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Often, when recovering from injury, illness, surgery, or another medical condition, dogs are put on crate rest to help speed up the recovery process and ensure there are fewer obstacles in the way. This is especially common with orthopedic procedures where pups will need to spend most of their day in the crate in between walks.
Imagine being locked up in a small room for many weeks. It sounds awful, and it’s not going to be any more fun for your dog than it would be for you.
Your dog doesn’t have to just sit there bored out of their mind the entire time though!
Gather a few great toys together and you can completely transform your dog’s crate rest recovery from a jail sentence to a fun trip at a beachside resort- or at least get close to it.
These toys must be mentally engaging to stave off boredom with great replay value. Plus, they have to last! They can’t be destroyed in a single play session. They also need to still comply with crate rest since the whole point is to allow your dog to rest.
I’ve gathered a list of the five top toys that will make crate rest far more enjoyable for any dog along with everything you need to know about picking out the perfect toy for your pup.
But if you want to skip ahead, you can check out the full list below:
- Best Overall: StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy
- Best Budget Toy: Hartz Chew’n Clean Dental Duo
- Best Chew Toy: Benebone Real Bacon Durable Wishbone Dog Toy
- Best Reward-Based Chew Toy: KONG Classic Dog Toy
- Best Puzzle Toy: Outward Hound Interactive Puzzle Game Dog Toy
What Makes a Toy Good for Crate Rest?
Not every toy is a great fit for crate rest. Even some top-tier favorites are a poor choice for dogs on crate rest.
For example, under normal circumstances, dogs love balls and frisbees. Both are great toys for a friendly and active game of fetch.
Obviously, a dog on crate rest can’t play fetch though, so those toys are out of the running.
The main thing is that these toys stimulate your dog and help to prevent boredom. If your dog gets too bored, that’s when the behavioral issues and further injuries might occur.
Of course, some dogs don’t really like toys. Those dogs will be in for a much longer road, but there are still ways to entertain dogs that aren’t big fans of toys.
One of the biggest problems a dog on crate rest is faced with is boredom. Wouldn’t you start going crazy after just a few days stuck in your room with nothing to do?
Toys can certainly help to alleviate your dog’s boredom, but not all toys perform equally in this regard.
While a chew toy might occupy your dog, it doesn’t provide the same type of mental stimulation that a puzzle toy would.
Without sufficient mental stimulation, your dog might become destructive or restless. Crate rest can make these behaviors worse and could even result in further injury.
Also, keep in mind that the level of mental stimulation required differs between dogs. Highly intelligent dogs will usually require more mental stimulation than dogs with less acute perception.
While your dog is on crate rest, they don’t really have much to do. In fact, they have practically nothing to keep them occupied, aside from the few toys you provide.
That means that each toy is likely going to see its fair share of use. For toys with low durability, this could result in a very short lifespan.
Your dog could potentially play with any given toy for several hours straight, possibly on multiple days each week. For a toy to withstand that, it needs to be built pretty tough.
But if you get toys that aren’t up to that standard of durability, you can expect to replace them repeatedly while your dog’s crate rest continues.
Similar to mental stimulation, the amount of durability needed to withstand a dog’s chewing depends on the breed. Rottweilers, for example, can tear through a toy much quicker with their average bite force of 328 PSI than Pitbulls can with their weaker bite force of about 235 PSI.
Consider the size of your dog and how they’ve handled toys in the past but know that you’ll need to up your standards when it comes to crate rest toys.
As mentioned, each toy you provide your dog with during their crate rest could be played with for many hours straight.
That means you must pick toys that can keep your dog’s attention for that long!
Some toys can only keep your dog entertained for a short while. Other toys might need your input every so often.
However, there are plenty of toys that can keep your dog engaged for a long time.
Often, these are the toys with the best mental engagement, but the other thing that will help keep your dog’s attention is treats!
Toys that dispense treats tend to have great long-term engagement, at least as long as the treats keep dispensing!
