The Best Toys for Blind Dogs (Review) in 2021
Whether your dog is blind from birth or they’re simply getting older and are starting to experience some visual impairments, you can help them thrive and be happy with toys specifically designed for blind dogs. Fun and engaging, these toys are great for a blind dog's mental and physical health and as such, are recommended to any pet struggling with a loss of vision, be they a puppy, an adult, or a senior.
To help you find the best toy for blind dogs for your pet, we tried and tested dozens of different products, detailing our favorites below. We also put together a buyer’s guide that’s packed with useful information on how to care for a visually impaired dog and make their life as enriching and fun as possible.
The Best Toys for Blind Dogs
Made from natural, durable and pet-safe latex
Foam technology on the inside makes it great for chewing
Squeaker inside the toy
Irresistible bacon scent makes it easy for blind dogs to locate
If you’re looking for a dog toy that will stimulate your pooch’s sense of touch, smell and hearing, we highly recommend Hartz’s DuraPlay Toy. Made from natural latex on the outside and durable foam on the inside, it will bounce and float, as well as withstand a lot of rough play. But that’s not all – the toy has a squeaker inside to stimulate the hearing of dogs who have poor eyesight. It also has an attractive bacon smell which most pups find irresistible and which makes it easy for them to track it down if they cannot see it.
Available in many different shapes and designs, including ball, bone, rocket, double ring and more, as well as three sizes, this is a perfect toy for dogs of all ages and breeds.
Made from durable and flexible pet-safe vinyl
Ball toy with six clutch pockets for easy carrying
Produces engaging sounds when shaken or rolled
Batteries not required
This is an interactive vinyl toy that focuses on movement and sound, so it’s an excellent option for blind dogs. Made from pet-safe materials (free from phthalates), it comes in a round ball-shaped design with six clutch pockets that make it easy for a dog that cannot see to pick it up.
The main feature of the toy is the noise that it can emit. There are several tubes that emit a variety of sounds depending on how the ball is thrown around. This is done entirely through the movement of air so no squeaker or batteries are required! The Wobble Wag Giggle is true to its name and can make giggling and burping noises that will keep your pooch amused for hours.
High-impact ABS construction and motion-activated design
Twenty sounds and phrases for maximum engagement
Automatically turns on when touched, turns off when left alone
Powered by replaceable batteries (included)
The Babble Ball is one of the most engaging balls for blind dogs we could find. Featuring high-impact ABS construction and motion-activated design, this little durable dog toy produces various sounds and wisecracks when touched. It’s so engaging, it will have your pooch thinking it’s alive!
The Babble toy has twenty sounds and phrases such as ‘come here puppy’ to give your dog plenty of stimulation. The power is provided by replaceable batteries so the ball turns on automatically when it is touched or moved. To conserve the batteries, it also turns off on its own when your dog stops playing with it. An all-around great toy for visually impaired pups!
Made from durable rubber, but gentle on the teeth
Whistles as it flies through the air
Great for chewers
Compatible with a ball launcher (not supplied)
Provide your dog with hours of fun with this durable ball toy from Chuckit! that is available in a variety of sizes and can be purchased as a pack of two. It is compatible with a ball launcher which is also available for purchase.
It has plenty of features that will appeal to dogs with sight issues including an attractive and inviting texture that is great for chewing. And don’t worry, this is not a flimsy toy – made from durable rubber, it will last for ages. Another thing we really like about this toy is the fact that it makes a whistling sound as it flies through the air thanks to the four sound holes. Best of all? No batteries are required.
Durable toy made from zogoflex
Stimulates senses of smell and taste
Recesses to hide snacks
Made from extremely durable zogoflex material, the West Paw Qwizl dog toy can withstand lots of biting and chewing. Featuring a recess in the middle where you can hide tasty treats that give off an alluring odor, this tough toy will occupy pup’s attention for hours on end. Try things like kibble, jerky strips or bully sticks which will last a lot longer when cleverly hidden within this toy. You can also use your own healthy snacks such as apple slices and carrot sticks.
