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Best Soft Toys for Dogs: Perfect Plushies For Your Pooch!

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Toys By Kate Brunotts 11 min read April 20, 2021

good soft toys for dogs

Best Soft Toys for Dogs: Quick Picks

  • #1 Zippy Paws Skinny Peltz [Best Overall Soft Toy for Dogs]Affordable, stuffing-free toys that are great for tugging or fetch, sold in packs of three, and fitted with internal squeakers that will help keep your pooch engaged.
  • #2 Storybook Snugglerz [Best Soft Toy for Snuggling]The perfect pick for pooches who love to snuggle with their toys, this super-soft toy is available in your choice of llama or unicorn designs.
  • #3 Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel [Best Interactive Soft Toy]This soft puzzle toy kit is too cute for words, and it will keep your pup’s brain busy as he tries to fish the squirrels out of their hiding place.

There are a seemingly endless array of dog toys on the market, and each type offers something different.

Some are great for fetch, others are great for mental stimulation, and some are just great for snuggling. Today, we’re going to focus on soft toys — including some that will work for all of these different play styles and more.

We’ll explain the situations in which they excel, point out some of the safety issues you should think about, and identify some of our favorites. 

Best Soft Toys for Dogs

Without further ado, here are some of our favorite pooch plushies available for your furry friend. 

1. Zippy Paws Skinny Peltz

Best Overall Soft Toy for Dogs

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Zippy Paws Skinny Peltz

Zippy Paws Skinny Peltz

Stuffing-free and affordable toys with internal squeakers

About: These adorable Zippy Paws Skinny Peltz are made without any stuffing at all, which means they’re great for tough chewers. These adorable toys come with an embedded squeaker to keep your mutt amused. 

Features: 

  • 18-inch-long design means they can also be used for tug of war or fetch
  • Toys sold in packs of three
  • Very affordable price makes these toys easy to replace
  • No-stuffing design is perfect for power-chewing puppers

Pros

  • The lack of stuffing prevents messes if your pup rips them open
  • Included squeakers keep dogs engaged

Cons

  • Stuffing-free design may not appeal to dogs who like to snuggle with their toys 
  • These toys have small squeakers, requiring supervised playtime

2. Storybook Snugglerz

Best Soft Toy For Snuggle Bugs

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ZippyPaws - Storybook Snugglerz Squeaky Dog Toy with Stuffing - Liam The Llama

Storybook Snugglerz

A stuffing-filled snuggle toy with an internal squeaker

About: If Spot loves to snuggle, these Storybook Snugglerz from Zippy Paws are a great pick. Available in your choice of llama or unicorn designs, this soft-and-squishy, stuffing-filled toy has an embedded squeaker to keep your canine’s cranium busy. 

Features:

  • Soft exterior fabric is perfect for pups who like to snuggle or snooze with their toys
  • Medium-sized toy works well for most dogs 
  • Embedded speaker to keep Fido entertained

Pros

  • Adorable design makes for great pup-snuggling photos
  • These plush toys are large enough for big dogs
  • Squeaker helps to keep your dog’s interest

Cons

  • Squeaker isn’t super loud which may cause some dogs to lose interest
  • Toy is best suited for dogs who like to snuggle or play gently with their toys (not good for power chewers)

3. Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel

Best Interactive Soft Toy

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Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel

Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel

Durable and interactive 4-in-1 puzzle toy

About: Unlike a lot of other soft toys that don’t do much, the Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel is truly interactive and will help keep your pooch stimulated. Problem-solving puppers will love taking the miniature squirrels in and out of the soft hollow trunk base of this toy.

Features:

  • 4-in-1 toy pack with 3 miniature stuffed squeaky squirrels and 1 soft plush trunk
  • Great interactive puzzle toy for clever canines
  • Small plush toys can easily be replaced and used for a game of fetch
  • Comes in a variety of styles to suit Spot’s personality

Pros

  • Interactive puzzle toy will help keep your pooch busy
  • Many owners found that their dogs loved to snuggle with the trunk and individual squirrels
  • You can purchase replacement squirrels as necessary

Cons

  • Since squirrels are small, you’ll want to monitor your dog while playing with this toy
Want to learn more?

Check out our in-depth, hands-on review of the Outward Hound Hide-a-Squirrel. Spoiler alert: We love it.

4. Sedioso Squeaky Toy

Best Multi-Purpose Soft Toy

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Sedioso Squeaky Toy

Cute soft toy with an internal squeaker and rope legs

About: This squeaky toy by Sedioso is made with natural woven cotton making it a super safe soft toy for your pooch. The design incorporates a central plush unicorn with surrounding tug ropes making it appeal to a variety of play styles. 

