How to Choose Dog Toys

A carrot dog toy, a small green tire dog toy, and a blue ball dog toy

Most Toys Pair Best With a Certain Activity

At the dog park, tennis balls may always reign supreme, but there’s an ever-expanding variety of dog toys fashioned to enchant your beloved canine. Most toys pair best with a certain activity, whether it’s a ball for fetch, a rope for tugging, or a plushie for snuggling. So, to make choosing toys easier, Mud Bay categorizes toys based on five archetypical canines: snugglers, tuggers, thinkers, fetchers and destroyers.

Many dogs are multifaceted creatures that may love to play fetch every evening but also live for time with their favorite puzzle toys. If your dog is a true Renaissance canine, it may be easiest to make a toy choice based on the specific activity you want to encourage. Conversely, if your dog doesn’t seem to like to play, you might want to investigate their breed for toy preference clues. Retrievers and retriever mixes often love to play fetch, while terriers and terrier mixes often love tugger toys. And some dogs may just want toys they can carry during their daily adventures.

Consider the Size of the Toy

After you know what type of toy your dog desires, consider the size. A toy that’s the right size for a Yorkie won’t fit the needs of a St. Bernard. Larger toys are built for stronger jaws but can be too heavy for smaller dogs. Sizing appropriately also helps ensure that your dog won’t accidentally swallow a small toy whole.

While you might want a toy to help entertain your dog, supervision is a key aspect of any playtime. Until you’re certain your dog won’t swallow a toy they’ve chewed apart, it’s important that someone’s making sure that alluring squeaker doesn’t end up in your dog’s stomach. Especially hard toys may also be highly durable, but your dog could also chip a tooth if they’re allowed to chew on them.

Dog toys in three colors


A representation of a teddy bear A representation of a teddy bear on a green circle


A representation of a rope dog toy A representation of a rope dog toy on a green circle


A representation of a puzzle piece A representation of a puzzle piece on a green circle


A representation of a tennis ball A representation of a tennis ball on a green circle


A representation of a bone A representation of a bone on a green circle

Snugglers have gentle mouths and rarely dismantle toys. They often love plush toys, which may last months under their gentle care.

If their favorite activity is tug-of-war, your dog may love tugger toys. Dogs who like these types of toys may also roughly shake them side to side when playing alone.

These doggie Einsteins always surprise you with their ability to reason and overcome obstacles. Focused dogs who are easy to train may like the puzzle toys found in this group.

This dog loves to retrieve anything that you’re willing to throw as many times as you’re willing to throw it. Find a toy that’s the right size and feels good in their mouth, and they’ll play fetch all day.

For destroyers, the fun doesn’t stop until the new toy lays in pieces on the floor. If you measure a toy’s durability in hours rather than weeks, your dog is probably a destroyer.

Click the icons above to learn more about each play preference.

How We Choose Toys

A plush dog toy that looks like a colorful beach ball and a plush toy in the shape of a squirrel

Safety and durability are at the forefront of our minds every time Mud Bay picks a dog toy. That means the toys are non-toxic and well-made, and they pass the rigorous testing of several canine Muddies. And while we can’t guarantee that your dog won’t swallow part of a toy if they chew it off, we do try to make sure that every piece of the toy is firmly attached.

Passing safety and durability benchmarks aren’t our only concerns; dog toys should appeal to you and your dog. Mud Bay wants a selection of toys that include fun textures, materials and shapes, and we hope to find toys that are new to you both.

We also try to offer a wide range of toys to delight many different types of dogs. Our team works to stock ropes, tugs, plushies, balls, discs and other toys with at least one option appropriately sized for every possible dog breed. And Mud Bay also endeavors to satisfy everyone with toys at a variety of price-points, so you can find a safe and durable toy for your budget.