Keep your pet entertained for hours with our top picks, including treat-dispensing toys, interactive puzzles, and even a classic Lambchop stuffy that will become your puppy’s favorite new snuggle bud.
You and your pet can agree on one thing: “Play” is a good word. “Work” might be the reason your pet gets to live their lavish life with all those toys in the first place, but that’s your problem, not theirs. All your pet wants to do is play with their favorite feather toy, pretend-stalk you down the hall, go for a walk, or chase a ball on the beach or dog run — and they want you to do it with them.
But when work gets in the way of play and you have to focus, we’ve got treat-dispensing toys, interactive puzzles, and even a classic Lambchop toy that will become your puppy’s favorite new snuggle bud. Below, a selection of toys (many of which have discounts) that are perfect for the days you can put that laptop away — and the days you need your pet to take playtime into their own paws.
Mimi has been adopted but you can meet more playful pups like her on Adopt a Pet.
Best Interactive Cat Puzzle Toy
You can take your cat out of the wild, but you can’t take the wild out of your cat. No matter how cuddly your kitty may be, they will always have the urge to hunt. That’s where Nina Ottosson’s Buggin’ Out toy for Outward Hound comes in.
Cats are natural-born hunters, and puzzles stimulate their foraging instincts. “Indoor cats especially become easily bored and under-stimulated, and puzzles are great enrichment for them,” Ottosson tells The Wildest. This puzzle toy allows “cats ‘hunt’ for their reward by working to reveal hidden treats and food.” It can hold up to ¼ cup of food, allowing you to use it as a slow feeder or as a way to make your cat work for their high-value treats. The 16 hidden compartments will stimulate their evolutionary hunting and foraging instincts. —Avery Felman
Best Dog Food-Dispensing Toy
“Who wants to eat out of a boring old bowl when you can make meals an adventure?” says certified dog trainer and The Wildest Collective member Robert Haussmann. “This interactive feeder is weighted on the bottom and wobbles when batted around by your dog, which allows the food to drop out of a small hole on the side.”
The Game’s design was inspired by Fable co-founder Jeremy Canade’s own dog. “I tried a bunch of other [interactive] products, but he would slam them against the wall,” he tells The Wildest. “It was like a bowling ball knocking around my apartment, and just for a tiny piece of food to fall out. Plus, he is a very smart dog and can get through a puzzle toy within five minutes, so it wasn’t really a distraction. So that was the bar: It had to be quieter and last at least half an hour for him — and everything we make has to look good, at least in my eyes.”
Canade more than delivered. This game-changing toy holds up to 1 1/2 pounds of dry food, making it ideal for fast eaters who need a side of stimulation — both mental and physical. —Rachel Davies and Marisa Meltzer
Best Plush Dog Toy
Pet products may not be the first thing that comes to mind when trying to live a more eco-friendly life, but many brands are trying to help lower our carbon paw prints. And Bay Area brand P.L.A.Y. is one of the more impressive ones. Their pet beds and toys are made with PlanetFill®, which consists of 100 percent post-consumer certified-safe recycled plastic bottles.
“Saving the environment and protecting our planet have always been close to my heart because it is simply the right thing to do,” P.L.A.Y. founder and CEO Will Chen tells The Wildest. The B Corp-certified brand also gives back to too many organizations to list, and their toys meet the quality manufacturing standard for children’s toys — pets are our kids, after all. P.L.A.Y.’s plush, crinkly toy collections offer something for everyone, and at an affordable price (stuffed toys start at $5.90). This ’90s set includes a stuffed phone, skateboard, guitar, “Game Bone,” and “Woofbuster Video.” Does it get cuter than that? —Rebecca Caplan
Best Interactive Dog Puzzle Toy
With three types of treat hiding compartments, this intermediate-level puzzle game designed by Nina Ottosson for Outward Hound will keep your dog busy, active, and stress-free. “Wild animals get natural mental stimulation when hunting for food, which inspired me when developing the games to match the dog’s natural movements and instincts,” Ottosson explains.
Worried your pup will outsmart your brand new purchase? Fear not! Certified dog behaviorist Stacy Alldredge says, “I bought every dog puzzle game on the market and the Nina Ottosson ones are so hard to figure out!” —Sio Hornbuckle and MM
Best Puppy Toy
The Kong brand has been a favorite among dogs and their parents since it was founded in 1976: Their toys are super durable and great for mental and physical stimulation. The puppy-sized version of their classic conical toy works wonders for redirecting puppy teething — a natural activity that is best done not on your furniture. For additional joy, fill the toy with peanut butter and pop it in the freezer to keep them biting safely for an extended period of time. “As I’m writing this, he’s already been at this thing for over 30 minutes,” wrote one happy Kong reviewer.