Features:

  • Built-in waterproof liner prevents cotton filling from getting wet
  • Embedded squeaker to keep your pup’s attention
  • Tug rope legs provide different textures for your dog to enjoy
  • Can be hand or machine washed for easy clean-up
  • Snuggle-tastic soft outer fabric

Pros

  • Versatile toy lends itself to a variety of pooch play styles
  • Owners were impressed with the toy’s durability
  • Machine-washable for easy cleaning 
  • Inner waterproof liner helps prevent odors and general grossness

Cons

  • The toy is a bit on the small side, so might not be best for medium to large dogs
  • Stuffing will make a mess if your dog rips open exterior

5. Outward Hound Squeaker Palz

Best Soft Toy for Tuggin’

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Outward Hound Squeaker Matz Plush Hippo Dog Toy, XXL

Outward Hound Squeaker Palz

Lengthy squeaker toy that’s perfect for tugging and biting

About: The Outward Hound Squeaker Palz features multiple internal squeakers and comes in a variety of sizes and shapes so that you can find the perfect pick for your pooch. The largest size of this toy spans more than 4 feet, making it a great toy for pups to tug on and drag throughout the house. 

Features:

  • Each toy has multiple squeakers to keep your pooch thoroughly engaged
  • Low stuffing design makes these perfect for power chewers
  • Toy comes in a variety of styles to fit your pup’s personality
  • Lightweight toy is great for games of tug or fetch

Pros

  • Flexible sizing options make this a great pick for small and large doggos alike
  • Multiple squeakers help keep your pooch entertained 
  • Minimal stuffing makes these toys mess-free
  • Well suited for tugging and tossing

Cons

  • Some owners may be bothered by the noise output of multiple squeakers

6. EXPAWLORER Squid

Most Unique Soft Toy

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EXPAWLORER Squid

Outside-the-box soft toy with fun tentacles and an internal squeaker

About: Want a soft toy that’s a bit different? Just check out this squid squeaky toy from EXPALORER. Made with cotton filling and equipped with an internal squeaker, this tentacled toy is perfect for pups who like to tug or chew. This toy is also machine-washable for easy clean up. 

Features:

  • 17-inch long toy is great for tug of war
  • Squeaky toy only features stuffing in the base of the octopus to cut down on clean up
  • Floppy octopus toy can be used for fetch, or other games
  • Adorable toy is machine-washable  

Pros

  • Unusual toy that provides unique play opportunities for your pooch
  • High-quality squeaker is durable and will keep doggos engaged
  • Machine-washable, making it easy to clean

Cons

  • Tentacles may not hold up well for power-chewing pooches
  • Limited stuffing design may not appeal to snugglers

7. Frisco Flat Plush Squeaking Duck

Best Soft Toy for Fetch

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Frisco Flat Plush Squeaking Duck

Frisco Flat Plush Squeaking Duck

Durable soft toy with stuffing free-design and 4 built-in squakers

About: This Frisco Flat Plush Squeaking Duck is a great pick for pups who need a soft toy that’s also great for fetch. Made without stuffing and fitted with four internal squeakers, this is also a great toy for dogs who like chewing plush toys (just be sure to supervise your pupper). 

Features:

  • Comes in small, medium, or large sizes making it suitable for most pups
  • Stuffing-free design for mess-free playtime
  • Exterior stitching improves durability
  • 4 built-in squeakers to keep your pooch entertained 

Pros

  • Owners were impressed by this toy’s durability
  • Dogs often love toys with multiple squeakers
  • Fluff-free design makes for easy cleanup 
  • Works for several types of play, including fetch

Cons

  • This toy isn’t great for snugglers as it’s packed with squeakers and made without stuffing
  • You’ll need to supervise your doggo carefully since this toy contains multiple squeakers 

What Are Soft Dog Toys? 

dogs like snuggling with soft toys

Soft dog toys come in many shapes and sizes, but they usually have soft fabric on the outside with an internal stuffing made from cotton, polyester fiber, plant-based fiber, or wool. But most of the time, these fluffy innards are of the polyester fiber variety. 

A lot of the time, soft dog toys will also have an embedded squeaker, crinkle paper, or even a water bottle, which lets your dog enjoy some audible stimulation and gives him a fun texture to chew on. 

What Dogs Benefit From Soft Toys?

While soft dog toys might not be the perfect plaything for every pooch, they can enrich playtime for many four-footers. If the characteristics listed below ring true for your canine, soft toys may be a great pick for your furry friend. 

