I thought nothing would help my poor puppy calm down until I found the best dog separation anxiety toys ever! My whole family was worried that my anxious canine was going to have to spend her days in worry and despair every time I stepped out of the door to run some errands.
I tried using cages, beds, and even anxiety treats for my dog, but nothing seemed to help. I finally found some dog separation anxiety toys that were tested by vets and dog owners across the globe. I’m glad there is something on the pet market that exists to help dogs with all kinds of anxiety!
Now I want to share with you the best toys for separation anxiety in dogs. I’ve found all of these toys to be really effective, not just with my one anxious pooch, but for all of my dogs. They love playing with these toys and they are always excited to play with them after they’ve had their dinner.
As for my anxious one, she plays with these toys all day long. I like to give the best separation anxiety toys to her right before I leave the house, so she is equally distracted and calm. Sometimes, she doesn’t even realize I’ve left!
5 Best Dog Separation Anxiety Toys
Below, you’ll find my top 5 favorite dog separation anxiety toys. Let me know if any of these are helpful to you and your anxious furry friend!
Want Answers Fast? Here’s My Favorite Choice!
1. KONG Classic Dog Toy
Why this is my favorite one
- It is made with all-natural materials and products that won’t endanger your dog’s health in any way.
- This is the first-most recommended pet anxiety option by vets and professionals everywhere.
- It is customizable and can be filled with anything your dog loves, making it feel like a special treat.
- It is a good toy for average dogs regardless of their ability or propensity for chewing.
Even people who aren’t dog owners can recognize this famous toy and its long-standing brand. This is a classic toy that has stood the test of time for a reason: it really works.
The reason this rubber masterpiece works is for a few reasons. Not only is it made from all-natural rubber that makes it bouncy and fun, but you can even stuff the hollow inside with a treat your dog loves. My go-to treat of choice is peanut butter, but you can also fill it with dog treats or food - whatever makes your doggie fall in love the most!
It totally appeals to a dog’s natural instinct to chew and lick. This is a good toy to provide a distraction for hours on end so you can safely leave without your furry friend freaking out.
- It’s great for fetching since it can bounce out of control and end up in a lot of funny places for your dog to chase around!
- The red rubber is safe for dogs to chew on and makes them addicted to the chewing sensation.
- You can freeze the KONG toy for a few hours before giving it to your dog, which will help it last even longer while they’re playing with it.
- It is a good tool for weight management and boredom as well!
- It is possible for your dog to really bite into it and it can cause pieces to get torn off in the process.
- Some KONGS are made in different sizes, so the actual size may vary by the time you order it.
This is a long-loved item from a long-trusted brand that will give your dog hours of entertainment and a pleasant distraction from whatever anxiety they may be feeling when you leave. I recommend this as a good place to start if you are just starting to look for the best dog toys for separation anxiety.
2. SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Toy
Maybe your nervous pooch is more of a cuddler and less of a chewer. Some dogs express their anxiety through destructive behaviors like biting and chewing, while others need to snuggle up with their favorite human and have lots of body contact to feel safe.
- It has a “real-life” feel to it with a heating pad and a pulsing heartbeat that your puppy would like to snuggle up to.
- This can be used as a tool when transitioning your dog to a new home or helping them feel less stressed during loud moments (such as a thunderstorm).
- The iconic “Snuggle Puppy” comes in different shapes and colors so you can pick one that looks like your dog!
- It is capable of 24/7 use so your pooch never has to be without it.
- Some doggies do not like the heartbeat sound as it can make the toy vibrate or move around.
This is another tried-and-true toy that your dog can snuggle with all night and all day. For young puppies, the toy reminds them of their own mother, especially when they can listen to the heart beating. Adult dogs love to snuggle with this toy too, as some of our pooches just want constant love and affection, don’t they? And they sure deserve it!
3. Hyper Pet Boredom Buster LickiMat
A lot of dogs exhibit more destructive behaviors when they are feeling anxious. The poor things don’t feel comfortable in their surroundings when they’re gone, so they start biting and chewing things. Nothing is worse than coming home to a destroyed house and the face of a guilty dog!
