Tug-of-war can be a great way to simultaneously provide physical and mental exercise for a dog. The best tug-of-war dog toys are made of durable materials like rubber, rope, and bungee cord that can withstand plenty of games. Most tug toys are designed to be held in your hand — but you can also find bungee versions that can be tethered to a solid object like a tree for your dog to play with solo.
As you shop, consider your dog’s play preferences, as tug toys are available in a variety of materials and designs. There are toys made of rubber or rubber-like materials that are designed to be soft and stretchy or as indestructible as possible. Some dogs prefer rope tug toys, while others go wild for a tug toy that includes a ball at the end. Finally, a bungee cord tug toy that tethers to a tree can be a good option for giving your arm a rest, especially for dogs who would play all day if they could.
Another thing to consider is the size of the toy. Every dog I’ve ever played tug with has readjusted and even inadvertently slipped while playing — to avoid any accidental contact, it’s recommended that you both train your dog to understand the “rules” of the game and choose a toy that’s an appropriate size for your dog. Also be sure to select a toy that offers plenty of distance between your hand and your dog’s mouth. Some toys come in just one size that the manufacturer has designed for a range of dog sizes, while others are available in a variety of versions to suit different dogs.
Of course, it’s important to remember that even the most durable, safely designed toy can fall apart with repeated use or pose other safety risks when played with improperly. So it’s always a good idea to supervise your dog as they play so that you can quickly intervene before they eat any of the materials or do anything else that could cause injury. (Tug-of-war can cause injury when played incorrectly. Additionally, if your dog has any teeth, neck, shoulder, or spine issues, it’s recommended you consult your vet before partaking in tug-of-war.)
1. The Best Stretchy Tug Toy For Dogs
Made with a proprietary eco-friendly Zogoflex material, this West Paw tug toy is designed to be stretchy, bouncy, and lightweight (so light that it floats in water!). The S-shape allows the toy to stretch up to twice its length — in addition to making it fun and gentle for your dog to play with, the stretch can also help alleviate some of the strain on your arm as you play, according to reviewers. Plus, it comes in three colors and is safe to toss in the top rack of your dishwasher.
The manufacturer doesn’t specify the toy’s exact measurements, but it comes in two different sizes. While West Paw, a certified B Corporation, doesn’t specify exactly what Zogoflex is made of, reviewers have referred to it as a “rubber”-like material that’s soft — since the material isn’t designed for chewing, it might not stand up to pups who love to chew everything, but the manufacturer will refund or replace the toy if you have any issues with it.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This is the best dog toy we have ever purchased. [...] It floats, it is super durable, you can play tugs or fetch. It’s easy to find on the yard (we got orange). I’ve had dogs for decades and this is the most durable and useful toy I’ve found. You have a customer for life!”
- Available sizes: Small, Large
2. The Most Indestructible Tug-Of-War Toy
This virtually indestructible tug toy for dogs is made of durable food-grade rubber that’s designed specifically for super chewers. It measures 9 inches long, 5 inches wide, and 1.4 inches thick, and it can easily be wiped clean with warm water. It’s manufactured in the United States, comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee, and comes in seven colors, including a black one that’s designed to be even tougher than the rest. Many reviewers have confirmed the durability of this toy, but some have described the rubber as hard, thick, and heavy, which makes it a better fit for medium and large pups who really love to chew.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “Got this after getting the Goughnut and finding that my Giant Schnauzers couldn’t rip it to pieces. They love fetching it and playing tug of war with it. We have gone through so many ‘indestructible’ chew toys and were shocked when they really couldn’t tear this one up.”
- Available sizes: Original (30-70 pounds), Maxx (60-120 pounds)
3. The Best Rope Tug-Of-War Toy
If your pup loves rope toys, give this Flossy Chews tug toy a try. It’s constructed with cotton-poly yarn that’s designed to help clean teeth as dogs play with it. The toy is available in 3-, 4-, and 5-knot styles, depending on the size you get — all versions are nice and long, which leaves plenty of room between your hand and your pup’s mouth.
Mammoth Pet Products doesn’t explain how to clean it, but many reviewers have reportedly run it through their washing machines without any issues. The brand also offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of its dog toys.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “We have had this rope for over a month and it is still going strong. It does show some small signs of wear and tear but you would swear we bought it last week. It is very strong and durable. It has held up through many long gnawing sessions. It has been put through countless hours of fetch and tug of war with no signs of giving out any time soon. I am so in love with this rope and so is my pup!”
- Available sizes: Mini (10-inch), Small (15-inch), Medium (20-inch), Large (27-inch), X-Large (31-inch), X-Large (36-inch), Super XL (72-inch)
4. The Best Tug Toy With A Squeaker
Some dogs need a little encouragement to tug, and the ZippyPaws Monkey RopeTugz has a built-in round squeaker that might just do the trick. The toy is made of a sturdy nylon rope that has an attached plush. It comes in four different colors and the manufacturer recommends machine washing.
It’s a fairly large toy, measuring 28 inches long and 5 inches around, but it isn’t made for heavy chewing. According to ZippyPaws, this toy is designed for all dogs, ranging from little to large. However, if you think it might be too big for your pup, these 11-inch-long ZippyPaws Skinny Peltz with built-in squeakers could be a better fit.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “My dog LOVES this toy! It’s a bit larger than I thought which we love because it gives us more room for tug o’ war. It’s also VERY durable. It usually only takes my girl about 5 mins to absolutely destroy toys but this one looks almost new still.”
- Available sizes: One size
5. The Best Tug-Of-War Toy With A Ball
The Chuckit! Ultra Tug is a perfect fit for dogs who love to chase balls. Featuring a nylon band with a bouncy rubber ball attached to the end, it’s made to be tugged and tossed. It comes in three sizes, all in one eye-catching color combo (blue and orange). The Ultra Tug toy can be washed by hand and can also be thrown using the coordinating-sized Chuckit! ball launcher.
Have multiple dogs who love to tug at home? Check out Chuckit!’s version for two dogs.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “This Chuckit is the perfect tug for my Shepherd mix. He has an outrageous ball drive and it goes through the roof when tiny toys are involved. This tug was quickly a favorite of his. He loves it, it feels durable, and the tug part of the ball is durable and well stitched. [...] This one goes on the Subscribe and Save list for sure.”
- Available sizes: Small, Medium, Large
6. The Solo Tug Toy For Dogs
The LOOBANI bungee tug toy is made with a long bungee rope that can be tethered around a sturdy tree’s trunk or low-hanging limb so that your dog can play tug solo. You can adjust the length of the rope to anywhere between 16 and 19 feet. It is very important to monitor your dog when they’re playing with toys, especially so with this tether toy to avoid any chance of injury. One reviewer also noted that you’ll “need a sturdy tree, and since dog is off leash [they] need to be in [a] safe environment.” (One thing to note: While this tether system can technically be attached to a high tree branch, it’s recommended that you keep any tug toy low to the ground to prevent spinal injury, so keep that in mind when positioning.)
It comes with a rope toy to attach to the end, but you can use their favorite toy as an alternative — but again, make sure to watch that they’re not chewing on the toy instead of tugging on it. The manufacturer doesn’t specify how to clean it, only that it’s durable enough to stand up to outdoor use. It’s available in two colors: black and green.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: “My dog, who can chew the knots out of the tug roaps, loves this! It gives him something to play with besides pulling on my poor arm...he is still a puppy and needs to get the energy out. It was a great purchase.”
- Available sizes: One adjustable size