Are you bringing a puppy home for the first time? You’re probably planning on crate training your puppy, at least for the beginning of his life. If so, you will need to know what the best toys for puppies are. It’s not as simple as you might think. Just because something is puppy-safe doesn’t mean it’s suitable for a puppy in a crate.
So, what are the best toys for puppies in a crate? We’ve hand-picked this selection based on safety and variety, so they won’t get bored:
- Teething chew toy – Kong Puppy Toy
- Chew bone – Kong Puppy Goodie Bone
- Interactive/puzzle toy – Idepet Dog Toy Ball
- Dog ring toy – Goughnuts
- Tug of war toy – Nylabone Puppy Chew Teething Toy Bundle.
We will explore the best types of toys to give to your dog based on two requirements: safety and variety. We’ll talk about the toys we don’t recommend for unsupervised use. You will be more informed in selecting the best toys for your puppy to keep them busy, safe, and happy. Let’s kick on!
Why You Should Trust Me?
I’ve had dogs for over 15 years, and I’ve raised four puppies.
I have spoken with many vets, breeders, and a variety of other dog owners. And the best crate toys and chew toys for puppies has come up many times in these conversations.
I’ve experienced first-hand what has worked and has not worked for my puppies. This includes crating. My pups had to spend a fair amount of time in a crate until they grew into adults and could be left unsupervised whilst i was at work.
Experience tells me what toys have worked for my puppies and which ones don’t!
Why People Put Puppies in Crates
Crates are not a jail sentence
Let’s face it. Nobody wants to crate their adorable puppy.
It would be great if we could bring a puppy home that was already housebroken. It would be wonderful if they didn’t chew anything from day one.
Reality is that your 8-week old puppy is not going to be housebroken. You’ll end up with unwanted puddles in your house and chewed items that could hurt your pup.
Why use a crate with a puppy? You can’t supervise them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The crate becomes a controlled environment that your pup will come to think of as their bedroom. It’s a safe place to be.
You’re being responsible by crating your puppy. My puppies were all ready to have free range of the house without a crate by the time they were only one year old.
The video below explains how to make your puppy comfortable going in and out of a crate every 5 minutes. Zack, the trainer, gives some great insights into puppy training from the start of the video.
Here are the main reasons crate training your puppy is a good idea.
Most dogs have an instinct not to pee where they sleep. They like dry bedding. The crate will be an excellent tool for you as you train your pup to go potty outside.
Your puppy will not want to go to the bathroom in the crate. You should use the crate and gain yourself the peace of mind and sanity that comes with knowing you don’t have a dog running around your house, peeing on everything.
The crate will also help teach the puppy where it’s okay to go to the bathroom and where it’s not okay.
If you are looking for the best crate for a puppy, you can read about our top recommendations here.
Puppies have little razor teeth. They’re pointy, and they hurt when they bite (and they will bite).
Nipping is a part of any puppy’s early days. They don’t know boundaries yet, and don’t see that it’s not okay to chew on the furniture.
A crate is a safe way to protect them from getting into things they shouldn’t.
Some dogs will develop separation anxiety. They may not like being home alone. Or they may be scared of fireworks or thunderstorms, which can cause stress for them.
Establish a safe place for them in their crate while they are young. This serves as their den and could go a long way in preventing anxiety from developing as they get older.
it can be confusing and overwhelming to choose the best crates for dogs that suffer from anxiety. We researched the market extensively and recommended 6 crates that would suit an anxious dog here.
You may or may not travel much with your dog. My dog always comes with me on my trips to visit family out of town.
Transporting your dog in a crate is the easiest and safest way to travel with your pet.
If he gets used to being in his crate as a puppy, he should be able to adapt to change of location easily.
If you want to travel with your puppies in the car, we’ve researched some of your safest options in these articles:
Helping Your Puppy Adjust to His Crate
While crate training is a great idea, it won’t be easy immediately. It’ll cause some adjustment for your puppy, which means it’ll take some change for you. There might be a few nights at the beginning with a lot of howling from your little guy.