  • Gentle Players — Soft toys are ideal for pups with a gentle playing style. Dogs who have a rougher playing style can still be given soft toys, but they might shred them pretty quickly. All dogs should be monitored while playing with their toys, but you’ll want to keep a keen eye on tough chewers to keep them safe.
  • Pups Working on Bite Inhibition — Plush toys can help your puppy or dog learn to bite more appropriately when playing by exposing your dog to soft textures that need to be wrestled with gently. They’re also great tools use for redirection whenever your pooch starts play biting.
  • Dogs Who Like To Snuggle With Their Toys — If your pooch likes to snuggle with his favorite toys or enjoy nesting cave dog beds, he may appreciate the plush texture of soft toys. 
  • Dogs Who Like a “Security Blanket” — Does your dog ever bring his blanket or a favorite toy from one room to the next? Soft toys might be easier for your dog to carry around and they won’t scratch your flooring or bang into your stuff, either. 
  • May Help With Separation Anxiety — If you can make a soft toy smell like you, the toy could help dogs suffering from separation anxiety. Consider sleeping next or partially on a soft toy before handing it over to your hound. 

Tips for Soft Dog Toy Shopping

dogs love soft toys

There’s no shortage of soft toys on the market, but you’ll get the best bang for your dog-toy buck if you learn to be a discriminating shopper. Here are a couple of soft toy shopping tips so that you can find the perfect product for your pooch:

  • Scope Out Stuffing Free Selections — If your dog destroys his toys, stuffing-free toys are often safer and can make for easier clean up. You can find stuffing-free options with squeakers and fun textures if your Fido favors a little added flair. 
  • Second Hand Soft Toys — Want cheap soft toys? Try the stuffed animal bin at Goodwill or your local second-hand store! Just make sure to select stuffed animals that are made only of fabric. You’ll want to avoid stuffed animals with sewed on hard eyes or noses, as these can be easily torn off and ingested by dogs. It’s also a good idea to give the toy a quick wash before passing it to your pooch. 
  • Look For Patterns — Use your pup’s preferences to your advantage! For instance, if you notice your dog favors his rope style toy over balls, scope out soft toys that are similar to the rope style toy. Keeping your dog’s preferences in mind while toy shopping makes it easy for you to pick out Fido’s new favorite toy. 

DIY Soft Dog Toy

If you have some extra time on your hands, making DIY dog toys can be a cost-effective way to present your pooch with a plushie.

For example, check out this tutorial from Mitchell Crisp on the Youtube Channel eHowPets. All you need is some scissors and some old soft pajama pants, making this toy easy to construct. 

All you need to do is cut up PJ pants or any soft fabric into long strips. Those strips can then be tied together to create a stuffing-free, soft dog toy your pooch will love. For extra fun, you can tie the strips around an old tennis ball to give the toy a little more shape. 

If you’re looking for more homemade dog toy inspiration, check out our guide to 15 DIY Dog Toys

Soft Dog Toy FAQs 

Are you still unsure of whether or not soft dog toys are the right pick for your pooch? Here are a couple of frequently asked questions and answers to expand your knowledge. 

Are soft toys safe for dogs?

Generally speaking, soft toys are pretty safe for dogs. However, you’ll want to make sure you watch your dog diligently while playing. This way, you can be sure Spot doesn’t swallow any squeakers, stuffing, or anything else that falls off of or out of a toy. 

Do dogs like soft toys?

Many dogs love soft toys but every dog is different. Your pooch may be more interested in soft toys that feature squeakers, crinkle paper, or a shape to chew on. Be sure to test out different sizes, shapes, and styles of soft toys to find your four-footer’s favorite type. 

How can I make my dog like his soft toy?

You can entice your dog to play with his soft toy by moving it around or dangling it near his head. It’s also totally normal for dogs to prefer some toys over others. If your dog doesn’t seem interested in his new toy after several attempts to get him to play with it, the toy might not be the right pick for your pooch. 

Can you give a dog a soft toy made for kids?

Dogs can be given soft toys made for kids though you’ll want to select options made entirely out of fabric. Toys with sewn-on eyes or buttons can be a choking hazard for dogs. You’ll want to pay close attention to your dog while playing with toys. Keep in mind that your dog might not take to kids toys repurposed for Fido since they probably don’t have embedded squeakers or crinkle paper. 

Do you need to wash your dog’s soft toy?

Yes — it’s a good idea to wash your dog’s soft toy every once in a while to keep it clean for your pooch. Many soft toys can be thrown in with your regular laundry though you’ll want to check for any manufacturer recommendations. It’s also a good idea to air dry soft toys, unless the manufacturer explicitly says it is safe to do so.

***

Soft dog toys can be a great option for pooch playtime. While not every dog will take to pup plushies, many four-footers will benefit from playing with these gentle, lightweight toys. 

Does your dog like playing with soft toys? What’s your dog’s favorite toy? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below! 

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Written by

Kate Brunotts

Kate is a dog-loving content specialist with over a decade of canine-care experience. She is currently a professional dog walker and pet sitter, with previous experience working at the Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital in Manhattan. When not spending time with four-footers, she can usually be found crafting top-notch dog-care articles that pet parents can trust. Kate loves dogs of all shapes and sizes, but Bernese Mountain Dogs hold a special place in her heart.

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