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5 Best Toys for a Dog Who’s Home Alone (2021 Review)

As much we love our dogs, most of us have to leave them home alone when we go to work or run errands. Of course, when you’re not at home you don’t want your dog to be bored and frustrated. Leaving them with a safe toy can keep them occupied and make their alone time much more enjoyable.

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What is the Best Toy for a Dog Who’s Home Alone?

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Comparing the Best Toy for a Dog Who’s Home Alone

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  • Best for tough chewers
  • Extremely durable rubber
  • KONG’s toughest material


  • Best for treat dispensing
  • Adjustable difficulty level
  • Creates bobbing motion for challenging play


  • Best for crate or pen training
  • Attaches to the side of the crate
  • Keeps dogs calm and busy


  • Best for active dogs
  • Windmill motion keeps dogs moving
  • Puzzle provides mental stimulation


  • Best puzzle toy
  • Adjustable difficulty level
  • 2 types of puzzle

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More Detailed Home-Alone Dog Toy Reviews

KONG Extreme Dog Toy review

Features

  • Best for tough chewers
  • Extremely durable rubber
  • KONG’s toughest material

The KONG Extreme Dog Toy is one of the best toys for a dog who’s home alone, made of extremely durable rubber to stand up to the toughest of chewers. The toy can be chewed, chased, thrown, and filled with treats, providing hours of entertainment. With a range of sizes available, this toy is suitable for all breeds.

I used this KONG filled with dog-safe peanut butter with my springer spaniel after her spay to keep her busy, and it stood up to hours of chewing (and is still fully intact). The KONG Extreme Dog Toy is a mid-range price which is, in my opinion, excellent value considering its features.

Pros

  • Most owners said when filled with spreadable treats, this KONG kept their dogs happy while they’re away from home or busy doing other things
  • Many said that this toy was durable and stood up to power chewers, even when they had previously destroyed other toys
  • Owners stated that this makes their dog’s time in their crate more enjoyable, with some saying their dog was so busy happily licking that they didn’t even notice their owner leaving
  • Some enjoyed the bounce of the toy, saying it’s also great for games of fetch
  • Suitable for freezing to make treats last longer, which many said was useful

Cons

  • Some said this toy was smaller than they expected, so they would recommend to size up
  • Some owners didn’t like the rubber smell, which they felt was overpowering
  • Despite its strength, some owners found the toy wasn’t indestructible for their power chewers

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Starmark Treat Dispensing Bob-a-Lot Dog Toy review

Features

  • Best for treat dispensing
  • Adjustable difficulty level
  • Creates bobbing motion for challenging play

The Starmark Treat Dispensing Bob-a-Lot Dog Toy is a fantastic toy to keep your dog busy while they’re home alone. The toy can be filled with treats or your dog’s kibble, creating a mentally stimulating puzzle as your dog tries to get to the food. The unique shape and weighted bottom create a wobbly motion to keep the game exciting.

The toy has an adjustable difficulty and comes in 2 sizes to suit a wide range of dogs. If you have a multi-dog household (like me) the adjustable difficulty is very helpful.

With sturdy materials, it’s safe for average chewers. The toy is an average price, and I would recommend it for dogs who are very food driven.

Pros

  • Owners enjoyed the adjustable difficulty, finding it kept their dogs interest for longer after they’d figured out the easier level
  • Many owners said they found the toy useful when leaving for work, as it kept their dog busy while they were gone
  • Owners found it mentally stimulating for their dogs, enjoying seeing them actively playing
  • Some owners used the toy for their dog’s meals, which they found slowed down their eating and made mealtimes more fun
  • Many stated the enrichment was great for puppies, keeping them entertained and redirecting destructive behaviors

Cons

  • Not suitable for dogs who are prone to chewing their toys, as power chewers can destroy this toy
  • Some owners felt that the toy wasn’t suitable for their larger dog, stating it was too small or not strong enough
  • Some owners said the toy was not challenging enough for intelligent breeds
  • Some found the adjustable hole was too easy for their dog to move, letting them access the food too quickly

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Diggs Groov Dog Crate Training Tool review

Features

  • Best for crate or pen training
  • Attaches to the side of the crate
  • Keeps dogs calm and busy

The Diggs Groov Dog Crate Training Tool is a great toy for dogs who stay in their crate when they’re left alone. The toy is made of high-quality rubber, making it sturdy. It attaches to the dog’s crate, which I found decreased the risk of my dog destroying the toy.

