Kitsune’s Top 10 Dog Gifts 2012

Although black Friday and cyber Monday sales may now be over, that doesn't mean it's too late to find your furry friend the perfect holiday gift!  If you're having a bit of trouble deciding what to get your pup this year, don't worry - because Kitsune is here to help!  Kitsune is one very spoiled Papillon, and toy testing happens to be one of his favorite hobbies (right up there with stealing dirty socks and snacking)!  Below you will find a list of Kitsune's top 10 favorite toys/chews of 2012.  So if you're still trying to think of what to leave Fido under the Christmas tree this year, perhaps one (or more!) of Kitsune's favorites would make a good gift for your dog too!  

Kitsune has so many toys that he loves, it's hard to choose the top 10.  The 10 we ultimately chose really were based on Kitsune's preferences.  Out of his huge box of toys, these 10 items are, for one reason or another, the ones he currently enjoys the most.  Not all dogs enjoy playing with or chewing on the same types of toys, so it's important to know your dog.  Just because Kitsune loves these toys, doesn't mean every dog will.  However, if you're trying to find something new your dog might enjoy, reading reviews written by other dog owners can be a great place to start.  You don't have to just take Kitsune's word for it - for most of the items listed below, I will include links to Amazon or the product's website, where you should be able to find more reviews.  The following 10 items are not listed in any particular order.  These are Kitsune's 10 favorite toys of 2012...