“From puppies to seniors, everyone can enjoy a Kong,” celebrity dog trainer Nicole Ellis tells us. “Studies have taught us that licking and chewing help release stress in dogs, and the Kong helps achieve that while allowing your pup to have fun. It also helps our dog get some mental enrichment and learn to settle and focus on something.” (First we’ll get them to settle and focus on something, and then we’ll try to get ourselves to do the same.) —Kelly Conaboy
Best Puppy Cooling Teething Stick
Has your cat lost interest in their toys? Do the bits and bobs that once kept them stimulated now lay untouched around your home, gathering dust? Are you wondering if maybe they’ve just grown out of their “playful stage” all together? Well, they haven’t. They just need something colorful and fun, that’s not overly complicated, like the Catstages Tower of Tracks Interactive Three-Tier Cat Toy.
“Every cat loves this toy!” says actress and cat mom Kat Dennings. “[My cat] Millie has spent hours poking her little paw into the track and watching the magic happen.” If your own cat isn’t instantly enamored by this toy, cat behaviorist Cristin Tamburo suggests giving them a day or two to get used to it, then showing them exactly how they’re meant to play with it. Does your cat need a little more convincing? “Up to 70 percent of cats respond to catnip or catnip toys,” Tamburo says. “So spraying toys with a catnip spray — From the Field is my personal favorite — can help entice them.” —Charles Manning
Best Treat-Dispensing Cat Toy
Is your cat a food-motivated little firecracker with a seemingly unquenchable thirst for attention? Well, have we got the toy for you! The Catit PIXI Treat Dispenser is the feline equivalent of one of those weighted, inflatable punching bags that were popular in the ‘90s. Remember those? They often looked like clowns, for some terrifyingly inexplicable reason, and you could wail on them for ages and they would always pop right back up and ask for more. So, yeah, this toy is like that. Only, for your cat! It features a weighted bottom, so as your cat swats, it rolls around, occasionally dispensing a treat, and then righting itself, ready for another paw swipe.
It’s the perfect low-tech tool for adding a little mental and physical stimulation to your cat’s daily feeding routine, which can actually have a huge impact on their overall wellbeing. You see, cats love to hunt. “It’s an innate need,” says certified cat behaviorist Ingrid Johnson. “They don’t even have to be hungry to hunt and we give them a big bowl of food, which provides no mental stimulation and no problem solving.” The Catit PIXI Treat Dispenser helps fill this void by adding an element of fun to your cat’s feeding time and forcing them to use their mind and body in order to get what they want. —CM
Best Freezable Enrichment Dog Toy
West Paw’s inventive and durable enrichment toys backed by the brand’s eco-friendly principles have helped establish it as an industry staple for over 25 years. One of the company’s signature offerings is the Toppl, a next-level fillable puzzle toy, made locally in Montana with zero-waste and recyclable materials. Dogs love it, so it’s naturally become a favorite among pet parents.
And thanks to the toy’s ability to stimulate dogs during mealtime without making a mess, pros rep it as well. “It’s really versatile — it can be used as a slow feeder and as a puzzle toy,” animal behaviorist and trainer Karen B. London says. “It can be frozen, used to hold bully sticks, and the different sizes can be linked to create a new, more challenging puzzle. It’s made of strong material that’s free of hazardous chemicals.” She also notes that its unique design featuring protruding round teeth encourages dogs to lick rather than grab food, which helps it last longer. —Sean Zucker
Best Cat Tracks Toy
Has your cat lost interest in their current crop of toys? Do the bits and bobs that once kept them stimulated now lay untouched around your home, gathering dust? Do you wonder if maybe they’ve just grown out of their “playful stage” all together? Well, they haven’t. They just need something colorful and fun, that’s not overly complicated, like the Catstages Tower of Tracks Interactive Three-Tier Cat Toy.
