The 6 Best Toys For Blind Dogs: Recommended By Our Vet
If you’re wondering how to keep blind dogs entertained, this is the article for you! At Gentle Dog Trainers, we believe no dog should be left behind. Blind dogs and blind-deaf dogs deserve to have fun too. So we’ve compiled the ultimate buying guide for toys suitable for blind pups.
To help you find the best options for your special pooch, we teamed up with veterinarians, canine behaviourists and dog parents to form a panel of independent experts. We then spent months testing the most popular toys for blind dogs, all before finally agreeing on the contents of the guide ahead.
We’ll talk about how to find the right toy for your dog, the types of toys that will work best, and then a round-up of the best toys for blind dogs in Australia. Let’s dive in!
Quick Picks - The Top 3
Our Number 1 Pick -
Wobble Wag Giggle Ball
- Highly reviewed
- Can be used indoors and outdoors
- No batteries or charging required
- Great price point
Runner Up -
- Squeaky toy
- Comes in 3 sizes
- Suitable for solo or interactive play
Third Choice -
Hartz Dura Play Bacon Scented Bone Dog Toy
- Smells of bacon
- Squeaky toy
- Quite durable
Australia's Best Toys For Blind Dogs Reviewed
Now you know how to find the perfect toy for your pup, let’s get into the best products for blind dogs. These are the toys our team of independent experts tested and were impressed by the most. Note: as I mentioned, these toys won’t be advertised as for blind dogs specifically, but due to their features, these toys make great additions to your dog’s toy box.
What sets this product apart from the rest?
Our winning product for dogs must have an interactive element to it. Why target one sense when you can target them all? The Wobble Wag Giggle Ball is a fabulous toy for blind dogs because it’s a gift that keeps on giving.
As the name suggests, this toy giggles! The giggling sound is endless fun for your pup as they bat the ball around.
The ball shape was easy for my dog to maneuver, even without the sense of sight. I was also able to involve other members of the family, human and pet, in the game.
The Wobble Wag Giggle Ball being tested by our independent expert team.
The toy doesn’t require any batteries to work and can be used inside or outside.
It's inexpensive but is well constructed enough to take a few hard knocks.
Cons are down to personal taste. Not all dogs enjoy the sound and not all the humans on our team of independent experts enjoyed it either. It’s quite a loud toy with no volume gauge.
Related: The Best Dog Subscription Box Australia.
There is also only one size. It works well for medium dogs but may be intimidating to puppies and small dogs.
It's one of the highest-rated toys for blind dogs Amazon AU has to offer so give it a try with your pup!
The KONG Wubba is another interactive squeaky toy. The difference is it’s meant for fetch and tug-of-war as opposed to soccer.
With floppy tails for shaking and tugging, the dogs belonging to our panel of pros had tons of fun throwing this toy around. The squeaky element makes it engaging and fun for bling dogs.
The KONG Wubba being tested by our independent expert team.
Unlike our number one choice that comes in only one size, this one offers three sizes to choose from: Small, Large and Extra-large.
I also like how the toy is durable, with a nylon cover and reinforced stitching.
If you want an interactive toy you can enjoy with your blind dog, this is a great option!
If you want a cheap and cheerful toy that satisfies the smell sense, the Hartz Dura Toy is a great candidate.
Smelling of bacon, this tiny bone toy is flexible, durable and waterproof. My dog absolutely loved the bacon smell and the smooth texture of the latex toy.
The Hartz Dura Play Bacon Scented Bone Dog Toy being tested by our independent expert team.
As a bonus, there are ridges in the latex to massage your dog’s gums as they chew. Our team of independent experts appreciated that it could be used as a dental tool, too.
It comes in three sizes: Small, Medium and Large. However, it could do with an extra large option to cover grander dogs.
Best of all, this is a noisy dog toy too! It has a squeaky toy mechanism to add to the fun, like the KONG Wubba in spot number two.
If you’re in search of a blind dog toy that won’t break the bank, the Hartz Dura Play toys are great!
Looking for scented toys for blind dogs? I may have hinted at this flavoured bone earlier. Foreshadowing! Introducing the Nylabone Dura Chew.
Nylabone is known for making quality dog toys and indestructible chews. This one is no different. The bacon flavour tempts dogs of all kinds, providing hours of satisfying taste, similar to our last product.
I especially love that the chew comes in 4 different sizes: Extra small, Small, Medium and Large. Be mindful of purchasing the right size for your dog because the toy's durability depends on it.