This toy will stimulate blind dogs by appealing to their sense of smell and taste. It will also provide plenty of mental stimulation by challenging them to find the treat. As a nice bonus, the toy is dishwasher-safe so to keep it clean shouldn’t be a problem.
Furry toy that is easy to grab hold of
Voice is activated when the toy is played with
Powered by three 1.5 volt batteries
Available in many different shapes
And now, something a little bit different – a plush, furry dog toy with an interesting texture to attract ;pooches with sight issues. Soft and comforting, this is a great little toy your pooch will love to sleep next to as well as play with.
Powered by three 1.5 volt batteries, the Multipet toy emits a voice and repeats phrases to amuse your pooch when pressed in the right way. Thanks to its plush design, it is easy for dogs to grab hold of it and carry it around.
Ball toy made from natural rubber
Durable and long-lasting
Plastic interior makes a crunching noise when compressed
Holes to make it easier to grab
If your blind dog best reacts to sounds and noises during play, the JW Pet ball is definitely a an option to consider. Made from durable rubber, with no seams that could split or fray, this is one durable and safe dog toy that will stand up to hours of chewing.
But most interestingly, this ball toy features a plastic lining on the inside which emits a crunching noise when it is compressed to provide stimulation for blind dogs. There are several holes on the surface too which make the ball easy to grab hold of. Three sizes are available to suit all breeds of dog.
Textured rubber ball
Contains a bell and a squeaker for maximum engagement
Highly stimulating with a beef scent and flavor
Available in different sizes
A durable, textured TPR rubber interactive dog toy which will provide great exercise for the jaws and stimulate your pooch for hours. The surface has a series of raised bumps that they can explore with their mouth and tongue.
This is truly a sensory ball and it offers something for all the senses so dogs who cannot see will still have a lot of fun with it. The sound is provided by both a bell and a squeaker that are activated when the ball is squeezed or moved around. To make things even better, the ball has an inviting beef scent and taste!
High-impact ABS construction
Emits animal noises when played with
Noises last long enough for a blind dog to locate it
Powered by batteries (included)
There’s plenty to attract and entertain your pooch with these balls for blind dogs. They can provide hours of entertainment for visually impaired pooches because the main sense that they stimulate is the hearing. The Babble Ball enters a sleep mode when it is not touched but as soon as your pup nudges it, it wakes up and emits a series of animal noises. You and your pooch can expect everything from chirps to croaks and, of course, plenty of barking noises.
This toy is powered by replaceable batteries and has a durable construction to withstand the attention of even the most determined dog. Importantly, the noises last long enough for a blind dog to track it down when it rolls away.
Best Toys for Blind Dogs Buying Guide & FAQ
While we rely on our eyes more than any other sense, our canine companions are a little different - they rely mostly on their sense of smell. In fact, for most dogs, the loss of vision is not that big of a deal, especially if they're otherwise healthy. However, being blind is not easy no matter how smart or healthy your dog is, so it's important to do everything you can to help them feel safe and content in their everyday life. Thankfully, our faithful companions are adaptable creatures, and visual impairment or blindness will not prevent them from having a wonderful life if we ensure they have everything they need. And one thing that all dogs need on a daily basis (aside from healthy food and clean water, of course)? Dog toys.
Fun and engaging, toys designed for blind dogs will provide your pooch with plenty of mental stimulation and keep them fit and trim, as well as feeling confident. Not sure which toy is best for your pup? Any model from our top list is bound to be a hit, but if you still want some more info on how to choose the best dog toy for blind dogs, keep on reading!
