So far, we’ve talked about why pit bulls have such a bad reputation, why pit bulls should not be banned, what it’s like to care for a pregnant pit bull, and so much more. This breed group is fascinating, in part because they are such a taboo. Janice and Leroy, my Boxers, regularly get called pit bulls by those who aren’t as familiar with breeds, and I’ve spent a lot of my time explaining the difference between Boxers and pit bulls. One thing that stands out to me the most about pit bull breeds is that many of the problems that they have could be solved with more playtime.
Pitbull dogs have a ton of energy, and they need daily activity that wears them out and keeps them entertained. Not only is play time good for the body, but it also presents a great time to work on training, a good chance to strengthen your bond, and the perfect opportunity to correct any behaviors that you want to nip in the bud. When a high-energy dog is engaged in fun play, their mind is primed and ready for learning, and they are burning through the energy that can lead to them acting over-hyper and destructive later. So today, I wanted to bring you this list of amazing dog toys that would be perfect for the pit bull’s needs. (You can also check out this post on nine other great toys!)
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How Do You Know You Aren’t Playing with a Pit Bull Enough?
Before I list the best toys I found for this breed group, here are some quick signs that your pit bull needs more play. You can learn a little more about how much play this breed needs every day (at least 30 minutes of strenuous activity) and more at the American Pit Bull Foundation.
Signs your pit bull needs more play include:
- Chewing on anything that is not a toy
- Being very over-active
- Being more talkative than usual, or barking non-stop
- Not following commands
- Having accidents in the house
- Showing signs of anxiety
If you see any of those behaviors in your pit bull, you need to get in some more movement ASAP. Now let’s get to the list of toys!
1. NylaboneDuraChew Bone or Galileo Bone
For the first toy on this list, I’m actually listing two because I couldn’t decide between them. I like Nylabone toys for Janice and Leroy. They are tough, they help keep chewers’ teeth in good shape by cleaning away plaque while the dog chews, and they often come in flavors that keep the dogs happy. The [easyazon_link identifier=”B000GQ80TQ” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”natur0da-20″ cart=”n” cloak=”y” localize=”y” popups=”n”]DuraChew bone[/easyazon_link] is the classic choice and comes in bacon, beef, chicken, peanut butter, and other flavors. This is a toy meant for a very aggressive chewer. However, I’ve also tried the Galileo dog chew, which is meant for powerful chewers and is supposed to “satisfy the natural urge to chew”, and found it to be very tough. It comes flavored as well.
2. KONG Extreme Ball
Most dog owners know and adore the classic KONG toy that dispenses treats as your dog plays with it. However, that one is so well known, I thought I’d introduce you to a few other toys by KONG. The [easyazon_link identifier=”B004VBC0SY” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”natur0da-20″ cart=”n” cloak=”y” localize=”y” popups=”n”]Extreme Ball[/easyazon_link] is a treat-dispensing toy that works a lot like the KONG but has the added bonus of being throwable. You can play a mean game of fetch with this ball, and it is made with the extremely tough rubber that KONG is known for. You can get this in small or large sizes, so it’s perfect for puppies and adult pit bulls.
3. Mammoth Flossy 3-Knot Rope Tug
Tug of war is the perfect game for a dog like a pit bull. It gets their whole body involved, allowing them to use their muscles, chew, burn energy by twisting and tugging, and plays into their desire to play with you. This [easyazon_link identifier=”B001GIEZLA” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”natur0da-20″ cart=”n” cloak=”y” localize=”y” popups=”n”]three-knot rope[/easyazon_link] is a great choice because there are many ways you can get a good hold on the rope to play. This particular type of dog-safe rope is good for your pit bull’s teeth because it will floss as your dog tugs and chews. It comes in a variety of sizes to work for your dog. Don’t use a rope that is meant for human needs, because it can be dangerous if your dog ingests it.
4. Zogoflex Hurley
Bone-shaped toys are always fun, and the [easyazon_link identifier=”B004A7X222″ locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”natur0da-20″ cart=”n” cloak=”y” localize=”y” popups=”n”]Zogoflex Hurley[/easyazon_link] has a lot going for it. It is made with very tough material so it’ll stand up to your pit bull’s chewing habit. It floats and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. It made with recycled materials that are dishwasher safe and is FDA compliant. You can toss this fun, bouncy bone into the water for some swimming exercise, across the yard for a game of fetch, or play tug of war with your dog.
5. KONG Flyer
KONG has a wide range of super-tough toys for dogs that love to chew. This [easyazon_link identifier=”B000GQJG2G” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”natur0da-20″ cart=”n” cloak=”y” localize=”y” popups=”n”]flying[/easyazon_link]disc is every bit as-as tough as the KONG treat-dispensing toys that most dog owners know and love. This is made with the same natural rubber that is good for teething but is designed to be perfectly balanced for some good and accurate air time. Throwing a disc is a surprisingly good exercise for you as well, so this is a great option for you and your dog. This one is really made more for puppies, and it is the perfect training toy for teaching a dog to fetch – but you can still use this for an adult dog.
6. Goughnuts Black Maxx Rubber Dog Ring
Goughnuts makes a lot of ring-shaped toys, but the black “[easyazon_link identifier=”B00K5Y497G” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”natur0da-20″ cart=”n” cloak=”y” localize=”y” popups=”n”]Maxx[/easyazon_link]” version is the one you’ll want for your pit bull. Another “nearly indestructible” toy, this can be used for fetch, tug of war, and self-play. Goughnuts takes it a step further by offering a guarantee – if your pit bull chews through the black layer to expose the red layer underneath, they replace it for free. The ring does float, and the shape also makes it good for teething puppies.
