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Planning a road trip with your dog?
Your dog’s excitement about going for a car ride will wear off quickly and you should be prepared to keep your dog entertained on your long road trip.
There are obviously a ton of different types of dog toys to chose from when getting your dog ready for the trip and choosing the right toy to occupy your dog during the journey could mean the difference between hours of peace on the road and a squeaking, annoying, dangerous nightmare.
What are the best dog toys for road trips?
Get a few small toys that encourage quiet play for a long time that you can cycle through, like Kongs. Consider your dog’s size, where they will be in the car, and the length of your trip, and avoid toys that are very active or squeak.
A lot of factors will determine what the “Best” dog toy is for your road trip. I’ve outlined some helpful tips on what to look for and what to avoid when you are picking out dog toys for your road trip at the pet store to make sure you get just the right one for your pup.
I’ve also made 10 specific dog toy recommendations for your dog’s road trip that you may not have considered. You can buy all of these at the click of a button so you can get back to planning your trip!
If you want to skip the background information, you can see which toys made the list here:
- Best for Chewing: Splinter-Free Wood Chew Toys
- Chew Toy Alternative: MewaJump Cactus Chew Toy
- Best Ultrasonic Squeaker Plush Toy: Hear Doggy Purple Elephant
- Best Squeaker-Free and Stuffing-Fresh Plush Toy: 21 Inch Long Dog Plush Toy
- Best Teaser Wand: POPETPOP Extendable Teaser Wand
- Best Food Puzzle: Dr. Catch Dog Food Puzzle
- Best Snuffle Mat: AWOOF Snuffle Mat for Dogs
- Toughest Toy: Classic KONG Toy
- Classic Kong Alternative: Almost Indestructible Natural Rubber Chew Balls
- Most Versatile: West Paw Zogoflex Zisc Dog Frisbee
The Dos and Don’ts of Dog Toys For Road Trips
DO make sure that you buy a variety of toys so that you can cycle through them. Your dog will likely get bored of even their favorite toy after a couple of hours, so pick up a few different types of new toys that will help keep your dog entertained for a long time.
DON’T get anything that squeaks or makes a lot of noise. The repetitive squeaking or honking will get really annoying really quickly while you’re on the highways. You can’t afford any distractions like that when you’re on a road trip so stick to quiet toys.
DO consider where your dog will be in the car. If they’re going to be in the crate in the backseat, you’ll need to opt for smaller toys. Or if they are going to be safely buckled into the back seat, you have a lot more latitude to pick a wider variety of larger toys for your dog.
DON’T let your dog have free roam over the back seat. For their safety, dogs should be buckled in or secure in a cage, especially for a long road trip where they are likely to get bored and try to crawl up into your lap. A loose dog, even a normally well-behaved one, can quickly become a hazard while on a road trip. If you want to keep things budget-friendly, consider skipping the crate and picking up a canine seatbelt like this one on Amazon.
And check out this brief video on how to keep your dog safe in the car.dog
DO bring toys that can occupy your dog for longer periods. Food toys you can stuff with treats that your dog will have to lick and chew at to dislodge are a better option than, say, a simple, noninteractive plastic toy. But keeping lots of options in your toy box is best.
DON’T forget that you won’t be inside your car 100% of the time during your road trip. You’re going to need to stop to let your dog out to go pee at least 3 times a day during your trip. This is a great opportunity to let your dog burn through some pent-up energy, so pick up toys that your dog can play with outside the car when you stop along the way.
DO get new toys for your dog, not just pick a few from your current dog toy collection. Road trips are a big deal for dogs and their normal toys may not be enough to distract them. Getting something new will help get your dog excited about the toy and settle in for the trip.
DON’T get anything small or round that can easily get lost under a seat and encourage your dog to start nosing around where they shouldn’t be.
DO give your dog chewy, long-lasting treats. Playing with toys is great but having a snack to gnaw at is a great way for your dog to pass the time too. Just make sure you get something that will last for a long time and avoid rawhides.
DON’T use peanut butter. That stuff never comes out of your car’s upholstery.
Top 10 Dog Toys For Road Trips
Now that we know what we’re looking for let’s dive into our favorite toys!
Best for Chewing: Splinter-Free Wood Chew Toys
- 22,000+ five star reviews from happy pup parents
- 4 sizes and half a dozen shapes so you can find the perfect style for your dog
- Won't splinter like traditional wood
22,000 5-star customer ratings on Amazon is a great indicator that your dog will love this alternative-wood chew toy from Pestages Dog Chew Toys.
This chew toy for your dog is made out of alternative wood, a product made of real natural wood fibers and synthetic materials that mimic the texture and taste of real wood.
Chewing on real wood sticks is dangerous for dogs, so this is a fantastic product to give your dog a safe, wood-like toy to play with.
