced with flavors like bison and peanut butter, this toy is a great option for any small dog as it's only one inch wide, making it easy to fit in even the littlest mouth.
The best ball for small dogs
Hartz Dura Play Ball Dog Toy
Many dogs enjoy sitting and chewing or snuggling with their toys, but sometimes, chasing and interacting with their toys in a more physical way is what dogs need. A fetch ball that bounces, rolls, and floats like this one can get your small dog up and exercising no matter the setting. Enhanced with a bacon flavor scent and made with a durable latex material, this ball, available in small, medium, and large sizes, also stands up as a chew toy once your dog has it in their grips.
The best rope toy for small dogs
Top Paw® 4-Knot Rope Dog Toy
Tug-of-war is a game many dogs enjoy playing, and there's no better toy for this kind of playtime than the classic knotted rope toy. Fitted with four knots, this multi-color rope toy is made specifically for very small dogs and puppies to chew on, tug at, or carry around and shake if they so prefer. Rope toys like this one are a great way to stimulate gums and encourage healthy and clean teeth and are an excellent option for supplementing a dog's oral hygiene regimen.
The best flavored toy for small dogs
Benebone Bacon Flavor Dental Tough Dog Chew Toy
Chewing comes naturally for any dog, but sometimes, offering a little bit of delicious flavor makes the act just that much more enjoyable. This bacon-flavored chew toy from Benebone is a tried and true favorite for many dog owners and their best friends thanks to the durable nylon material it's made of that's built to last. Additionally, it's made with no artificial flavors, just real, U.S.-sourced bacon, and is built with a dog-friendly ergonomic design to ensure a good grip and satisfying feel between the teeth.
The best fetch toy for small dogs
Vibrant Life Fetch Buddy Dog Toy
Playing a game of fetch with your pooch is a great way to stimulate them mentally and physically while building a strong bond between the two of you. Frisbee is the standard pet toy for a game of fetch, but not all dogs are intrigued by the shape or the material, be it plastic or cloth. A toy like this one, which is similar to the frisbee design and will catch air, but feels soft and plushy and looks chewable, is a great option for any small dog who loves to chase. Fitted with ropes at the feet and a squeaker in the body, this toy has a crinkle body rather than a filling so it won't make a big mess once your pup catches it. It's designed to withstand light to moderate chewing and will hold up to tug-of-war thanks to the durable body that's covered in enticing, soft plush material.
The best squeaker toy for small dogs
Top Paw® Watermelon Flattie Dog Toy
A squeaky toy might be the ultimate classic when it comes to dog toys, but many of these pet toys are filled with stuffing that can make a big mess if the toy is broken. This flat-designed toy is fitted with a squeaker to promote playing and chewing but is filled with crinkle material in case the outer layer becomes shredded. Measuring seven by five inches in size, this toy is a wonderful option for a small dog or a teething puppy and includes thick tassels at the end of it for carrying, pulling it out of a tight spot, or nibbling with those adorable front teeth.