12 Best Dog Toys for Shih Tzus in 2023

Referred to as the “lion dog,” Shih Tzus are often thought of as part of canine royalty. While anybody who owns one of these purse-size dogs knows how much work and effort goes into grooming a Shih Tzu, the beautiful results are often worth the time and effort.

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Historically, Shih Tzus have been an integral part of Chinese history. For hundreds of years, these pampered pups were close companions of royal families. Up until the 1930s, Shih Tzus remained almost entirely unknown to the rest of the world. Once breeding clubs began popping up around Peking and England, the word was out—and since then, Shih Tzus have remained one of the most popular toy breeds around.

Since they were bred for companionship rather than a specific working purpose, keeping your Shih Tzu occupied might not be as big of a challenge as some dogs, but it can still be difficult if you don’t have the right toys. While trying to find the paw-fect Shih Tzu toys can feel impossible, you don’t need to shop alone.

Keep reading for a closer look at the different types of Shih Tzu toys, what to look for in a great one, and the answers to the most frequently asked questions by Shih Tzu owners.

Different Types of Dog Toys for Shih Tzus

Believe it or not, your Shih Tzu will probably need different kinds of toys to maintain a healthy lifestyle—and there’s a reason for this. In addition to looking different, many toys will serve different purposes too.

Plush toys, for instance, are something to invest in if your Shih Tzu is still a puppy or suffers from separation anxiety. Like a child who drags around a blanket or stuffed animal, your Shih Tzu may carry their plush toy around in their mouth. During the night, don’t be surprised if your pup ends up cuddling with it, or clinging close to it when you leave the house.

Interactive toys, on the other hand, are meant to strengthen the bond between you and your Shih Tzu while also challenging your dog as well. This might include anything from digging stuffed chipmunks out of a fake tree or trying to eat the treats out of a plastic bone. In many cases, interactive toys allow you and your dog to play together.

Treat-dispensing toys, however, are often used when you need to occupy your Shih Tzu without getting involved. By popping a few of your pup’s favorite treats inside a ball or plastic rubber toy, your Shih Tzu may spend minutes or hours figuring out how to reach the tasty morsels inside.

What to Look for in a Good Toy for Shih Tzus

One of the most challenging parts of toy shopping for your Shih Tzu can be trying to figure out which toys will be great and which ones will fall short. The good news is that there’s a few key factors that separate the stand-outs from the mediocre.

Like any product, durability is important when it comes to picking out the right toys. Even if every other aspect of the toy is great, you won’t be getting your money’s worth if you have to replace the toy every few weeks.

While it might not always be completely possible to tell which Shih Tzu toys are durable, one thing you can look at are the materials: if the toy uses cheap plastic or thin rubber, it might not last long in the home of an aggressive chewer. However, durable nylon or tear-resistant fabric tends to last the test of time.

Another thing to think about is function. Although toys do serve different purposes, their main goal is usually to hold or occupy your Shih Tzu’s attention. If you find that the toy you’ve purchased is unable to keep your pup occupied for even a few minutes, it might not be the best option.

Figuring this out before purchasing can be difficult, but looking at the toy’s specific features can help. Interactive toys, for instance, tend to include varying levels of difficulty while a chew toy might use built-in squeakers to interest your Shih Tzu.

Best Dog Toys for Shih Tzus

While dog toys may be technically designed to technically work for most breeds, that doesn’t mean every toy you see will work great for your Shih Tzu. There’s no reason to settle. Here’s the best of the best Shih Tzu toys on the market currently:

Multipet Loofa “Ruff” Latex Dog Toy

Best Overall

If you’re looking for a toy that can entertain your Shih Tzu regardless of their mood, an ideal choice might be the Multipet Loofa “Ruff” Latex Dog Toy. There’s a built-in squeaker that your dog can activate when they use it during playtime.

Unlike rubber or plastic, the durable latex may hold up better over time and might be less likely to get torn or shredded. It’s worth noting that this toy doesn’t have any detachable parts that can be choking hazards. When playtime is over, washing the latex toy is as simple as running it under hot water or wiping it off a washcloth.

Nylabone DuraChew Textured Bone Chicken Dog Toy

Best for Aggressive Chewers

Shih Tzus might look like gentle chewers, but some of these dogs have a bite worse than their bite. If that’s the case with your pup, you might want to try investing in the Nylabone DuraChew Textured Bone Chicken Dog Toy.

Not only is it something for you to give your dog during playtime, but the multi-textured design can also promote better health in your Shih Tzu as well. The raised bristles may be able to reduce plaque build-up and remove natural tartar. It’s worth noting that both veterinarians and other animal health professionals recommend this toy for your precious pup to chew on.