You’ll know best what your dog engages with and if you can’t keep them engaged with one toy for long periods of time you may need to add in multiple toys to get them through their crate rest!
Along the same vein as long-term engagement is repeat usability. It’s great if your dog enjoys a toy for a few hours today, but you’ll need them to still enjoy that toy several more times in the near future.
Once again, treat toys are great for this because most dogs never get tired of treats.
Puzzle toys also tend to have great repeat usability. Even chew toys can be used many times if your dog is attracted to the toy.
Low Physical Activity Requirements
This is a big one.
No toy that gets your dog excited and jumping around or requires a high degree of physical activity is a good fit for a dog on crate rest.
If your dog gets excited or starts moving around too much, it could cause further injury or may worsen the condition that puts them on crate rest in the first place.
Dogs on crate rest need toys that can meet the other criteria we’ve discussed without getting them riled up or causing them to move around.
Remember, there’s not much space inside your dog’s crate anyway!
No matter how great a toy is, if it doesn’t fit your dog, then it’s not going to be of any use.
Luckily, many dog toys come in several different sizes. You’ll need to match the size of the toy to your dog.
This is mostly a commonsense thing as toys aren’t measured the way a collar would need to be. Just make sure not to purchase a large toy for a small dog or vice versa and you should be fine.
Different Types of Toys for Crate Rest
If you’ve ever walked down the aisle of your local pet store, then you’ve probably seen the hundreds of different toys made to keep canines occupied. It’s almost like walking through a toy store for kids!
As mentioned, not all toys are going to be applicable for crate resting dogs, but the following types of toys will generally be a good fit.
And don’t think that you’re limited to just one of these.
You’ll likely want to rotate toys, offering your dog only a few each day and changing which toys are offered daily. This can help to prevent your dog from becoming bored of the toys too quickly.
Chew toys come in all shapes and sizes. They’re some of the most common dog toys around.
You can find chew toys made from fabric with squeakers in them. Personally, I don’t find these to be a good fit for crate resting dogs as they’re too easily destroyed and very annoying while they last!
However, there are some interesting ultrasonic squeaker options that make a noise only dogs can hear which may be worth exploring if your dog loves squeakers. We recommended these for pups going on road trips and there are a lot of similarities between road trips and crate rest!
Harder chew toys like nylon bones are usually a good option since they’re durable enough to last through continuous hard chewing.
Not every dog likes these bones though. If yours isn’t a fan, then you might try a flavored and scented one.
Artificial chew toys will often be designed to help clean your dog’s teeth while they chew, which can make them doubly beneficial for your pooch.
Reward-based toys are ones that make your dog work for a reward and they’re one of my favorite options for pups on crate rest.
These aren’t as mentally strenuous or engaging as puzzle toys. Instead, think of a chew-toy type treat that’s stuffed with something edible like a small hard treat or peanut butter.
This type of toy provides much better repeat value than a basic chew toy. As long as there’s a treat inside, your dog will work their tail off to get to it!
Puzzle toys are reward-based toys with a much stronger mental component.
These toys make your dog think. They engage your dog mentally, forcing your dog to figure out how they work. Once your dog understands it, they’ll continue working at the toy as long as it keeps dispensing treats.
Some of the best puzzle toys can hold an entire meal’s worth of treats or dog food. This is great for a crate resting canine since you can feed their meals through a puzzle toy.
By doing this, you’ll ensure your dog is getting adequate nutrition and lots of mental stimulation without overeating on treats and risking becoming overweight or obese.
Top 5 Toys for Crate Rest
We’ve gone over all the characteristics that make a toy great for a dog on crate rest. Now, let’s take things a step further by discussing some specific toys that I think are the top candidates for canines on crate rest.
To make things easier for you, I’ve split them up into five separate categories, including best overall, a budget option, and my favorite toy of each type we just covered in the previous section.
