Toys are a great way of keeping your new fur baby busy, helping them to expend their energy and provide a source of comfort - but how many toys should a puppy have?
You might be wondering if there’s such a thing as the perfect amount of toys for a puppy, if you can have too many puppy toys, or if there are any puppy toy pitfalls you should be aware of.
Although you might not realize it, the best puppy toys are just as important an investment as other crucial dog purchases such as food, health products, beds and so on.
In this guide we’ll be answering some of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to puppy toys, addressing any concerns you might have about the quantity, quality and type of toy you should be buying.
How many toys should I leave out for my puppy?
There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to exactly how many toys you should leave out for your puppy at any one time, however, it’s always worth bearing in mind exactly how many they can play with at any given moment.
If you’re finding your living room is being taken over by toys - with them not even able to play with a large amount of them - it might be worth reconsidering how many you have, certainly before buying any new ones.
It’s also a good idea to have a designated “place” for your puppy’s toys - check out our inventive dog toy storage ideas or simply pop a box or crate in the corner of the room. You shouldn’t expect your dog to put the toys back in their place, but them knowing where to find them means they can rummage for new ones when they feel the urge to play, and you can hide them away neatly when they’re not in use.
Can you give a puppy too many toys?
In a sense, the answer is both yes and no. It’s difficult to “spoil” a puppy as such, but it’s a good idea not to give them so many toys that they can’t play with them all.
A good tip to help keep your puppy stimulated is to “rotate” the toys you give to them. Hiding away some of their toys and swapping them out for toys that they haven’t played with for a while helps keeps things interesting and will stop your pup from getting bored.
It’s also a good idea to have just a few toys out at any one time to give your puppy a sense of boundaries - i.e. these are their toys for chewing and playing with, while everything else is not for them.
Should puppies have toys all the time?
Again, there’s not necessarily a definitive answer to this, as it will often come down to the traits of your dog, and how they use toys.
Often, puppies use toys to comfort themselves, especially when they’re very young. So, taking away a favorite toy that they like to suckle on or cuddle up to won’t be appreciated.
That said, there will of course be times when playtime isn’t appropriate. Removing toys when they’re not to be played with (such as during dinner time, for example), can help your puppy to learn when it isn’t playtime.
You should always be mindful of your puppy being left alone with toys, especially if they are destructive or the toy you have has parts that may come loose and present a choking hazard.
Should I leave toys in my puppy’s crate?
Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to leave toys in your puppy’s crate.
If you have a very placid puppy who isn’t much of a chewer, you might consider leaving toys in there with them, but there’s always a risk with leaving your pup unattended with something that could present a choking hazard or that they might swallow and face difficulties later down the line.
That said, if you really do want to leave toys in the crate, perhaps as a comforter, try to find toys that are particularly durable and designed to be long-lasting, making sure to check the toy over for any signs of damage after any time the dog has been alone in the crate with it. The best puppy sleep aids are a great choice when it comes to toys that can be placed alongside your fur baby in their crate.
Should puppies have soft toys?
You’ll often see in pet stores that toys that are marketed towards puppies and young dogs are soft, a bit like baby toys.
While it’s not necessarily a bad idea to provide your puppy with toys like this, they’re easily destroyed and should only be given to your puppy with close supervision. You want your puppy to avoid swallowing or choking on small or detachable parts of a toy, or on the stuffing you will often find in soft toys.
To help teething puppies, look for durable toys that have been designed specifically with chewing in mind. The best teething toys for puppies come highly recommended for soothing sore gums and relieving some of the pain associated with new teeth breaking through.
You should also be mindful to not give your dog toys that are designed for humans. Generally speaking, soft toys for children haven’t been designed with heavy destruction in mind, so they won’t usually withstand chewing, biting and clawing from a dog.
How many toys does the average dog have?
It's hard to give a good answer to this since there will be plenty of dogs out there who have hundreds of toys (lucky pups) and lots of dogs who aren’t so interested in playthings and have very few (or no) toys whatsoever.
If you’re concerned that your dog has more toys than average - well, simply, don’t worry. There’s no right or wrong answer to how many toys your puppy should have - it all comes down to your individual needs (and that of your puppy’s).
That said, a good rule of thumb is about 10-15 toys, which are swapped and changed around at regular intervals, giving your dog plenty of variety. You might find that as they get older, your dog needs fewer toys than when they were a puppy - but generally, you’ll get to know what is right for your dog.
What toys should you not give a puppy?
When you go to the pet store, you will see a huge variety of different toys, some of which are specifically geared towards puppies, and plenty that are intended for any age of dog, or particularly for older dogs.
The majority of the best dog toys you can buy for dogs are perfectly safe for puppies, but there are a few things you should be mindful of. For example, it’s wise not to give a puppy anything which is stuffed with beads or beans, anything which contains batteries or anything in which a small animal could get themselves trapped or stuck.
If in doubt, go for toys that have specifically been sold or recommended for puppies, and always supervise your puppy when they’re playing with a toy - especially for the first time.
What toys should a puppy have?
Puppies get enjoyment from lots of different types of toys - and variety is essential to keep their developing brains active.
When shopping for puppy toys, try to get lots of different sizes, shapes, sounds and textures and you should keep your dog happy. You could also invest in the best brain games for dogs to provide a good amount of mental stimulation, too.
You’ll find lots of different toys available, but consider balls, at least one squeaky toy, something soft, something specifically designed for chewing, and perhaps something you can hide treats in.
Amy Davies is a writer and photographer with more than ten years’ experience working in the media. She lives with her miniature dachshund, Lola, a rescue dog who is very much the boss.
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