Shih Tzu chasing after a ball - Best Dog Toys for Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are toy dogs who need dog toys.

That's not a tongue-twister; that's a fact!

Even though they love to cuddle with their humans, playtime is still essential to a Shih Tzu's daily life.

Shih Tzus may have their Chinese royalty history, but they're still dogs with the instinct of one!

They have to exercise this ‘dog instinct' of pouncing, stalking, play biting, and wrestling, especially as puppies.

Steven Appelbaum, President of the Animal Behavior College, said this type of roughhousing gives them tremendous exercise.

“In the wild, puppies and kittens spend much of their time playing,” Appelbaum said. “When cats and dogs are kept as pets, they don't have the same opportunities to play as they would in a natural state. That's where toys come in.”

And they don't need toys only for physical exercise, mind you.

Shih Tzus also need to work out their pretty little brains.

“Play is important because it is instinctive and necessary for the mental health of dogs and cats,” added Appelbaum.

So now that we've settled that toy dogs need dog toys, the next question is: what kind of toy do Shih Tzus need?

In this article, we've listed 15 of the best dog toys for Shih Tzu based on the recommendations of owners and experts.

We will also discuss:

  • the types of toys Shih Tzus would love
  • how to choose the best Shih Tzu toy
  • playing with Shih Tzus

Let's get to it!

Quick Glance at the Best Dog Toys for Shih Tzu in this article:

What Kind of Dog Toys Do Shih Tzus Like to Play With? 

Undoubtedly, Shih Tzus are among the most easy-going and playful dog breeds out there.

They sure love playtime as much as they love cuddles!

Shih Tzus loved toys that can pique their interest, stimulate their minds, and calm them down when necessary.

They tend to have separation anxiety, so it's best to get them toys that can “accompany” them whenever you have to leave them alone.

And depending on the toy you got, playtimes can be exercise too!

So you can go ahead and get their balls or frisbees for fetch time to work those tiny paws and muscles.

Also, remember that whatever toys they would love depend on their needs and preferences.

A teething Shih Tzu puppy would surely appreciate a chew toy, while a hungry one would probably love a treat dispenser toy.

Shih Tzu looking at the camera

How to Choose the Best Toys for Shih Tzu

If this isn't your first time caring for dogs, you know that shopping for dog toys can be overwhelming.

There's just so much to choose from!

So, how would you get the best toys for your Shih Tzu?

Well, grab your pen and paper (or take a screenshot, whatever works for you!) and take note of the following things to consider when buying dog toys.

Needs

The best dog toy for Shih Tzu is something that they actually need.

And this can depend on their developmental needs or health condition.

It's best to start a Shih Tzu puppy with something that will help them with their teething.

Trust me; your shoes and furniture would thank you for it.

On the other hand, a blind Shih Tzu, for example, would appreciate something stimulating their sense of smell or hearing.

There are perfect toys for Shih Tzus with separation anxiety, too. (And we know how clingy this breed can get!)

Ask your vet which dog toys would suit your pooch the best.

Remember that toys should not only relieve your dog's boredom—they should also be there for a reason!

Age

A Shih Tzu's age plays a role in the activities and toys they need.

And we've already discussed what puppies might need for their development. But how about the elderly?

Do senior dogs need toys, too?

The answer is yes!

Senior dogs need toys that keep their brains active and stimulate mental cognition.

My suggestion? Puzzles and interactive toys are the way to go for them!

RELATED: Choosing the Right Dog Toys by Age: Toys For Puppies, Adult And Senior Dogs

Interests

We've been stereotyping Shih Tzus here as calm dogs requiring less exercise, but all dogs have their own personalities, too!

Your Shih Tzu might be a little more playful than the neighbors, or theirs might be more intelligent than yours.

You know your pup better; what would suit his interests better? Would he like a puzzle toy or a toy for fetching?

It's all up to your dog!

Quality

Shih Tzus are pretty laidback, sure, but they can be destructive chewers, too.

That's why getting a durable toy that won't get shredded after just one play session is always best.