The best thing we can do in these situations is to provide them with a good distraction. Instead of leaving them to chew on things they shouldn’t, they can be encouraged to use these mats.
They will become just as obsessed with these as they are with their favorite treats!
This “slow feeder” has a textured surface and plenty of spots for you to insert your pooch’s favorite treats. They will spend hours licking and drooling on this non-toxic mat, their happy little minds forgetting about the anxiety they once had.
- The texture and material of the toy promote good dental health for your fido!
- It encourages slow feeding at a healthy pace instead of allowing your dog to gorge on whatever edible thing is in front of him.
- The brand is nice enough to offer a 1-year warranty on the mat in case it gets damaged or your dog doesn’t like it.
- Large dogs with powerful teeth have the tendency to rip it up too fast.
While this product is not for all dogs, it may be helpful to those of you who have small dogs with a tendency to chew and lick everything.
4. EETOYS Dog Chew Toy For Aggressive Chewers
Nothing goes better together than a dog and his bone. Dogs who love to chew cannot be stopped; they will chew anything they can get their canines on!
This is especially true when it comes to dogs and anxiety. If your little pooch has trouble staying calm when you’re about to run your errands, than you may need to provide them with something that can endure their aggressive chewing for a long time.
- It comes with the brand’s patented “Smooth Scrape Technology” so the bone never becomes brittle or breaks off into little bits, no matter how hard your dog chews on it.
- There are little grooves and divets in the bone where you can apply a layer of peanut butter or another paste-like treat that your dog loves.
- Green, carbon-neutral technology is used to manufacture these products. So not only are there no additives in the ingredients, but the product itself has no contaminants either.
- It helps dogs who are teething or who need to be doing something with their mouths in order to remain calm.
- The company offers a lifetime replacement guarantee!
- Larger dogs with aggressive chewing patterns may go through this bone quicker than advertised.
If you have a chewer who needs a solid distraction for a while, you can start by looking at big nylon bones like this. Materials are safe for animals and can be coated with their favorite treats and smells to encourage them further.
5. SNiFFiz SmellyMatty Snuffle Mat For Dogs
The reason why some dogs have anxiety is nothing more than boredom. Some friendly fidos don’t know what to do with themselves when they don’t have you around, which is what causes them to want to destroy the house or chew on things they aren’t allowed to chew on. Wouldn’t it be great if they had something that could provide them with rich stimulation for hours on end?
What I really like about this snuffle mat is that I’ve had mine for over a year now, and my dog is still as excited about it as she was the very first day it came to the house. It really keeps her busy and entertained. She even plays with it while I’m there too; she completely ignores me at times!
- One of the best toys for all-day, indoor enrichment that requires no supervision.
- It comes with actual puzzles and different pieces that engage your dog in different ways, helping your young ones grow into some pretty smart pups!
- It provides both physical and mental stimulation for doggies all day long.
- There are hide-and-seek components so your dog can search for a treat while playing games.
- Each game is different and your dog may not respond positively to all of them.
I love the variety that you get with this toy, and there are enough things to do with it that it will keep your cute dog entertained for hours!
How Toys Help To Reduce Separation Anxiety In Dogs
If you’ve been following my website for a while now, you are probably aware of all the different products I like to use to keep my dogs calm. Many of my dogs suffer from anxiety in different ways, so it’s been a real challenge trying to find out what satisfies all of them.
From crates to chewy treats, there are lots of things that can give your poor puppy a moment of peace. I’ve found that toys can help ease their worries, too. But aren’t toys for playtime? Don’t toys cause dogs to get hyper and excited? How can that reduce anxiety?
Again, all dogs are different - and all toys are different. There are dog separation anxiety toys that contain natural pheromones or other materials that distract their minds and keep their bodies from feeling the symptoms of stress. Some toys work to provide stimulation and a challenge that can distract your dog while you slip out the door. They love being able to work to get their treats - just give them an opportunity!
Chewy talks about the benefits of appeasing pheromones and how they are one of the most effective ingredients for reducing anxiety in dogs. Some of the toys I listed above have the option of including natural scents like this, making it more attractive to your dog and better for their mental health overall.