  1. Coleman Bushy Tail Toy: The Coleman brand is best known for their camping and outdoor gear, but they also sell some pet supplies including dog beds, vests, and toys.  I bought Kitsune his Coleman Bushy Tail Fox on Amazon a little over a year ago now.  I got it for him to replace another fox toy (Kitsune's name means 'fox' in Japanese) that got ruined in the washing machine.  I like that this toy is stuffing free, so even if Kitsune does put a hole in it, I don't have to worry about him getting stuffing all over the house, or accidentally ingesting it.  This fox toy is almost as long as he is, but he loves to pick it up and throw/shake it around, and can often be seen dragging it around the house with him.  It makes a great tug toy as well.  The plush fox contains 2 squeakers, and is made of faux fur that, in Kitsune's opinion, is great for snuggling as well as playtime!
  2. Kyjen Hide-A-Squirrel Toy:  This toy has really withstood the test of time at our house.  I don't remember exactly when we got it, but considering that I also listed it on our 2010 list of top toys, it must have been sometime before November 2010.  Kit has had this toy for years, and still plays with it quite often.  It retails on Amazon for just under $11 for the large size, and for that price you get three plush squeaky squirrels and the tree trunk to hide them in.  If you don't like the squirrels, Kyjen makes other versions of this toy including birds and bees.  You can even buy packs of replacement squirrels/birds/bees, in case your original ones get destroyed.  We've never had to replace our original critters, and Kitsune loves playing with them.  We did buy him a set of birds to go with his squirrels, as you can probably see in the picture above.  Kitsune carries the animals around in his mouth squeaking them, and we sometimes use them to play fetch with him inside the house.  When I need to keep Kitsune busy for awhile, I'll sometimes hide a few treats inside the puzzle toy with the plushies and Kitsune has a great time trying to get them all out.  Puzzle toys can be a great way to help keep your dog's mind active.
  3. Tuffy Toys:  Tuffy's are a common go-to toy in our house.  The Tuffy toy pictured above is Larry Lobster, but Kitsune has quite a few Tuffy toys including an octopus, sea turtle, alien, and tug toy (I told you Kitsune is spoiled!).  Kitsune got his first Tuffy, a purple octopus, when he was just 6 months old and, almost 4 years later, it's still going strong!  These toys, as their name suggests, are seriously tough dog toys.  Kitsune has never been able to destroy one, and he does play rough and chew on them from time to time.  I find that these toys can be a bit stiff when you first get them, which Kitsune doesn't like as much, but they do soften up a bit in time.  Tuffy toys come in even more versions than the ones I listed, and come in a verity of sizes and strengths, so you can find the one that's perfect for your pooch!
  4. Loofa Dogs: I'll be honest, these are not the strongest dog toys in the world.  But Kitsune really loves them, so they made the list this year.  These guys come in a verity prices, sizes, and colors, but they are all pretty much the same.  We've gone through a few loofa dogs over the years, but Kitsune is pretty rough on them.  They get chewed, tugged, stretched, shook, thrown, and just generally beaten up.  Actually, I'm surprised they last as long as they do.  Kitsune really puts these guys through some abuse, and they are just simple plush toys, nothing fancy.  Usually I'm able to do minor repairs on each Loofa Dog a few times before they are so beaten up that they need to be replaced.  Kitsune loves them so much, and they aren't expensive, so I really don't mind replacing them.  In fact, Kitsune will be getting a new one for Christmas this year (shh don't tell him!).
  5. Hyper Pet Flying Pig Sling Shot Toy:  We got this toy in Kitsune's August BarkBox.  It retails on Amazon for just under $13.  There are also other versions of this toy, including a duck and a fish.  Again, this isn't the most durable dog toy in the world, but Kitsune has a lot of fun with it.  It's a sling shot toy, so we use it mostly to play fetch with him.  I try to discourage him from chewing on it too much, because I'm not sure how much chewing it could withstand before getting destroyed.  The toy also has a squeaker, so Kitsune does like to carry it around and squeak it.  I think this toy would be great for a dog who enjoys playing fetch, especially if your looking for something interactive to have them fetch other than just a regular ball.
  6. Lollycadoodle Wool Snake:  Another awesome Barkbox find, we got this toy in Kitsune's October Barkbox.  You can't buy these guys on Amazon, but you can check out the Lollycadoodle website to see all their wool products, and contact them if you are interested in placing an order.  Lollycadoodle toys are made of hand felted New Zealand wool by artisans in Nepal.  The toys are all natural, and biodegradable!  They are 100% wool and do not contain any stuffing.  We've only had this toy since October, but it seems really durable.  Kitsune loves to drag, shake, and throw it around.  It's a great tug toy as well.
  7. Kong Teddy Bear: Kitsune loves his Kong Teddy, which we affectionately call "Ted Bear".  Ted Bear has been around since Kitsune was a puppy, and although he is showing his age a bit, he's still in excellent condition.  Kitsune plays with Ted on an almost daily basis.  He sleeps with him quite often as well.  The bear has stuffing inside the head only.  On the back of this toy there is an opening (held shut with velcro).  Inside the tummy there is a fleece fabric pouch with a squeaker inside.  Because of the opening, it's very easy to replace the squeaker in this toy.  But the velcro does a great job of keeping the opening closed - Kitsune has never figured out how to open the velcro, and the opening is not easily noticed when it's closed up.  Kit loves this toy so much that, unknown to him, I have an extra "Ted" tucked away in case I ever need to secretly replace the original.  I can't guarantee that this toy will be a favorite for all dogs, but it is definitely Kitsune's favorite toy.
  8. Tennis Balls: Just good, old fashion tennis balls!  What dog doesn't love them?  I know Kitsune sure does.  We've found that tennis balls designed for humans seem to be more durable than similar 'tennis' style balls designed specifically for dogs.  Just be careful if your dog likes to chew, because I've heard that chewing on tennis balls can be bad for dog's teeth.  Luckily Kitsune doesn't chew on his, but he loooves to play fetch with them.  He even made up his own game, for when no one will throw his ball for him, that involves him pushing a tennis ball around with his paws and squeaking a squeaky toy in his mouth at the same time.
  9. Acadia Antlers Moose Antler Chews: Ok, so these aren't really a toy, but they made the list anyways.  We discovered Acadia Antlers this year and Kitsune really likes their moose antler chews.  The funny thing is that I bought (deer) antler chews for Kit before and he was never all that crazy about them.  I don't know what it is that's so special about these moose antlers, but Kit loves them.  So much so that he goes through one of Acadia Antlers' moose tasters in only about a week.  I got him a larger sized Acadia Antler chew for Christmas so we'll see how long it takes him to get through the medium sized chew.  Acadia Antlers' moose chews are made from naturally shed, wild moose antlers that are collected in Maine.
  10. Himalayan Chews:  We call these "cheese chews" at our house, because they essentially are just big blocks of solid cheese.  These and now Acadia Antlers are now the main types of chews we give to Kitsune.  Did you know that rawhide can actually be dangerous for dogs?  Himalayan chews are made from yak and cows milk.  They contain no preservatives, and are fully digestible.  Don't be mistaken because these treats are made from milk - they are hard chews that take Kitsune usually last Kitsune at least a couple of weeks.  And they don't have a bad smell or go bad, even though they are technically cheese.  Since I know Kitsune loves these treats, I usually buy him the 3 pack of large/jumbo sized chews from BestBullySticks.com.  They come in single packs, and in smaller sizes, for people who may not want to spend so much on them, and are also available on Amazon.  They are more expensive than a lot of other types of dog chews, but for most dogs they last a long time, and they are safer than things like rawhide and cooked bones.

There you have it, our 2012 top 10 list!

I wanted to add, that if you're looking for something fun and original for your dog this holiday season, why not try out BarkBox?  I won't post too much about them, since I've already posted about them a lot on my blog, but I will mention that if you order before December 10th, you'll be able to receive a December box.  BarkBoxes ship out on the 15th of each month, so the December boxes should arrive right before Christmas!  Plus, if you sign up using our affiliate link you can get $5 off your first BarkBox order!

If you or a loved one has, or will be receiving, a Kindle this holiday season, why not check out my new book Cooking with Canines?  You may have noticed that I don't have any dog treats listed on our top 10 list, and that's because I make almost all of Kitsune's treats myself!  If you happen to be an Amazon Prime member, you can currently borrow a copy of my book for free through the Kindle Library!

Does your dog love a toy, treat, or chew that didn't make our 2012 list?  Comment below and let us know!  Kitsune is always more than happy to try out new toys!!

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