Best Overall: StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy
- Adjustable treat dispensing toy
- Large chamber fits whole meals
Meeting all of the criteria on the list, the StarMark Bob-A-Lot dog toy is my top choice for pretty much any pooch that’s on crate rest.
This toy holds and dispenses food or treats when your dog moves it in the right way. You can slide the little dispenser door open or closed to get the right-sized hole for the treats or food you’re using.
Even better, this toy comes in a small and a large size, so you’ll be able to find a good fit no matter what type of dog you have.
Thanks to a weighted bottom, this toy won’t fall over. However, your dog will have to tip it to get the treats to dispense. The toy will simply roll back upright afterward, and your dog will have to paw it back over at the right angle to get another treat.
One great feature of this toy is its chamber size. You can fit an entire meal of dog kibble in this dispenser, ensuring that feeding time offers your dog plenty of entertainment that lasts for quite a while.
Because this is a treat-based reward-issuing toy, your dog will seldom tire of it. So long as there are treats or food inside, your dog will keep playing with this toy until they’re all eaten.
Thankfully, this is the sort of toy you want your dog to play with that long.
Because your dog will have to learn how the toy works and then repeat the process for getting a treat while the toy is continuously moving, it will keep them mentally stimulated for long periods.
This helps to prevent boredom and behavioral problems that can easily occur when your dog is restricted to crate rest.
I’m clearly not the only one who thinks this toy is a winner though. It’s got more than 14,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, which you can check out along with today’s price by clicking here.
What I love about it: Tons of repeat value, keeps a dog entertained for hours, and holds an entire meal!
What I wish it had: There’s nothing I’d want to change on this toy, and based on the reviews I’ve read, the dogs that use it don’t want to change anything either!
Best Budget Toy: Hartz Chew’n Clean Dental Duo
- A chew toy and treat all in one! Satisfy your dog's natural urge to chew while promoting the dental...
- Includes a large version of our signature Dental Duo for medium dogs 50-75 pounds
If your dog is going to be stuck on crate rest for a while, then you’ll probably need to stock up on several toys to get them through. That can get pretty expensive though, which is why I love budget-priced options like the Hartz Chew’n Clean Dental Duo.
This is a durable yet affordably-priced chew toy and treat together in one. It’s a hard nylon chew toy infused with flavor to make it even more appealing for your dog.
After all, some dogs don’t naturally take to nylon bones, but almost all dogs are attracted to the flavor and scent of bacon.
Importantly, this chew toy comes in various sizes and designs. No matter what size your dog is, there’s sure to be an option to fit them.
One thing to keep in mind is that these toys are recommended for mild to moderate chewers, not aggressive ones. If your dog is a hardcore chewer, then you might want to find something a bit more durable.
What makes this particular chew toy so attractive are the low price and the flavor infusion. Dogs like this toy and will continue chewing it for hours because of the scent and flavor. Parents love this chew toy because it’s wallet-friendly.
And seriously, pet parents do love these bones. They’ve given it more than 5,900 five-star reviews so far, which you can check out along with today’s low price by following this link.
What I love about it: It’s got flavor that attracts dogs and a price that attracts parents.
What I wish it had: Improved durability wouldn’t be amiss.
Best Chew Toy: Benebone Real Bacon Durable Wishbone Dog Toy
- DURABLE, LONG-LASTING – Super chewer? Bring it on. Benebones are tougher than real bones and last for...
- REAL BACON! – We use only 100% REAL BACON for flavor. Trust us, dogs can tell the difference.
For one, this chewer is infused with real bacon flavor, so it’s incredibly enticing to any dog. But you’ve got options here as you can also choose from two other flavors, giving your dog a bit of variety.
That variety will definitely come in handy over the weeks of crate rest your pooch must endure.
You’ve also got five size options to pick from, ensuring you can find a good fit for any dog.
One of the best things about this chew toy is its durability. It’s made for aggressive chewers, not just those that chew moderately.
Even aggressive chewers will get many weeks of continued use out of this chew toy, making it a great investment for a crate resting dog that will have many hours to work on destroying it.
