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Before getting my first puppy I never bothered to ask: “What are the best chew toys for a puppy?” I just went to the nearest pet store, grabbed the cutest, squeakiest, squirrel toy, and brought it home to Linus.
Two years later, before bringing home my first guide dog puppy, our group leader suggested I bring a plush toy to rub all over Stetson’s littermates. Getting the scent of littermates on a plush toy would make our puppy’s first night home more comfortable.
Fast forward 15 years and we finally found our favorite plush toy for puppies. The Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat & Heat Pack is by far our favorite puppy toy during the first week with a new pup.
Not only do we get the scent of the littermates on our Calmeroos Puppy, but we also have the added bonus of a heartbeat and heat pack to comfort our puppy during those first few nights.
However, over the years we learned that plush toys are great for young puppies, but as they get older our little Goldens and Labs tend to shred the basic stuffed squirrel (they love extracting the squeaker).
So, if you’re like me then you’re always on the lookout for the best chew toys for your puppy.
Something durable, entertaining, fun, and…DURABLE!
Best Chew Toys For A Puppy
We recently received this email from one of our readers:
Wanted to find out any additional puppy toy suggestions you have? We have a stuffed duck. A rope. A Kong. Any other references for best toys? Thanks and have a good. We have an 8 week old golden retriever pup.—K.G.
Over the years I feel like we’ve purchased every puppy chew toy under the sun.
The good news is every year companies come up with new, innovative chew toys for puppies.
Here’s our quick list of Best Chew Toys For A Puppy.
Our Top Picks
- BEST OVERALL CHEW TOY: KONG Classic Dog Toy
“Dublin loved his Classic KONG. We love its versatility.”
- BEST CHEW TOY FOR PUPPIES UNDER 3 MONTHS: Calmeroos Puppy
“We gave Anna a Calmeroos Puppy during his first night…not a peep!”
- BEST NATURAL CHEW TOY: Mighty Paw Naturals Bully Sticks
“Our pups love them! We love the pups chew on the sticks vs our hands.”
- BEST INTERACTIVE CHEW TOY: Hide-A-Squirrel Puzzle Dog Toy
“Cute, adorable, and practical. Adelle loved pulling out the squirrels.”
- BEST DURABLE CHEW TOY: Goughnut – Indestructible Chew Toy
“Possibly the most durable chew toy on the market.”
- BEST BUDGET CHEW TOY: Gumby Dog Toy
“I’m not sure if the Gumby Toy will remain at this ultra low price but at the time of this writing it’s a whopping 72% off!”
- BEST CUTE CHEW TOY: Mr. Bill Dog Toy
“I may be dating myself, but I love Mr. Bill and his patented “Oh No!”
What We Look For When Picking Chew Toys For Our Puppies
Okay, guys and gals you may not like my answers because you’re going to have to pull out your checkbook (does anyone truly still have a checkbook) if you want to follow my advice.
For openers, you should have lots of puppy toys…lots of them!
When it comes to the best chew toys for a teething puppy you need variety.
That’s right! There’s not a one-size-fits-all when it comes to the best puppy toys.
Here’s our list of what we look for when we pick the best chew toys for our pup:
- Durable – What good is a puppy chew toy if it only lasts 5 minutes before it’s destroyed?
- Texture – Puppies get bored with the same type of toy so we always keep our eye out for different textures like fluffy, extra furry, rubbery, leathery…you get the picture.
- Interactive/Puzzles – We are always harping on our readers to not just exercise your puppy’s bodies, but their mind as well. Interactive dog toys are a great way to tire out your puppy’s mind.
- Variety – If all your puppy toys are plush stuffed toys with squeakers your puppy will get bored in a hurry.
- Price – We have puppies throughout the year and in fact this past summer we had a litter of 10 puppies. The little ones and small breed dogs don’t need the higher-priced durable products. A budget toy will do just fine with our smaller pups.
- Cuteness – Yep, it’s a factor when we choose our puppy toys…especially if my wife is with me 🙂
- DURABLE! – Did I already say durable? When you have a mouthy lab puppy you need something that is close to indestructible.
After reading the above list you probably guessed that we have a lot of puppy toys. Yup, our house is a puppy playground, but we have one more thing we need to mention:
Don’t let your puppy play with all their toys all the time.
We only allow our puppies to play with one or two toys at a time. If they get bored with those toys then we pick them up and give them a new toy.
That’s why it’s important to have variety and different textures. You can keep your puppy entertained and interested for long periods of time.
7 Best Chew Toys For A Puppy
Actually you probably already saw the TL;DR section above so no drumroll is necessary.
We broke our list up into 7 “Best of” categories and also listed a couple of Honorable Mentions just in case you don’t like our picks or you want other puppies to be jealous of your pup’s toy box.