In order to figure out if toys will help reduce stress in your dog, take them to the vet! It never hurts to make an appointment and get a proper diagnosis from your dog’s doctor so you know exactly what kind of anxiety you and your dog can tackle together.
The Importance Of Exercise For Your Dogs
Does your dog get particularly anxious at a certain time of day? Or maybe he’s just really wound up when you try to leave to go to work. When figuring out what kind of anxiety-reducing situation would be the best solution for your dog, you should also think about giving them physical exercise.
When my girl gets really bad anxiety, I take her for a walk. In fact, it is something that can really help get her nerves down before I have to leave for the day. And according to experts at Pet Expertise, you should be giving your dog at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. This is not only good for their physical health and quality of life, but it also gives them an opportunity to stretch their legs and feel more tired so they aren’t scared when you go to leave.
Using walks in combination with several of the above toys can work wonders for your furry friend’s mental health! If there are other toys you like to use as well, let me know what they are - I’m always looking for recommendations.
Choosing The Right Toys For Your Dogs
You have to engage your dog’s natural instincts and senses in order for them to have a full, happy life. This also helps them reduce their natural anxiety. But with so many different types of toys to choose from, how do you know which are best for your fido?
There are a few ways to tell what your dog’s toy preferences are before you start spending a bunch of money on different items. You don’t want to waste your precious dollars on things that your dog will end up ignoring for a lifetime.
Here are some tips and tricks that I’ve found can be really helpful when getting your furry friend the right kind of toy! This is also the guide I follow when recommending the best products for dogs with anxiety!
1. Know the types of toys
There are many different categories under which a dog toy could fall. If you are trying to inquire about popular toys at your local pet store, you will likely find them under the following major categories:
- Tug toys
- Chewable toys
- Toys with treats in them
- Plush toys (most have squeakers)
Some dogs love all the different types of toys, while most have a particular category of toy that they would die for. Find out your pet’s personality to determine what items to start shopping for!
2. Know what’s safe
Not every single item advertised as a “dog toy” means that it’s automatically safe for dogs. You need to stay apprised of the make, brand, and manufacture location of the toy. If you can, you should also research what kind of fabrics or chemicals are being used in the toy as well. Surprisingly, not all dog toys are safe for dogs’ consumption.
Most trusted brands provide items that are safe for dogs. These are the same companies that have no problem being transparent about what goes into the toys or where they are made. Your dog’s safety should be top priority - but of course you already now that!
3. Think about your dog’s age
The age of your dog can help determine what kind of toy is best for their safety and enrichment. For example, if you have a puppy, keep in mind that their teeth are not as strong as an adult dog’s teeth, and you shouldn’t give them anything that requires them to bite too roughly. Soft fabrics and chews can help them satisfy that unquenchable craving to chew and drool all over things.
Older dogs have stronger jaws, and you can find bigger and more durable toys to accommodate their need to bite and pull. However, senior dogs start losing bone mass, so you really want to think about what is best for fido at any age.
My Favorite Dog Toy Brands
Trust is a huge part of the buying process for me, as I imagine it is for you as well - and for most consumers who want to find nice items for their pets. I would never promote an item or a brand that I didn’t trust. In order to give you an easier time when looking for your dog’s new favorite toy, here is a list of my favorite brands that always create good products that come with good customer service.
Famous for that recognizable red rubber toy, KONG has a strong line of dog and cat toys that have been at the height of popularity for a very long time. One of the best things about this brand is that they create durable and high-quality items of just about every size, so your pet can enjoy their toys for a long time to come. The company is also open to customer service and offers warranties and returns on pretty much anything.
In their own words, Hyper Pet specializes in “unique, patented, interactive toys” for dogs. It’s true; this company has come up with some of the most creative ideas that give you and your dog great opportunities to play together. From NERF-like guns that shoot balls out for your dog to chase, to edible toys and treats that they will love, this is a good company all around.
Although the company has a slightly strange name, the people at SNiFFiz are all about making fun and interactive dog toys. This is one of the dog toy labs that invented the snuffle mats and games, offering different textures of fabric to stimulate all of your dog’s senses. This is a smaller company without all of the clout of a major organization, but each product is made to meet high standards of safety, quality, and fun.