As it turns out, this toy is wildly popular with pet parents, having amassed an impressive 35,000 five-star reviews so far.
Click here to read what those happy pet parents had to say and check out the other available flavors on Amazon.
What I love about it: Impressive durability and multiple flavors that entice dogs again and again.
What I wish it had: As far as chew toys go, this one excels in pretty much every way.
Best Reward-Based Toy: KONG Classic Dog Toy
- Instinctual Needs: The KONG Classic red rubber toy helps satisfy dogs' instinctual needs while providing...
- Fetch Toy: The KONG Classic's unpredictable bounce makes for exciting games of fetch and other...
Dogs love to chew. Most dogs will chew on the KONG Classic without the need for additional treats, but they might not continue to do so for hours and hours or for multiple days or weeks, which is necessary for a dog on crate rest.
Luckily, the KONG Classic is hollow, which means you can fill it with something to spark your pooch’s interest and get them digging.
What’s great about a reward-based toy like this as opposed to a puzzle toy or treat-dispensing toy is the way your dog will have to work at the KONG Classic to get anything out of it.
Instead of figuring out the mechanism that allows treats to dispense, your dog will simply have to work the toy with their tongue and teeth.
For a dog stuck in a crate, the physical exertion of digging peanut butter or cheese out of a KONG toy can be much-needed exercise that won’t be accompanied by any potential chance of injury.
As everyone knows, KONG toys are all about durability, so even if your dog is an aggressive chewer, this toy should last.
Plus, you can get it in four different sizes, making it easy to find an appropriately sized KONG Classic for just about any dog.
39,000 five-star reviews can’t be wrong, can they?
You can find out by following this link to read those reviews and see how much the KONG Classic is currently selling for on Amazon.
What I love about it: It’s durable, simple, and will keep your dog entertained for hours if you fill it with a treat.
What I wish it had: You can only use things like peanut butter or KONG brand squeeze treats in this toy because hard kibble will fall out. It would be nice to have other options.
Best Puzzle Toy: Outward Hound Interactive Puzzle Game Dog Toy
- BOREDOM BUSTER INTERACTIVE DOG TOY: As one of our most popular intermediate level 2 designs, the Dog...
- FLIP, LIFT, & SLIDE TO HIDE TREATS: The Nina Ottosson Dog Brick comes with 3 types of treat hiding...
Puzzle toys are great for dogs stuck on crate rest, but some of them can get a little too active.
This puzzle toy from Outward Hound is a great fit for dogs that can’t be too active. It’s also the right size to be used by almost any dog, from small breeds like Boston Terriers to much larger dogs like Pitbulls and even Rottweilers.
You’ll hide the treats or kibble pieces in the sliding compartments before offering the toy to your dog. Then, they will slide the compartments open, puzzling their way to the very bottom level where the last treats are hidden.
On average, it will take a dog about 10-15 minutes to complete this puzzle. While that’s certainly not going to take up much of the day, you can reuse this toy over and over without your dog tiring of it.
Another option would be to put a stickier treat in the bottom like peanut butter that will take your dog a little longer to entirely eliminate.
This is a level two puzzle, so there’s an easier puzzle available, as well as two harder options for highly intelligent dogs. You can also move up in levels as your dog understands the puzzle, allowing you to continue challenging them mentally.
If you’d like to check out the other three levels of puzzles available and the 34,000+ five-star reviews on Amazon, click here.
What I love about it: It’s challenging but not overly so. Will continue to appeal to your dog no matter how many times they complete it.
What I wish it had: I wish it could entertain dogs for longer stretches without being refilled.
You probably already have a few toys around the house that your dog can use while they’re relegated to crate rest.
However, you have to be careful because not all toys are a good fit for a crate resting dog. Toys that require a lot of movement or get your dog excited can cause injury and prolong your dog’s stint in crate rest.
Any of the toys on this list will be a great fit for a crate resting pooch. Just make sure you pick the right size for your dog!