KONG Senior Dog Toy

Most Durable Kong Toy

For a hollow, rubber toy your dog can spend hours chewing on, the Kong Senior Dog Toy might just be the right choice. While it’s a great addition to the toy box of any Shih Tzu, this toy may be a particularly good option for aging Shih Tzus.

While the rubber is durable enough to withstand the rough play of a puppy, the Kong toy is still soft on your Shih Tzu’s gums and teeth. For a little extra fun, you can even turn this toy into a treat dispenser by adding your pup’s favorite treats to the inside.

Trixie Mini Mover Interactive Dog Toy

Best Interactive Puzzle Toy

What they don’t have in size the Shih Tzu often makes up for intelligence. To provide a little extra challenge for your pup, the Trixie Mini Mover Interactive Dog Toy may be just what you need. You can try hiding treats under specific areas of the game, and when your Shih Tzu figures it out, you can try concealing the treats in a different way.

The good news is that, with four different ways to play, you’ll always find some way to challenge your Shih Tzu’s hunting instincts. The toy uses non-slip rubber feet to help stay in place and can be easily cleaned in the dishwasher when playtime is over.

Hyper Pet K-9 Kannon Dog Toy

Best Dog Launcher

While Shih Tzus might not play fetch as much as some larger breeds, that doesn’t mean it won’t still be one of their favorite past-times. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean fetch is your favorite part of playtime—with slobbery tennis balls, constant throwing, and bending down, even just a few minutes can leave you sore.

The good news is that, with the Hyper Pet K-9 Kannon Dog Toy, you don’t even need to use your hands to pick up the ball. Depending on the location and how high-energy your Shih Tzu is, the Hyper Pet Launcher will help you hurl the ball up to 75-feet in whatever direction you choose.

Frisco Rope Small to Medium Assorted Dog Toys

Best Rope Toy

Like any breed, most Shih Tzus don’t mind running after their favorite rope toy or trying to tug it from your grip. If that’s the case with your dog, then they may just enjoy the Frisco Rope Small to Medium Assorted Rope Toys above all else.

With a poly-cotton fiber blend, this toy may also be capable of lasting much longer than some other choices. Shih Tzus that are still puppies might also enjoy these rope toys since they provide the perfect texture for teething pups.

KONG Stuff a Ball Dog Toy

Best Treat Dispenser Toy

While your Shih Tzu will definitely still need regular dental check-ups and teeth cleanings, toys like the Kong Stuff-a-Ball may be able to promote better oral hygiene while also helping to prevent dental-related diseases in your pup as well.

To keep your Shih Tzu interested, all you need to do is pack this toy full of treats. As your dog rolls, chews, and bounces the ball, treats will naturally dispense. However, what truly keeps your pup’s teeth clean is the patented denta-ridges that you can stuff with peanut butter or treat paste.

ZippyPaws Mini Donutz Squeaky Plush No Stuffing Dog Toy

Best Squeaky Toy

For a mini-sized dog, there’s no better squeaky toy than the ZippyPaws Mini Donutz Squeaky Plush No Stuffing Toy. These tiny donuts each come with two crescent moon-shaped squeakers so that your Shih Tzu can keep on squeaking even if one of them goes out.

With no stuffing to worry about, there’s also less mess to deal with too (and a much smaller risk of a choking hazard from stray or torn stuffing). It’s also worth noting that, depending on your pup’s preferences, these mini donuts come in two frosted flavors: chocolate or strawberry.

Ruff Dawg Indestructible Ball Dog Toy

Made In The USA

If you’re tired of replacing soggy, slobbery or popped tennis balls, then it might be time to upgrade your Shih Tzu to the Ruff Dawg Indestructible Ball Dog Toy. Unlike traditional tennis balls, the lightweight Ruff Dawg ball uses thick rubber that functions the same but isn’t as easily popped.

In addition to being made in the USA, these rubber balls are also non-toxic so you won’t need to worry about your Shih Tzu ingesting harmful chemicals or materials during playtime. Since it ships in random colors, there’s also the added surprise of never knowing which one you’ll end up with.

Best Dog Toys for Shih Tzu Puppies

Just because a toy is a great choice for your Shih Tzu adult doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a perfect option for a Shih Tzu puppy. We recognize that your developing pup has its own needs, which is why we’ve gone ahead and highlighted which specific toys meet those needs:

Nylabone DuraChew Triple Pack Dog Toys 

Best for Teething

For those that have never owned a Shih Tzu before, it might come as somewhat of a surprise that these dogs can be aggressive chewers when they want to be—particularly while they’re teething. If that’s the case with your Shih Tzu, it may be time to invest in the Nylabone DuraChew Triple Pack Dog Toys.

