7 Best Plush Dog Toys for K9 Cuddlers in 2020

As a loving pet owner, you want the best for your four-legged friend. Providing the basics is usually fairly simple. Your dog needs high-quality food, appropriate exercise, regular grooming, and space to call his own.

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However, beyond physical needs, your dog has emotional needs, too. Like us, dogs have worries and anxieties. Providing a safe, loving environment is key to keeping your dog comfortable and stress-free. One excellent way to maintain your dog’s emotional well-being is by giving him a cuddle toy.

Plush stuffed animals provide companionship and security for dogs of all breeds and ages. A favorite plushie acts adds comfort and coziness to your dog’s bed. Plus, a plush cuddle toy also acts as a travel companion to help keep your dog calm when spending time in a kennel or carrier.

Beyond emotional support, a plush cuddle toy also provides plenty of opportunities for active play. You and your dog can play fetch, tug-of-war, and other interactive games. Additionally, some cuddle plush toys double as interactive toys that provide your dog with necessary mental stimulation.

While there’s no such thing as a “best” cuddle toy, not all of them are appropriate for every dog. Instead, you want to match the type of toy to your dog’s size and temperament. A cuddle toy can act as a source of comfort for your dog’s entire life, from puppy through senior years, so you want to choose the best option.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure which plush dog toy to give your cuddle-loving dog. We’ve rounded up the top choices with four recommendations for adult dogs and three for puppies. Plus, we’ve included a complete guide to help with your decision-making.

Ready to find the perfect cuddle buddy for your pup? Let’s get started!

What to Look for in a Good Plush Dog Toy

Not just any stuffed animal will work as a cuddling toy. Instead, you need something specifically made for your dog’s specific breed. Here’s a rundown of what features to consider:

Material

Probably the most important aspect of a plush cuddle toy is the material used to make it. Of course, the toy should be soft, so your dog feels comfortable resting with it.

Beyond the exterior, you want to know what’s inside the toy, too. Cotton and other fabrics are generally the safest types of inner filling. Generally, you want to avoid anything that’s a potential choking hazard, such as beans or sand.

Durability

Make sure the toy is durable and well-made. You want to avoid toys that have an abundance of seams or threads because a tenacious dog will eventually tear the toy open at those spots. Look for double layers of material, which provides extra resistance.

Avoid plush toys made for kids. They’re almost never durable enough for use by dogs.

Opportunities for Play

Cuddling toys aren’t just bedtime buddies. Your dog will likely play with them in other ways, too. The best cuddle toys double as chew toys, fetch toys, or puzzle toys.

Ease of Cleaning

Finally, make sure the toy is easy to clean. You can use a wet rag to spot-clean most plush toys, but many people prefer the option to throw them in the washing machine, too.

Overall Best Plush Toys for Dogs

Here’s a look at our four favorite cuddle toys for adults:

KONG Cozie Marvin the Moose Plush Dog Toy

Best Overall

Meet Marvin the Moose, who combines cuddly plushness with Kong’s famous durability. They’re soft and cuddly but also tough enough even for large and strong dogs.

Marvin is cute and friendly with an extra layer of material to help increase durability. The toy is available in both small and medium sizes. The medium size, suitable for most average-sized dogs, is 10 inches long, nine inches wide, and 2.5 inches thick.

Overall, KONG cozies are our top pick because they’re versatile and well-made. Not only are they a great cuddle toy, but they’re also a fun toy you can use for fetch and tug-of-war. Plus, they have an internal squeaker for additional playtime fun.

ZippyPaws Loopy Hedgehog 6-Squeaker Plus Toy

This hedgehog pal from ZippyPaws is both a nighttime snuggle buddy and a daytime toy. It’s soft, durable, and built for all sizes of dogs except for toys.

It stands out from the competition for two reasons. While most toys only have one internal squeaker, this hedgehog is packed with six. Your dog will love how it squeaks regardless of where he chews on it.

Additionally, it has no internal stuffing. Your dog can chew on it to his heart’s content without covering your floor and furniture with a mess.

Outward Hound Hide-a-Squirrel Squeaky Puzzle Plush Dog Toy

This toy set includes six plush toys for cuddling and interactive fun. Each plush squirrel fits into the plush tree trunk, where your dog will have to “hunt” them down and pull them out.

It’s a toy that engages your dog mentally by providing visual, textual, and auditory stimulation. Each squirrel contains an internal squeaker, and the trunk has multiple folds that allow your dog to chew and bite. Additionally, if your dog’s an especially strong chewer, replacement squirrels are sold separately.

Four sizes are available: Junior, Large, Jumbo, and Ginormous. The Ginormous set includes six squirrels, while the others include three. It’s a fun toy suitable for independent play that includes (at least) three comfy cuddle toys your dog is sure to love.

Multipet Lamb Chop Squeaky Plush Dog Toy

A mainstay of children’s programming from decades past, Lamb Chop has returned as an adorable cuddle toy perfect for your pup. It’s soft and durable with white fur, black eyebrows, and a red tongue.

Your dog will love to chew and cuddle Lamb Chop. It’s also a fun fetch and tug-of-war toy perfect for interactive play. Plus, the toy has a squeaker, which provides additional engagement.

Lamb Chop is available in three sizes: six-inches, 10-inches, and 24-inches. It’s an ideal puppy pal that’s suitable for dogs of all breeds and sizes.

Best Plush Puppy Toys

The world can seem pretty big to a little puppy. A plush toy to cuddle with is often the perfect way to help increase comfort and decrease anxiety. When shopping for a toy suitable for a puppy, you want to select one that’s size-appropriate and contains no potential choking hazards.

