Big dogs need to play, too! It can be fairly costly replacing all of the stuffed animals that your large dog immediately shreds on a regular basis. There are many dog toys available on the market that, while appearing attractive to a consumer, are not actually suitable as a toy that a dog would rigorously play with.
The important thing to consider before picking a toy for your dog: How does your dog like to play?
- Some dogs love to tear things into little pieces.
- Some dogs love to chase and/or retrieve.
- Some dogs love to play tug.
- Some dogs love to bite toys or carry things in their mouth.
- Some dogs love to search for a hidden toy.
- Some dogs love a combination of all of the above!
While there is no such thing as a truly indestructible toy (especially when you have a very powerful and determined dog) there are many toys designed for strong dogs who love to play. Here are some of the best toys for large dogs:
If your dog loves to shred toys, check out this DIY tutorial! Unlike traditional plush toys, you can stuff the “filling” back inside the Hol-ee Roller for your dog to extract over and over again! The large versions also make a great tug toy.
This toy was originally invented for horses to play with! The jolly ball does not need air to stay inflated, so even if your dog punctures it, it’ll remain a large bouncy ball for some time to come. Ideal for mouthy dogs who love to chomp on things, you can even grab on to the handle to play a game of tug.
This strange looking toy is best for dogs who love to chase moving things and have a relentless personality, such as a herding breed. As a dog pounces on it, due to the hard and slippery shape, the egg will get sent flying in the opposite direction. When a dog attempts to pick it up or paw at it, it rolls erratically away. Repeatedly trying to chase and “figure out” this toy will tire out most active dogs! Some dogs need a little encouragement to play with the Jolly Egg, since it looks so different from traditional dog toys - a cheerful, “Yes! Go get it! Good job!” will often do the trick.
Active large breed dogs, such as Labradors and German Shepherds, can learn to catch and retrieve flying discs with ease. However, many plastic discs on the market get punctured instantly when you throw them for a big, strong dog! These Jawz discs are specifically developed to stand up to a powerful dog’s teeth. When your disc’s edges get jagged, either toss them or use sandpaper or a blade to shave off the sharp pieces.
West Paw Qwizl (or other WestPaw toys)
West Paw dog toys are backed by a one-time replacement guarantee. We’re fans of the West Paw Qwizl because it’s designed to hold treats and chews, such as bully sticks, and provides an extra layer of challenge for those dogs who can devour chews a little too quickly. Here’s a fun game to play: hide the toy somewhere in the room, and encourage your dog to use their sense of smell to find the toy! As soon as they find it, celebrate by offering a bunch of treats!
Mammoth Flossy Chews
We recommend buying a Mammoth tug with a handle. These are durable toys meant for interactive play, rather than leaving your dog alone with it to shred. Start by wiggling the toy on the ground and, while moving away from your dog, encourage your dog to grab the toy. Keep some treats in your pocket and incorporate a little obedience during your play session. Tug for a few seconds, ask your dog to sit - as soon as they sit, tell them, “Good dog!” and start up another short tug session. It’s a great way to practice obedience while your dog is in an excitable state of mind!
Large Chuckit Ball
This tough, squishy ball is easy to see in the grass, and also floats! This toy is a favorite here among local Labrador retriever owners. This ball is preferred over traditional tennis balls because it does not have abrasive felt material that can eventually wear down a dog’s teeth.
Balls MUST be large enough where they can’t get lodged in a big dog’s throat. Always pick a ball that either has NO holes, or has TWO holes, because that provides a passage of air in the event that a ball gets stuck in a dog’s throat. A ball that has a single hole is inappropriate for dogs of all sizes - if a dog is exuberantly chewing on a ball that has a single hole, there is a possibility that a vacuum can be created, causing a tight suction around the dog’s tongue, which will require veterinary intervention to remove.
SAFETY PRECAUTION: many dog toys will become frozen solid while you’re playing with your dog in the snow. Be cautious about throwing any rubber or plastic toy for your dog to catch when the temperature is below 30F. This includes balls, Frisbees, or any toy that hardens when exposed to cold temperatures. A dog may end up with a tooth fracture if they bite a toy that is frozen solid.
How often should I play with my dog?
Every single day, if possible! Playing with your dog provides mental enrichment, stimulation, and exercise. It gives your dog a sense of purpose and deepens the special bond that you two share! Even a daily 5-minute play session will make a huge difference in the quality of your dog’s life. Even if you already talk daily walks around the block, or do regular obedience training, take the time to schedule some fun for you and your best friend today!
Do you have a large breed dog who seems to tear through toys in an instant? What have you found that works for you? Share us a story in the comments below!