This toy is designed to be covered in dog-safe peanut butter or other spreads, to keep your dog busy licking. It even comes with a shell allowing you to put the toy in the freezer, making the spreadable treat last much longer. This is a higher-priced option, but I feel it’s great for dogs who are being crate trained.

Pros

  • Owners said it was sturdy and suitable for average chewers
  • Some felt that the toy being attached to the crate made their dog less likely to destroy the toy
  • Many said that the toy helped them with crate training, making their dog excited to go into their crate
  • Owners said it keeps their dog happy and occupied while they’re away from home
  • Some said that the licking soothes their puppy and helps to keep them calm while in their crate

Cons

  • Some found the toy had a plastic smell, which they felt was overpowering
  • Some owners found the toy’s shape and grooves made it difficult to clean
  • Not suitable for power chewers, with some owners saying their dog was able to chew it up quite quickly
  • Some owners said their dog was able to pull the toy off the crate

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Trixie Windmill Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy review

Features

  • Best for active dogs
  • Windmill motion keeps dogs moving
  • Puzzle provides mental stimulation

The Trixie Windmill Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy is an excellent option for active, home-alone dogs. The windmill consists of 4 tubes you can fill with treats or your dog’s kibble, with adjustable lids to change the difficulty level. The toy keeps your dog physically and mentally stimulated as they spin the windmill to get to their food.

I found it was fun to watch my dog batting the tubes with her paws and nuzzling with her nose to try to figure this toy out. This toy is made with quality plastic and is fantastic for light to average chewers. At a very reasonable price, it’s an excellent option for medium breeds.

Pros

  • Active and food-driven dogs found this toy very mentally and physically stimulating
  • Owners were generally happy with the construction of the toy and how it functioned
  • Base is sturdy, preventing the toy from tipping over during play
  • Some owners said this toy kept their dog occupied while they were doing other things

Cons

  • Some owners found their dog wasn’t interested in the toy and wouldn’t engage with it
  • Too simple for some dogs, with owners stating it wasn’t a challenge for their pup
  • Not suitable for dogs who are prone to heavily chewing their toys

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Trixie Slide & Feed Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy review

Features

  • Best puzzle toy
  • Adjustable difficulty level
  • 2 types of puzzle

The Trixie Slide & Feed Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy is one of the best puzzle toys for home-alone dogs. This puzzle is wonderfully mentally stimulating for your dog, with a maze and hidden holes under sliding caps, all designed to fill with treats. There are 2 levels of difficulty to keep your dog interested.

The toy is designed for beginners, rather than dogs who are very skilled at puzzles. I found my Pomeranian was a big fan of this toy, and our rabbit even got involved too!

Unlike many other puzzle toys, there are no detachable parts involved in the puzzle, increasing safety for your dog. However, if your dog is a strong chewer or prone to destroying toys, another option may be better suited. Made from high-quality plastic and with a reasonable price tag, this toy is a great find.

Pros

  • When used to feed meals, can slow down dog’s eating which is better for digestion
  • Owners said the toy was sturdier than they expected
  • Some said the toy was easy to clean which they appreciated
  • Mentally and physically stimulating for dogs, keeping them occupied
  • Many said their dog loved this toy, stating it was their favorite

Cons

  • Some owners found the puzzle too easy for their dog, with their dog losing interest once they’d figured the toy out
  • Some found the toy was larger than they expected, making it easier for dogs with small noses
  • Not suitable for strong chewers, as the plastic construction is not designed for chewing

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Things to Look for in a Toy for A Dog Who’s Home Alone

There are three main things you should take into consideration when choosing a toy for your dog to use when they’re home alone:

Correct Size and Strength for Your Dog

Checking the toy is the right size for your dog ensures they’re comfortable and that they can play with the toy properly. Choosing the right strength of toy for your dog is one of the most important things to consider when it comes to safety. Most toys will state whether they are for light, average, or tough chewers.