Not only that you'll get value for money, but you'll also save your precious pup from a potential choking hazard!

RELATED: Durable Dog Toys That Will Outlast Your Puppy's Jaws

Playtime with Shih Tzu

As you may know, Shih Tzus only needs a little daily physical activity. About 30 to 60 is enough to keep them fit in a day.

You can use some of these minutes either walking them around the neighborhood or engaging them in physical activities that involve some of the toys we have listed below.

Not only will you be assured that they're fit and healthy, but regular playtimes will also strengthen your bond.

7 Best Dog Toys for Shih Tzu

So, have you decided what toy is best for your Shih Tzu?

Wonderful!

In this section, I've listed the best dog toys for Shih Tzu based on the different dog toy types.

This is based on the collective experiences of owners and experts alike and the reviews I have read online.

1 Best Teething Toy for Shih Tzu Puppies: Nylabone Puppy Chew Teething Pacifier

Price: $8.59

Nylabone Puppy Chew Teething Pacifier - Puppy Chew Toy for Teething - Puppy Supplies - Bacon Flavor, Small/Regular (1 Count)

Like any other young dog, Shih Tzu puppies have strong chewing urges that, if not addressed properly, can damage their health and your home.

Giving them a quality teething toy would not only soothe their painful gums, but you'd also be able to teach them what to chew and what not to chew.

Nylabone Puppy Chew Teething Pacifier is well-loved among Shih Tzu owners.

It keeps their puppies engaged and promotes good dental health at an early age.

Shih Tzu puppies also find this irresistible because of the bacon flavor, and its size is also perfect for their small mouths. (Just make sure to get the X-Small size!)

One Amazon customer rated this five stars, saying how her baby Shih Tzu loves this teething toy.

Our Baby ShihTzu Loves This…
By Amazon Customer in the United States on January 12, 2020

Our new 3 lb ShihTzu puppy Loves this puppy chew pacifier & so do we! She is teething like crazy, & it has been very helpful in keeping her occupied instead of chewing clothing, shoes, furniture, & us! Being so little she has no problem holding or carrying around! We also keep in freezer to help with teething & she loves it ice cold! Would recommend & would buy again! 

However, there are confusions with the sizing. Some customers bought sizes that were way too big for their pups.

I bought this for my to Shih Tzu but it was a better fit for my 70 pound Aussie
By Amanda Hoskins in the United States on August 8, 2015

Much bigger than I expected. I bought this for my to shih tzu but it was a better fit for my 70 pound Aussie.

So, if you're buying this for your Shih Tzu puppy, check the right dimensions!

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2 Best Interactive Toy for Shih Tzu: Wobble Wag Giggle Ball, Interactive Dog Toy

Price: $14.97

Wobble Wag Giggle Ball, Interactive Dog Toy, Fun Giggle Sounds When Rolled or Shaken, Pets Know Best, As Seen On TV

I know we can't dedicate our 24 hours to taking care of our Shih Tzus. So, if you want them to learn to keep themselves occupied while you're busy, getting them interactive toys is the way to go.

This Wobble Wag Giggle Ball keeps small dogs like Shih Tzus entertained, thanks to the “giggle” sound when rolled or shaken.

It's also easy for dogs to pick this up using their mouth because of the pick-up clutches on the side.

One Shih Tzu owner who bought it said:

SHIH TZU LOVES THIS BALL!!!
By P. E. Marshall in the United States on December 23, 2021

Thank you, already have 1 BUT thought I better have a spare! This ball is slightly on the bigger side, but my MAX could spend hours chasing it, this ball may make him a soccer star! It moves quickly & makes that squeaky noise which dogs love. You might have to play too but my Max thinks this is the greatest toy. BUY ONE!!!! They are fun & great. ❤️❤️❤️ 

The downside here, though, is that a significant number of owners said their Shih Tzus didn't mind it at all. Some were even bothered by the sound.

There are also owners who said their dogs have a hard time picking this up.

