10 of the Best Outdoor Dog Toys for Summer, According to Experts

Have you been waiting all winter long to get outdoors, feel the sun on your face, and ramble in nature? Someone else, a.k.a. your four-legged bestie, has been yearning to get outside and play, too.

For dogs, running around in a yard or park is good for more than just exercise. “With all the sights, sounds, and especially smells, playing outside provides a large amount of mental stimulation as well,” Dr. Katy Nelson, senior veterinarian at Chewy, tells Mental Floss. “It also allows a certain amount of freedom for the pet, as long as it’s in a safe environment.”

According to Dr. Nelson, how much of a workout your pooch needs will vary based on their age, size, breed, fitness level, and medical conditions. When it comes to choosing a place on land to play with your furry companion, Dr. Nelson says that a fenced-in area is always best. If that’s not an option, choosing an open space away from major roads or other distractions is ideal.

But most of all, it’s important to give them plenty of fun things to toss around and chew on while they’re playing. “There are lots of great outdoor toys,” JoAnn Goldsmith, owner of Paws Pet Boutique in Amesbury, Massachusetts, says. She encourages dog parents to look for high-quality items that are durable and eco-friendly.

Below are 10 entertaining toys for your dog to enjoy outdoors. Fetch these and have a ball!

Frisco Ball Launcher played with by dog and owner.

Frisco Ball Launcher / Frisco/Chewy

Tossing a toy around is a great way to get your dog to run and expend energy. Frisco’s ball launcher set offers hours of activity for your pet while keeping your arms from getting tired in the process. It features a long, curved handle and is terrific for energetic pups that dream of playing fetch 24/7. Grant their wishes and save yourself from dealing with drool-drenched balls. 

Buy it: Chewy

West Paw Seaflex Drifty Dog Toy

West Paw Seaflex Drifty Toy / West Paw/Amazon

Goldsmith is a big fan of West Paws, a brand that’s partnered with Oceanworks to create toys from recycled, ocean-bound plastic materials. “Who doesn’t love to support companies that are helping the environment?” asked Goldsmith. Your pup will delight in this drifty stick that’s fun to fetch and chew, and perfect for poolside, backyard, or park play.

Buy it: Amazon

Chuckit! Flying Squirrel Spinning Toy

Chuckit! Flying Squirrel Spinning Toy / Chuckit!/Amazon

According to experts, your pet’s size should be a factor when you’re choosing toys. “If a toy is too large, [small dogs] won’t be able to play appropriately,” Dr. Nelson says. Size matters for large breeds, too, as “smaller toys can be easily swallowed.” Dr. Nelson recommends Chuckit! brand toys like this one, especially for swimming and fetching, because these durable toys are large enough that they can’t be swallowed. This flying squirrel spinning toy is rugged but lightweight, making it an ideal choice for retrieving.

Buy it: Amazon

Frisco Outdoor Dog Swimming Pool

Frisco Outdoor Dog Swimming Pool / Frisco/Chewy

Pools are one of the best ways to keep canines cool while exercising during the warmer months of the year. A pop-up pool like this one is a refreshing option if you don’t live near a beach or lake (or have your own pool). Setup is simple: Just unfold, fill with water, and let the splashing begin. While a pool like this is fine for dogs to romp around in as is, for those that are new to swimming in general, Dr. Nelson recommends putting them in lifejackets (particularly if you plan on heading to the beach or any large body of water), as they help pets stay safe while they get more comfortable paddling around.

Buy it: Chewy

Outward Hound Floatiez Octopus Squeaky Toy

Outward Hound Floatiez Octopus Squeaky Toy / Outward Hound/Amazon

Looking for water-friendly accessories for your puppy to dive into the summer with? Consider softer toys for developing teeth and stimulating ones that make lots of noise to keep them interested. Your puppy will adore the Outward Hound Floatiez starfish, which is buoyed by a built-in tennis ball and has plenty of arms to nibble whether they’re splashing around in the pool or running around on land.

Buy it: Amazon

Nerf Rubber Tire Atomic Flyer

Nerf Rubber Tire Atomic Flyer / Nerf/Amazon

Think of the Instagram shots you’ll capture as your dog chases (and hopefully catches) this bright blue flyer from Nerf. Whether you teach your dog the art of frisbee or elevate their tricks with the flyer, you both will have a blast tossing this lightweight and durable disc.

Buy it: Amazon

Frisco Colorful Ball Knot Rope Toy

Frisco Colorful Ball Knot Rope Toy / Frisco/Chewy

In addition to thinking about your dog’s size when choosing a toy, Dr. Nelson says it’s also important to consider any physical limitations they might have. “For example, for small dogs with luxating patellas, fetch games may not be the best choice, but tug-of-war or swimming might be great.” This bright rope toy is good for tinier breeds and can be used to play tug-of-war. It has a thick, chunky knot in the middle with six individual ropes attached to it, so they’ll be able to gnaw away at it safely.

Buy it: Chewy

Hartz Dura Play Boomerang held by bulldog.

Hartz Dura Play Boomerang / Hartz/Amazon

This boomerang toy is great for canines of all ages. Along with its durable and soft natural latex texture, it gives off a faint bacon scent that some dogs might find irresistible. It also has ridges to massage gums as well as an internal squeaker, and it even floats when tossed in the pool.

Buy it: Chewy

KIPRITII Puppy Toys, Pack of 18

KIPRITII Puppy Toys, Pack of 18 / KIPRITII/Amazon

Can’t decide what to get for your new puppy for outdoor play? This 18-pack will keep them busy while they roam around, whether they’re being trained, burning off energy, or relaxing under some shade. The power pack includes rope toys, rubber balls, and lots of chew toys. 

Buy it: Amazon

Chuckit! Kick Fetch Ball Toy with dog.

Chuckit! Kick Fetch Ball Toy / Chuckit!/Chewy

For older pooches, soft toys are ideal because they’re gentler on aging teeth and less likely to cause damage or irritate existing dental issues. Consider grabbing one like this ball from Chuckit! that will keep them stimulated mentally, too. It’s simple to pick up and will be easy on your senior dog’s mouth. The ball also comes in smaller sizes, and it’s easy to spot, thanks to its bright colors.

Buy it: Chewy

This story has been updated to reflect current pricing.

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