In April, we explored the importance of playtime for dogs. Our furry friends are active and playful creatures, so making sure they have the right toys for mental and physical stimulation couldn’t be more important.
As a team of dog lovers, we're constantly trying to find ways to enhance our pets’ lives. Like humans, all dogs are unique, and researching the correct toys for a dog is an important part of responsible pet ownership. But with so many toys on the market, narrowing down the best dog toys can be difficult.
While we couldn’t be prouder of our ever-expanding Play range, we recognise that there are certain products out there that can help to fulfil specific needs. For this reason, we wanted to create an honest round-up to help you find the right playtime purchases for your pup .
What are the best dog toys (UK)?
The best dog toys will always be specific to your pup’s age, temperament and energy levels. There are lots of different types of dog toys in the UK, which is why we’ve separated the UK’s best dog toys into categories by features and uses.
Always remember that the best dog toys will do a good job of keeping your four-legged friend occupied, mentally stimulated, physically fit, well trained, happy and healthy!
- Are dog toys regulated in the UK?
- What is the best toy for a bored dog?
- Puzzle dog toys:
- Teeth cleaning dog toys:
- Puppy toys:
- Toys for blind dogs:
- Outdoor dog toys:
Are dog toys regulated in the UK?
Unfortunately, there are currently no safety standards in place for UK pet products. Because the dog toy industry isn’t regulated, it's important to pay close attention to the toys you purchase for your dog.
While reputable brands will more than likely only sell toys that are free from toxic and harmful materials, it’s always a good idea to check for yourself to be sure. Before buying a new toy for your dog, you should:
- Research what materials have been used to make the toy
- Consider the toy's dimensions and make sure it's suitable for your dog’s size
- Read online product reviews to get a better idea of the toy’s performance and durability
What is the best toy for a bored dog?
Dogs' minds are sharp, which is why it’s so important to keep their brains stimulated to prevent boredom.
When dogs are disinterested or demotivated, they tend to exhibit bad behaviours - you may find your dog chewing everything in sight, or acting in ways that are uncharacteristically destructive.
You won't always have the time to keep your pup entertained throughout the day as a working dog owner, but certain toys can help to keep pets engaged while you're busy. If you think your dog may be suffering from boredom, you might want to consider puzzle toys or enriching brain games for dogs.
Having been around for decades, the KONG Classic is a go-to for keeping pups entertained on quieter days. Made from natural rubber, this toy offers mental stimulation and can also be filled with tempting treats to encourage engagement (who doesn’t love a snack mid-play!?)
In the UK, you can purchase this affordable dog toy from a number of different online retailers, just make sure the supplier you choose is selling a legitimate KONG and not a knock-off.
The best dog puzzle toys UK:
While the KONG Classic makes for a good beginner puzzle toy to introduce to your dog, there are lots of other more complex dog puzzle toys to work your way up to.
Many dog owners are surprised to realise just how switched on their furry friends are, so don’t be worried about presenting your pup with a challenge!
These dog puzzle toys provide great stimulation for dogs, which can help to increase their overall happiness and satisfaction. Our favourite dog puzzle toys in the UK include:
IQ Treat Balls
Great for challenging your dog, this toy features an adjustable treat dispenser that can be adapted to offer varying difficulty levels. There are lots of different providers of IQ treat ball toys for dogs, a popular choice being OurPets version, which is made from non-toxic plastic and features a slidable opening.
While this type of toy offers lots of benefits, it might not be the best option for aggressive chewers. This is because, as with any toy - it’s not completely indestructible.
Nina Ottoson, one of the world’s leading dog toy creators, invented the first dog puzzle game in 1990. Since then, her business has brought several puzzles of varying difficulty levels to the market for dogs to enjoy.
Dog Smart is a puzzle that requires dogs to work out how to remove pegs in return for treats that hide beneath. If you haven’t introduced your dog to a puzzle before, this toy can be a great way to encourage your dog to play brain games without getting frustrated.
You can fill this toy with dry treats or wet food, and once your dog gets more experienced, you can try out some of the more advanced puzzles on offer.
We love Snuffle Mat food puzzles because they help to activate a dog’s natural sniffing instincts - which believe it or not, is a great way to help relieve anxiety and dog depression.
With a Snuffle Mat, the concept is simple. Treats get hidden around different areas of the mat, and dogs use their smelling skills to locate and uncover food rewards.
There are lots of different variations of this type of puzzle toy, but if you’re not sure which one to choose, you can do it yourself! Believe it or not, DIY snuffle mats are easy to create, and Dog's Trust offers step-by-step instructions that demonstrate how to make a snuffle mat at home.
The best dog teeth cleaning toys UK:
Keeping your dog’s teeth and gums clean and healthy couldn’t be more important! In addition to cleaning a dog’s teeth with regular brushing, dog toys and dental chews can be used to naturally stimulate gums and scrape away plaque.
