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Best Toys For Shih Tzus of All Ages: Puzzles & More

Last Updated: March 23, 2020 | 9 min read

Best Toys For Shih Tzu

Looking for the right toy for your Shih Tzu Puppy? We’ve put together a list of the best toys for your Shih Tzu starting as a puppy, all the way through adulthood. It can be hard to figure out which types of toys are best, but our guide aims to walk you through that with ease.

As you know, Shih Tzu’s are a toy breed, meaning that they are very small, so it’s important to find a toy that will not cause problems because of their size.  Buy a toy that’s too big and your pup will lose interest.  Buy one that’s too small and it could become a health hazard for your dog.

We’ve put together a comprehensive buyer’s guide, as well as put together our favorite toys to keep your pup entertained for hours.  Below you’ll see our 3 favorites at a glance, and if you need more info, carry on and see why we’ve selected our top picks.  Let’s jump in!

Our Favorite Toys For Shih Tzus:

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Buyer’s Guide

In our buyer’s guide, we cover all aspects of picking the right toy for your favorite Shih Tzu.  There’s a number of different things to consider, especially what stage of life your dog is in.  You likely won’t be getting your adult pup the same toy you get a 3-month-old puppy.

A puppy has different toy needs than a fully grown adult dog.  Puppies need toys specifically designed for them, which includes being smaller, and typically also being a firm rubber substance so it gives your teething puppy some relief.  Below we look at all the important decision points you should be reviewing before introducing your pup to their new toy.

Material Construction

The materials your toys are made of matters.  If you hand your puppy a toy made of rope, there’s a high likelihood they will tear through it in a day. What’s worse is that your pup will also probably swallow some of the bits of rope that have come off, making a gigantic disaster that will hopefully exit during your puppy’s next poo break.

Worst case, these rope strings may bind up and put you in a tough spot for an emergency room visit to your vet late at night.  This is why making sure the materials your toys are made of is extremely important.  As your dog ages, you’ll have far more flexibility in toy materials, as long as playtime is supervised.

Some of the better materials you can leverage for your puppy include specialized rubber toys for teeth and gums or puppy friendly Nylon bones.  As your dog gets older, other toys like ropes and non-toxic plush toys made of fabric are fine to use, as long as playtime is supervised so that they don’t accidentally ingest something that puts them in the ER.

Things to Avoid

There’s also some things you’ll want to keep an eye out for so that you can avoid costly vet bills.  Picking the wrong toy material can have longer-term health impacts on your pup.  Make sure you aren’t introducing your Shih Tzu to any toys that have BPA contained the plastics.  BPA is known to cause health problems and is not safe for dogs.

You’ll also want to avoid toys with smaller pieces that your dog may swallow, or toys that come apart easily when your dog plays with them.  Crazy things can happen, and it’s very likely your dog could swallow smaller pieces of a toy, especially if they are puppies.

Most Shih Tzus are not aggressive chewers due to their jaw alignment, so you won’t need to worry about buying toys that are for hardcore chewers.  Heavy chewers require some special attention because when they destroy something, they typically ingest it which ends up costing pet owners tons of money at the vet every year.

One last thing to avoid is giving your dog TOO MANY toys.  When that happens and your pooch wants to play, it’s likely they will head into toy overload and wont’ be able to concentrate on just one toy.  If you buy a batch or collection of toys, space out the timeline in which you introduce them to your Shih Tzu.

Types of Toys

In our guide, there’s 5 different types we cover that will make a good fit for your Shih Tzu.  Each of these toy groups serves a different purpose, so keep that in mind when making your selection.  Your adult dog will have different needs from a 6-month-old puppy.

There’s still plenty of older dogs that love a good chew toy, and there’s plenty of puppies that love to get their brain working with some fun stimulation type toys.  Let’s take a look at each type and walk through what we’d recommend for your Shih Tzu based on the age range of your dog.

Chew Toys: This is pretty self-explanatory.  These are the toys that your Shih Tzu is going to chew on all day until their jaws get tired.  You’ll typically want a firm rubber, or a firm nylon if your dog likes to abuse a good chew toy.  Make sure it’s durable but not too firm so their teeth don’t get damaged.