The biggest problem your puppy will face in his crate is boredom. This can lead to him wanting to be destructive. The most natural solution to this is finding things for him to do that are approved activities.
You should monitor how much time your puppy spends in the crate, especially while he’s little. A pup should be able to find peace and harmony in this space. Giving him toys to play with while in his crate is the best way to achieve this.
The Humane Society of the United States has a great video available on helping your pup adjust to his crate.
Best Type of Toys For Puppies in a Crate
There are many different types of toys and bones available for a puppy. Not all are created equal, and some definitely should not be left alone with your puppy in a crate. Here’s our selection of the best types of toys for puppies in crate.
Interactive and puzzle toys
There are many toys available that will keep your pup’s brain busy. After all, when we’re trying to fight off boredom, isn’t that the key: to occupy the mind?
Puzzle feeders or treat dispensers are one of your options when looking for the best toys for puppies in a crate. They are usually sturdy enough to withstand chewing, and they also will reward your puppy in the form of dispensing a treat after he works hard.
One good puzzle toy option available on Amazon: Idepet Dog Ball.
Chew toys are another great option for your puppy.
You want a toy that is designed to be chewed and won’t splinter. Avoid chew toys that might break apart or splinter and harm your pup (more on that below).
Of the many chew toys available for a puppy in a crate, what do we recommend? One good chew toy option available on Amazon: Nylabone Dura Chew Toy. Read the label carefully. Some Nylabones are only for chewing, and your puppy should not eat these. You may need to supervise the chewing of this toy, so your puppy doesn’t end up eating it if it is only for chewing.
Indestructible dog toys
You can’t go wrong with the classic rubber Kong. It was made to be filled with treats, chewed on, and indestructible.
I have found success filling my puppy’s Kong with treats and peanut butter and then sticking it in the freezer. If it’s frozen, it’ll last him even longer and keep him occupied!
Here is the original indestructible Kong toy option. Available on Amazon: Kong Classic Dog Toy.
Worst Type of Toys For Puppies in a Crate
Balls that should be used in a crate have been explicitly designed for chewing.
However, you want to avoid any balls that can be destroyed easily, like tennis balls or your standard rubber ball.
You also want to be careful you don’t give a large puppy a small ball. Even if it’s indestructible, a small ball can be swallowed by a bigger puppy. This poses a choking hazard.
Stuffed toys are not on my list of best toys for puppies in crate. These might be okay when your puppy is older.
When you don’t know how voracious of a chewer your pup will be, it’s best to stay away from stuffed toys. Dogs can rip apart stuffed animals, swallow rubber eyes, squeakers, noses, and the stuffing. You don’t want to find yourself rushing him to the doggie ER for expensive surgery.
Bones and rawhide chews
Anything that can splinter can harm your pup’s intestines are dangerous. Real bones and rawhide can be given to your dog when older, and when supervised.
Rope toys are best for supervised play only. Why? The short answer is that the rope can fray or unravel with bits of string digested by your puppy! The long answer is in this article on this blog.
Rope toys are not on my list of the best toys for puppies in a crate.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has a great resource on how to select toys and includes toys that are always unsafe (not only in crates).
Is the Snuggle Puppy Good to Use in a Crate?
The Snuggle Puppy is a bit of a wildcard and gets its own section in this article.
This toy mimics a beating heart, providing warmth and comfort to puppies. It can be great for your puppy! It’s available on Amazon: Snuggle Puppy Toy.
It’s a good concept but you need to ensure your puppy isn’t the type to chew stuffed toys before giving him the Snuggle Puppy. If your dog is the type to shred stuffed toys and eat their insides, this will not be a good toy for him.
The Best Toys for Puppies in a Crate
Here is a list of five products we are recommending complete with a description and some pros and cons.
Here is a list of five products we are recommending complete with a description and some pros and cons.
|Best Teething Toy||Kong Puppy Toy||Check price|
|Best Chew Bone||Kong Puppy Goodie Bone||Check price|
|Best Tug of War/ Solo Time Toy||Nylabone Puppy Chew Teething Toy Bundle||Check price|
|Best Dog Toy Ring||Goughnuts||Check price|
|Best Cute Toy||Kong Puppy Binkie||Check price|
Any of these products would be great options for toys for your puppy’s crate. They come from very reputable companies.