Without further adieu:
Best Overall Chew Toy: KONG Classic Dog Toy
I guess you could say our best all-around chew toy for puppies is the KING! Get it? KING KONG? Yeah, I know I’m dumb.
Seriously, we love our KONG. It’s versatile, durable, and fun.
The KONG was Dublin’s favorite toy when he was training to be a guide dog. You could give it to him and he’d sit there and gnaw on it for a good thirty minutes.
Offering enrichment by helping satisfy dogs’ instinctual needs, the KONG Classic’s unique all-natural red rubber formula is ultra-durable, with an erratic bounce that is ideal for dogs that like to chew, while also fulfilling a dog’s need to play. Want to extend playtime? And to add some extra fun into the mix, this toy can be stuffed with KONG’s Stuff’N Easy Treat, Snacks or Ziggies (sold separately), or any of her favorite rewards like peanut butter, yogurt, or kibble!
One of our favorite uses for the KONG is during crate training. If your puppy is having issues in the crate, try stuffing your KONG with a treat and freezing. The next time you have to crate your pup give him his frozen KONG to gnaw on.
The shape of a KONG reminds me of a football. When you play fetch with it bounces erratically keeping your puppy on his toes.
- Dublin’s favorite toy and it lasted him throughout puppyhood.
- You can freeze and stuff your KONG which makes for a great treat.
- Add a few treats through the bottom and your pup will be mentally stimulated trying to remove the treats.
- Some of our pup’s didn’t care to play with it.
- While durable we have seen some dogs destroy their KONG.
- Has a rubber smell that some people dislike.
HONORABLE MENTION FOR BEST OVERALL
- Nylabone Double Action Dog Chew – This was Adelle’s favorite chew toy (and a favorite of many of our other service dog pups). Be careful when your puppy walks around with this in her mouth. After a few days/weeks, the plastic ends get jagged. Adelle dropped this bone on my bare foot more than once…OUCH!
- Benebone Wishbone Dog Chew Toy – Raven is testing a Benebone Wishbone right now. It’s her early Thanksgiving/Christmas present. So far so good!
Best Chew Toy For Puppies Under 3 Months: Calmeroos Puppy with Heart Beat & Heat Pack
The Calmeroos Puppy is literally the first item on our new puppy checklist.
Before we pick up a new puppy we always make sure we have a Calmeroos Puppy. Why? Because we take this plush toy and rub it all over our pup’s littermates.
Getting the scent of the littermates helps your puppy feel more comfortable when moving to his new home. This can be especially helpful when you start crate training your puppy.
Calmeroos are designed to appeal to your pet’s natural instincts by recreating the experience of cuddling up to their mama and littermates when there wasn’t a care in the world! Your pet will feel at ease and comforted when they cuddle up next to Calmeroos!
We use our Calmeroos Puppy as a substitute litter mate during crate training. It’s an adorable plush toy with a heartbeat and heat pack. We put a Calmeroos Puppy in the crate with Anna on her first night home and not a peep until 7 am the next day!
Today we get a Calmeroos Puppy every time we bring home a new service dog puppy. So far (we’re 3 for 3) we haven’t had a fussy puppy at night thanks to our Calmeroos Puppies!
If you’re having problems getting your puppy to sleep through the night then I highly recommend trying a Calmeroos Puppy.
- Great to help with crate training during your puppy’s first night home.
- Innovative heartbeat and heat pack simulate a litter mate.
- It’s soft, snuggly, and cute.
- You only get 2 heat packs with your Calmeroos Puppy.
- It’s not too durable.
- Some pups are afraid of the ticking heartbeat.
HONORABLE MENTION FOR BEST CHEW TOYS FOR PUPPIES UNDER 3 MONTHS
- Nylabone Puppy Starter Pack – We bought one of these for Linus many, many moons ago. One of the bones in the pack is edible. The others are not. Your puppy will most likely outgrow these starter Nylabones. When our pups are teething we keep one of these in our pocket and when our puppy grabs our hand with his mouth we slowly pull out our hand and replace it with a Nylabone.
- N-Bone Puppy Teething Ring – We have a package of these waiting at home to test with our next puppy. It comes highly rated, but at this time we have not used it with one of our pups. Stay tuned…
Best Natural Chew Toy: Mighty Paw Naturals Bully Sticks
Our puppies love Bully Sticks! However, if you don’t already know…
Q: What is a Bully Stick?
A: Bully Stick = Beef Pizzle = Bull Penis
100% Natural: The Mighty Paw Naturals Bully Sticks are sourced from grass-fed, free-range beef in Columbia. They don’t contain any added flavors or artificial preservatives! That makes them fully digestible, protein-rich, grain-free, gluten-free, chemical-free, preservative-free, mess-free, smell-free, and – most importantly – guilt-free!