The Nylabone Dura Chew being tested by our independent expert team.
What about the scented aspect? It’s a delicate scent but remember that a dog’s sense of smell is far more powerful than ours. (3) It doesn’t need to be pungent to be attractive and enjoyable to your dog.
Along with the cheers from everyone on our team of independent experts, there are also thousands of reviewers attesting to how great this chew toy is, we believe your dog will love it too!
Toys for blind deaf dogs are tough! It’s all about the smell sense. A snuffle mat is a great option as it exercises your dog’s foraging skills while also being a treat dispensing toy.
The SCHITEC snuffle mat range is colourful, fun and broad. There are mats of all sizes depending on your dog. But unlike most of the toys on this list, I quickly learned that the size does not matter as much. As long as my dog could fit his nose in the pockets that conceal the treats, then he's fine with any snuffle mat. Larger snuffle mats provide more pockets to conceal treats in. You might want an extra large snuffle mat if you have more than one dog at home.
The SCHITEC Snuffle Mat for Dogs being tested by our independent expert team.
Because this is a nose game, this is perfect for completely deaf and completely blind dogs. Allow them to rely on their nose to sniff out their treats.
Everyone on our panel also appreciated that the mat is machine washable. It also has a non-slip base for safety.
Need a toy for blind-deaf dogs? Get your pup a snuffle mat. You won’t regret it!
Nina Ottosson creates some of the best puzzle toys on the market. Puzzle toys are excellent for mentally stimulating your dog but they do need some sight. If your dog is partially blind, this tornado puzzle is a wonderful choice for them.
It primarily engages the foraging and smell instincts. I simply added kibble to the slots and my dog moved the twists and turns of the durable plastic compartments to reveal the treats concealed inside.
The hardy plastic is easy to clean with a quick handwash. Like our number one choice, it only comes in one size at 24 x 18 cm. However, many breeds should be able to use this toy comfortably.
If you have a partially sighted dog at home who needs a boredom buster, try this puzzle.
How Do You Play With A Blind Dog?
This is the question! Thankfully, it’s much easier than you might think. Blind dogs and even blind-deaf dogs still have playful spirits. You just have to be creative.
“Blind dogs can still have fun! While fetch is not the safest game for a visually-impaired dog, your pup can still enjoy a rousing game of tug or parade around the house making a racket with a squeaky toy. Your dog will be able to seek out his favourite toys by sniffing for them.” writes Kate Eldredge Basedow, LVT and Faith Brar for Daily Paws. (1)
The toys you choose are crucial to keeping your dog’s life happy and full of enrichment.
What I Consider When Buying Toys For Blind Dogs
So you’re looking for a new trinket to keep your perfect pooch happy. Unfortunately, the dog toy industry doesn’t make things easy for blind dog owners. You’ll rarely see toys labelled for disabled dogs, so you have to do the groundwork yourself.
Fortunately, you’re in the right place! Our team of independent experts has done the hard bit for you. These are the criteria we recommend for sifting through the wild west of toys out there.
Severity of blindness
Blindness is a spectrum. There are partially blind dogs caused by cataracts and glaucoma. (2) Then you have severely or completely blind dogs. Naturally, some toys are better for the partially blind.
For example, most puzzle dog toys require some level of sight. You can train your dog to use them completely without sight but it’s best see a little bit to begin with. If you have a puzzle toy that your dog uses regularly and their sight deteriorates to complete blindness, they’ll probably still know how to use it just from memory. But getting a completely new puzzle toy for a completely blind dog is not the best idea.
Completely blind dogs will rely on their other sense to explore their toy. So let’s break that down.
Engaging the other senses
Touch. Taste. Smell. Sound.
There are thousands of toys on the market that engage these other senses in intriguing ways. The important thing is that the toy's primary function relies on these other senses.
Let’s go back to puzzle toys as an example. If you use a flat block puzzle where the treat is hidden under a series of blocks, your dog can use their smell senses but sight is still a factor.
Related: Nosework For Dogs.
On the other hand, a soft squeaky toy that is shaped like a monkey is satisfying to your dog because of the sound and touch. They don’t care that it’s shaped like a monkey.
Toys for blind deaf dogs are trickier but the same principle applies. You’re looking for toys that use touch, taste or smell as the primary functions. A tasty bacon-flavoured bone toy will be perfect for them. (There might even be a recommendation for that in the reviews later - wink wink)
The dog industry has a big dog problem. No, not a big dog problem. A big dog problem.