It also comes in lots of different sizes, shapes, flavors, and crew levels, ensuring that you will find just the right “stick” for your dog.
And if you’re camping, they add a rustic, natural touch to your campsite and can help distract your dog from the real wood that they should avoid. More importantly, these faux wood toys will take your dog a long time to chew through. That means more peace and quiet and a happier dog!
You can read all the reviews and check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Chew Toy Alternative: MewaJump Cactus Chew Toy
- Milk flavor will immediately interest many dogs
- Unique shape is fun to chew
- Texture can help keep teeth clean
No, it’s not a real cactus!
Instead, it’s a tooth cleaning, cactus-shaped chew toy that makes a great option for any active chewer.
It’s a clean toy that doesn’t carry any risk of breaking or falling apart. You can easily leave your dog with this toy knowing that they won’t get up to any mischief, unlike maybe the snuffle mat.
You probably already have rubber toys like this for your dog, but since you should consider picking up something new and interesting to keep your dog engaged on the road.
What makes this toy really interesting is that its milk flavor. That’s sure to get your dog’s attention!
You can learn more about this cute cactus toy and check out today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Ultrasonic Squeaker Plush Toy: Hear Doggy Purple Elephant
- Ultrasonic squeaker can be heard by dogs but not humans
- Extra tough design to keep up with active chewers
- Perfect for cars since only your dog can hear the sound
Wait a second…what’s a squeaker toy doing on this list?
We specifically said that squeaker toys are a bad idea for road trips and a sure fire way to lose your mind.
Well, that’s still true. However, this isn’t your standard squeaker toy. Instead, it’s an ultrasonic squeaker toy. Ultrasonic may actually sound worse at first but realize that humans can’t hear ultrasonic frequencies as dogs can.
That makes this the perfect squeaker toy for the cat since dogs can get the constant satisfaction of squeaking away without it bothering you for a second. This squeaker toy is also heavily reinforced at both the seams and the most popular chew spots to make sure this toy lasts as long as possible.
Of course, no chew toy is indestructible but you should still be able to get plenty of mileage out of this silly purple elephant. You can learn more about the ultrasonic squeaker and check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Squeaker-Free and Stuffing-Fresh Plush Toy: 21 Inch Long Plush Toy
- No stuffing means no mess in the car
- Squeaker-free for a quiet ride
- Comes in a pack of two
Picking up a couple of smaller, stuffing and squeaking free toys for your dog is a great way to cycle new toys out while you’re on your road trip.
This two-pack comes with any number of cute critter combinations including frogs, monkies, rabbits or ducks. Your dog will get a kick out of chewing them and lightly tossing them around in your backseat or in their crate.
They are not as tough as our previous entry on this list, but the fact that they don’t have any stuffing or a squeaker inside means that, even if they do start to tear them up, you won’t end up with a big mess or dog who has eaten a squeaker or too much stuffing.
These are an affordable and great option to add some variety to your dog’s road trip toy box.
You can see all the available critter combinations along with today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
- Great for quickly burning off extra energy
- Comes with two rope toy attachments so it should last a while
- Easy to store in the car
As I said, you won’t be in your car 100% of the time during the road trip. This extendable teaser wand is a fantastic toy for burning off excess energy while you’re making a pit stop.
And the dogs are bound to have some pent-up energy after hours on the road. This toy is a very versatile option to get your dog some exercise in a short amount of time and in a small space.
When you stop for gas or go to a park to let your dog relieve themselves, you can play a quick game of tug-of-war or just flirt with your dog, getting them to jump and run around even at the end of a leash, chasing after the stuffed toy at the end of the rope.
The stick is tough but it is also telescoping, so it will fold down and take up less space in your already packed car than other teaser wands that are just long sticks.
You can read more reviews and check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Food Puzzle: Dr. Catch Dog Food Puzzle
- Keeps your dog mentally stimulated even in a small space
- No small parts to lose in care
- Doesn't take up much space
If your dog is very smart and food motivated, dog puzzle toys like this one are a great way to occupy your dog for a long time on a road trip. Most dogs love treats enough to make any food puzzle worth at least a little effort.
This one is small and doesn’t have any parts that can come off and get lost in your car. You can easily set it on the seat next to them or in their crate and fill it with their favorite treats or a regular serving of their food.
They will have to sniff, nose, and scratch to find their snacks. There are a lot of toys like this, but this is the best one for road trips.
Keep in mind that not all dogs can engage with toys like this. The last thing you want is your dog to get frustrated while you are unable to interact with them.
This is probably better for small dogs especially, since you don’t have to worry about them picking up the whole toy and shaking it around to get the snacks out.
You can read more reviews and see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Snuffle Mat: AWOOF Snuffle Mat for Dogs
- ★ Dog Training Toys: It is a unique dog training mat that allows your dog to find snacks or small toys...
