If your dog is anything like Violet, my mom’s black lab mix, you can’t keep her out of the water! She loves to jump off the seawall at my house and frolic through the muddy creek in my mom’s backyard. Add a water toy to the mix, and she’s as happy as a clam!
Water toys are tons of fun for dogs like Violet who naturally take to the sea. If you’re trying to train your dog to get a little wet, water toys can also be used as a great motivational tool. For some tips on how to use toys to train your water-weary pup, check out our guide on teaching a dog to get used to water!
Today, we are going to look at some factors you might consider when choosing the right water toy for you and your dog’s needs. Plus, we’ll also recommend a few of our favorite water toys.
Quick Picks: Best Dog Water Toys
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What to Consider When Picking a Water Toy
- How strong of a swimmer is your dog? If your dog takes to the sea like a fish, she can probably use any toy on the market with ease. But many dogs are a little nervous around water or lack confidence in the water. For example, if your dog has trouble keeping her head up and accidentally swallows water, a flat toy that lays directly on the surface of the water might not be for her.
- Where do you plan to use the water toy? A toy that is good at the pool might not be quite as fun at the beach and vice-versa. Consider how big the body of water is and what type of currents you can expect. If you’re playing fetch with your dog at the beach, for example, you might want a toy that can be reeled in, lest you risk losing it to an unexpected wave.
- Is the toy made of a durable material that will stay afloat? If your dog is a chewer, you’ll want to make sure to buy a toy that is tough enough for her teeth. Also make sure the toy is designed to be water buoyant – regular toys won’t float well on the water.
- Is the toy an appropriate size for your dog? For your dog’s safety, it is especially important not to buy a toy that is too small for her. If you buy a float that is too small, she could begin to sink in it (a big problem if she’s an uneasy swimmer – consider a canine life jacket or a dog pool float). If it’s a fetch toy, she could accidentally choke on a toy that’s too small – and that’s definitely not something you want when you’re out playing in the water.
- Will your dog be able to retrieve the toy without much difficulty? Water toys are easier to lose than other kinds of toys. If your dog doesn’t find it quickly, it could easily be swept away by the wind or in the tide. You’ll want to make sure that the toy is a bright color that is easy for her to see and a shape that stands out in a watery landscape.
Best Dog Water Toy: Top 5 Picks
About: This average-priced water toy is essentially a modified ball. The shark fin pokes above the water making it an easy toy for your dog to see and grab in the water (plus, it provides a good laugh for the humans).
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Because of its shape and bright color, this toy is easy for dogs to see, plus, it creates an audible splash when it lands in the water, making it easier for your dog to locate.
The toy is compatible with Chuckit! Ball launchers of corresponding size, so it might be fun to grab one of those – especially if you have other Chuckit! toys.
You can buy this toy in three sizes: small (2 x 2.5 x 4 inches), medium (2.5 x 3.2 x 4.8 inches – a little smaller than a tennis ball), or large (3 x 3.8 x 5.8 inches – a little larger than a tennis ball).
Many owners have commented that this toy is durable and useful for helping a nervous dog get comfortable playing in the water. In particular, this toy is great if your dog doesn’t like putting his head in the water. Because the fin bobs above the water line, your pup can easily snatch it without swallowing any water. Moreover, it is very easy to find because of its color and shape, so it could be a good toy for any body of water, whether it be the pool, beach, or lake.”
The shark fin is covered by a mesh fabric that some owners say comes apart easily, especially if your dog likes playing tug-of-war. However, if you take this toy out only when your pup is in the pool, it should hold up for a while.
About: The Flying Fish is another average-priced fetch toy your dog can play with in the water. What makes this one unique is that a rope (not included in purchase) can be tied onto the fish, giving you some control over the fish to make fetch a little more entertaining and ensuring that your pup doesn’t go too far out into the water.
- Keeping your dog active is important for his health, and fun to do with the Rufff Dawg Flying Fish!.
- Provide summer fun for your dog at the lake or back yard pool with this floating flying fish.
- This chew toy is 100% made in the USA of superior quality rubber.
- Don't let this one get away! Fetching and retrieving fun for dogs of all sizes.
The Flying Fish’s shape makes it easy for your dog to hold it in her mouth, and the toy’s neon colors make it very easy to spot in the water. The fish is made of durable, recycled rubber that is FDA approved, so your pup shouldn’t be able to chomp through this is one bite.
