Best dog toys available in Australia

Happy dog playing outdoor walking with rubber bone next to cart full of doggy toys and balls

Reasons why dogs need toys   

If yours is one of the nearly 4 million Australian households that owns a dog, you probably already know just how important it is to keep your dog occupied and active throughout the day. Dog toys play an important role in your dog’s well-being by keeping their minds and bodies engaged, offering mental and physical stimulation and enrichment.

Dog toys can help fight boredom when your dog is alone at home and provide comfort when they’re feeling nervous. Toys can even help in preventing your dog from developing certain problem behaviours, because many behavior problems in dogs are the result of boredom or excess energy. According to the Humane Society, toys are not a luxury, but a necessity.


Different types of dog toys 

There are plenty of toys out there for all kinds of dogs, from young, teething puppies to large, aggressive chewers. Each dog usually has its own preferences when it comes to what types of toys they like to play with.

Here are some of the more common types of dog toys available in Australia:

  • Chew toys are made of different substances, often hard rubber or nylon, and come in many shapes and sizes. Toys that promote chewing are beneficial for most dogs, especially teething puppies and dogs that love to chew.
  • Rope and woven toys are usually available in a “bone” shape with knotted ends. They are great for dogs that like tug-of-war and chewing on interesting textures.
  • Balls and frisbees are great for dogs that love to chase and retrieve.
  • Soft stuffed toys can be a good option for dogs that see their toy as a companion to carry around, but they aren’t appropriate for all dogs. Some dogs want to shake or “kill” their soft toys, so they need to be sturdy enough to withstand the dog’s attacks and large enough to prevent accidental swallowing.
  • Slow-feeder puzzles and food-dispensing toys can keep a dog busy for ages. They are great for dogs who tend to eat their food too quickly and / or are highly food-driven.

Considerations when buying a dog toy 

Many factors contribute to the safety or danger of a toy, and a number of them depend upon your dog’s size, activity level and preferences. Another thing to consider is the environment where your dog spends their time. Although we can’t comment on the safety of any specific toy, we can offer the following guidelines.


Be sure to buy toys of appropriate size for your dog. Toys that are too small can easily be swallowed or become lodged in your dog’s throat. A rule of thumb is to make sure that your dog cannot enclose the entire toy in its mouth. If part of the toy sticks out of the side of their mouth, they shouldn’t be able to swallow it.


For the same reason, you should be cautious about toys that contain small parts, as anything that your dog can easily swallow is not a good option. Any pieces that are chewed off can also get stuck in your dog’s intestinal tract, so it’s important to remove the toy if it starts coming apart.

Supervise your dog’s play with squeaky toys: your dog may feel that they must find and destroy the source of the squeaking, which means they could rip apart the toy and ingest it if left unwatched. If this does happen, consult your vet immediately.

Avoid or alter any toys that aren’t “dog-proof” by removing ribbons, strings, eyes or other parts that could be chewed off and ingested. Discard toys when they start to break into pieces or are torn.

First time use

There is no reliable way to know if your dog will destroy their new toy or know how to play with it. Some dogs can be incredibly caring about their toys, while others try to chew right through them or rip them to shreds. For this reason, it is important to supervise, especially when introducing a new toy.


According to the RSPCA, there are currently no mandatory safety standards for pet toys in Australia. This means there will be many toys on the market that do not have the durability and quality needed to be played with vigorously by our pets.

When looking for new toys, always look for reputable brands that pride themselves on quality, including testing their products before sale.


Safe materials for dog toys        

The material a dog toy is made of can present some challenges. You should always check the labels to ensure toys don’t include dangerous fillings like nutshells and polystyrene beads, according to The Humane Society. Even the most common materials used to stuff dog toys — including polyester fibrefill — aren’t fully digestible, which can be problematic if your dog is known to destroy their toys and other possessions.

Toys that tear apart easily, contain squeakers that are easily removed, or have feathers and pieces of string that come away causing serious issues when ingested, are ones to avoid. You want to find toys that assure durability and longevity.