“Every cat loves this toy!” says actress and cat mom Kat Dennings. “[My cat] Millie has spent hours poking her little paw into the track and watching the magic happen.” If your own cat isn’t instantly enamored, cat behaviorist Cristin Tamburo suggests giving them a day or two to get used to it, then showing them exactly how they’re meant to play with it. Does your cat need a little more convincing? “Up to 70 percent of cats respond to catnip or catnip toys,” Tamburo says. “So spraying toys with a catnip spray — From the Field is my personal favorite — can help entice them.” —CM
Best Dog Tug Toy
Tug-of-war is a classic for a reason. “For a game you can play in a relatively small space, it’s remarkably tiring for your dog,” says animal behaviorist and trainer Karen B. London. “The high-intensity nature of tug relaxes a lot of dogs, improving their emotional state, and leaving them calm and content after a good session.”
When it comes to picking a toy to battle over with your dog, we couldn’t recommend Jax & Bones enough. The company founder Tinya Nyugen reimagines soda bottles and fabric scraps into plush dog beds, durable toys, and other accessories — all produced locally in Los Angeles. “Our dogs are really like our children, so every type of fabric, every dye, every raw material we give to them needs to be really closely inspected,” she tells The Wildest. “When I’m trying out a new material, I actually scratch it — kind of like a dog! — and smell everything. I’m a little bit obsessive — but I think we’re all obsessed with our animals.”
The Top Tugger is made from non-toxic dyes and is perfect for hours of tug-of-war games. Your purchase will go toward a good cause, too: For each sale, Jax & Bones donates 10 percent of the proceeds to rescue and animal welfare groups. —SH
Use code WILDEST15 at checkout for 15 percent off your purchase.
Best Cat Wand
It’s a rare cat who does not stan a good wand toy, and this is easily one of the best there is. It has small rolls of brown paper attached to the end of a thin, flexible wire, giving cats something solid (but safe) to swat and bite at. The wire is also a wonderful innovation, as it allows for more surprising and unpredictable movement, which keeps cats (and humans) interested for longer.
“I always keep this toy in the exam room,” says veterinarian and Cat Dancer enthusiast Dr. Annette Louviere. “It makes kitten exams more pleasant for everybody.” —CM
Best Cat Feather Wand With Replaceable Feathers
Ever wondered why your cat seems offended by a felt mouse but will ambush a feathered lure like a tiger shark? According to certified cat behaviorist Dr. Mikel Delgado, “All cats have the instinct to hunt, and play behavior is an expression of their hunting instincts, just directed towards toys instead of prey.”
So it makes sense that cats would prefer “toys that move easily when touched, toys that have fur or other interesting textures, and toys that have tails or that appear to look like a bird,” Dr. Delgado explains. This is why cats will respond more to toys like this handmade wand by Los Angeles-based brand Ocatnip, which comes with four pastel-hued feather teasers and tiny bells. It's also approved by the founder’s discerning product testers — her adopted cats Brunello, Linguini, and Toast (aka BLT). —AF
Best Dog Ball
Your dog probably has a favorite ball, but sometimes, what they love isn’t good for them. Unfortunately, some tennis balls, for example, have been found to contain toxic lead. Luckily, there are some tennis balls that are safe for your pup, especially if they’re going to chomp on them at all. But the best way to avoid toxins is to get them a ball that is 100 percent safe, like the Chuckit — which as the name might imply, comes with its very own launcher to help you chuck the ball a longer distance. You can also use the launcher to scoop up the ball so you don’t have to bend all the way down to pick it up. This means you can keep the game of fetch going even longer: Your dog and your back will thank you.
The balls themselves are pretty great too. “I love the balls that come with the chuck-it launcher,” says animal behaviorist and trainer Karen B. London. “They are super bouncy, easy to see, and they float. They are extra durable so they last longer than ordinary tennis balls. Many dogs I know prefer them to other balls, so even though I don’t know why exactly, their attitude toward them adds to my own love for these toys.” —Hilary Weaver
Best Catnip Toy
Ever wonder why (most) cats go so gaga for catnip? Turns out it can do wild and wonderful things to a kitty’s brain. “They will experience euphoria-like effects, characterized by licking, chewing, and head shaking, followed by cheek and body rubbing,“ veterinarian Dr. Sarah Dougherty says. “Spontaneous vocalization can occur, which could be a response to hallucinations. A lot of people have also referred to catnip as an aphrodisiac for cats, and while the physiological response is not the same, some sexual stimulation is evident.”
