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Last updated: June 20, 2020

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One of the activities that makes your dog happiest is playing. Most of the time you have to play with them to make it fun. Other times, your dog plays with other dogs in the park or the street. However, dogs can also play for long periods time by themselves. Whenever they want to play, a good dog toy will make them very happy and keep them active and occupied for hours.

This guide will show you the variety of products that are on the Australian market to help you choose the right toy for your dog. This guide will also help you understand many of your four-legged friend’s behaviours including all those questions you have about how to manage your pet in the most effective way.

Key Facts

  • Playing is an essential activity for animal happiness. Owners don’t always have the energy or time to play, so we need to offer some other options to our pets, such as toys.
  • Veterinarians recommend that dogs spend a few hours playing each day. These hours can be inside the home, in the garden or out in an open space such as a park or the beach. There are different toys for all those spaces and they help to your dog enjoy playtime as much as possible.
  • The way in which your pet plays can indicate many behavioural characteristics. Furthermore, the games that you play can serve as a method to educate your dog on how to behave.

Our selection: The best dog toys on the Australian market

In this section you will see a list of the five most popular dog toys on the Australian market. We will summarise the main characteristics of each product so that when you make a purchase, you can feel confident that you’re making the right one. By following this guide you’ll be making your pet very happy with a new toy.

IQ Treat Ball Dog Toy

Looking for a fun way to give your dog treats and to help you four-legged friend stay sharp? This Dog Treat Ball can help pets increase their IQ and mental stimulation that in turn helps to reduce destructive behaviour. The toy is made from environmentally-friendly plastic that is tough, odour free, safe and easy to clean.

The translucent cover displays treats inside but lets out food smells which attract hungry pets and makes it easy for you to manage leftovers. The tumbler foundation makes this dog toy stay in the same place whilst rocking  from side to side to stimulate your pets’ curiosity. With this toy you will help to stimulate intellectual growth of your dog and improve both their agility and intelligence.

Kong Plush Platy Duck Small Dog Toy

If you are looking for an economical yet reliable product, this could be the one for you! The Kong Plush Platy Duck toy is a squeaky toy that will keep your canine entertained for hours. The squeaky sound that the toy emits keeps dogs interested and helps improve their intelligence as they learn how to make the toy squeak.

If your four-legged friend is a serious biter you’re in luck because this toy comes with a free replacement squeaker. All you have to do is pull the hidden inner tabs on the outside of the toy, remove the fleece squeaker pouch and replace squeaker. How easy!

Zenify Puppy Toys

Going beyond the simple “fetch” balls of the past, Zenify’s uniquely designed interactive fun treat training ball is designed to keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated. With this innovative dog toy you fill the ball with your dog’s favourite treats and watch them roll it around as they try to get the treats out. This helps keep your dog sharp yet active.

How’s this for innovation! Without even realising, whilst attempting to get the treats out, the the special grooves of the toy can massage and clean the teeth, gums and inter-dental spaces of your dog’s mouth. What a great toy to give your little friend!

Kong Classic Large Dog Toy

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. This is a mentally stimulating toy that helps your dog by activating their instinctual needs. Available in 4 convenient sizes; small, medium, extra-large and extra-extra-large, there is a size available to suit all dogs.

Featuring a waterproof outer layer, this toy is extremely durable and will be able to stand the test of even the most furious canines. This is one of the most popular dog toys for a reason. Go on, give your dog a little present.

Outward Hound – Nina Ottoson Dog Treat Maze

For the final product we present to you a dog puzzle game to focus on challenging your dog’s brain and improve their intellectual abilities. The treat maze is a fantastic way to challenge and engage your dog in a new and exciting way. This innovative treat-dispensing dog puzzle releases treats from 2 entry points, which your dog will need to figure out.

There’s no limit on age, size or breed when it comes to having fun and teaching your dog new tricks with this dog puzzle. At under $20 excluding delivery, this is perfect present for you dog at any time of the year.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about dog toys

It is important that before buying toys for your dog, you know the main functionalities of these products. There are toys that help train your dog’s mind, those that support your dog’s education and others that are purely designed to help your dog exercise. You better pay attention, as I’m sure you’ll find all this very interesting.

woman playing ball with a dog

There are toys to develop your dog’s cognitive abilities and others to keep him active and fit. (Source: Christian Mueller: 64626244/

Why are dog toys important?

One of the best ways to have a healthy dog is by playing. Thanks to these moments of leisure, your canine friend can develop their intelligence and also keep in shape and not become overweight. In addition, hours of endless playing actually helps strengthen the bond you have with your dog and make them very happy.

Veterinarians warn that dogs that don’t exercise enough or stimulate their minds run the risk of developing negative behaviours. A bored or unstimulated dog can suffer hyperactivity problems and destroy household objects such as couch’s, tables and shoes. Fun dog toys stop this from becoming a problem for your four-legged friend.

Can dog toys help me educate my pet?

Dog toys can be a great tool when you want to educate your pet to be more obedient. By playing with these objects, dogs become accustomed to following rules on the game. The most common commands that dogs should know are to come to your call, sit, lie down, roll over and drop the ball.

