If You Have A Small Dog, These Are The Best Toys To Get — & They're All Less Than $20


Toys are just as necessary for your dog's happiness as food and a cozy bed are. The key to finding the best toys for small dogs is to find toys that are fun, challenging, and size appropriate. But before diving in, consider the different types of toys available so you can make sure you have all your bases covered when getting the most out of playtime.

The American Kennel Club breaks down toys into five basic categories though keep in mind that many of these toys will fall into multiple groups:

  • Treat-dispensing enrichment toys are great for bored dogs and keep their minds sharp.
  • Interactive toys require your active participation and help strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
  • Self-amusement toys are toys your dog can play with without intense supervision, but it's a good idea to keep a closer eye the first few times.
  • Training toys help your dog understand what’s hers, what’s not, and when she needs to share. They’re also quite helpful in mitigating the damage teething puppies and other chewers can cause.
  • Comfort toys make them feel calm, happy, and secure. They're often a plushie.

Beyond just making every day more fun, many behavioral problems stem from boredom or excess energy. Scroll on for the best toys to keep your small dog entertained and learning.

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The Best Treat-Dispensing Toys

1. A Ball With Adjustable Difficulty Levels

When filled with treats, this ball is a fun distraction, and when filled with kibble, it can also serve as a slow feeder. Either way, your dog gets something she really needs, and that’s mental stimulation. The best part is the interior disc you can use to adjust the difficulty levels and keep things interesting. This treat ball is available in two sizes, and it comes apart easily for cleaning and refills. However, these are not marked as dishwasher safe.

According to pet parents: “My dogs love this! It's perfectly challenging for hours of fun. They get so excited playing with it and I'm happy that it worked out. The 3-inch ball is great for toy/small breeds. The kibble and treats for this sized dog are the perfect size for this toy.”

2. This Boredom-Busting Enrichment Toy That Comes In 4 Sizes

This treat dispenser can hold treats in different shapes and sizes as well as yummy smearable treats like peanut butter. Pet parents can also adjust the difficulty levels: Keep the halves farther apart for a quick treat or twist them closer for a greater challenge and to extend playtime. This treat dispenser is best for more moderate chewers, and it’s dishwasher safe.

According to pet parents: “I bought a third one of these as she loses them but I like them so much. I really recommend this item especially for a dog that you are just introducing food toys to as it is customizable and very easy to approach."

3. A Treat Dispenser That’s Great For Aggressive Chewers

This treat dispenser was designed to keep your dog focused, engaged, and working for their treats. Plus, this challenging dog toy is super durable and tough enough to withstand even aggressive chewers. This treat-dispensing chew toy can be used with kibble, apple slices, jerky sticks, nut butters, and more. They're even light enough to play fetch with, and they’re dishwasher safe.

According to pet parents: "I like this toy as it extends the life of some more expensive treats. For my 60 pound, [one-year-old], toy destroying Golden Retriever, the large size is perfect, and she hasn't damaged it at all after months of unsupervised use."

4. This Puzzle Game That's Great For Smart Dogs

This challenging dog puzzle provides some much needed mental stimulation for your pup. To keep boredom at bay, this puzzle uses sliders and flippers that hide tasty treats, and your dog will have to put in some work to enjoy them. With no removable parts, it's a durable choice. However, it's not dishwasher safe.

According to pet parents: “Our 7 month old cavalier spaniel loves this puzzle. She conquered the puzzle and was rewarded with the treats however, she has not gotten bored with it. Even though she pushed the puzzle around to get the pieces to move, the grips on the bottom held it in place. Also, the puzzle itself is sturdy and although she is a chewer (and the dog will chew parts to get to the treats), the puzzle doesn’t have chew marks on it or any appearance that she can chew through parts. This is after two 20 minute play sessions."

The Best Interactive Toys

1. These Squeaky Balls With Awesome Facial Expressions

These latex balls are an ideal solution for dogs that like to peel (and chew) the felt on other balls. At 2.25 inches in diameter, they are small enough for tiny jaws to carry comfortably, and if they get icky, they can simply be wiped clean. These latex balls are also lightweight enough that they can be used indoors without wreaking havoc and marring walls. Users should note that the squeakers come out easily, so you may want to supervise playtime. However, they're not for the dishwasher.

According to pet parents: "My little rat terrier loves these! They have really good squeakers. I know this because he won’t stop squeaking them, and normally he doesn’t just squeeze his other toys repeatedly like he does these. Yes, it is annoying but he’s cute and seems absolutely pleased with these toys, so I’ll learn to tolerate the squeaking."

2. A Rope Toy Set For Tug Of War

While these rope chew toys are great for playing tug of war with your pup, these toys also help maintain healthy teeth and gums. 100% cotton fibers help fight plaque and massage your dog's gums during playtime, making this rope chew toy a win-win. Each package comes with four different sized ropes, and they are washable.

