Dog toys are an important item to have, whether your dog weighs over 100 pounds or is a small breed like a chihuahua. There are a wide variety of toys to choose from, depending on what kind of play your dog enjoys. While some dogs may want a toy they can rip to shreds, other dogs may prefer different types of toys. Small dogs also have different needs than big dogs, which can make it hard to find the right toys for them. If you’re looking for the best dog toys that you can buy for your small dog, our buyer’s guide can help you find what you’re looking for. Here are the 10 Best Dog Toys for Small Dogs this year.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Nina Ottosson Smart Puzzle||
|Best Value||KONG Cozie Plush Toy||
|Premium Choice||iFetch Auto Ball Launcher||
|Best for Puppies||Nylabone Chill & Chew||
|Cheerble Smart Bone||
The 10 Best Dog Toys for Small Dogs
1. Nina Ottosson Smart Puzzle Game Dog Toy – Best Overall
|Size:||11 x 1.6 x 11 inches|
The Nina Ottosson Outward Hound Smart Puzzle Game is an interactive, treat-based puzzle toy and our pick for overall best dog toy for small dogs. Built specifically for smaller dogs, the mini-sized Outward Hound Puzzle toy has 9 separate compartments for your dog to solve. It encourages problem-solving in dogs and even in puppies, which stimulates the brain and can help raise your dog’s confidence. There are two difficulty levels to increase the challenge, perfect for dogs that may need a tougher puzzle to solve. The best part of the Outward Hound puzzle game toy is that it’s great for bored or anxious dogs, giving them something to focus on to dissuade bored or anxious behavior. However, the Outward Hound Puzzle Game toy is only meant for mental stimulation and problem-solving play, so you’ll have to make sure your dog isn’t chewing on it. Otherwise, it’s a great toy and our favorite overall best toy for small dogs.
2. KONG Cozie Marvin the Moose Plush Dog Toy – Best Value
|Material:||Plush/Soft Faux Fur|
|Size:||6 x 5.5 inches|
The KONG Cozie Marvin the Moose Plush Dog Toy is our pick for best value dog toy for small dogs. It’s a budget-friendly plush dog toy with plush faux-fur material, reinforced with another layer on the inside for some durability. The KONG Cozie Moose toy is super lightweight, which is important for smaller dogs that may struggle to carry other toys. One of the best features is the built-in squeaker inside, enticing your dog to have fun and play. It contains minimal stuffing to prevent accidental ingestion while also keeping your floors free of stuffing. Although the KONG Cozie has an extra layer inside, this toy isn’t durable enough for moderate-extreme chewers. The squeaker inside may also stop working after a while, especially if your dog chews around or near it. Aside from possible durability issues, the Kong Cozie Marvin the Moose Plush toy is a great toy without a premium price.
3. iFetch Mini Auto Ball Launcher Toy – Premium Choice
|Size:||11 x 8 x 8 inches|
While some interactive dog toys rely on your participation, the iFetch Mini Automatic Ball Launcher Dog Toy can do the work for you. The launching design is an auto-feed system, making it super easy to load and use. The iFetch not only throws the balls for you, but it also has three distance options to exercise your dog and change things up. The best feature of this launcher toy is that it’s also easy to train your dog to drop the balls in, making it a truly hands-free system. However, the iFetch is on the expensive side and may not be the best option for your budget. Another problem is that it may get jammed or stuck, which can be a hassle to deal with. Lastly, it may scare your dog and cause anxiety, which is the opposite of what a dog owner wants with a toy. Aside from those possible issues, the iFetch Mini Ball Launcher is a great premium choice for small dogs.
4. Nylabone Chill & Chew Chicken Flavored – Best For Puppies
|Size:||X-Small (3.75 x 3 x 0.75 inches)|
If you have a puppy that’s teething, the Nylabone Chill & Chew Freezer Chicken Flavored Dog Chew Toy is a great option to provide cooling relief and an outlet for chewing. The rubber shell is long-lasting and durable, which is crucial for puppies that are teething and dogs that have strong destructive tendencies. There are plenty of pockets to fill with water and freeze, which can help soothe the gums from teething pain. The bone also has a chicken flavor to help encourage chewing, keeping your shoes and belongings intact. However, the Chill & Chew might be too hard for some dogs to chew, especially toy-sized puppies that have tiny mouths. It can be messy with the melting water, so it’s not the cleaning solution for teething. The pockets for freezing water are also quite shallow, so the soothing effect may not last long.