Best teething toy: Kong Puppy Toy
The Kong Puppy Toy was designed for puppies.
It’s durable and bouncy and will stimulate your puppy and encourage playtime.
Stuff it with kibble or peanut butter to ensure your pup remains interested in chewing on it and doesn’t get bored.
It’s available in three sizes: small, medium, and large.
Kong Puppy Toy - pros and cons
Best chew bone toy: Kong Puppy Goodie Bone
The Kong Puppy Goodie Bone is similar to the above product and is bone-shaped.
It’s made from rubber and designed to be stuffed with kibble or treats, and your pup can chew on this unsupervised.
Kong Puppy Goodie Bone - pros and cons
Best tug of war or solo time toy: Nylabone Puppy Chew Teething Toy Bundle
The Nylabone Puppy Chew Teething Toy Bundle is a starter pack full of great toys to help get your puppy started. It contains five different products designed for varying levels of chewing.
Nylabone Puppy Chew Teething Toy Bundle - pros and cons
Read the labeling on the packaging very carefully. Check if these toys can be eaten or just chewed by your puppy.
Best dog toy ring: Goughnuts
Goughnuts are a rubber donut-shaped toy designed to be very durable. This is an indestructible chew toy!
Goughnuts - pros and cons
Best cute toy: Kong Puppy Binkie
The Kong Puppy Binkie is shaped like a pacifier.
It is made of rubber and has a built-in treat dispenser.
It’s made from Kong’s natural teething rubber and is designed to promote healthy chewing by your puppy.
It’s available in pink or blue and small or medium and designed for dogs
up to 35 pounds.
Kong Puppy Binkie - pros and cons
Brands Who Offer the Best Toys for Puppies in a Crate
Three brands stand out from the pack and seem to have more options for you to choose from.
- The headquarters are in the USA (Colorado), but Kong has expanded and now has factories over the globe.
- They have been around since 1970. The creator was tired of his dog chewing through everything, so he came up with a solution.
- Their products are so popular because they are proven to be indestructible. They also offer different strengths of rubber for varying levels of aggressive chewing. A softer jawed dog like a Vizsla might not need as strong of a toy as a Doberman Pinscher.
I appreciate that I can freeze Kongs and make it more challenging to get the treat from inside the Kong.
- They are a family-founded company that opened in 1955.
- As well as chew toys, they make edible treats, snacks, and some other pet products as well. They identified early on that every dog is different. As a result, they’ve developed a vast array of products for varying levels of chewing needs.
- Their “bones” are not actually bones. They are flavored and made from durable products like nylon and plastic.
- While they do make some edible treats, the traditional Nylabones are not meant to be digested. If you find your dog breaking off bits and pieces of the Nylabones, then it’s time to get a new bone. They are long-lasting, but they do have an end-of-life at some point.
- My dogs have always liked Nylabones. They offer a different texture than a Kong. They are more hard plastic and less rubbery. I’ve enjoyed being able to give my dogs toys that are different textures.
- All their products are made in the USA.
- They guarantee that their toys are indestructible, and will be replaced if destroyed.
- They have a patent-pending technology in which the toy’s layers change color. Starting with green on the outside, and if the dog chews and destroys the outer layer, you will then see red (Red for Stop). This safety indicator is for the customer. If you see red, send the toy back, and they’ll mail you a replacement free of charge.
Should You Put Toys in a Puppy’s Crate at Night?
When everybody in the house is sound asleep, is it safe to let your puppy have access to toys in his crate? It should be okay to leave some toys in his crate at night as long as you choose them wisely.
If you want a durable toy that can’t be destroyed, your puppy should be okay. A frozen Kong that your puppy can gnaw on while he falls asleep might even be soothing for him and help him fall asleep.
I always stayed clear of putting stuffed toys in my puppy’s crate. While they can be comforting, I was nervous he would chew it and swallow it up when I wasn’t looking. Stay away from anything that your puppy could chew up and possibly harm him while you’re sleeping.