This is our favorite natural chew toy for puppies. We discovered bully sticks way back when we got our first puppy, Linus.
We usually get 6 or 12-inch Bully Sticks which can last quite a while with the smaller puppies. As your pup reaches adulthood they will consume these chews much more quickly.
The biggest drawback we’ve found is the smell. I won’t lie. These things stink! However, you can find some that aren’t as stinky.
We’ve found that even bully sticks advertised as “odor free” still have a stinky smell.
- Can entertain your puppy for long periods.
- Relieves your puppy’s need to teeth/chew.
- Natural product made from real beef pizzle.
- Can be a choking hazard when it gets too small.
- Even though Natural Farm Bully Sticks advertise odor free they do have an odor. However, not nearly as bad as some others we’ve tried.
HONORABLE MENTION FOR BEST NATURAL
- Beef Collagen Sticks – 100% natural, single ingredient, they don’t smell as bad as a bully stick, and they last 20% longer!
- Yak Cheese Dog Chews – I usually order a pack of Bully Sticks and Yak Cheese Dog Chews at the same time. Again, it’s important to get different textures when getting chews for your dog.
- Deer Antlers – Somewhat controversial as a chew toy as some of our readers have had some difficulties with deer antlers as chew toys. Some aggressive chewers ended up with cracked teeth. Know your puppy and proceed with caution.
Best Interactive Chew Toy: Hide-A-Squirrel
Cute, adorable, interactive, and fun! What more could you ask for? Maybe more durable!
Treat your pup to hide-and-seek fun with Hide-A-Squirrel! Just stuff the squeaky squirrels in the plush tree trunk, and watch as your dog sniffs them out. To keep the game going, just stuff them in again and again!
We love our hide-a-squirrel. One of our favorite parts is it simulates the de-stuffing of a regular plush toy.
However, it’s still not a super durable dog toy. Just like any plush toy, the hide-squirrel will eventually meet its demise even with a moderate chewer.
- It’s cute and fun for your pup.
- We like how it simulates the de-stuffing of a regular plush toy.
- It’s like 4 toys in one. 3 Squirrels plus the plush wood log.
- Just like most plush toys, it’s not very durable.
HONORABLE MENTION FOR BEST INTERACTIVE
- Jolly Ball – Dublin’s all-time favorite chew toy. We’d buy him a new one every year and bring it to him in Arizona. The good news was his old one would survive the year. The bad news was it was usually in terrible shape with holes and a shredded rope. FYI – we like the Jolly Ball with the rope vs the one with the handle.
- KONG Wobbler – One of our favorites. Technically not a chew toy and if your puppy does use it as a chew toy (like Stetson did) then he’s using it wrong. Stetson did a full review of the KONG Wobbler way back when.
Best Durable Chew Toy: Goughnut – Indestructible Chew Toy
Looks and smells like a rubber tire. Heavy and durable as heck!
The GoughNuts Ring Dog Toy was designed to give pups a safer, tougher chew toy. This natural rubber ring is made in the USA using engineered carbon reinforcement. Each GoughNuts toy has two layers — the outer color indicates the strength, and the inner core is always red to serve as a safety indicator. Red means stop, so when a dog chews down to this red layer, you know it’s time to order a new GoughNuts Ring. This GoughNuts Ring bounces, rolls, and even floats, so it can stand up to extreme games of fetch and all types of outdoor play.
Our dogs originally played with Goughnuts at a friend’s house many years ago. Recently we bought Raven a Goughnut of her own. She’s not the heaviest of chewers so not a good test subject. However, one of our most destructive puppies, Dublin was never able to destroy a Goughnut.
We’re going to get one of these for our friend’s aggressive chewer, Higbee to see if he can destroy the much-vaunted, Goughnut.
- Durable. This is one tough chew toy!
- Floats in water.
- Made in the USA.
- They have a strong smell like a tire.
- Power chewers have been known to destroy the Goughnut.
HONORABLE MENTION FOR BEST DURABLE
- KONG Extreme Dog Toy – Dublin was the aggressive chewer in our pack. He barely left a mark on the KONG Extreme. Although he also didn’t like the Extreme as much as the Classic KONG Toy.
- West Paw Zogoflex Hurley Durable Dog Bone Chew Toy for Aggressive Chewers – That’s a mouthful! We first met with the folks at West Paw Design back in 2016. We love their products and they have a good reputation for being durable. Raven is the first to test out our new Zogoflex Dog Bone.