Here’s a closer look at our top three recommendations for puppies:

Outward Hound Invincibles Squeaky Plush Dog Toy

Our top recommendation for puppies is this loveable and super-strong plush dog. The outer layer has heavy-duty binding so it can withstand lots of chewing from tough, tiny teeth.

Your puppy will love the internal squeaker, which keeps making noise even if it’s punctured. Also, it contains no stuffing whatsoever. Even if your puppy manages to get through the outer layer, no mess is made.

Overall, it’s an ideal choice for puppies of all breeds, including pit bulls and other strong chewers.

Multipet Bouncy Burrow Buddies Babies

This plush toy with an alliterative name is another excellent cuddly toy for puppies. It has a unique design with a bouncy ball in the head, so it’s fun to throw for games of fetch. Plus, the body is soft but stuffing-free, eliminating any potential mess. Additionally, the toy contains an internal squeaker.

What we like most about this toy is how it allows for opportunities for interactive play between you and your dog. The internal ball makes this a superior fetch toy to many other plushies. Playing fetch with your dog using his plush toy helps him create positive associations with that toy, helping to keep him calm when he’s alone with it.

Zoobilee Hedgehog Plush Puppy Toy

Soft and durable, Zoobilee’s plush hedgehog is a delightful cuddle buddy that your puppy is sure to love. It’s made from soft, synthetic fibers that resist tearing and are easy to keep clean.

Aside from making an excellent nighttime comfort pal, the toy is also great for playing tug-of-war. Puppies can sink their tiny teeth into the soft material so they can maintain a secure grip on the toy. It’s also well-suited for short-distance games of fetch.

Playing with Your Dog and Their Plushy

Most of the time, cuddle toys are used as a comfort object when your dog is resting. However, you can also use them to play fetch, tug-of-war, and other games. Here’s a rundown of tips so you and your dog can get the most use out of your plush cuddle toy:

1. Introduce a Few Options

It’s impossible to know which toy your dog will fall in love with, so give him a few options. Present him with plush toys of different sizes, textures, designs, and colors.

Pay attention to which one he likes. He’ll probably spend much more time cuddling with one toy instead of the others, so figuring out his favorite should be easy.

2. Be Consistent

Once he’s established a favorite toy, try to keep it in his bed as often as possible. However, the main exception here is travel. If you have to put him in a carry kennel or he needs to spend the night in an unfamiliar place, bring his plush friend along to help remind him of home.

3. Keep the Toy Clean (But Not Too Clean)

Dogs will feel comforted by the familiar scents of their plush toy. So, while you want to keep the toy clean, you don’t want to keep it too clean. As a general rule, wash the toy if it’s covered in dirt or gunk, but don’t wash it more than every few weeks or about once a month.

4. Create Positive Associations with the Toy

Many plush toys double as fetch or chew toys. You want to play with your dog using their plush toy. Doing so helps the dog create positive associations with the toy, even when you’re not around.

5. Don’t Replace a Favorite

Many dogs will keep a favorite toy well into adulthood and possibly even for life. If your dog shows a preference for a particular plush toy, try not to throw it away unless absolutely necessary. The toy might become worn and faded over the years, but your dog won’t mind a bit!

At the same time, give him new toys on a semi-regular basis. He might just discover a new favorite. As dogs grow from puppyhood into adulthood, their mouth and teeth change shape and size. They might find a differently-sized toy more comfortable or satisfying to chew on.

Frequently Asked Questions

Check out easy answers to the most common questions about soft dog toys:

What are Cuddle Toys?

Cuddle toys are typically plush stuffed animals given to dogs to help reduce anxiety and increase comfort. They’re similar to how a young child has a favorite stuffed animal or blanket.

Cuddle toys are an important part of what’s called a Sanctuary Space, which is an area in your home where the dog can go when they need privacy, peace, and quiet. You’ll want to keep your dog’s plushie in his Sanctuary Space most of the time.

What Types of Plush Toys Make the Best Cuddle Toys?

First, only choose a toy made specifically for dogs. Stuffed toys made for kids usually aren’t durable enough to withstand the rough chewing of a dog.

Additionally, dogs are far more interested in the size and texture of the toy than the appearance. Studies show dogs prefer the feeling of flannel and cotton. They also like multiple textures to stimulate their gums.

What Toy is Best for My Breed of Dog?

Not all dogs like the same types of cuddle toys. If your dog is large or an avid chewer, make sure the toy is durable. Look for hidden stitching, as tenacious chewers have a way of finding loose threads. Also, many extra-durable toys have double layers of fabric.

Are Plush Cuddle Toys Safe?

Generally, yes, but there are a few potential issues to avoid.

First, make sure the cuddle toy doesn’t pose a choking hazard. It should be free from buttons, zippers, and other small parts.

Also, make sure the stuffing is safe and non-toxic. Most dog toys use minimal stuffing, which helps minimize the mess if the dog manages to open up the toy.

Do All Dogs Need a Cuddle Toy?

While not every dog wants a cuddle toy, most do. You should always give your dog the option of a cuddle toy and let him decide if he wants to use it or not.

Generally, breeds with relatively low energy levels favor plush dog toys. However, they’re also often beneficial for anxious dogs.

Final Thoughts

A plush dog toy helps your four-legged pal feel safe and comfortable. Don’t be surprised if the toy you give him as a puppy remains his favorite for a lifetime. All of the toys above are highly rated and well-suited for a variety of breeds.

Help your dog stay stress-free by selecting the perfect plush pal today!

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