The best teeth cleaning toys include:
Rubber Balloon Dog Toy
We couldn’t recommend toys that are great for maintaining clean teeth without mentioning our very own balloon squeaker.
Made from high quality TPR, this toy is both non-toxic and recyclable. A great option for dogs that like to happily and gently chew, the shape of this toy provides lots of different edges for your dog to gnaw on.
Note: Please be advised that this product is a soft chew toy, not intended for vigorous or forceful chewing.
Photo: Otis the Cocker Spaniel with Barc London's Balloon dog toy.
VRTOP Dog Chew Toys
If your pup has more aggressive chewing tendencies, you’re better off choosing a toy from somewhere like VRTOP.
Advertised as indestructible, we want to reiterate that no toy is truly indestructible. However, it’s fair to say that these dog teeth cleaning toys are pretty tough in design and materials.
Featuring rubber bristles, this toy provides a great way to improve a dog’s oral hygiene and keep teeth in good health.
Nylabone Dura Chews
As a dog owner, it’s likely you’ll have already heard of Nylabone. In addition to offering teeth cleaning toys at affordable prices, Nylabone also sells various dental products for dogs - including toothpaste and brushes.
The Nylabone Dura Chew range comes recommended by ViaVet UK, with different sizes and flavours for dogs of all builds and taste preferences to enjoy.
Specifically made with dental hygiene in mind, these products are some of the best dog teeth cleaning products to trial with your dog.
Suction Dog Tug Toy
One of our dog tug toy's features a suction cup that can be attached to any smooth, flat surface for independent play.
The end of this suction toy features grooves which can also be filled with small treats, challenging your dog to chew for rewards, while helping to remove plaque and keep teeth clean.
In addition to teeth cleaning, this toy can also be utilised as a dog lick mat with fillings like peanut butter or puree. This fun activity can be a little messy, so it's important to remember to soak the toy and clean the grooves after use.
The act of licking can help to reduce a dog's stress, release endorphins and encourage slower eating habits. This type of enrichment toy can also be beneficial for keeping dogs calm and distracted during grooming routines like bath time.
5 of the best toys for puppies:
- Nylabone Puppy Chew (a great choice for helping puppies get through discomfort caused during their teething stage)
- Gummy Bear Dog Toy (a cute bear shaped rubber dog toy suitable for puppies over the age of 12 weeks)
- KONG Natural Teething Toy (works similarly to the Classic, and can be utilised for crate training)
- Snuggle Puppy (a more expensive cuddly puppy toy that can be fitted with a comforting heat pack and heart beat feature to help with relieving anxiety when bringing a puppy home)
- Rosewood Biosafe Puppy Ring (a minty scenting ring toy with antimicrobial technology to prevent buildup of microbes and bacteria)
Photo: Millie the Cocker Spaniel with Barc London's Gummy Bear dog toy.
The best toys for blind dogs:
Dogs boast an incredibly sharp sense of smell and sound, and for blind dogs this is even more so the case.
As for any person or animal who is visually impaired, a greater reliance on other senses is needed to help perceive surroundings, which is why the best toys for blind dogs cater to sound, touch and smell. For visually impaired dogs, we recommend the following interactive dog toys:
Five Senses Rubber Ball
This toy is a fantastic option for blind dogs, appealing to all five senses with its beef scent, ringing bell sound and multi-textured surface for touch.
Available in two sizes, Sharples affordable sensory ball offers great value for money.
ChuckIt! The Whistler Ball
Whistler balls are an ideal solution for blind dogs engaging in active play.
Unlike other balls used for fetch, the whistler balls feature a loud whistling sound that makes it easier for visually impaired dogs to follow when flying through the air.
Pet Querks Talking Babble Ball
These motion-activated balls are a great interactive dog toy for blind and partially-sighted dogs, making noises and talking in short phrases when touched.
Featuring over twenty different sounds, this versatile toy keeps pups engaged - but isn’t a suitable option for dogs that are sound-sensitive.
Outdoor dog toys:
Dogs require plenty of daily exercise, and time spent outdoors is a great way to ensure they meet their daily physical activity requirements.
Here at Barc, we aim to promote the importance of indoor and outdoor play, and because of this, a number of our dog toys are suitable for both uses.
Our outdoor dog toys are ideal for independent and interactive playtime, made from durable rubber, rope, canvas and felt materials that are easy to clean and care for.
Games of Fetch
Fetch dog toys are the perfect way to maintain a healthy and happy dog while encouraging exercise for dog owners too! The range includes:
- Tennis balls for dogs: Unlike standard tennis balls, Barc balls have been specifically designed for dogs
- Rope toys: Ideal for getting your dog excited about playing games of fetch, recall training, and games like tug of war.
- Hand-held dog ball throwers: We couldn’t recommend a ball thrower for dogs more. This popular alternative to automatic ball launchers, poses less risk of injury for dogs, as well as encouraging opportunities for bonding between pup and owner.