Best Budget Chew Toy: Gumby Dog Toy
We got Archer a Gumby toy when he was a puppy. Although he didn’t know who Gumby was he still loved this simple plus toy.
Nostalgic for you and big, green fun for your pooch, Gumby will be an instant family fave. Whether you and your pup are playing a frisky game of fetch with plush Gumby, launching rubber Gumby high in the air, or happily squeaking either one, this beloved character brings along instant joy for pups and peeps.
This is a simple plush dog toy with a squeaky on the inside. As your puppy gets old he/she will most likely de-stuff and remove the squeaker. However, at the ultra low price it’s worth it for the young pups who take much longer to chew through a dog toy.
- Good for young puppies and smaller pups.
- It’s inexpensive (discounted 72%!)
- It’s not durable.
HONORABLE MENTION FOR BEST BUDGET CHEW TOY
- Loofa Dog Toy – When we first get our puppies home we like to get different textured toys. The loofa dog toy is a little different then your average plushy.
- Stuffing Free Monkey Dog Toy – For a couple of bucks you can have you’re own “Monkey Dog”. Just kidding it’s a Monkey Toy for Dogs. Get it? Yeah, that’s not funny. Sorry…
Best Cute Chew Toy: Mr. Bill Dog Toy
Mr. Bill: “Oh No!”
Enjoy playtime fun as much as your furry pal with the Multipet Mr. Bill Plush Dog Toy. Inspired by the hit vintage skit from Saturday Night Live, it has a built-in voice box that yells Mr. Bill’s hilarious catchphrase when squeezed. Made for dogs of all ages, it’s great for playing fetch as it’s easily tossed, and it makes a soft cuddle buddy that’s always ready for nap time. Reinforced stitching and no plastic parts make this a toy to be loved.
The Mr. Bill Dog Toy was a hit at our Christmas party a couple of years ago and why not? Who can resist the adorable “Oh No” when you squeeze Mr. Bill?
Just like the leather fox, this toy is not too durable. We kept a close eye on our pups when they played with Mr. Bill.
We were able to preserve him and his little soundbox for a few months, but eventually, Apache cracked the plastic sound maker and soon after removed his stuffing. 🙁
- Nostalgic, cute, funny. If you’re a Mr Bill fan you’ll like this toy.
- Relatively inexpensive.
- It’s not durable.
- The plastic noise maker can be a choking hazard
HONORABLE MENTION FOR BEST CUTE CHEW TOY
- Hedge Hog Hide & Seek Plush Dog Toy – Baby Hedgehogs are just plain cute. Nuff said.
- Sloth Plush Dog Toy – I must have a thing for sloth’s. Adorable sloth hide & seek interactive dog toy!
Are Puppy Chew Toys Safe?
It’s a simple question:
Q: Are Puppy Chew Toys Safe?
A: YES, but know your puppy. Monitor your puppy when he’s playing with a toy. It’s your responsibility to keep your puppy safe.
Dublin was my most aggressive chewer and at one point we removed all of his plush toys from the house because he would not only destroy them but swallow pieces which made for choking or even blockage hazards.
Plush toys were off-limits for Dublin, but we were able to give him other toys like KONG toys, Nylabone, Jolly Ball, Bully Sticks, etc.
Dublin could be left alone with a KONG Extreme and he wouldn’t destroy or consume any parts.
However, some puppies can destroy a KONG Extreme or even a Goughnut and swallow the rubber parts. If this is your puppy then please do not leave your pup alone with any kind of chew toy.
Some of the chew toys we’ve recommended are very hard and some aggressive chewers can crack their teeth.
Again, if this is your puppy then stay away from the hard chew toys like the Benebone, Deer Antlers, Nylabone Durachew, and the many other hard chew toys on the market.
Know your puppy. Monitor your puppy when he has a chew toy.
It amazes me that I tried almost every toy on this list before I even started writing this review (the few I did not Raven is playing with as we speak).
It goes to show you that 16+ years of raising service dog puppies equals lots of puppy chew toys.
One thing that has been pounded into my head by our guide dog group leaders. Get a variety of chew toys with different textures so your puppy won’t get bored.
That’s a total of 21 different chew toys on our list! So lots of different textures to keep your puppies entertained.
What about you guys?
Does your puppy have a favorite chew toy?
What do you think are the best chew toys for a puppy?
Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.
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Top Picks For Our Puppies
- BEST DOG CHEW
We Like: Beef Collagen Sticks - All of our pups love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Collagen Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
- BEST PUPPY TOY
We Like: Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs - Perfect for new puppies. Helps ease anxiety in their new home.
- BEST DOG TREATS
We Like: Crazy Dog Train-Me Treats - We use these as our high-value treats for our guide dog puppies.
- BEST FRESH DOG FOOD
We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.
Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.