What to Look for in Toys for Your Blind Dog
When a previously sighted dog becomes blind, they have to make major adjustments to the way that they gain information about the world and how they interact with it. The visual information about their home and the people in it are gone and this can leave them both fearful and confused. There is often a period of transition during which your pooch can appear depressed. They are actually doing a lot at this time! They are learning to use all their other senses to create a map in their minds about their environment as their sense of smell, touch, taste, and hearing become more important to them. The best toys for blind dogs help with this transition and can then continue to keep your blind dog amused. Of course, there are hundreds of different dog toys to choose from but here are some features that can be especially helpful for blind dogs, so consider them during your selection process:
- Texture: If a toy feels good in a dog’s mouth, they will be happy to play with it for hours. Chew toys that have an interesting texture and/or shape are therefore best so try to choose something with bumps or grooves. Toys that have several pockets are easier for your dog to get their mouth around and pick up.
- Taste: All dogs are guided by their sense of taste but it is even more important for blind dogs. Many toys are manufactured with an attractive taste such as beef, chicken or bacon. This will keep your dog engaged with the toy for a longer period of time.
- Odor: The biggest barrier that blind dogs face when playing with a toy is finding that toy in the first place because they cannot see it. It can also roll away from them or they can toss it in the air and then struggle to find it again. Scented toys that have a strong odor can be very helpful because dogs have a keen sense of smell and can locate them easily. You can play a game of ‘find the scent’ by hiding the toy behind your back or close by for your pooch to sniff out.
- Sound: Sound is another good way of ensuring that your dog can find the toy but it also keeps them engaged when they are playing. Interactive toys that reward your dog with a human voice or an animal noise are very popular. Some are powered by replaceable batteries but if you are not keen on this there are several that require no batteries at all. They rely on air traveling through some specially designed holes to make an amusing noise that dogs love. For some dogs, it helps if the noises continue for a while after the toy becomes still because it helps with locating the toy.
- Durability: No-one wants a toy that lasts for five minutes and then falls apart. This is not only annoying but it is also dangerous for a blind dog as they could choke or injure themselves on the small fragments. Some breeds have stronger jaws and teeth than others so it is advisable to read the reviews and go for the heavy-duty dog toys.
- Hidden compartments: Dog puzzle toys that have recesses where you can hide a favorite treat always go down well. They're also a great option for overweight dogs who love their treats as when placed in a toy, treats are bound to last longer. They're also a fantastic option for dogs who need to gain weight; fun and engaging, treat-dispensing toys will easily add some extra calories in your dog's diet without them even noticing it.
Benefits of Using Toys for Blind Dogs
Your pooch needs your support and encouragement to get used to their new life. Toys for blind dogs can play an important role in training them on how to make sense of the world without their sight. Here are some of the main benefits of using toys for blind dogs.
- Entertainment: Boredom can be a real problem for blind dogs who cannot run around the house or a yard in the way that sighted dogs can. Playtime with interactive dog toys will provide the mental stimulation that they need.
- Confidence: It is very common for a blind dog to lose confidence. It will take time for them to accept that the world can still be both safe and fun. For pups that are born blind, toys can help them to grow in confidence alongside their sighted siblings.
- Impulse control: Pups that have no sight still require training and need to learn to adapt their behavior to meet acceptable norms. Structured playtime with appropriate toys is a great way of doing this. For instance, treat-dispensing toys can be used as a reward for good behavior, while chew toys can help curb destructive chewing behavior.
- Bonding: Your blind dog will greatly value their relationship with you and playing with appropriate toys together will go a long way towards bonding. Games that you can work on together such as tug of war and scented fetch are especially useful.
- Bite inhibition training: There are risks involved in playing games with a blind dog because they cannot see your hands. Playing together helps your pooch to learn to be careful about where they are biting and this keeps you and them safe and happy.
Bear in mind that blind dogs can take longer than sighted dogs to get used to playing games. They can be hesitant and you may need to spend some time teaching them how to play. Choosing appropriate toys is vitally important.
Other Fun Activities For a Sightless Dog
At first, the world can seem very overwhelming to a blind dog. Your role is to provide reassurance and comfort and to make sure that they feel loved and safe. You also need to take steps to help your pooch regain their confidence and to feel empowered. This will involve teaching them new skills, and fun activities can be very useful for this. Here are a few ideas.