For these reasons, for many cats, nothing beats a good catnip toy. And this is a good catnip toy. It may be simple in design but it has an abundance of well-earned five-star reviews on Amazon. “My cat doesn't like most toys, but he does play with this one,” wrote one reviewer. “This is my [cat] Rico’s favorite toy,” said yet another satisfied customer. “He throws it up in the air, holds it close to himself, sometimes falls asleep on it...It’s adorable and entertaining to watch him. Rico is a 9-year-old rescue and I wanted to get him a toy he would love to help him transition to his new home with me. Not only is Rico happy with this banana, but so am I.” —CM
Best No-Squeak Dog Toy
We all want our dogs to be happy, but sometimes…we just cannot take any more squeaking. For dogs who crave a ton of playtime stimulation, and for their humans who crave quiet time, no-squeak toys are a great compromise.
Choking and stomach obstruction are also the most common hazards associated with dog toys, and those little squeakers do not help. “The problem is that [squeakers] can be too much of a temptation for many dogs, leading them to massacre their toys in an attempt to reach the source of those intriguing squeaks,” veterinarian Dr. Amy Fox tells The Wildest. This sweet hippo toy from Bottle Crusherz is ingenious; it acts as a soft, durable outer shell for a plastic water bottle, so your dog can chomp on it (a beloved doggie pastime) quietly. —KC
We’ve been through a pandemic, plenty of political turmoil, and we’ve seen Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian’s tongues touching more than we should ever have to. In times like these, we humans should be charging our crystals before we charge our phones. And if we’ve had a tough go of it, just think of our pets. “Anxiety, at its core, is a response to stressful stimuli, whether it be the departure/absence of the primary caregiver, loud noises, or a general phobia of newly introduced situations or individuals,” integrative Dr. Lindsey Wendt says.
Pets deserve to work through their trauma, too. This is where Merci Collective’s crystal-infused catnip for cats and dogs comes in. “When cats are exposed to catnip, it causes them to become more active and playful and leads them to a feeling of pure bliss and euphoria,“ Chani Ronez, founder of Merci Collective, tells The Wildest. “For dogs, however, it’s totally different in that it offers a sense of relaxation and calm.” —HW
Use code THEWILDEST15 at checkout for 15 percent off your purchase.
Best Dog Rope Toy
When former Nike Design Director Angela Medlin pivoted to the pet industry and created House Dogge, she did so with a simple goal: to make sustainable products that catch the eye without breaking the bank. “In general, there’s a perception that eco-conscious and eco-friendly products are bland,” she tells The Wildest. “So I wanted to show that eco-friendly products can be colorful and have texture — their quality can be elevated.” Starting at $20, House Dogge’s wool binky toys are the epitome of this initial declaration.
The entirely non-toxic toy is a stylishly minimalistic mashup of rope tugs and dog bones, with the option to include your pet's name in customized embroidery. Alternatively, if your dog is passionately committed to the eternal pet species battle, you can just have it say “cats” and let them chew away their demons. Beyond that, a portion of every House Dogge purchase goes towards supporting animal rescues. And don’t just take our word for it, take Oprah’s: The brand has been featured on her ever-coveted Favorite Things list. —SZ
Best Dog Snuffle Mat
Even though Awoof’s snuffle mat might resemble the most boring salad of all time, rest assured, your dog will love it. It’s a fun, mentally stimulating way to serve your pup dinner (or just give them a few treats) while allowing them to flex their impressive sense of smell.
“Sniffing is an essential part of your dog’s life, and giving them a regular healthy outlet for it is a highly enriching activity,” certified dog trainer and The Wildest Collective member Haussmann tells The Wildest. All you have to do is scatter their food or treats throughout the felt, no-slip bowl and watch them sniff and search. Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Valli Parthasarathy tells The Wildest the activity will provide entertainment for your dog, but that’s not all. “Sniff-based mental stimulation can help promote overall relaxation in dogs, as well,” she says. And that is sure to make you feel good — just like eating a gigantic plain salad might, if we ever dared. —KC
Best Motion Activated Cat Toy
Let your cat scratch all they want with the Star Chaser Turbo Scratcher from Bergen. It features a motion-activated LED ball your kitty can bat and nudge around the track, and a replaceable catnip scratch pad at the center. You can even pop on a second layer of fun (ball and all) with the Catnip Cyclone attachment.