5. Cheerble Smart Bone Interactive Toy
|Size:||8.661 x 3.74 x 3.11 inches|
The Cheerble Smart Bone Interactive Toy is a unique take on technology and dog toys. It’s a moving bone that interacts with touch, changing to different play and movement modes. The Smart Bone has in-app controls as well, so you can drive the bone around and watch your dog have fun. It’s also got removable and washable wheels, which makes it easier for you to clean. While it is a great interactive dog toy, it’s on the expensive side and may not be the best option for your money. The Smart Bone is not that durable and won’t stand up to excessive chewing, so we don’t recommend this for dogs that want to sit and chew. It also needs to be charged after only 40 minutes of in-app control or 4 hours without the app, so it’s a bit of an inconvenience to use daily.
6. KONG Classic Flyer Dog Toy
|Quantity:||7 x 7 inches|
The KONG Classic Flyer Dog Frisbee is a modern take on the classic frisbee, with the goal to protect your hands and your dog’s mouth as you play. The KONG Flyer is shaped just like a regular frisbee, staying consistent with the more traditional flyers. It’s made with rubber material, which is soft on the teeth and won’t hurt as your dog catches it. However, the KONG Flyer is not nearly as durable as their other products, which is a bit of a surprise as their products are normally for extreme chewers. While it may have a disc shape, the soft rubber is too pliable and makes it difficult to fly far. It’s also difficult for some dogs to pick up, which can make a dog lose interest after a while. The KONG Flyer can be a good toy for some dogs, but it may not be the best option for aggressive or energetic dogs.
7. Nylabone Power Chew Bacon Flavored Dog Chew Toy
|Size:||X-Small (3.75 x 3 x 0.75 inches)|
If your dog has a serious urge to chew, the Nylabone Bacon Flavored Power Chew might be just the trick to keep your shoes and furniture safe. Nylabones are a long-term chew toy that can last a very long time, depending on the density of the bone and how often your dog chews. The bacon flavor is a great way to encourage your dog to the toy and away from household items, without the strong smell of natural alternatives. The “power chew” level of density is not for every dog, especially puppies and dogs that don’t have strong destructive tendencies. Nylabones also tend to become sharp after a while, so you’ll have to check them daily to ensure it’s still safe. It could also pose a possible choking hazard as your dog gnaws it down to a small piece, which means discarding and replacing it.
8. Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster Dog Toy
|Material:||Plastic, Rubber, Tennis Ball Material|
|Size:||3.5 x 7.5 x 12 inches|
If you’re looking for an entertaining way to play fetch, the NERF Dog Tennis Ball Blaster Toy is will certainly do just that. It’s a NERF-style gun launcher that launches mini tennis balls up to 50 feet, saving your shoulder and bringing out your inner child. The best feature by far is that it loads hands-free, using the butt of the launcher to load the tennis balls and keeping your hands clean. The mini model of the NERF Blaster uses mini-sized tennis balls, which are great for toy and small breeds. While it is entertaining and fun to use, the NERF Blaster tends to jam and may not want to cooperate all the time. There’s a rough plastic seam on the trigger, which becomes uncomfortable after a while. It’s also nearly impossible to clean completely, which can harbor germs and harmful bacteria. The NERF Blaster can be a fun novelty product to have, but it may not live up to your childhood expectations.
9. iFetch iDig Stay Dog Toy Blue
|Size:||21.5 x 21.5 x 4.1 inches|
The iFetch iDig Stay Dog Toy is an interactive product to give your dog a safe digging outlet, saving your furniture and walls from the endless scratching. It encourages your dog to forage and dig through instinct, which can be a great source of mental stimulation. There are pockets and deep spaces to hide treats and toys, as well as removable flaps with additional hiding spots.
