4 of the Best Dog Crate Toys & Kong Alternatives

When first getting a dog or new puppy, you’ll need lots of supplies including food, dog treats, chew toys, squeaky toys, tennis balls, a dog bed, and a crate. Crate training is essential in these first few weeks with your new furry friend. But what are the best dog crate toys?

You’re going to need crate toys that will keep your dog happy and that you can trust won’t be a choking hazard for your pooch.

By carefully selecting the best crate toys, pet parents can rest easy knowing their pup can enjoy crate time with safe dog toys that give them the mental stimulation they need.

Why crate train?

puppy in a crate

In addition to being a useful tool for dog training and potty training, a puppy’s crate is their little safe haven.

It’s a place of their own where they can rest, feel safe, and can rely on for alone time when things get overwhelming. As such, dog owners should never use the crate as a means of punishment.

With the right types of toys and crate bedding, your dog’s kennel will become one of their new favorite hangouts.

Best Dog Toys for Your Dog’s Crate

best dog crate toys and how to get a puppy to sleep through the night

Be mindful of your dog’s chewing habits when selecting puppy toys for the crate. While no dog toy is indestructible, not all toys are meant for aggressive chewers.

Use your best judgment. If you think your puppy could shred a stuffed toy and ingest the squeaker, then a cheap stuffed squeaky toy isn’t appropriate for their crate just yet.

The following puzzle toys, treat-dispensing toys, and dog chew toys are durable and are great for solo interactive play.

1. The Orka Jack — Alternative for the Kong Classic

dog on a couch with toy

Kong toys (no, we’re not talking about the API gateway/API management platform) are classic rubber toys for the crate, there’s no doubt about that. However, not all dogs take to it, so you’ll need the best kong alternative.

My dog’s Kong has been left untouched for years. He has never played with it or chewed it. When crate training him, he’d lick peanut butter and eat kibble from it, but he would only use it as a vessel for food — not as a toy or as an outlet to chew.

If your dog is anything like mine (or just plain picky!), you’ll want a durable toy for the crate that interests your dog enough to get him to use it for all of its functions.

Enter the Orka Jack. This interactive dog toy doubles as a chewy toy, fetch toy, and treat dispenser, making it a favorite among small dogs and large dog breeds alike.

Made from durable TPE rubber material, the Orka Jack dog toy is soft enough to be gentle on the gums but tough enough to endure long periods of chewing. The holes on the ends of this dog chew toy can be stuffed with your pup’s favorite treats or dog food.

When not used in the crate, it’s a great toy for fetch and excites dogs with its unpredictable bounce.

2. Orbee-Tuff & Double Tuff Diamond Plate Ball

dog with stuffable dog toys planet dog diamond plate toy

One type of toy you should probably never leave in a crate is a tennis ball. While it’s a classic dog toy, it’s by no means long-lasting. Luckily, Planet Dog has a durable alternative that’s a chewer’s delight.

Power chewers love this non-toxic durable rubber ball toy for its gum-massaging nubs and tough build. There’s a hole at the bottom that you can stuff treats into as well to keep your busy buddy occupied. The Diamond Plate Ball makes for the perfect game of fetch outside of the crate, too!

3. Hide ‘N Slide Dog Puzzle

dog puzzle enrichment game

Activate your dog’s mind and get them to work on their problem-solving skills with this level 2 dog puzzle. The Hide ‘N Slide is the perfect food puzzle for crates because there are no removable parts for your pup to accidentally swallow. It’s also made from food-safe materials that are BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free, and easily washable with warm water and mild soap.

It comes with two types of hiding spots for snacks or kibble for a total of 14 treat compartments: under the swiveling flippers and in the hollow sliding blocks.

This is a good toy to put in your dog’s crate when you leave the house. With positive association, puzzle toys help prevent separation anxiety by providing them with something they can look forward to doing when you leave.

Instead of crying or stressing out when you leave them, they’ll think you leaving them = games and treats!

4. Dogwood Chew Stick

best toys for puppies

A safer and long-lasting alternative to chewing real wood sticks, the Dogwood product line has all the taste and texture of a natural tree branch, but will last much longer and won’t splinter and cause potential harm to your beloved pup.

Made in the U.S.A. to ensure quality and care, Dogwood combines real wood with lead-free and phthalate-free synthetic strength, making it a chew toy favorite amongst dogs.

Above all, it provides a great outlet for your teething pups and encourages a healthier outlet for dogs who need to satisfy their natural chewing urges.

What to stuff in a treat stuffer or dog puzzle

jar of peanut butter

If your dog gets bored of peanut butter or kibble, here are some other healthy options for stuffing and filling everything from a classic kong to a Nina Ottosson doggy puzzle:

  • blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • baby food
  • Greek yogurt
  • cream cheese
  • cottage cheese
  • small carrot pieces
  • apples
  • cucumber
  • bananas
  • pumpkin
  • watermelon
  • sweet potato

Be patient

dog in crate covered with blanket

Crate training takes a lot of work and patience, but it pays off in the long run. If you still struggle with the crate training process, consider enlisting the help of a professional dog trainer.

Remember to always supervise your dog when introducing them to a new toy, especially if you don’t know your dog’s chew and play habits yet.