“This is an all time favorite,” says cat behaviorist Cristin Tamburo. “It’s great because it is interactive and the cat can play with it on its own, with a cat friend, or even with its humans. It keeps the cats active by allowing them to use their mind and paws for play...The cats also use the scratching pad as a means to fulfill their scratching behaviors, it helps them to stretch, removes the sheathes from their nails, and even allows them to ‘mark’ both visibly (scratching) and by scent (they have scent glands in their paw pads).” —CM
Best Dog Digging Toy
After taking the necessary steps to address the root cause of your dog’s anxiety, a great way to help your dog channel their stress is through toys that engage stress relieving behaviors like licking, chewing, and mental enrichment. Got a dog who needs a more energetic outlet for releasing their demons? This unique toy is for the burrowers who enjoy a quick dig before their snack. With the iDig, dog parents can hide toys and treats under the toy’s flap, and pups can dig their way to their prize.
“The iDig is one of my dog’s favorite toys; it provides mental enrichment [from] finding the toys and treats mixed with the physical element of digging (which is a natural innate desire of dogs),” celebrity dog trainer Nicole Ellis says. “I find mine often goes to sleep in the iDig once he’s done. It’s our go-to when he needs to get some anxious energy out.” —RC
Best Cat Silvervine
Catnip might just be the hack to cat parenthood. It mimics feline sex hormones and makes cats feel euphoric, but there is an alternative for cats who don't dig it. Last year, a study published in the academic journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science, found that anywhere from 40 to 80 percent of cats do not respond to catnip at all. The same study found that silver vine, a plant native to mountainous regions of China, Japan, and Korea, produces an identical response and works on 90 percent of cats, including those who couldn’t care less about catnip.
“Silver vine is considered safe and non-toxic for cats,” veterinarian Dr. Amy Fox tells The Wildest. You can add Meowy Jane’s freshly ground silver vine powder to your cat’s fave toy or scratching post — just a little pinch is more than enough. “Meowy Janes makes my favorite silver vine product, a high-quality, fine silver vine powder that comes in a cute storage tin,” certified cat behaviorist Dr. Mikel Delgado tells The Wildest. “My cats go wild for this powder, and it's a fun, safe way to tap into your cat's olfactory abilities and jumpstart a play session!” —CM
Best Indestructible Dog Toy
If you have a pup who tears apart their chew toys in ten seconds flat, you’re not alone. According veterinary behaviorist Dr. Valli Parthasarathy, it’s totally normal for dogs to gnaw…and gnaw…and gnaw. “Dogs explore their environment with their mouths and chewing is an extension of this normal and natural behavior,” Dr. Parthasarathy says. “If a dog is chewing for self-stimulation or exploration, provide appropriate toys that are strong and are difficult to destroy.” That’s where the Kong Extreme comes in.
Kongs are pretty much the gold standard when it comes to toys for tough chewers, which makes the Kong Extreme the best of the best. The ultra-durable rubber satisfies your pup’s desire to chew, which can help curb unwanted chewing behaviors — so maybe you can finally stop hiding those slippers. —SH
Best Cat Tunnel
This adaptable cat tunnel can be folded in several ways, helping you and your pet keep things fun. It has buttons to easily modify the shape and rolls up into a compact carrying mode for easy transport. Our favorite feature, though? The toy’s thick felt material is filled with cut-outs your pet can poke its little paws through to play, while creating a safe space for privacy — which is important for cats, according to experts.
“[Cats] need time to settle in,” says Dr. Jill A. Goldman, certified applied animal behaviorist and founder of DJG Animal Behavior Services. “The ability to go to a hiding place — a safe space — without being disturbed allows the cat to feel more comfortable in a new place.” Whether your cat needs a calm place to decompress after a move or other big event, or just wants to relax in a comfortable felt tube, the Lima tunnel is a must-have. —Kari Paul
Best Dog Frisbee
“Fetch games with flying discs are even more fun and exciting to some dogs than fetching balls,” says animal behaviorist and trainer Karen B. London. She adds that regular flying discs can injure a dog’s teeth, so softer options created specifically for dogs, like the Zisc by West Paw, are a better choice. Made with zero-waste and recyclable materials, the Zisc is lightweight yet tough enough to withstand the jaws of gentle chewers. It’s soft, pliable, floatable, and flies far, giving your pup the mental and physical workout they crave. Today, West Paw remains a fixture in the local community, a leader in the sustainable pet movement, and a treat for dog parents looking to buy thoughtfully and transparently made products for their pet.
