Toys are a fundamental part of a dog’s wellbeing, and different kinds of dogs need different kinds of toys. This article will guide you through the best dog toys for small dogs currently available on the market.
So what should you look for in toys for small dogs? Let’s find out.
How Different are Small Dogs?
Small dogs tend to have higher energy levels than big dogs. All dogs have the potential to be destructive if they get bored, but this is especially true in smaller breeds. They also have a tendency to be more territorial, which can increase with boredom or pent-up energy. So it’s important that both of these needs are met – and providing the right toys is an easy way to do this.
The Importance of Toys for Small Dogs
Toys can help small dogs to exercise at home, have fun and keep mentally stimulated, as well as aiding owners in training and socialization – all of which are essential for smaller dogs!
Smaller breeds of dogs are more inclined to have dental problems than bigger ones. Chew toys promote good dental hygiene by acting like toothbrushes for dogs.
Chewing helps to remove plaque & tartar from a dog’s teeth; the action of chewing promotes saliva production which rinses away food particles and other bacteria.
Training & Socialization
As mentioned above, smaller dogs are more likely to be destructive and territorial. Providing a good range of toys and praising play encourages small dogs to chew on their own belongings – not the furniture!
Interactive & cooperative toys like tug-of-war ropes can help to socialize smaller dogs and show them that sharing can be fun. Training and socialization can all involve the use of toys to help establish good social skills.
Toys can be a great outlet for some of the abundant physical energy smaller dogs tend to have. They also provide comfort, fun, and mental stimulation which is not only essential to a dog’s wellbeing, but it prevents boredom and subsequent behavioral issues from developing.
Issues such as separation anxiety, destructiveness towards themselves & the home, and sometimes even aggression towards other dogs, can all be caused by boredom and not getting enough exercise.
Things to Consider When Buying Dog Toys
These are the most important factors to think about when choosing a dog toy for small breeds.
Size & Weight
Smaller dogs naturally need smaller, lighter toys. Dogs should be able to pick up their toys in their mouths, without them being small enough to be a choking or swallowing hazard. If a toy is too heavy, it could also cause muscle strain and put the dog off of playing with toys altogether.
Always check the labels of toys to make sure they’re made from natural and/or non-toxic materials and chemicals. Enquire with the company if you’re unsure.
Smaller dogs tend to be heavy chewers. Although no toy is indestructible, owners should opt for toys made from high-quality, durable materials to ensure the chances of breakage are minimal. Not only are toys that break easily is a waste of money, but breakages can create choking & swallowing hazards.
Different toys have different functions, and all of them are important for dogs. Also, some toys are designed to keep dogs active and exercise their instincts like balls and frisbees. Others encourage socialization, like tug-of-war ropes.
Plush toys are very comforting, and toys like puzzle games or toys that use sensory elements such as lights & sounds are great for mental stimulation. You can also use them to occupy the mind and calm down hyperactive dogs.
Breed & Personality
No toy is a one–size–fits–all, not even balls. Some dogs love it all, but others are picky and require some trial and error.
Certain breeds, however, are more likely to enjoy certain toys. For example, Border Terriers are more likely to enjoy ‘chasing’ toys like balls because of their hunting DNA. Whilst brainy Miniature Poodles often love to do challenging puzzle toys.
12 Best Dog Toys For Small Dogs
Let’s take a look at our list of the best toys for small breeds.
1. ZippyPaws – Skinny Peltz No Stuffing Squeaky Plush Dog Toy Set
This adorable woodland creature plush toy set by ZippyPaws is super fun, with each toy containing three squeakers and no stuffing for ensured safety; a huge plus for owners of heavy-chewing small dogs. Furthermore, they are fantastic value for money as owners receive three animals in one purchase – a fox, a raccoon, and a squirrel.
The toys are 18 x 0.5 x 2.5 inches in size and made from high-quality, durable, pet-safe materials. Furthermore, it is one of the most popular dog toys on Amazon and with over thirty thousand ratings. Reviews praise all aspects of the toys, with many buyers claiming the toy as their dog’s favorite.
2. Hyper Pet Tennis Balls For Dogs
This tennis ball by Hyper Pet is fab for smaller dogs who love a classic ball because it comes in a mini size that is appropriate for the smallest of pooches. It’s 2 x 7 x 4 inches and 1.23 ounces and is made from non-toxic, non-abrasive felt material, which is perfect for small dog teeth. They’re fairly affordable and come in packs of four.