If you have ever been to a local pet store or franchise, you have almost certainly heard of the Nylabone brand. This company is the creator of the famous soft chewy bone that is just durable yet just flexible enough to be safe for your dog, giving them something they can chew on day in and day out. Most of this company’s products are made with natural materials and all of them are 100% safe.
EETOYS is an Amazon-focused seller responsible for producing dog toys for aggressive chewers. All of their toys are very durable and can withstand the mouth of any hyper dog. There is always a lifetime guarantee added with all of the products, which can be returned in exchange for something else if your dog does not take well to his new toy.
If you want a company that focuses on the most loving dog separation anxiety toys, look at SmartPetLove. The most famous product made by this company is the SnugglePuppy, which is one of the toys I listed as my top 5 best dog separation anxiety toys. But this company makes other toys and calming products as well that are definitely worth looking at.
Only Natural Pet
If you want to expand on your dog’s anxiety-relieving options and go beyond just supplements and sprays, you can invest in certain natural pet foods as well. That’s where I would recommend Only Natural Pet, a company that provides all-natural ingredients for dogs and cats.
Their food products are always made with a cool blend of healthy ingredients that looks so good I would almost be tempted to eat it myself!
Dog Toys For Separation Anxiety FAQs
Pet owners can often be hesitant to invest in a new toy or product for their dog dealing with major anxiety. This is understandable, since you don’t want to waste money on something that is either unsafe or just doesn’t work. I have found that answering the following questions helps owners stay more informed so they can find the very best solution for their poor pup.
1. Are there toys that work while I’m out of the house?
Fortunately, most dog toys that are specifically created to treat anxiety can actually work best when the dog is alone. If your dog is like most, then the reason he or she has anxiety is because you leave for many hours during the day. In order to keep their minds distracted and their fears at bay, you can invest in an enrichment toy that will provide them with hours of entertainment, giving them hardly any time to notice that you’re gone.
2. Why do some toys promote physical activity indoors?
It’s no secret that exercise is a great stress reducer for dogs. While the best idea would be to give them lots of exercise before they leave, I know that you can’t always do that according to your schedule. There’s another solution that might work for you. Investing in toys that make your dog run around, or ones that promote physical exercise of any sort, can greatly reduce their fears. Not to mention it will surely tire them out and give them a good nap afterward!
3. Why doesn’t my dog like to play with her toys?
If you have yet to find a toy that your dog is really into, it may be a problem with the environment instead. The toy is just one of the many important factors to take into consideration when helping your dog feel less stressed. She also needs to feel safe in the home. Take steps to help your dog feel more secure when you are away.
4. What else can I do to help my dog play with the right toys?
Sometimes dogs need a lot of stimulation to be encouraged to practice calming behaviors. If just a toy isn’t enough, you can also try introducing a white noise machine into the room. Just like with humans, calming sounds often reduce the anxiety-causing receptors in the brain and help create a more relaxing environment. You may also want to try a specialized pet mattress or even aromatherapy.
5. Do I need to supervise my dogs while they play with their new toys?
It is always a good idea to keep an eye on your dogs when they are eating, biting, or chewing on something. This is especially true for a new product when you aren’t sure how the toy will hold up to your dog’s strength yet. In some cases, toys can be bitten off into small pieces and create a choking hazard. Invest in durable products that can’t break against the force of your dog’s teeth. Most of the toys I listed in this article are safe for unsupervised use.
Find Your Dog A Dream Toy Today
Whether your dog likes to bite, tug, pull, chew, or just snuggle, there is something out there to keep them safe and satisfied. Your job is to create a loving and stimulating environment so they have everything they need to feel secure, even when you have to step out fo the house for a while. Most dogs get anxiety because they worry you’ll never come back to them - but when they are surrounded by their favorite things, they are much less likely to be afraid.
The 5 toys I listed in this guide can help with dogs of all shapes, sizes, and levels of anxiety. Hopefully, you will find something to keep your furry loved one happy and calm when you are away. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns about the best dog separation anxiety toys, reach out to us ASAP!
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