- ★ Non-slip & Large & Portable: The bottom is a non-slip cloth that effectively holds the mat and...
“What’s a snuffle mat?” you’re probably wondering; I did when I first came upon these funny but ingenious interactive dog treat dispenser toy thing that looks like an undressed salad.
This is similar to the dog puzzle I mentioned earlier, but it is more straightforward and is a great option for a dog who is unfamiliar with puzzles but is still food motivated enough to try something new. It’s also one of our favorite options for dogs that like to dig since it gets pups oriented towards the ground.
The idea is that you will sprinkle some dry food into the pile of tough, fabric leaves and your dog will have to “snuffle” around in them to find their snacks.
Kind of like the alternative wood treat, this engages with your dog because it is a very natural behavior for them to do, so that lends itself well to playtime.
Your dog will have fun figuring out where the food is and responding to the funny sensation that is sticking their face, nose, and tongue all around in the tickly fibers.
You can learn more and check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Toughest Toy: Classic KONG Toy
- Medium Dogs (Up to 35 lbs): The KONG Classic red rubber toy is 2.25" by 3.5"; it helps satisfy dogs'...
- Fetch and Chew Toy: The KONG Classic's unpredictable bounce makes for exciting games of fetch and other...
My dog and I love the time that he spends chewing on his classic Kong chew toy .
It’s super tough and most dogs won’t ever be able to put a dent in it. Its unique shape encourages dogs to lick and chomp at it rather than toss it around, so it’s a low-profile toy that will work great in your back seat.
You can buy treats that are premade and shaped to easily stuff inside them, but I’ve found that my dog can crunch these up pretty quickly.
Since you want to keep your dog occupied for a long time, try stuffing the Kong toy with some scrambled or hard-boiled eggs mixed with your dog’s usual treats or food and stick it in the freezer the night before your trip.
The mixture inside should freeze solid and last a long time while your dog licks at the tasty and not-too-smelly egg mixture on the inside. And you won’t have to worry about clean up because your dog will definitely get any little pieces that fall out.
You can read more reviews, check all the sizing options and see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Classic Kong Alternative: Almost Indestructible Natural Rubber Chew Balls
Unique shape and texture to keep dogs interested
Comes in a pack of two
Easy on the budget
While the classic Kong is my go-to, I do also have a couple other of these interestingly shaped food distributing toys that I cycle through with my dog.
Having a variety of textures for your dog to gnaw on is a great way to keep them occupied and engaged while you’re driving.
You can split your dog’s daily allotment of food up between these toys before you leave for your trip. If your dog starts getting bored with a toy, you can toss a pre-stuffed food distributing toy to them to re-entertain them while also slowly giving them their food for the day.
An eating dog is a happy dog, so I highly recommend getting a few different food distributing toys for your dog’s road trip.
Learn more about this toy and see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Most Versatile: West Paw Zogoflex Zisc Dog Frisbee
Doubles as a frisbee and dog bowl which is great when space limited on the road
Easy to see colors means it won't get lost
Dog safe plastic
I really like this dog-safe frisbee that doubles as a food or water bowl.
Frisbees that people play with are typically made of hard plastic that can chip a dog’s teeth if they bite them incorrectly, which is why you should always opt for frisbees that were made specifically for dogs.
This one is made of a soft rubber that can still really fly through the air. Once you get to your destination, your dog is going to want to have some time running, so you should plan on getting them out to a park or in a fenced-in area and tossing a frisbee for them.
What makes this one great though is that when you turn it over, the walls are straight and high enough to fill with water or scatter some food in it. Having products like this that can do double-duty saves valuable space in your car while you’re on your road trip.
It’s also super handy to have a small, light, and grabbable water bowl you can throw in your bag if you take your dog out on a walk during your trip.
You learn more and check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Dog Toys For Road Trips
Not every toy on this list is going to be perfect for every dog, but I have tried hard to find a wide variety of toys for both inside and outside of the car while your dog is on a road trip with you.
The main things to keep in mind are that you need to make sure your dog does not distract you while you are driving. That means no squeakers, nothing too big, nothing too small, or anything that requires a lot of hands-on engagement from you.
Instead, you should look for toys that can occupy your dog’s attention for a long period of time. Things like food distributing toys and puzzles that get your dog thinking and working out a problem are great options.
But you should not just get one single new item for your dog for your road trip. Get a few smaller, cheaper toys that you can cycle out so that your dog constantly has new stimuli while on the road trip.
If you keep these things in mind, you can easily assemble just the right toy box for your dog’s road trip that will keep them safe while you guys get to your destination.
And remember, when it comes to road trips, it’s not about the destination or the journey for that matter. What matters is the company you have along the way. So have a great trip and stay safe with your pup.