Some experts recommend avoiding toys that are too hard for your dog’s teeth. To check, try the ‘thumbnail test’ – if the toy gives to the pressure of your thumbnail, it’s safe for their teeth. Harder toys should be supervised and considered ‘at your own risk’.

If you’re thinking about giving your dog rawhide chew toys, be sure to check with your veterinarian whether they are safe and appropriate for your dog. They may pose a choking hazard, so give them to your dog only when you can supervise them. For a safer chew toy option, experts suggested toys made from a hard, durable rubber instead.


What type of toys are best for dogs?     

Many of your dog’s toys should be interactive, in that they encourage you and your dog to play together. Interactive play is very important for dogs because they need active “people time” that enhances the bond between dog and owner.

Interactive play can take many forms and involve a range of toys such as balls, flying disks and others that help foster the bond between person and pet. By focusing on a specific interactive task, such as catching a ball or playing “hide-and-seek” with a favourite toy, your dog will be stimulated both mentally and physically within a limited amount of time and space.

For young, high-energy and untrained dogs, interactive play also offers an opportunity for socialisation and helps them learn about appropriate and inappropriate behaviour, such as jumping up or being mouthy.


Balls can keep some dogs occupied for hours on end whether you’re throwing it for them or they’re rolling it around themselves.

While they’re a popular toy for fetch, tennis balls can be an unsafe option — they can be chewed up and pieces can become lodged in your dog’s throat and block their airway.


Rope toys are great for a game of tug-of-war but make sure that you stop the game if your dog becomes too competitive and aggressive. Also, to minimise any damage to your dog’s teeth, avoid any sudden pulling on the rope.

Some rope toys can be pulled apart by zealous chewers and strands of rope may be swallowed.

young boy playing tug o war with his jack russell terrier in the backyard

Snuffle mats

Snuffle mats are great for mental stimulation and relieving boredom and they have the added bonus of slowing down fast eaters. Choose one with lots of creative flaps and folds for your dog to forage through, scatter or hide dry food or treats throughout the snuffle mat, and let your dog get to work (or should we say ‘play’!). These types of dog toys create a fun game of sniffing and getting rewarded — when the dog hunts for the hidden food, its mind is engaged and stimulated.

A great enrichment mat from our Pet Partner DoggyTopia is this Interactive snuffle mat with lots of hiding spots for food and treats in various flaps and folds. Made from felt cloth and measuring 90cm x 90cm, it has velcro straps attached for easy storage and carrying.

See more / shop here

Puzzle slow feeder dog toys

Similarly to snuffle mats, puzzle toys usually use food to challenge your dog mentally as he finds where the treats – or entire meal – are hidden and works out how to get it. Food items are placed inside compartments that may be covered by sliding panels, removable blocks or other obstacles.

Pet Partner PawPawUp has a great selection of puzzle toys, including:

Plush (soft) dog toys

Plush dog toys may be used in different ways by different dogs. Some become attached to a favourite soft toy that they like to carry around and even sleep with, while others view their soft toys as prey to attack and tear apart! They can be used for comfort, or for self- or interactive play in games of hide-and-seek, throw and catch, and even tug of war, provided they are well-constructed!

Remember that while soft toys are not indestructible, some are sturdier than others. Look for features that provide extra durability such as a double-layer exterior and double-stitched edges. Check labels on stuffed toys to see that they are labeled as safe for children under three years of age and that they don’t contain any dangerous fillings and are machine washable.

Pet Partner Pooch Luxury’s plush toy collection includes these enchanting mythical creatures that will stimulate and excite your pooch with endless squeaks, crinkles and crunches.

They all feature a double layer exterior and double-stitched edges for extra durability, while the filler is made from 100% post-consumer certified-safe recycled plastic bottles.