Plus, the Zisc is part of West Paw’s Zogoflex toy series, which means it’s 100 percent recyclable. “Anybody can recycle any Zogoflex toy through retailers or send it directly to West Paw,” founder Spencer Williams tells The Wildest. “Right behind me, we grind it up, clean it, and make brand new toys out of it.” It doesn’t get more sustainable than that. —Emma Loewe
Best Cat Kicker Toy
Who doesn’t love a burrito? So why not share the love with your favorite feline friend? This burrito kicker toy from P.L.A.Y. is an adorable rendering of the beloved dish — complete with a foil wrapper. The “Shrimp Purrito” features elements that your cat will love including the crinkly wrapper, a surprise tuggable shrimp, and it even has organic catnip sewn in.
Kicker toys in particular are great for cats, explains veterinarian Dr. Annette Louviere. “It’s not uncommon to see kittens playfully rolling and bunny-kicking, and they can continue with this style of play as adults.” They can also help cats “who have play aggression engage in their natural behaviors through their toys.” Cute and functional? Might as well put it in your shopping cart right now. —Kerensa Cadenas
Best Cat Ripple Rug
“Play is so important for cats,” says cat behaviorist Cristin Tamburo. “It helps to fulfill their natural need to hunt…It can also help alleviate behavioral issues, since cats who are properly stimulated are happier and less likely to act out.”
The Ripple Rug by Snugglycat is an infinitely customizable creation that is ideal for hours of cat play (and has an impressively carpet-like feel given that it’s made from recycled plastic bottles). It taps into your cat's natural desire to burrow and claw, serving double-duty as a play tunnel and scratching surface. “Ripple mats are a super fun way for a cat to really feel like they are hunting,” Tamburo says. “With all the ways you can move and ‘ripple’ them, you allow your cat to feel like he is hiding to hunt his prey.“ She also suggests hiding toys and treats in the ripple rugs as another great way to fulfill those hunting needs. —Tim Barribeau
Best Dog Nosework Toy
It’s no secret that dogs have super powerful noses. Nose work toys allow your pup to put their exceptional sense of smell to the test. “Besides proving themselves superior with their sense of smell, other benefits to nose work for your dog include constructive physical exercise and intense mental stimulation,” says dog trainer Sandra Mannion.
This nosework toy by Lambwolf is ideal for enrichment, with two large squeakers and four pockets for hiding treats. And it’s not only stimulating — it’s also absolutely adorable. “I don’t call them toys. I call them play objects because I really believe that this is not just a play or learning tool but a piece of the home,” founder Ang Wong tells The Wildest. “I want to make sure it looks good. I don’t want it to look like something that when people come over you feel you need to hide away.” —SH
Best Treat Dispensing Dog Ball
This “tricky” treat ball lives up to its name. “It may take some time for your dog to figure out how it works,” says certified dog trainer and The Wildest Collective member Robert Haussmann. “It’s fun to roll the ball around with your pup and to use it as an opportunity to bond and play together. Once they figure it out, it’s like winning the jackpot every time.”
All you do is insert your dog’s favorite treats into the ball, and then let your pup have at it. They’ll push, roll, and paw the ball until the food falls out of the single hole. The simple design makes for hours of fun for your dog. —SH
Best Puppy Plush Toy
When the puppeteer Shari Lewis created Lamb Chop's Play-Along for PBS in 1992, it’s unlikely she knew the show’s titular sheep would become one of the most beloved plush dog toys of all time. While functioning as a little piece of PBS nostalgia for humans, Multipet’s “Lamb Chop”toy is super soft for puppy cuddles, and comes with squeakers in every paw (plus one in its center) for those dogs who like to chomp and make noise. It also must contain some sort of puppy magic, because it’s one of those toys that pet parents report happily buying again and again. (“Why is every dog obsessed with this lamb?” asked one reviewer.)
And although this toy looks like it couldn’t hurt a fly, remember that dogs should be supervised while playing with any toy. In particular, while they’re playing with soft, destructible ones, like our beloved Lamb Chop. “Think about how you wouldn’t leave a baby alone with a stack of pennies. Assume your dog will make the same choices as a baby, but much faster, and keep them safe by being the grown up,” Dr. Shea Cox tells The Wildest. —KC
Best Cat Exercise Wheel
Does your cat have a need for speed? Do they tear from one end of the house to the other, knocking into things and generally causing mayhem when their zoomies hit? Then this could be just the toy you’ve been looking for.