- Limit the environment that your dog has access to. You can use pens or gates to keep your dog in a small area that is safe and that they can soon get to know. Provide plenty of toys and entertainment to stop them from getting bored. Gradually increase this area as their confidence grows and continue to use enrichment activities that your pooch can seek out and play with.
- Push and pull games. Choose a longer, plush toy that has room for your hand and your dog’s mouth. Move it around at their level and drag it across their paws. Encourage them to explore toys with their mouths by pushing and pulling them.
- Tug of war. This is a stimulating and fun game for blind dogs. Just make sure that your hand is kept away from their mouth because they cannot see it and therefore cannot avoid it. Consider using hardy gloves in the beginning.
- Short and slow walks. There is no reason for a blind dog to not enjoy a walk. They will appreciate the sounds, smells, and tastes, and feel of the wind on their fur. Just keep the walks slow and short and repeat the same routes so they become familiar. Some owners find that a harness is better than a collar and leash. Head over to our review of dog harnesses for more options.
- Massage and touch. Lots of cuddles and petting are very comforting for blind dogs. It lets them know that you are still there for them. If they seem to panic when they don’t know where you are, you could try continually talking to them as you move around the house.
- Hide and seek. As you are talking to your dog, try hiding a short distance away and allow them to find you. Give them a lot of praise when they do. You have to do this at their pace and make sure that there are no hazards that could hurt them.
- Fetch with scents. Clearly, the traditional game of fetch is not appropriate but you can adapt the game so that your dog retrieves a scented object. Almost any object can be made to smell delicious by adding a treat that gives off a strong odor.
- Treadmill. This is a fun and safe way for your pooch to get some exercise with no danger of bumping into anything and hurting themselves. There are special canine treadmills available but you can also train your dog to use a regular, human treadmill. Just be sure that you start off very slowly and build up gradually.
Our Top Pick
While all dog toys that ended up on our top list are great choices, our top pick has to be Hartz DuraPlay Ball as it stimulates hearing, smell and touch. It is made from a safe natural latex that dogs love to chew and is available in several sizes. It also comes with a squeaker that will stimulate your dog’s hearing and it has an irresistible smell of bacon so that it can be located easily by dogs that cannot see. The toy is very durable and capable of standing up to a lot of chewing, so we highly recommend it!
Q: How Can I Encourage My Blind Dog to Play with Toys?
Dogs that become blind gradually have time to make the adjustment but dogs that lose their sight overnight have a bigger challenge. You will need to step in and teach them how to play with the toys. You can start by moving the toy around at your dog’s level and perhaps brushing it across their paws. Limit playtime to an enclosed, safe area using barriers or a pen. This will make sure that your dog can pursue and seek out the toy using their other senses without danger of hurting themselves. Be patient and let your dog adjust gradually.
Q: What kind of toys are safe for my blind dog?
Stimulating dog toys for blind dogs need to be safe for them to play with, plus the environment in which they are playing needs to be free from hazards and preferably enclosed. It is important that the toy is durable and capable of standing up to a lot of chewing. If it contains a bell, squeaker or batteries, these must be hidden deep within the toy in a chew-proof compartment so that they cannot escape and present a choking hazard. Toys that fray or fall apart easily are also not safe.
You need to take care when choosing the size of the toy for your breed. If your dog could get the whole toy in their mouth, then it is not safe from them.
Q: How can I play with a blind dog?
Games with a blind dog can be a lot of fun. Start off in an enclosed space that your pooch can become familiar with and that is safe. Introduce scented toys or those that make noise or have an interesting texture. Introduce these gradually to your pooch by holding them close. Then slowly move them away and encourage your dog to interact with them or to go hunting for them. Treat-dispensing toys are also a great way to get started because they will attract your dog’s attention with ease.
- Caring for a blind pet - The Humane Society of The United States