Burrow toys

These are interactive toys that aim to keep your dog busy and engaged through hide-and-seek play, thereby preventing boredom and providing mental stimulation. Burrow toys typically comprise a soft outer toy with openings and 3 to 4 smaller, soft toys that fit inside it. The aim is for your dog to extract the hidden toys from their hiding place. Once your dog has them all out, you will need to replace them for the game to be repeated.

Pet Partner Two Moodles has a great range of burrow toys suitable for dogs of all sizes and stages. Hedgehogs in a log, aliens in a UFO or toast in a Dogemite jar? The hardest part is deciding which one to choose!

Shop their Burrow toys collection here


Treat dispensing dog toys

These are toys that can be filled with food or treats for your dog. Your dog then has to figure out how to use the toy to get to the yummy reward. It can provide hours of challenging entertainment for them as they twist and turn and chew the toy to get to the tasty treat.

Treat-dispensing toys are a great dog toy option because they encourage pets to play longer. The built-in reward keeps pets actively engaged, preventing them from becoming bored and acting out. They range in price depending on their size, durability and features.

See the range of treat dispensing dog toys from our pet partner PetSafe


Noise making toys

While they may drive you crazy after a while, toys with squeakers, bells and crinkly parts will get your dog’s attention and encourage play. They are a good option as they can provide amusement for self- or interactive play. Your dog may go crazy if you squeak or shake the toy while hiding it behind your back or under a pillow.

Pet Obsessed has range of noise making toys – we particularly like this stuffing free Rowdy Racoon that makes a crunching noise and best of all, because it’s stuffing-free, you don’t have to worry about doggy teeth ripping the material and spilling out the inside!

Electronic toys

Battery-powered toys have proven that technology isn’t just for humans anymore! There are electronic dog toys for self-play that you can control via a phone app or set them on automatic mode so they keep your dog entertained by rolling or jumping around in unpredictable ways. You can also purchase automatic ball launchers for dogs that love to chase balls for hours.


Best toys for power chewers   

It is natural for dogs to want to chew, even after they’ve finished teething. Chew toys for dogs ensure they chew something safe, and not your furniture or shoes. Some dogs are powerful chewers, while some dogs are not. The best chew toys for dogs are durable enough to match your dog’s chewing power. The best toy for a Chihuahua would be quickly torn to shreds by a Labrador that loves to chew.

For dogs that destroy everything, including dog toys that are supposedly designed for power chewers, Australian pet business Rover Pet Products claims to have the toughest dog toys out there! Their range includes chew toys, balls, fetch and reward toys and enrichment products.

Here are the toys they most recommend for the ultimate power chewers – they’re incredibly tough and they come with a 1-time replacement guarantee if your dog does manage to destroy them!


In a nutshell…

Toys are important for your dog’s mental and physical well-being. To prevent boredom, rotate your dog’s toys weekly by making only a few toys available at a time. Invest in a variety of types of toys, most of which can be used for interactive play. If your dog has a favourite, like a soft comfort toy, you may want to leave it out all the time.

To avoid potential accidents associated with dog toys, stay away from cheap toys that may not measure up when it comes to safety, and stick to well-known brands that pride themselves on their reputation. Examine toys regularly for wear-and-tear, and discard them if they show any signs of weakness or imminent breakage.


Through our Bow Wow Benefits Program, Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance policy holders can obtain exclusive discounts from our Pet Partners at checkout. To access the discount codes, see your latest edition of our Pet Talk newsletter and click on the link to the Bow Wow Benefits page.


A pet insurance policy with Bow Wow Meow will help ensure you can always afford to give your pet the best treatment.




This article is written by

Nicky Klugman

Nicky is our Marketing Communications and Content Specialist. She is an animal-lover who is particularly interested in animal behaviour and the relationships between humans and their pets. While growing up, dogs were always an integral part of the family. Nicky is mum to three human sons and a rescue pup called Dobby.

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*Please note, any pet insurance advice provided is general only. Refer to the applicable Product Disclosure Statement for details of Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance cover.
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