Bringing home a puppy for the first time is a lot, and it can be overwhelming. You might be wondering about some other things for your new puppy in regards to his crate.
What else is safe to put in my puppy’s crate?
Besides his new favorite toy, what else does your puppy need in his crate to be happy and fend off boredom?
You’ll want to be a little careful in selecting bedding for a puppy. When you’re not sure yet if he’s a chewer, or how long he can hold his bladder, you’ll want to opt for something cheap and washable. Perhaps some old towels to start with. Once your puppy grows a bit and gets into a routine, you might be able to purchase an actual dog bed.
Want to know how to keep your puppy warm in their crate at night? Have a read of this useful guide.
Really, that’s it.
Here are a few things you might think should go in a crate, but probably shouldn’t…
Food and Water
It’s not recommended to put food and water in a puppy’s crate. They’re likely to be knocked over, which will create a mess or cause puppy to have a bathroom accident in his crate. An adult dog has more control over his bladder and is less likely to make a mess in his crate.
We have two articles on the blog to help you understand if it’s a good idea to put water in a puppy’s crate at night and during the daytime.
Collars and Tags
Don’t put your puppy in the crate with his leash, collar, or tags on him or near him. They all pose choking hazards to a young puppy. It’s best to put the collar and/or leash on him when he comes out of the crate.
To keep him safe be careful of what is near the crate. Last word of caution on crates: my last puppy bounced up and down in his crate so much, he moved it about five feet. Two more feet and he would have fallen down the stairs. So, make sure your crate is secure on the floor and can’t be moved!
Your puppy should be quite content in his crate with a toy and somewhere soft to lay. As he gets older, you can think about adding food, water, and better bedding. In the beginning, it’s best to stick with the basics.
Where should I put my puppy’s crate?
Should a crate be in a quiet corner of the house or a busier part of the home like the living room?
In the daytime, you should put your puppy’s crate in an area of the home that has a lot of traffic. They love to be included with their families and surrounded by people.
At night, when your puppy is getting acclimated to life, you should put his crate near your bed. They are used to sleeping near their mom and litter-mates and will want to be near you. In a couple of weeks you can think about moving the crate to another area of the house.
In the middle of the night, it’s easier to roll over and comfort him than to get out of bed and go to a different area of the house.
How long can a puppy stay in a crate?
You’ve found the perfect toy for his crate and decided what else to put in there with him. You’ve also decided where to put his crate. He likes his crate. Now, how long can you leave him in his crate at one time?
There are a few different factors that go into how long a puppy can stay in a crate. The most important, though, is age. A good rule of thumb, the puppy can be crated one hour for every month of age. For example, a two-month-old puppy can do two hours, and a three-month-old can do three hours, etc.
A puppy should never be crated longer than nine consecutive hours.
I can tell you from experience with my last puppy that it’s best to err on the side of caution. Just because he can last hours in the crate doesn’t mean he should last hours in the crate. You want to break them into the idea slowly, in small doses.
There are many options when it comes to buying toys for your new puppy. You’ll need to consider a few things before deciding on what can go in his crate. Choose a toy that is durable, like the indestructible Kong, fill it with peanut butter and freeze it. It serves to be a puzzle toy at the same time! Kongs satisfy everything your puppy would need in a toy, they’re challenging, durable, and safe.
Stay away from toys that will break apart or splinter and cause your puppy harm. As you learn your pup’s personality, you can consider phasing in some more toys. You’ve made a great decision to get a puppy. You have a new best friend and member of your family, and he will love whatever toys you end up selecting for him!
Our aim here at Outdoor Dog Fun is to provide helpful resources to keep you and your puppy safe, happy, and healthy. That’s why we’ve published more interesting articles relevant to your puppy and crating. We hope you find these articles useful:
- Best crate for puppies: read our recommendations
- The do this/don’t do that guide to puppy crate training at night
- Puppies and poopies in a crate at night – a must-read
- Good or bad idea: water in a dog crate during the day
- Keeping your dog warm at night in their crate: a comprehensive guide
- Would we leave water in a dog crate at night: yes or no?