Large dogs are often not catered for very well when it comes to dog apparel and toys. There are plenty of tidily squeaky toys out there but very few that could stand the biting power of a German Shepherd or Bernese Mountain dog.
Be mindful of the size of the toys you choose as your pup is more likely to suffer a choking hazard if they’re blind.
Speaking of powerful bites, your dog’s strength comes into play when choosing toys too. You want your dog’s toys to last as long as possible. There’s no use in buying a soft animal toy for your dog if they can destroy it in the first couple of days.
How do you know how durable a toy will be? The reviews! The reviews will reveal all. Most good reviewers will let you know the age and breed of their dog so you can adjust the advice to your dog.
Types Of Blind Dog Toys
Now we’ve discussed the criteria for finding a good toy for your pup, what are the types of toys that work well for blind toys? These are the types that our panel of independent experts and their puppers liked best.
Noisy dog toys
Squeaky toys are amazing for blind dogs. They come in plenty of shapes and sizes. There’s also a decent variation in materials for squeaky toys. Rubber, plastic, nylon, polyester, cotton etc. Plenty of textures and sensations for your dog to play with.
Of course, the con of squeaky toys is that they’re annoying! Your mileage may vary but the noisiness of a toy can bug me some days. So let’s try a different type of blind dog toy…
Scented dog toys
Scented products are the best toys for blind and deaf dogs. Using that all-important smell sense, they can enjoy meaty smells with all kinds of toys. Formats range from foraging toys like snuffle mats to chew toys like Nylabones.
Again, remember that lots of toys have taste and smell features. But the toy you choose for your pup needs to be about smell and taste.
Puzzle dog toys
The best toys for visually impaired dogs are puzzle toys. Completely blind dogs will likely struggle with this category. Yes, smell sense is a key feature of puzzle toys but your dog needs to have a little sight to be able to solve puzzle toys and not get too frustrated.
My Final Verdict
If you have a blind dog, every member of our team of independent experts could agree that the Wobble Wag Giggle Ball is a wonderful toy. It might be noisy but it’ll bring your dog a lot of joy and hours of fun!
If your dog is blind and deaf, you can’t go wrong with a snuffle mat. It only requires your pup’s sharp smell senses. The touch of exploring the felt is fun too. It’s perfect for dogs of all ages, even those with reduced mobility.
We hope this article helped you find the best toys for your blind dog!
Most advice encourages owners to fill their environments and lives with sound to make their blind dogs more comfortable. (4) By using your voice effectively, choosing noisy toys, and using audible dog water fountains, you can help your dog feel at ease and aware of their surroundings.
You can help your dog navigate by purchasing a sonar collar for blind dogs. This is a type of collar that warns your dog when they are approaching an object.
Keeping your environment consistent and training your dog to recognise location cues are also effective techniques for blind dog care.
Yes and no. It’s true that having a blind dog will affect the way you care for them. You’ll have to be mindful to seek out blind dog products and pay attention closely when they are outdoors. If you keep your surroundings the same, your dog will be able to navigate without bumping into things. But as a dog parent, you should pay attention to your dog when indoors or outdoors anyway. I can’t say that blind dogs have a huge extra undertaking to their care. Once you adapt to the changes, caring for them won’t feel as labour-intensive or focussed as you might think.
So yes, blind dogs require more attention. But no, it’s not as consuming as you expect.
- Basedow, K. Brar, F. February 9, 2021. “6 Strategies to Help You Properly Care for a Blind or Visually Impaired Dog”. Daily Paws. Retrieved November 24, 2022. https://www.dailypaws.com/dogs-puppies/health-care/strategies-care-for-blind-dog
- Lowrey, S. May 4, 2020. “Supporting Blind Dogs: How To Deal With Vision Loss In Your Canine Companion”. American Kennel Club. Retrieved November 24, 2022. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/supporting-blind-dogs-how-to-adjust/
- Furlong, E. November 1, 2020. “Dogs have an intense sense of smell — and love for their owners.”. Washington Post. Retrieved November 24, 2022. https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/dog-love-working-home/2020/10/30/75adc50e-1895-11eb-befb-8864259bd2d8_story.html
- Jamieson, A. November 14, 2018. “18 helpful tips for caring for a blind dog”. Care.com. Retrieved November 24, 2022. https://www.care.com/c/17-tips-for-living-with-a-blind-dog/