The One Fast Cat Exercise Wheel allows your cat to run, helping them burn calories and build muscle along the way. It’s great for reducing stress and anxiety in more physically active cats and can lead to fewer destructive behaviors. “Exercise wheels are a great way to keep cats active, especially for certain breeds such as Bengals or cats who live in smaller home/apartment environments,” says cat behaviorist Cristin Tamburo. Although cheaper imitations are out there, One Fast Cat’s latest iteration is sturdier and quieter and is made in California using non-toxic, recyclable materials. —CM
Best Sustainable Dog Toy
Dogs and bones, it’s a pairing as natural as NBA players and Kardashians. But if you really want to grab your pet’s attention, give them one they’ll look at like Taylor Swift watching a certain Kansas City tight end. Enter Modernbeast’s Woolbone. Handcrafted with densely felted 100 percent natural wool, the toy itself will look as cute as your pup does playing with it. Plus, the material is entirely non-synthetic, eco-friendly, and biodegradable, so it’ll complement your décor and the environment equally.
This dedication to greener practices can be felt through every aspect of Modernbeast. “We’re constantly trying to improve on becoming more sustainable and not creating more waste. Our toy bones are cut out of wool and we use the excess from that for our felt hats,” Modernbeast cofounder Hope Reiner tells The Wildest. They are also committed to giving back and donate 100 percent (yes, 100 percent) of their profits to animal rescues and charities. —SZ
Best Dog Pool
If you have a water-obsessed pup, the Pup Dip by Minnidip is a summertime must. Minnidip’s offering is entirely non-inflatable, so you don’t have to worry about your dog’s nails puncturing through. Its four-foot-wide and 12-inch-tall foldable structure features a bottom panel made of heavy-duty vinyl that is double the thickness of a standard pool. The Pup Dip is durable, easy to store, and less likely to tear. Plus, you can feel good about your purchase knowing that Minnidip supports rescue organizations like Wags & Walks, MCP Rescue, PAWS Chicago,The World Wide Fund for Nature, and The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Keep in mind that, when it comes to pool time, it should be at your pup’s pace. “Not all dogs like to swim, and forcing your dog to try it isn’t going to encourage a positive association with that activity. Let them take it slow and get used to it at their own pace,” veterinarian Dr. Carla Lerum says. —SH
Best Dog Flirt Pole
A flirt pole is a great way to help your dog get in their exercise while building your bond together. “What I love about a flirt pole is it taps into both a dog’s love for a game of tug and how dogs are thrilled to stalk and chase and capture things,” says certified dog trainer and The Wildest Collective member Robert Haussmann. “It’s a great way to engage in some of your dog’s favorite activities together as a team.”
This flirt pole by Squishy Face is Haussmann’s pick because of its durability and versatility. “The pole is substantial, the rope is substantial, the toy on the end is substantial,” he says. “It works for anything from small dogs to a big, heavy, strong dog.” —SH
Best Cat Balance Beam
With the summer Olympics just around the corner (Bonjour, Paris!), why not get your cat in on the fun? After all, if a cat was going to excel in any Olympic event, it would be balance beam. “The Fundamentally Feline balance beam is a great option for cats who like to scratch horizontally, or who like to grab and scratch things from below,” says certified cat behaviorist Dr. Mikel Delgado. “If your cat loves to scratch the box spring of your bed or the base of your couch, give them this instead. It's also a fantastic tool for interactive play and training!”
The beam is a foot tall and nearly three feet long. It’s 10 inches wide at the base and around four inches on the beam itself, which is very similar to the balance beam used by human athletes in the Olympics (it’s important that your cat train on something similar to what they will encounter in competition). It is handmade and ships flat, so some assembly is required. When it arrives, just sprinkle a little catnip on it and watch your can transform into the feline Simone Biles. Now, if only she could stick that dismount! —CM
Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)
Photography: Felisha Tolentino
Styling: Lindsey Hartman
Hair: Phoebe Seligman
Makeup: Jessie Bishop
Art Direction: Hannah Huffman
Production: Hyperion LA
Producer: Adam Cohen
Models: Justin Yi & Mimi
Special thanks to Wags and Walks Rescue
The U.S. has a long way to go when it comes to ending what Gov. Gavin Newsom calls “cruel and unnecessary testing.”
Keep the faith; you can fix this pee-action.