While the iDig can be a great toy for some dogs, the one-size-fits-all approach means it might be too big for toy-sized dogs. Another issue is that the material is surprisingly delicate for a digging toy, so it’s not a good choice for overly destructive dogs. The iDig, like the iFetch, is a premium product, so it’s on the expensive side and may not fit into your current budget. It also slides around on smooth floors, which makes digging and foraging more difficult.
The iDig is a good option for dog owners needing a digging outlet, but we recommend trying other interactive toys for dogs with different destructive habits.
10. Nerf Dog LED Bash Barbell Dog Toy
|Size:||2.25 x 7 x 4.5 inches|
The NERF Dog LED Bash Barbell Dog Toy is a light-up rubber dog bone toy for small-sized dogs. It features two LED lights with shake-to-light activation, which are on both ends of the hard rubber bone. The shake-lights make the bone easy to see at night or in dark rooms, so you can play with your dog at any time and not lose the bone. However, there are a few issues with the NERF Dog Bash Barbell which put it last on our list. While we love the shake activation, it can be quite difficult to actually light the LEDs up and may require some force. Another issue is that the material is of average quality, which is surprising for a well-known brand like NERF. The rubber is too soft for long chew sessions, which can be a big problem for excessive chewers. Lastly, the NERF Bash Barbell is for smaller dogs, but it may be too big or heavy for toy-sized dogs.
Buyer’s Guide: Types of Dog Toys
There are many different categories of dog toys, which can make it difficult to find the right toys for your dog. When shopping for your dog, take into consideration the breed, style of play, energy level, and destructive levels. Not all dogs enjoy the same activities, so it’s crucial to understand what your dog’s natural urges might be.
Plush & Stuffed Animal Toys
The most common type of dog toy is plush, stuffed animal dog toys. They can vary in material, size, stuffing amount, and shape. Some come with squeakers for extra fun, while others are meant for tugging and rougher play. Make sure you buy stuffed animals and plush toys designed for animals, which won’t have small choking hazards like buttons or plastic eyes that can be harmful to your dog.
Puzzle & Challenge Toys
Puzzle and challenge toys are one of the best ways to occupy your dog’s thinking brain, while encouraging them to problem-solve on their own. These types of toys are great for dogs that get bored easily or have a strong urge for foraging. There are different types of problem-solving puzzle toys available, giving your dog plenty of options and levels of difficulty.
Fetch & Launching Toys
If your dog is a star athlete or has a high-prey drive, fetching and launching toys are the way to go. Whether it’s a dog-safe frisbee or a tennis ball blaster, there are plenty of interactive fetch and launching toys that can preoccupy your dog. Some launchers have hands-free loading that your dog can learn to do, so you can sit back and watch your dog play.
Chew & Teething Toys
Teething puppies and destructive chewers will destroy anything they can get their mouths on, so they need toys that can withstand damage. Extreme durable chew toys are essential to keeping your household items safe, especially during the teething months. If you have a dog that constantly tries to chew everything, you should consider getting a durable chew toy.
Smart Technology Dog Toys
With technology becoming the forefront of life and society, it’s no surprise that there are many different smart technology and interactive toys. A lot of these types of toys have in-app controls and functions to change things up. Smart toys tend to be expensive, so they’re not the best choice if your dog is extremely destructive. If you have an adult dog that isn’t a heavy chewer, smart tech toys could be a great option for hours of entertainment.
Conclusion: Best Dog Toys for Small Dogs
After researching and reviewing each dog toy, we found the Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Smart Puzzle Game Dog Toy to be the best overall dog toy. It’s a great way to encourage your dog’s natural instincts, while also challenging them to solve the problem. For best value, we recommend the KONG Cozie Marvin the Moose Plush Dog Toy. It’s a soft plush squeaker animal toy that is affordable and a bit more durable than other plush toys, while also being light and easy for small dogs to carry. All the dog toys on our list could become your dog’s next favorite toy, so we hope our guide will help you decide.
You may also want to read:
- 10 Best Dog Puzzle Toys – Reviews & Top Picks
- 10 Best Chew Toys for Small Dogs – Reviews & Top Picks
Featured Image Credit: Lenti Hill, Shutterstock