The Flying Fish is 9.5 inches long and especially good for medium- to large-sized dogs.
The Flying Fish is made in the USA from FDA-approved materials, so you don’t have to worry about it being toxic to your pup. The material is also quite durable – even if your dog chews on it a bit, it will still be able to float in water. The ability to tie the fish on a string is this product’s best feature. By manipulating the fish with the string, you can give your strong swimmer a little extra challenge or make sure your nervous swimmer doesn’t need to go out too far. This toy is best suited for playing in the pool, at the lake, or on a calm beach (in rougher waves, it may be difficult to see).
You cannot choose the color and some owners commented that the color they received was not bright enough for their pet to see. The fish’s shape also can provide visibility problems because it lies flat on the water. To remedy this problem, you could try tying a rope onto the fish and wiggling it around to catch your pup’s attention. A few owners mentioned that the ends of the fish could be chewed off or torn off in tug-of-war. Even if this happens, however, the fish will still be able to float.
About: If you like skipping stones, this is a toy both you and your dog can enjoy together! Additionally, while priced similarly to other toys being reviewed, you get two Skipping Stones in a package, so your dollar goes a little further.
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The Skipping Stones come in bright neon colors so your pup can find them. These “stones” are made of a non-toxic rubber and will continue to float even after your dog chews on them a bit. These toys are also very easy to clean – you can even wash them in the dishwasher (life just got so much easier).
Each Skipping Stone measures in at 3 x 2 x 1.5 inches.
You can play with this toy on any calm body of water, from a large pool to a lake or cove. People who bought this toy say that it is very durable; of the toys that have been reviewed, this one seems to stand up best to your pup’s chewing. Unlike real stones, these stones float and are brightly colored so that your dog can easily retrieve them from the water. While the Skipping Stones are most fun to play with in the water, many owners note that their dogs like to play with them at home in the yard as well.
Some owners thought that this toy was too small for larger breeds and worried that their dog could potentially choke on it. If you have a bigger dog, look at the dimensions of this toy (3 x 2 x 1.5 inches) and compare it to other toys your pooch plays with (for reference, a tennis ball is 2.7 inches in diameter). This toy may also be easier to lose than other toys that have been reviewed, especially if you have a strong arm. Luckily, two Skipping Stones come in one package, so if you lose one, you have a spare.
About: If your dog has a calmer temperament or likes to relax, this pool float could be a good match for her. It is the most expensive toy we will review in this article, but the price is to be expected for a pool float that is puncture-proof.
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This float inflates and deflates easily and compacts into a small size so you can take it wherever you like for super portability. The float features a mesh center, which allows your pup to cool off while securely floating, while the fabric-covered ring that keeps your pooch afloat is designed to be puncture-resistant.
The float comes in two sizes: small (for dogs less than 65 pounds) and large (for dogs over 65 pounds). The mesh center of the small float is 50 x 29 x 4.5 inches while the large float is 65 x 43 x 9 inches.
This float appears to actually be puncture proof; many customers were very satisfied with its durability compared to other similar products. It’s a great way to enjoy time in the pool with your dogs on a hot day and, for some customers, has been a good way to get their pet used to the pool. One owner has even used this pool float to go rafting down a gentle river with their pup!
Some owners mentioned that their dog has a hard time getting in and out of the raft. This problem can be solved by either slightly deflating the ring or by showing your pup how he can jump in from the edge of the pool. There were mixed reviews about how the product works for heavier dogs. While some customers had no trouble keeping even a Great Dane afloat, others complained that the wire frame bent in.
Other Summer Fun Water Activities for Dogs
Outside of chasing after water toys, there are plenty of other ways pups can cool down in the heat.
- Dog Pools. That’s right, you can get your own mini dog pool for your dog to soak in when the temps get really high. Just make sure you get a durable one that can hold up to paws and claws!
- Splash Pads. Dog splash pads can be set up to squirt and sprinkle water in a fountain-style design that’s sure to be tons of fun for any water-loving canine!
- Frozen Toys. Frozen dog toys can be filled with wet dog food, broth, or yogurt, and then frozen. That way your dog can spend the afternoon licking up a cool, refreshing treat that would even give the ice cream truck a run for it’s money (according to a dog, anyway).
Does your dog like going to the beach, pool, or lake? What toys is her favorite? Let us know in the comments below!