Interactive Toys: Interactive toys are fantastic for Shih Tzus because this breed is intelligent.  These toys are toys that make noises or create movement when your dog interacts with it.

Retrieval Toys: Shih Tzs’s aren’t known for going crazy while chasing a ball.  But some dogs do have a higher prey drive, even with this breed, and they end up loving a good chase.  Balls fall into this category, as do others like frisbees, that are utilized for throw & retrieve.

Brain Games: Brain games are essentially dog puzzles! These are toys that will require your puppy or adult dog to think, and usually all age ranges can have fun with these.  Basically the setup here is to make your dog work for the treat and solve a puzzle to get it.

Treat Containers: Instead of solving a puzzle for the food, the treat containers allow you to load up the interior of the toy while your pup gets after it and starts chewing away at it.  These are toys you can fill with your dog’s favorite treats, or human treats like peanut butter.

Types of Toys For Puppies

While adults have a broader range of toys that you can freely use with them, puppies require a little more thought.  We typically recommend that teething puppies have toys that are firm, yet have some give to them that help relieve teething symptoms.  Kongs are great for this, as are other firm rubber toys that allow your Shih Tzu to chew for extended periods of time.

Types of Toys For Adults

Once your Shih Tzu crosses into adulthood, it’s now time to start leveraging interactive toys, which include ropes and brain games.  Just remember that if you intend to introduce different tug-of-war type toys with your dog, that you only let the dog win the play session on your terms (if at all).  You need to demonstrate your pack leadership, and not encourage bad behavior which tug-o-war can often be.

Top Five Toys

Below you’ll find our five favorite toys, as well as the reasons why we really love them for the Shih Tzu breed.  Each of these are a little different than other toys you’ve seen on our other lists, simply because the Shih Tzu may have different attention needs than other breeds.

While there’s some crossover (a Kong can likely be used from 3 months on) there are some options below better suited for a puppy versus an adult.  Let’s jump in and look at our favorites in a little more detail.

Kong Extra Small Puppy Rubber Chew

KONG - Puppy Toy - Natural Teething Rubber -...
  • ASSORTED COLORS: This toy comes in either pink or blue.

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It’s practically impossible to go wrong with a Kong.  Because Shih Tzu’s aren’t known to be aggressive chewers, a puppy sized Kong is perfect to keep them busy for hours on end.  Kong does a good job of sizing their toys for all breeds, and the extra small teething chewer Kong makes a perfect companion for teething puppies as they grow and start to lose their teeth.

We love that the Kong’s puppy chew is customized specifically for puppy teeth, and allows room to stuff it full of tasty treats.  Peanut Butter is a favorite for most Kong users.  This is one of the few toys recommended by Vets and Trainers all over the world.  It’s also manufactured in the USA.

Kong Puppy Goodie Bone

N-Bone Puppy Teething Ring Chicken Flavor (1...
  • Made In The USA
  • Helps Relieve Teething Pain And Soreness
  • Edible And Digestible
  • Added Calcium For Healthy Teeth And Bones

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The Kong Puppy Goodie Bone gives your pup a little bit more interaction than just a classic Kong.  There’s a rope that it’s attached to that makes it fetchable, and interactive when you play with your pup.  You do need to monitor all play time when anything with a rope comes into play.  The bone attached to the rope does help clean teeth and gums.

We love that this toy comes in small and Extra Small, meaning it’s the perfect companion for a Shih Tzu puppy that’s still growing and hasn’t hit their maturity stages yet.  If your pup is just now starting to lose it’s teeth, this is a great option to help sooth some of that pain.

Nina Ottosson Dog Smart Puzzle Toy

Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Smart...
  • BEGINNER DOG PUZZLE: This level 1 interactive dog puzzle toy is...
  • MENTAL STIMULATION: Exercise your dog’s brain with 9 removable...
  • SLOW FEEDER: The Dog Smart toy is a great way to slow down meal...
  • EASY TO CLEAN: Made of tough plastic, this durable dog activity...

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The Nina Ottosson Dog Smart Beginner Puzzle toy is a great option for dogs that need a little more mental stimulation.  Shih Tzu’s are extremely smart dogs!  This means that puzzle toys like this are perfect for keeping them entertained.  If your dog is in puppy stages, it may be harder to get them to engage with this type of toy.