It’s important for pets to follow some basic lessons when they play so that in other aspects of life they obey the rules you give them. When you are playing, you must be strict with your dog. Let them have fun, but don’t let him take advantage of you. Even if it’s just a bit of fun in the park, your dog must maintain good behaviour to develop good habits.

Common game dogs

Toys are one of the best gifts you can give your dog.
(Source: Ralf Bitzer: 29866418/

What are the benefits of dog toys?

Playing is one of the fundamental activities your pet needs every day. It has benefits for your pet’s physical and emotional well-being. It also has advantages for you too as it builds your relationship with your dog and gets you exercising as well. This is something that we humans forget to do. Here’s a complete list of benefits of a dog toy:

Benefits Reasons
Your pet’s physical health A dog should be active. Playing allows them to improve cardiovascular health, helps them to lose weight and increases their flexibility
Dog mental health Experts warn that a bored dog can destroy objects in your house. Toys are the best way to keep them active and distracted. Toys are also tools that help develop the brain
Makes your dog more social It’s very important that dogs know how to respect other animals and people other than their owners. Playing with a toy with other dogs is something that facilitates interaction and will help build your dogs interpersonal skills
Physical health for you Sometimes we forget about the importance of exercising or playing sport. Playing with your dog will force you to stay active and enjoy that time outside
You can get to know your dog better Your dog’s behaviour during playtime can give you an idea of your pet’s character and mood. You can know what they like/don’t like, what makes them angry or what type of mood they are in.
Improve the bond with your pet Your dog probably loves you very much, most dogs do. When you spend some special time together, the bond between you and your dog will get even closer.

What are the different functions of dog toys?

The different types of toys available for your dog will provide them with multiple uses during the hours of entertainment. Remember that playtime is a great way to educate your dog. With the following comparative chart, you will better understand the different functions of toys:

If your dog has this behaviour Buy them this type of toy
Bites your furniture, their bed or stuffed animals There are balls, ropes or bones made of materials that are very resistant to bites and that will make dogs that want to constantly bite, very happy. They are specially created to keep your dog from biting and ruining household items
They don’t want to eat their food The balls that contain food are good allies for any eating problems your dog has. Dogs that avoid their food will see their food as part of the game and will improve their eating habits
They are very affectionate There are soft and adorable stuffed animals that will keep your pet company when you have to leave home
They are very intelligent Toys are not only made for exercising but they also serve to fulfil your pet’s desire to learn. There are interactive games for different levels that are ideal for your dog to play and discover where their food is hidden. These help to develop the brain and sense of smell
They eat too fast There are two types of toys for those dogs that can’t control the urge to eat. There are chewable bones with yummy flavours that help them slowly eat between meals. The other option is the already mentioned balls that are used for giving food to your dog in portions

Why is my dog chasing balls and other similar toys?

It’s instinctive for dogs. A moving object is likely to make your dog want to run after it and catch it. Dogs need to learn the difference between a toy from another dog or child to ensure they will not chase another dog or child in the same way as a toy.

Whether or not your dog brings the ball back to you after catching it is not important. This all depend on your dog’s personality and whether he has been trained from a young age. They learn quickly that if they return the toy the fun will continue and they can usually play for longer.

golden retriever young dog portrait with toy bone

Dog toys are especially useful for puppies.
(Source: Sapic: 9703012/

How can I encourage my dog to use his toys if he doesn’t like to play?

There are many different reasons why your dog might not be that interested in playing. You should try to find the root cause of the problem and help accordingly. Firstly, you must understand that not all dogs play equally and this can depend on breed or simply the differences in personality. After that, keep in mind your pet’s age as puppies always want to play meanwhile older dogs usually calm down as they grow older.

To help motivate your dog to play it is important that you dedicate a lot of time to your dog. It’s also a good idea to take your dog out of the house to places where the they can interact with other dogs, like in parks. You should also try different toys as as not all dogs like the same thing. Sometimes a little space and time on their own can also be what they need to start playing with a new toy.

Are there toys for older dogs too?

Dogs usually reach an age when they find it more difficult to play. Like humans, they have less energy when they get older. However that doesn’t mean that old dogs shouldn’t play. There are actually toys specifically designed for the development of the cognitive functions of elderly dogs to maintain coordination and keep their brain active.

Keeping your dog in shape while they get older is also very important for their physical health. Even if they play a little more calmly as they age compared towhen they were a puppy, toys that keep them active still help a lot.

little dog running with his toy

If your pet bites objects from your house, biting toys will help distract them and reduce this problem. (Source: mdorottya: 57894358/

What is a “Kong” when we talk about dog toys and what is it used for?

The Kong is a toy made of natural rubber that is very resistant, non toxic and its interior is hollow. It is a food dispenser that helps to educate your little friend and develop their intelligence. It has a hole that can be filled with their food and the animal must learn how to get their food out.

There are different models of the Kong and each type has a different level of difficulty. If you see that one type does not entertain your dog, you’ve probably bought them one that is too difficult to solve. With a Kong, the first pieces of food come out easily, but in order to get all the food out, your pet will have to move his toy in certain ways to get all of it out. This challenge will keep them entertained for hours.