7. Tuff Diamond Plate Orbee Ball
Balls are a great toy for pit bulls because they can be used for so many games. Chase, fetch, chewing, hide and seek, and all sorts of horsing around can be facilitated with a ball. [easyazon_link identifier=”B000OBKCGC” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”natur0da-20″ cart=”n” cloak=”y” localize=”y” popups=”n”]This one[/easyazon_link] by Planet Dog is a very tough ball, considered to be “nearly indestructible”. The diamond plate pattern looks like a heavy-duty toolbox, and the ball comes in a variety of colors. IT does float, it is nice and bouncy, and it’s made with FDA-approved material. On top of that, it is infused with mint oil, so it will make your dog’s breath nice and fresh. You can toss it in the dishwasher as well.
8. Benebone Bacon Flavored Wishbone
While real bacon isn’t very healthy for dogs, that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the tasty flavor. This chewable [easyazon_link identifier=”B00CPDWT2M” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”natur0da-20″ cart=”n” cloak=”y” localize=”y” popups=”n”]bone toy[/easyazon_link] from Benebone is flavored with bacon flavor and is shaped like a wishbone to give your dog many ways to manipulate it. The double-pronged side allows the dog to grip and hold the bone in place, which is great for very intense chewers. The bone is not edible, but it does come in other flavors like chicken and peanut butter if you want to treat your pup.
9. Monster K9 Indestructible Dog Ball
[easyazon_link identifier=”B01KITR6ZE” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”natur0da-20″ cart=”n” cloak=”y” localize=”y” popups=”n”]This ball[/easyazon_link] is well-known and well-loved in the dog community. It is called an “indestructible” ball, and the company stands behind that description so much that it has a lifetime guarantee. If your dog destroys it at any time, even years into the future, they’ll replace it. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me. Janice and Leroy both have one of these, and they have yet to destroy them. This is the size and shape of a baseball and is made of a bouncy, puncture-proof rubber that is safe for dogs.
10. West Paw ZogoflexZisc
If your dog likes to run and jump, throwing a disc for them to catch is an awesome way to get out their energy. Pit bulls have very strong legs and they do love to be airborne. In fact, it’s a known fact that pit bulls will jump over short fences if they get the urge. [easyazon_link identifier=”B004A7X29U” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”natur0da-20″ cart=”n” cloak=”y” localize=”y” popups=”n”]This disc[/easyazon_link] by West Paw is super tough, so it will stand up to a pittie’s strong jaws. It also floats so you can use it for water play and is dishwasher safe for cleaning.
11. Hyper Pet K9 Kannon
Does your arm get tired before your pit bull? Get yourself a [easyazon_link identifier=”B0762Q56PH” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”natur0da-20″ cart=”n” cloak=”y” localize=”y” popups=”n”]fetch cannon[/easyazon_link]! This toy allows you to load up dog-safe tennis balls and fire them long distances, with very little effort on your part. Basically, you just have to point and shoot, and reload the balls. This is great for a dog owner that can’t stand and throw for long periods of time, or for a dog owner that has been injured recently. Your pit bull will still get to chase a ball for as long as you let them, and you don’t have to feel like your shoulder is falling off.
Myth Busting: Pit Bulls, Chewing, and Locking Jaws
One thing that you may have heard about pit bulls before is that they have locking jaws. This is not true – in fact, it’s scientifically inaccurate in every way. It is true that pit bull dogs do have a strong desire to chew, and that they have very strong jaws. These dogs were bred from a cross between terrier breeds and the English Bulldog, who has a massive and strong jaw himself.
But no dog has the ability to “lock” its jaw into place. There is no muscle, joint, bone, or other body part that can lock into place in the jaw. The pit bull dog does have a very strong jaw, but it doesn’t lock.
That being said, a pit bull is a very heavy chewer, so it’s not a good idea to get them toys that are filled with stuffing, that have plastic eyes, that have squeakers inside, or that are just not meant for heavy-duty chewing. Chances are they’ll have the toy ripped up, with the insides spread out all over the place, and the tiny pieces eaten (which could be dangerous) in no time. Stick to toys made for strong chewers – look for words like “puncture proof”, “indestructible”, and “lifetime guarantee” on toys.
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The Final Word
Pit bulls love all sorts of activities. Walking, running, hiking, racing around, swimming, goofing off with you, and even climbing are all things that the pit bull dog will do. One of the best things you can do for them is to make sure they have options for play. Hang a tug of war rope from a sturdy tree, give them space to run, and have plenty of tough chew toys available. This will help your pit bull get all their energy out.
If your pit bull is still overly hyper, consider canine sports. Pit bulls with strong prey drives may love lure coursing, while pit bulls that love to please may do great in obedience trials. This sort of structured activity can help a dog focus their energy if they seem to be at a loss with what to do with themselves. Your family, your neighbors, and your other pets will thank you for distracting this breed with anything that keeps him occupied. Not to mention, your possessions will last longer!
But don’t forget that toys aren’t a replacement for structured exercise with you every day. Your dog uses play time with you to not only exercise but also to build a bond with you and be reminded of their training. Use these toys to help you keep playtime original and interesting for the both of you, and you’ll have a very happy dog on your hands.