Good Quality Materials

A toy made of good quality materials is likely to last longer and be better quality overall for your precious pup.

Level of Interactivity and Stimulation

If you’re leaving your dog home alone with a toy, you want them to be stimulated and entertained. When you’re choosing a toy, look for one that will keep your dog busy for long periods.

Safety Advice for Leaving Your Dog Home Alone with a Toy

No dog toy is guaranteed to be completely indestructible. Toys that are destroyed may pose a choking or blockage risk to your dog, so it’s essential you take a few steps to increase your dog’s safety:

    • Choose a toy that suits their chew strength
    • Don’t leave them with a toy with small, detachable parts
    • Know your dog: if they usually destroy even strong toys easily, leaving them with a toy may not be safe
    • Test out the toy with them while supervised first
    • Consider a pet camera. This can be a great option for owners who need to leave their dogs at home a lot. Most have a monitor you can set up which connects to your phone, allowing you to see, hear, and even talk to your pet while you’re out.

How a Toy Can Help Your Dog When They’re Home Alone

To a dog, their owner is their whole world. All dog owners must leave their dog at home alone, at least now and then. This can be stressful for both dog and owner but leaving them with a toy is one way you can make the experience more pleasant.

A toy can help keep your dog busy while you’re out and prevent them from getting bored. It can help to redirect any frustration behaviors such as destructive chewing. In fact, a toy may help to calm your dog and teach them that being home alone can actually be quite fun.

Other Tips for Leaving Your Dog Alone

There are plenty of other simple tips which can make leaving your dog alone more comfortable for both them and you:

  • Exercise them: Giving your dog a good long walk or run around right before you leave will tire them out and make them much more settled. They’re more likely to relax and sleep while you’re gone.
  • Build up gradually: If this is the first time you’ll be leaving your dog, build up the time they’re left alone slowly. Start with just a few minutes and plenty of praise when you return. This teaches your dog that they don’t need to be afraid and that you will always come back. The RSPCA explains that this type of training prevents separation anxiety.
  • Ensure they have a comfortable area: Make sure your dog has a place in the house with a comfy dog bed where they feel safe and cozy.
  • Leave the TV or radio on: Some owners choose to leave a low noise on in the background, such as the TV or radio, as they find it calms their dog.
  • Crate or pen train your dog: Crate or pen training can be a good way to ensure your dog’s safety, as well as helping them feel more at ease when you’re gone. It’s like giving them their own bedroom, where they feel at home and secure.
  • Remember, dogs should only be alone for a few hours at a time: Depending on your dog’s age, your dog should only be left alone for a few hours at a time. If you’re going to be away for longer, arrange for someone you know or a professional dog walker to come and take your dog out for a while.

Home-Alone Dog Toys FAQ

Can a toy keep your dog entertained while you’re at work?

A toy on its own isn’t going to keep your dog entertained the whole time you’re at work. However, combined with the other methods mentioned, a toy can be useful for your dog. It can reduce boredom and provide a healthy outlet for their energy.

Will a toy prevent bad behavior while your dog is home alone?

Good training is the key to preventing bad behavior. A toy can be a helpful addition to training. It can be particularly useful for redirecting destructive behavior, such as chewing.

Conclusion

Leaving your dog at home alone can be worrying, but with training and a positive outlet like the right toy, your dog can learn to enjoy their alone time. You can leave with peace of mind that your dog will be a happy pup while you’re gone, and of course, when you return!

References

RSPCA, (2021), “Training your dog to be left alone”. 

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