Are there puzzles in the dog toy market?

The dog toy market is large and it also offers puzzles for your dog. These type of toys allow your dog to play alone and think, which stimulates their mind and improves their intelligence. You dog can also learn to be more patient with these types of toys.

Cognitive stimulation consists of giving your dog problems to solve and the effort will lead them to receive a reward. Experts say that many of the behavioural problems that are present in dogs are caused by emotional problems and that problem solving challenges will be help mange these behavioural issues.

outdoor portrait of a Parson Russell Terrier

Dog toys can teach your pet to socialise with humans and other animals. (Source: Christian Mueller: 64343577/

What toys are suitable for dogs who like to bite?

Dogs often bite simply for the fun of it as well as out of anxiety which can result in furniture or shoes being destroyed. To save your home decor or new sports shoes, you can offer your pet an alternative. There are many toys created specifically to resist your pet’s teeth for a long time and keep them interested in their biting toys rather than your household objects.

Thanks to biting toys, your dog will be able to carry out one of his favourite activities, without his toy being easily destroyed. If your pet loves to eat, there are even toys with flavours and bone shapes which they will really enjoy and stay entertained for hours. There are also biting balls, cuddly biting toys or even frisbees created for canines with big teeth.

Shopping Criteria

Not only are dog toys necessary for your pet, they are also be the best gift to make them happy. When choosing a product from this market, you should analyse the personality and habits of your dog. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve given you a few different aspects to think about:


There are many forms of dog toys, each with a different shape, size and function. They are useful for different situations and different needs depending on your dog. The following information explains the most common forms of products available on the market.

  • Ropes: With these toys, dogs can pull one end while you pull the other, so they are ideal for strengthening the bond between dog and owner.
  • Bones: They’re usually for distracting your dog. If they have flavours, they’ll satisfy those pets who love to eat all the time.
  • Ball: They serve dog who like to bite and are very useful when playing outdoors, chasing the ball.
  • Plush: They are made to resist bites and also serve for giving company to the most affectionate dogs.
  • Kong: They look like a snowman and serve as food dispensers or bouncing balls.
  • Frisbees: Ideal for playing in large spaces like parks. Very simple toys that your dog can run with whilst carrying them in their mouth.
  • Puzzles: They serve for the development of your pet’s cognitive abilities.

Types according to use

There is an enormous range of toys that vary according to the way your pet plays. It really depends on where they’re going to play or whether it’s for the dog to be alone or for you to play with them. It is very important that your dog likes his toy to make it a worthwhile purchase. According to their use, we have the following advice:

If you want the toy for Buy your dog Playing at home A stuffed animal or a rubber bone to bite Playing outside A ball or a frisbee Your dog to play alone A stuffed animal gives your dog company while alone. A Kong bounces and allows your dog to entertain themselves when you’re not around. Interactive toys to develop intelligence and smell will also keep your pet entertained whilst they are alone Playing together Balls to throw or ropes to play tug-a-war

Burn energy inside the house;Rubber biting toys will tire your pet in the little space that a house usually offers.


It is very important that a dog toy is created to withstand the strength of a dog. If the toy splits into small pieces, your pet may swallow the pieces. Many toys are designed specifically for biting, so the toys must be resistant. The most common materials are:

  • Soft plastic: They can break more easily and fall into the mouth of a big dog. The positive thing is that if you throw this type of toy, it will not hurt your dog if it hits them. If the toy breaks, you must throw it in the bin so that the dog does not eat the pieces.
  • Hard plastic: More resistant to your dog’s bites. If by mistake your dog is hit by a toy of this material, your dog could be injured.
  • Rubber: It is a flexible material that will resist bites and when thrown against a surface it can bounce, which will be very fun for your pet. If it’s 100% rubber then it won’t be toxic.
  • Fabric and rope: Fabric stuffed animals can break easily. To avoid stuffing that could harm your pet, many manufacturers stuff them with a strong rope.
  • Vinyl: It is very difficult for a well-made vinyl toy to tear or break.
  • Latex: Also soft like plastic, but even more resistant.


A dog toy should be chosen based on the age, strength and size of the animal. If it is too small, your dog may swallow it and choke on it. At the same time, if the toy is much bigger than they are, they won’t be able to use it properly during playtime.


It is important to take into account that the colour of a toy and choose a colour that they can distinguish when they are using it. Blue and yellow are the easiest colours for a dog to distinguish, meanwhile green, red or pink are far more difficult.

User opinions

Before hitting the buy button on a dog toy, check out the user ratings on social networks or in the Amazon comments. Don’t just look at the cost, try to read the opinions left by those buyers who have similar dogs to yours. The reviews from other dog owners can be very useful.


Playing is an essential part of the daily routine of a dog if you want your pet to have a good quality of life and not develop bad habits. In order for playtime to fulfil its function and to keep your dog entertained, they need suitable products, adapted to their needs and made of safe materials.

There are toys to develop your dog’s cognitive abilities and others to keep him active and prevent him from getting fat. A dog that spends several hours a day playing is likely to be healthy and won’t destroy your home’s decor and furniture.

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(Source of featured image: Lurii-Sokolov: 34369428/

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