According to pet parents: “These were great for my puppy. The sizes go up basically in thickness, and so the toy grows with her in that regard (while she doesn't outgrow the earlier sizes). The price is super affordable (four of them), and they are tough! My puppy is an avid chewer, and these items have survived many tug-o-wars thus far.”

3. This Ball Thrower That Strengthens Your Bond

Chuckit launchers are probably the best way to play fetch with your pup. The long handle is designed to toss the ball farther and faster than your pitching arm can, and the launcher also lets you grab the ball when it's on the ground, so you don’t have to touch a messy, slobbery ball. Since they come in a range of sizes, you can get ones like the 14S or the 25S (found here) with smaller balls that are a great fit for smaller dogs. However, since the smallest ball is 2-inches wide, it's not the best pick for extra-small dogs.

According to pet parents: “I bought this toy for my three Havanese (small breed) dogs. I like that I don't have to keep on bending to the ground to pickup the ball and the ball is a prefect size for my dogs (they can't really pickup a normal tennis ball). If it could just teach my dogs to actually bring the ball back to me as opposed to just running up to the ball and barking at it then it would be prefect!”

The Best Self-Amusement Toys

1. A Chew Toy That’s Also A Toothbrush

This bristle bone chew toy keeps your dog busy and focused, making it a perfect solution for curbing boredom. As an added benefit, three chewing surfaces, silicone nubs, and nylon bristles clean teeth and maintain healthy gums. And when someone has been a good boy or girl, you can add a treat ring for a special surprise. Four rawhide treat rings are included in the pack. Made from durable nylon, this chew toy can withstand aggressive chewers, and if you’re concerned about keeping things sanitary, its dishwasher safe. Some reviewers have warned that dogs should be supervised while chewing on these. Available in four sizes including an extra-small for dogs up to 10 pounds and a small for dogs 10 to 25 pounds, they're a great pick for small pups.

According to pet parents: “My Boxer-mix destroys all chew toys quickly, but this one keeps her busy for hours. I can hear the bristles on her teeth as she tries to get to the treat rings.”

2. These Plush Toys That Won’t Leave A Trail Of Stuffing

Dogs love these plush toys for the squeakers and pet parents love them because they won’t leave a trail of stuffing. Each of these three plush toys per pack has two squeakers to keep the fun going, and they’re small and light enough for the little guys to fully enjoy.

According to pet parents: “These are just perfect for a small dog. They have two squeakers in them so if one breaks the other still works. And they are flat, so no stuffing goes anywhere. The squeakers lend just enough weight [to] them so they can be thrown well, and they are small enough that a little dog can bring them back.”

The Best Training Toy

1. A Realistic Stick That Tastes Yummy

While these chew toys closely resemble a real stick your dog can find in the park, they’re actually made with durable nylon and taste super yummy. And while resource guarding can happen with just about anything, these are one great way to train your pup to be better at sharing. These chew toy sticks come in two flavors, bacon or maplewood, and the ends are ergonomically designed in a Y-shape to offer your dog a comfy grip. The small size should work for dogs 30 pounds and smaller.

According to pet parents: "Our two dogs, a 14 pound Coton and 24 pound 1/2 Dachshund mix love these. They chew on them and have never chewed off any dangerous chunks. Gives them pleasure safely."

The Best Comfort Toys

1. A Plush Toy With Squeakers Only Your Dog Can Hear

Plush dog toys with squeakers may be super fun for your dog, but they can be a bit much for other family members. This plush dog toy is equipped with ultrasonic squeakers humans can't hear so your dog can play with a new friend and no one is the wiser. The inaudible squeakers make this plush toy a perfect travel companion. What's even better for pet parents is that this plush toy has no stuffing, so there's no messy incidents to worry about. It's designed to suit dogs of all sizes. However, some dog parents note that it might not be the best choice for aggressive chewers.

According to pet parents: "Puppy likes it! [...] It has been durable and a fun soft toy for fetch and cuddling."

2. A Plush Toy With Squeakers That Pets And Their Parents Are Ga-Ga Over

This plush toy is a favorite with well over 6,000 reviews for being durable enough for a little rough play but still soft enough to be a comfort toy. Pet parents can choose between Lambchop, Mr. Bill, or sock monkey, and they can even be purchased in packs of two. However, be aware that these have squeakers inside if you're sensitive to sound.

According to pet parents: “This is my dog's favorite toy. She plays with it, sleeps with it, and unfortunately, disembowels it. But continues to carry around the destuffed, desqueakered carcass of poor Lambchop. So every time I have an Amazon order, I add one of these on so Sunny can continue to have a fresh "lammie" toy.”