We love that this toy is a slow feeder, and it’s a level 1 toy so you can start your dog off slow.  It’s easy to clean and is made of a tougher plastic while remaining BPA free.  This toy also helps redirect destructive behaviors by keeping your dog occupied looking for food or treats on the inside of the puzzle.

Wobble Wag Giggle Ball Interactive Toy

Wobble Wag Giggle Ball, Interactive Dog Toy,...
  • FUN FOR ALL BIG OR SMALL Wobble Wag Giggle Ball is great for dogs...
  • WOBBLE WAG GIGGLE Ball With just the nudge of a nose, off the...
  • HAPPY, HEALTHY & FIT! By engaging our dog’s natural curiosity...
  • GREAT FOR INDOOR & OUTDOOR PLAY Whether your dog likes to play in...

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The Wobble Wag Giggle Ball is an interactive toy that will keep your dog guessing for hours! The Wag Giggle ball makes noise each time your pup interacts with it.  It will keep your dog a little more occupied by making noise and allowing your dog to chase after it as they nudge it with their noses or paws.

We love that this toy is great for both indoor and outdoor play.  Instead of a toy that’s typically best for indoor use, you have something that you can take with your Shih Tzu, anywhere you go.  This toy is great for dogs of all sizes, so this is one that you can test with your puppy at an early age through adulthood.  It just doesn’t have the same teething relief as the Kong brand toys have. It’s still hard to beat and is one of our favorite interactive toys.

West Paw Interactive Small Toy (Adults)

West Paw Zogoflex Qwizl Dog Puzzle Treat Toy...
  • INTERACTIVE CHEW TOYS FOR DOGS: If you have an aggressive chewer...
  • MENTALLY STIMULATING DOG TOYS: Prolong play with this mentally...
  • EASY TO GRASP DOG CHEW TOY: The curved shape of this dog toy...

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West Paw Interactive makes a number of smaller and firm rubber toys that are specifically manufactured to give you the option of hiding food on the inside.  These toys are extremely durable, and they float!  If your Shih Tzu puppy likes to chase toys into the pool, this might be a perfect fit because it’s unlikely to get lost based on the bright colors.

We love that this product is manufactured in the United States, and it’s also dishwasher safe.  Believe it or not, if your toy suffers some abuse at the hands of your pup, it’s actually recyclable!  You can toss it in the blue bin and feel good about saving the environment one more destroyed dog toy! While puppies can use this, the size makes it more suited for young adult dogs or those that are fully grown.

AMZ Pets Bundle (Adults)

AMZpets 10 Dog Toys for Small Dogs and...
  • A mix of 10 toys for your best friend: get 10 of the most popular...
  • Best for puppies, small and medium dog breeds: not recommended...
  • Happy dog: your dog deserves the best, and AMZpets never...
  • Great for your dog's teeth, and for puppy teething: the natural...

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The AMZ Pets Bundle is recommended for adult dogs only.  There’s plenty of rope to go around, and as a result, AMZ pets themselves actually recommends that this bundle of toys not be used with assertive chewers.  For heavy chewing, you need an entirely different set of toys.  Since most Shih Tzus aren’t destructive chewers, this toy batch can be perfect for someone wanting multiple toys but being on a budget.

We love that this product gives you multiple options at a reasonable cost.  There’s a great mix of toys from ropes, to balls, bones and squeaky toys.  There’s plenty of value with this toy package, and it’s not so expensive that you’d be breaking the bank if your dog burns through them in a couple days.

Final Thoughts

Picking the right toy for your Shih Tzu can be a challenging, but truly only because of their size.  Because they aren’t destructive like other breeds, you’ll likely be able to provide a couple toys that will keep this breed busy for very long periods of time.  They are nothing like mastiffs or pitbulls that destroy toys in under 30 mintues.

If you are looking for the best toy for your Shih Tzu, any of our picks here should suit your needs depending on the age of your dog. Overall, each of these toys has a different purpose but comes packed with value in small packages.  If you feel we’ve missed your favorite, please drop us a line in the comments!

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