Unlike some other products, you don’t just get one chew—you get three separate flavors for your Shih Tzu to nibble on. When they tire of one chew, you can just hand them the next one. Or, when your pup’s gums seem to be aching particularly bad, you can try popping one or two of these chew bones in the freezer and letting them grow cold like an ice pack.

JW Pet Play Place Butterfly Puppy Teether

Another Great Teething Toy

If you don’t think your Shih Tzu is an aggressive enough chewer to warrant three Nylabones, a gentler option is the JW Pet Play Place Butterfly Puppy Teether. While it’s durable enough to withstand tough chewing, the JW toy’s main purpose is to massage your Shih Tzu’s gums.

Unlike some toys, there are multiple different textures to keep your Shih Tzu entertained as well as easy design for them to latch onto. If their mouth is particularly sore, you can also cool the JW toy down inside the freezer.

KONG Plush Teddy Bear Dog Toy

Best Plush Toy

Tired of squeaky plush toys that keep you up at night? If so, the KONG Plush Teddy Bear Dog Toy may be just what you need. While it does include a squeaker to provide your Shih Tzu with noise stimulation, you can also remove it anytime you need to.

When you just need a little bit of quiet time, taking the squeaker out takes seconds, and you can replace it anytime you need to. If the squeaker happens to break, you can always purchase a new one, and replace it the same way too.

Since Shih Tzu puppies can be particularly rough on toys, it’s worth noting that this bite-sized plush doesn’t contain any stuffing so there’s no mess for you to clean up.

Tips for Playing with Your Shih Tzu

Just because you own the toys doesn’t mean you know how to use them correctly. Fortunately, with these tips, you can make playtime a breeze:

  1. If you can’t get your Shih Tzu isn’t in a toy, try adding a swab of peanut butter (or their favorite food) to it. After they’ve licked it off, chances are they’ll want to try out the toy too.
  2. Make sure your Shih Tzu know how to follow the leader. While small, Shih Tzus aren’t afraid to try and boss you around. However, during playtime, it’s important that your dog knows who calls the shots, and who doesn’t.
  3. If your Shih Tzu takes things too far by biting you or refusing to give up the toy, it’s time to cease playtime. If you don’t address the behavior, your pup will only think it’s okay to ignore you in the future.
  4. Playtime requires your supervision. Like a small child, you should watch your Shih Tzu closely while they’re playing. Even if you think they’re safe, anything could happen – such as eating the stuffing out of a plush toy or swallowing the detachable part of a toy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of toys are best for the Shih Tzu’s temperament and activity level?

Since Shih Tzus were bred to be in-home companions rather than hunters or adventurers, these dogs may not require as many fetch or rope toys as some other breeds. What your Shih Tzu will need, regardless of his age, is plenty of chew toys and plush toys to stay occupied.

Why won’t my Shih Tzu play with his toys?

If your Shih Tzu isn’t playing with his toys, there could be several reasons why. The first thing to have your vet rule out is a medical cause: if the behavior comes on suddenly, it’s likely because your Shih Tzu isn’t feeling well. However, if your vet can’t find any health-related reason your Shih Tzu is no longer interested in playtime, it might be time to invest in a few new toys or use treats to capture your dog’s interest.

Which toys can I use to keep my Shih Tzu occupied?

If you need to keep your Shih Tzu engaged for any significant amount of time, your best bet is probably a treat-dispensing toy or an interactive toy. Both types will challenge your dog enough that they may spend up to hours trying to uncover the tasty morsels hidden inside.

How can I stay on top of my Shih Tzu’s dental health?

While good dental hygiene is important for all breeds, it’s specifically crucial for Shih Tzus. If your dog isn’t regularly getting their teeth cleaned by a groomer (or you), one other thing you can do that promote better oral health is purchase chew toys. Many chew toys include ridge-like structures that help remove harmful tartar and plaque from your pup’s mouth. Not only is this hands-off method easier on your dog, but it may also go a long way in making sure that your Shih Tzu doesn’t develop a dental-related disease later on in life too.


Now that you’ve got a much better understanding of how Shih Tzu toys work, it may be time to begin investing in a few. However, if you still aren’t sure where to start your shopping, don’t be shy about trying one of the highly-rated toys we’ve already listed and reviewed for you.

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