The tennis balls come with a high rating on Amazon with over 70% of reviews giving the product 5 stars. Reviews say that the tennis balls are the perfect size for smaller dogs, however some do warn that they’re not the most durable ones in the world.
3. Petstages Dog Chew Toy
This chew toy by Petstages is shaped like a deer antler and made from naturally shed antlers. It carries the natural taste and smell that dogs love without the choking risk of a real antler. It’s super gentle on the gums and was developed specifically with puppies and smaller dogs in mind. The small option is 2 x 5 inches and the mini option is 1.5 x 3.75 inches in size.
It’s inexpensive and has a brilliant rating on Amazing. Reviews praise the toy’s durability and say that it is great for aggressive chewers.
4. BUIBIIU Dog Toys Small Dog Chew Toy Set
This toy set from Buibiuu is also designed with super small breeds such as Chihuahuas in mind. The set includes one stuffed giraffe with a squeaker, two stuffed donuts with squeakers, two rope balls, and two rope pull toys. It is excellent value for money and covers multiple needs.
The set has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 on Amazon and is another best seller for small dogs. Reviews can’t praise the set highly enough and recommend it to other owners of small breeds.
5. KONG – Senior Dog Toy Gentle Natural Rubber
This classic Kong toy is designed with senior dogs in mind. The soft, all-natural rubber formula is customized to aging dog’s teeth and gums. Although it’s gentle, it’s still super durable and provides hours of mental stimulation with its treat dispensing hole.
The small option is purple and 3 x 1.75 x 1.75 inches, weighing 1.76 ounces. Moreover, it’s super affordable and has a great rating on Amazon. Reviews cannot recommend the Kong toy highly enough for older dogs.
6. EASTBLUE Squeaky Dog Toy for Aggressive Chewers
This squeaky rubber ring toy by Eastblue is designed for aggressive chewers. It is also well priced and great for dental health, gameplay, encouraging positive chewing habits, and relieving anxiety. The toy comes in two color options; blue as well as orange. It is 5.2 x 5.2 x 1.6 inches and weighs 9.59 ounces.
The unique design is covered in bumpy polka-dots for sensory stimulation and is super flexible and fun to play with. It’s made from eco-friendly, natural, non-toxic rubber that is 100% safe and durable.
The product has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on Amazon and reviews seem to highly recommend the product, with many stating that it is virtually indestructible.
7. ZippyPaws – Woodland Friends Burrow
This burrow plush log toy by ZippyPaws is perfect for small dogs who need a challenge. It comes with three squeaky plush chipmunks that owners can hide inside the toy. Dogs can retrieve the chipmunks for a fun game of hide-and-seek that really exercises their hunting instincts and keeps them mentally stimulated! The chipmunks themselves can also serve as individual toys.
The log is 14 x 6 x 6 inches and is the highest-rated product on this list. It has an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 on Amazon, with 81% 5-star ratings. It’s a little more expensive than some of the other toys on this list, but reviews praise the product as highly engaging for mentally active dogs.
8. StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy
Bob-A-Lot by StarMark is a colorful plastic adjustable treat dispensing ball, with a large chamber that is able to fit whole meals inside it. The ball wobbles about rather than rolls, making the task more challenging and engaging for dogs. Its adjustable difficulty levels are perfect for growing dogs or those just starting out using puzzle toys.
The small option is 4.5 x 4.5 x 11 inches in size. It is fairly inexpensive and one of the best-selling dog toys on Amazon with a rating of 4.4 out of 5. In conclusion, reviews praise its ability to keep dogs busy and wind them down at the end of the day.
9. Chiwava 4PCS 2.4” Squeak Latex Puppy Toy Set
This latex toy set by Chiwava is brilliant value for money. Dogs receive four sweet egg-shaped latex animal toys in one package; a chicken, a pig, a bear, and a frog. Furthermore, the latex is non-toxic, stuffing-free, bouncy, hardy, and all four toys contain squeakers.
They’re all around 2 x 2 x 2.4 inches in size and designed for teething puppies and heavy chewers. The set has a 4.6 rating on Amazon and very positive reviews, although some do remind buyers that the toys are for small dogs only, and it would be a dangerous choking hazard for medium & large-sized breeds.
