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We've all been there. You have a shopping list for the pet store, and you fully intend to walk out with only the food and treats your dog actually needs. But then you find yourself in the toy aisle, and oh, wouldn't Lilly just love that chew toy? And that tossing toy is so cute! And if you're picking toys up for one dog, naturally you'll need to grab something for the rest of your canine crew, too, right?
If you have a hard time cruising through the toy aisle without loading up, you're not alone. But the good news is that there are tons of inexpensive dog toys that still deliver big fun. Check out our picks, and be sure to share in the comments if we left off your dog's favorite!
This plush gator is cute and cuddly, and it makes all sorts of noises your dog will totally dig. The head crackles like a plastic water bottle, the body has a squeaker, and your dog has a blast. Keep in mind, though, that your dog should be supervised while playing with this toy, or any toy, for that matter. The moment any piece of a toy comes loose or begins to fall apart, you should dispose of the toy and replace it with something showing less wear-and-tear.
JW Crackle Heads Alligator, $6.95-$7.97.
Credit: Our Pet's
We all know that mental stimulation is hugely important for dogs; especially dogs who tend to have a lot of excess energy. (Those of you with Lab puppies know what we’re talking about.) Treat-dispensing toys and food puzzles are a spectacular way to engage Fido’s brain in a way that offers an automatic reward. Plus, it’s so much fun to watch your dog try to figure out how to get to the kibble inside. If this is your first foray into the world of treat-dispensing toys, start out slow with something like the Atomic Treat Ball — save the “genius” level toys for later.
Our Pets Atomic Treat Ball, $8.99-$11.99.
Credit: West Paw Designs
The Tizzi’s handles can be twisted to create a spiral when thrown, and the handles can be untwisted to hide yummy treats inside. It’s guaranteed against dog damage (although it’s still recommended you supervise your pup during play), buoyant, dishwasher-safe, eco-friendly and made in the U.S.A. Also? It’s one of our editor's dog’s very favorites.
West Paw Designs Tizzi, $11-$18.
Those owners with dogs who love to fetch are likely familiar with the Chuckit! family, and the Heliflight Dog Toy is an entertaining alternative to the standard tennis ball. It’s unsinkable, soft but durable, and the canvas top with soft rubber bottom makes it easy for your dog to grab. Bonus: It floats high on the water, helping your canine swimmer find and retrieve it.
Chuckit! Heliflight Dog Toy, $14.99.
Made of 100-percent natural rubber, the Birdbal is one tough squeaker toy. But it has a softer side too — its wings are soft plush. It can be chewed and chomped or tossed and tugged for both indoor and outdoor fun. Plus, come on — the shape and design is a trip.
Petprojekt Birdbal, $8-$14.
Who says dog toys should only appeal to your dog? This adorable Humungu Stache toy will give you the giggles every time your dog walks up with it in his mouth.
Mini Humunga Stache Dog Toy, $10.99 at Muttropolis.
Need to keep your pup stimulated and busy for a while? Dog owners have long hailed the Kong for its durability and stuffability. Putting a little peanut butter inside is enough to keep many dogs out of your hair for half an hour, but there are plenty of ways to get even more creative!
Kong Dog Toy, $6.79-$22.59 (all but XL and XXL are under $15) at Petco.
Not just a squeaky toy; Pearl the Pig comes equipped with her own story, and she’s quite the character! After all, it only makes sense that your pup should have a pal nearly equal in cuteness, right?
Charming Pet Pearl the Pig (small), $4.99.
Sure, your canine might not especially care that her favorite rope toy is in the shape of a farm animal, but you might have noticed that we’re also fans of toys that appeal to our sense of style. The durable rope is great for playing tug or just tossing around the house. For safety reasons, make sure to put this toy away when you're done playing with it. The good news is that it's cute enough to store out of reach but still on display!
Petmate Roopers Rope Dog Toy, $7.64 at Dog.com.
Credit: Pet Solutions
Got a hound who’s hell-bent on destroying every toy you bring home? Bionic toys offer a one-time, money-back guarantee that they’ll withstand the aggressive play pattern of your power chewer. The Toss-n-Tug’s shape provides your dog with several ways to pick it up. Flipping it “inside out” makes it an extremely durable tug toy, while the original shape creates fun flight patterns.
Bionic Toss-n-Tug, $11.99-$14.99.
The funky (and floppy) Loofa Dog has become ubiquitous in recent years, and this stuffing-free version means you won’t wake up to a trail of cotton ball toy innards when your mischievous pooch pulls her beloved toy out of storage overnight. Not that this has happened to us. (As always, we recommend supervised play for toys that can be torn apart and swallowed. Safety first!)
Multipet Loofa Floppy Stuffing Free Dog Toy, $3.39-$4.50 at Dog.com.
Credit: Planet Dog
Your dog doesn’t just want to play until the sun goes down. He wants to stay out past curfew and live a little! This glow-in-the-dark ball is both nontoxic and recyclable, and it whistles when you throw it. That’s more than a novelty — that function makes it easier for dogs with reduced vision to follow your toss.
Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Glow-in-the-Dark Whistle Ball, $12.95.
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