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Eight Best Pet Toys of 2016 – Our Picks for Best Dog, Cat & Pet Gifts

There are always differing opinions on what is the best pet toy, but we’ve chosen a few criteria to determine our picks for this year’s top dog toys, cat toys and a few other toys for holiday giving to your favorite animal companions. Any toy we chose to recommend had to meet the following criteria:

  • Did it keep the pets’ interest over time?
  • Was it durable enough to withstand hard use?
  • Did it stimulate pets both physically and mentally?
  • Was it safe?
  • Was it affordable?

Our Top Picks for Dog Gifts

Busy Buddy Tug a Jug ($12 to $$25)tug-a-jug

 This toy comes in three sizes (x-small, small & medium/large) for all size dogs and is a reward-based toy that can keep your canine actively interested for up to a half-hour at a time. Dogs will keep working to get their kibble or treats out while wrestling the bottle around, chewing on the ball on top and tugging at the rope. Bonus points for the ball top, which has nubs on it to help keep teeth and gums healthy.

Duraforce Triangle Ring ($20.00)

 Several layers of fabric and strong stitching along the edges make this an unusually strong squeaky toy that will stand up to even the most aggressive chewers. The triangle shape with a hole in the middle offers dogs plenty of challenge without the squeaker coming out. It’s made of bright fabrics that won’t mildew, is easily washed and will float if tossed in the pool.

Dr. Dalton’s Premium Treats (Starting at $12 for a 3 oz. bag)

If your dog loves food treats over any other kind of gift, Dr. Dalton’s Premium Treats are the best treats on the market. They are pricey, but worth the investment because they are made of only one ingredient – beef, chicken or pork. No preservatives, no additives, nothing but high grade, quality meat. You can order these by subscription so that you never run out at their website, www.drdaltons.com.

Our Top Picks for Cat Gifts

Bergan Star Chaser Turbo Scratcher ($12.00)

Cats have been using variations of this deceptively simple toy for years, but Bergan has improved on a classic cat toy by adding a satisfying scratching area in the center that can be replaced with new cardboard inserts when worn out.  For cat play, a small plastic ball rolls around a circular track as your pet tries to grasp it.  You can also spray the scratching area and the ball with catnip to increase your cat’s interest. Sometimes, simple is best.

The Giddy Kitty Wand with Attachments ($11.00)giddy-kitty-wand

If you want your cat to play with you rather than just playing with a toy, there’s no better choice than the Giddy Kitty Wand, a 33″ wand that you can use to entice your cat to chase and pounce. There are multiple toy attachments, including feathers, chew toys and bells to keep your cat’s interest over time.

Vital Essentials Minnows Freeze-Dried Cat Treats ($4.50 per .5 oz bag)

These crunchy little nuggets are actually freeze-dried, whole minnows that are packed with nutrients. These are larger than typical cat treats, so if your cat has only eaten bite-size treats, you may have to break a few into smaller pieces so that your pet can give them a try. Once your cat has tasted these delicious treats, he’ll be begging for more. Bonus points for being relatively low in calories and high in vitamins, protein and minerals. You can also get Vital Essentials cat treats in freeze-dried salmon, rabbit and chicken to give your feline friend some variety.

Great Gifts for Other Pets

Rainbow Play Bridge  ($9.00)

We have to admit that this little wooden bridge caught our eye because it’s adorable, but it’s also a simple, effective addition to your hamster or gerbil’s habitat that will give them lots of play time and encourage healthy chewing. The bridge shape can be climbed over, crawled through or chewed on because the paints and wood are non-toxic.

Paradise Knots Block Chewing Toy   ($8.00 to $50.00, depending on size)

Parrots and other exotic birds need lots of physical and intellectual stimulation, and the Paradise Knots Block Chewing Toy delivers on both fronts. It will keep your bird busy using her brain, her feet and her beak chewing, clawing and picking. It comes in a variety of sizes for all sizes of birds.

If you have a suggestion for a terrific gift for pets, let us know so that we can share your discovery with our readers.

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