10. Benebone Real Bacon Durable Wishbone Dog Chew Toy
Made from super super-strong nylon and food-grade bacon, peanuts, and chicken, Benebones are said to be tougher than real bones and last for weeks. Designed for easy pick-up and with aggressive chewers in mind, the small option is 5.12 x 3.94 x 0.39 inches.
Benebones are made in the USA and inexpensive, as well as being a best-selling chew toy on Amazon with a rating of 4.6 out of 5. Reviews praise the hardiness of the chew but do warn it’s not for dogs with fragile teeth. Always supervise pets with chews.
11. Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Interactive Puzzle Game Dog Toys
These plastic feeders by Outward Hound have a variety of puzzle pieces consisting of flip, lift, and slide components to hide and find treats in. It’s currently one of the most and best-reviewed products of its kind on Amazon and provides dogs with hours of fun.
There are products with difficulty levels ranging from easy to intermediate to hard to expert in smaller sizes. They are on the expensive side, but worth it for dogs that need that extra mental stimulation.
They have a rating of 4.4 out of 5 on Amazon, and whilst the majority of the reviews are incredibly positive, some do remind buyers to consider their dog’s personality. Most of the puzzles have removable parts, so if your dog cannot be trusted with this or gets frustrated with puzzles easily, it could pose a hazard. Always supervise pets with these kinds of toys!
12. Outward Hound Squeaker Ballz & Tennis Ballz
Another Outward Hound creation, these tennis balls are available in packs of 4 or 8 in sizes small and extra small. They come in red, blue, orange, and green, and they all contain squeakers. The balls are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, as they are lightweight and use premium rubber for maximum bounce – which is extra fun for dogs!
They are long-lasting, durable, and have a rating of 4.4 out of 5 on Amazon. The small tennis balls are 2 x 2 inches, while the extra small ones are 1.5 x 1.5. They’re very good value for money and this echoes in the reviews, with many buyers claiming the balls to be their dogs’ favorites. However, some reviews remind owners to watch heavy chewers because of the squeaker inside the ball.
Dog Toys For Small Dogs: FAQ
Toys are essential for dogs. They should have at least two or three toys of all kinds. (Active toys, comforting toys, mentally stimulating toys, cooperative toys, etc.) Puppies should have at least five toys, but adult dogs can never have too many.
When leaving dogs alone for the day, make sure they have access to their bed, drinking water, and plenty of toys. Moreover, toys provide something to do as well as prevent loneliness. If you can, consider investing in a dog-walker or pet-sitter to come in for an hour to break up the day if your dog is regularly home alone, or enroll them in a day-care. Good quality day-cares can provide valuable social skills!
Dogs should not be alone for more than four hours at a time and never be left in a confined space, especially without windows.
You know your dog best. If they can be trusted to play nicely, you can leave them alone but you must check on them every few minutes. However, never leave puppies or younger dogs alone to play in case they break their toys and choke or swallow stuffing – which is an internal blockage hazard.
Firstly, toys are not one-size-fits-all. Secondly, not all dogs will like the same toys and some can be very picky, which can be a case of trial and error. Try them out with all different kinds of toys until you find some they like. If you’re worried about wasting money. Furthermore, take them to a pet store and let them look at the different toys, and try the one they seem most interested in.
If your dog doesn’t seem to enjoy any toys and there is no underlying reason why (trauma, anxiety), try to entertain them in other ways by playing games such as hide and seek and hiding treats under cups. Moreover, exercise them in different ways, such as swimming and going on walks or runs in new locations. Also, if you think there is an underlying reason why they don’t engage with toys, speak to your vet and ask for advice.
Consider their breed, too. What were they originally bred to do? Hunt, herd, swim, climb? Try out toys and activities that exercise their deeper instincts. These are likely the ones dogs will enjoy the most.
Like children, a lot of dogs have favorite toys that they love above all of the others, and there is nothing wrong with this. Some dogs even like to take their favorite toys on their walks or to bed with them.
However, if a dog becomes obsessed with a toy to the point where it is causing them distress or making them aggressive, you should consult a vet or behaviorist. They could have OCD or a trust issue that needs addressing.
In conclusion, those are the most-recommended toys for small dogs! For dogs, toys are a necessity, not a luxury, and smaller dogs need smaller toys that can keep up with their high-energy and fierce personalities! Will you be trying out any of our recommendations or have any of your own? Let us know. We personally recommend the sets on this list as they are excellent value for money.