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Monday, March 8, 2010

Favorite Dog Toys

As I travel around the country, I'm always on the hunt for a good dog toy. When I walk in the door after a trip and unzip my suitcase, my dogs have learned to dive in and search for the newest addition to the toy collection. After 15 years, thousands of dollars later and with dozens of test dogs, I consider myself a semi-expert in the dog toy field!

While I love coming home with something new and fun for my pups, it is frustrating to have spent my hard earned cash on a toy that lasts a mere 10 minutes. So I thought I'd share my experiences and list some of the toys that my dogs not only love, but I've found to be a great buy, thanks to their fun-factor, practicality and durability. (The items listed below are not in any particular order)

GOUGHNUT - My latest find is the Goughnut ( which is pictured above. The Goughnut comes in two types of toughness (the green and the tougher black) as well as two different shapes, round or stick form. It's not only durable, but floats as well! Another perk to this well-thought out product is a safety feature and guarantee. The website states: "If your dog chews through the outside wear layer, Green or Black, to expose the indication layer, Red, GoughNuts will replace your toy ..." I love a product the maker is willing to stand behind!

WEST PAW DESIGN - Next, I really love the products from West Paw Design. They're fun, they're flexible and pretty darn durable even for my perpetually tough chewers. They have various sizes to fit each dog and different designs to fit your need (chew toy, throwing or tugging). You can view several of their items by clicking Here and below are my personal favorites.

JW DOG TOYS - JW has some really nice products as well. The flying disk with the squeaker in the middle is great for tossing, however you may not want to leave it around for general chewing. While it did take awhile, one my dogs was able to chew into the middle section to disembowel the squeaker device.

The rings were also great for tugging and lasted quite awhile, but again, as soon as my dog was hell-bent on chewing through a ring, she worked tirelessly on it and eventually succeeded. However, the individual rings were a hit with my dogs too so it wasn't a wasted toy.

The surprise hit was the soft, squishy football! A Doberman person told me about this toy and I had my doubts. After buying it, I'm happy to report it lasted a long, long time (years). I'm not sure whatever happened to the toy (I suspect it got buried in the backyard), but I wouldn't hesitate to buy this one again! It was soft, flexible and great for throwing in the house.

EVERLASTING FUN BALL - These are absolutely my favorite in the house. They are soft, flexible and very durable. Great for tossing in the home since they don't leave marks on the wall and are light weight so the chances of knocking something down are less. Also, you can put treats inside if you'd like your dog to entertain themselves. Comes in two sizes (large and medium).

GO-FRRR SLINGSHOT - Speaking of absolute favorites, this is the best throwing toy with its rubber slingshot 'rope'. This toy is easy to carry (ball size that fits into a pocket) and thanks to the slingshot style 'rope', it goes far with little effort. Also, the ball is softer so my dogs love retrieving it. This is NOT a toy to be left lying around chewers as the ball is not made for that type of activity. The ball comes in various sizes for different size dogs and a small slingshot device is available, although not a requirement.

RINGZEES DOG RING - A friend recently turned me onto this soft tugging ring that is made of wool. It is great for dogs with softer mouths and can scrunch up to easily be hidden in a pocket and whipped out for tossing or tugging when needed. There are different ring sizes and colors and I'm told the company donates a portion of their profits to an orphanage in Nepal. This toy is not meant to be left out for chewers, but holds up well to tugging.

If you're looking for a tough chew toy, the squirrel below is a keeper. Just be aware that it is heavy so be sure to keep your toes clear if you have a dog who tends to suddenly drop their toys on your feet! We've had ours for years and while there are some teeth marks, not a piece is missing from this toy.

CHUCKIT! - I'm sure most of you are familiar with this company since they revolutionized the way we throw tennis balls for our dogs. Here are two of my 'must have' toys. I love the flying squirrel for use during agility training as it can fold up to go in your pocket and be tossed easily as a reward. When dirty, simply hose it off for a fresh look.

For exercise, who could resist the traditional Chuckit! There are different size Chuckit!s and for those who don't like to touch squishy tennis balls or bend over to pick up the ball, this product fits the bill. The only potential disadvantage is carrying the Chuckit!, especially if you're trying to manage more than one leash.

I'm sure there are other toys out there not included on my list. If you have a toy that you'd like to suggest, please write to me and share your thoughts. Also, a special thank you to for letting me use a picture from their website to show their product.


  1. Great toys. I have something positive to say about each one. Other toys I love are the Nina Ottosson games. They now come in plastic versions. Great to work a dog's problem solving abilities.

  2. Hey Christie, you're right the puzzle toys should be included! I've posted them in another note, they are so darned COOL!