One commented:

My Shih Tzu fell in love at first throw
By Taryn in the United States on September 6, 2017

I wish it were a bit smaller. My Shih Tzu fell in love at first throw! Unfortunately that love was unrequited. He's able to roll it around/chase it but for some reason he can't pick it up. So wherever it lands, he just looks at it and whines.

So, if your Shih Tzu is timid or anxious with unfamiliar sounds, this may not be the perfect fit for them.

Our dog's individual personalities should be considered when buying them toys and accessories.

Don't worry; we will have more interactive toy recommendations later!

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3 Best Chew Toy for Adult Shih Tzu: KONG Classic Dog Toy for Small Dogs

Price: $8.49

KONG - Classic Dog Toy, Durable Natural Rubber- Fun to Chew, Chase and Fetch - for Small Dogs

Shih Tzus are moderate chewers, unlike heavy-chewer breeds like Labradors or Chihuahuas.

But there are still adult Shih Tzus who like to work their jaws whenever possible.

KONG is a must-have brand for owners with this issue with their dogs, not just Shih Tzus.

This KONG Classic Dog Toy helps satisfy dogs' instinctual needs to chew while providing mental stimulation and encouraging healthy play.

Not only that, but you can also stuff these with your pup's favorite treats to keep them more engaged.

This is also known to be durable. No wonder vets and trainers always recommend them.

Shih Tzu owners also swear by this chew toy for dogs.

One Amazon customer said:

Happy with it
By Melissa H in the United States on December 23, 2022

My dog is a 15 Shih Tzu who is a super chewer. No stuffed animals for him. He absolutely loves this though.

Another one wrote:

My little rescue shih tzu has NO interest in toys and has bad separation anxiety
By AFamazon8775 in the United States on January 23, 2015

I am so grateful for this product. My little rescue shih tzu has NO interest in toys and has bad separation anxiety, and this is the only treat/toy that can keep him interested when I leave the room. I stuff little marrow bone treats in it and he plays for

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4 Best Fetch Toy for Shih Tzu: Chuckit! Air Fetch Ball Dog Toy

Price: $9.28

Chuckit Air Fetch Ball Dog Toy, Small (2 Inch Diameter), for dogs 0-20 lbs, Pack of 2

Yes, Shih Tzus need exercise, and you can help them with this through playtime.

Playing fetch is one fun way of tiring them out and exercising their chasing instincts. This Chuckit! Air Fetch Ball can help you with that!

This is highly recommended, especially for brachycephalic breeds like a Shih Tzu. The hollow-mesh-like design helps them breathe easier even with this ball in their mouths when fetching.

And unlike other Chuckit! toys that are a bit bigger for small dogs like a Shih Tzu, the Air Fetch ball suits their mouths just fine at 2″ diameter.

They're small enough to fit our dog's mouth but large enough to prevent accidental swallowing.

One customer said:

My Shih Tzu loves it!
By marie_fl in the United States on February 18, 2021

I use to worry when my ShihTzu would play and run around with other balls that didn’t have any cut outs. Since Shih Tzus have a flat nose it can be hard to breathe without this ‘ventilation’. This is probably my dog’s favorite toy. He can play ‘fetch’ much longer now. This is good for all breeds. I’ve given this as a gift and the dog owners really appreciate it. 

However, there are accounts of the toy not being as durable, especially for heavy chewers. One Shih Tzu owner said:

Neat but not durable at all (even for a small dog)
By Stephen L.… in the United States on January 7, 2020

Bought a pair of these for my two Shih-poos which are 10-15 pounds and my smaller one (10lbs) ate half of it within 20 minutes. They are neat because they are hollow so they can be easily picked up by small dogs and they don't make marks on the walls but if my little dog can make little work of this so easily I could only imagine what bigger dogs would do. They did offer me a refund without returning it though so good on the company for this. I own a bunch of their other products that I love but this one is not a winner

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5 Best Puzzle Toy for Shih Tzu: Outward Hound Hide A Squirrel Plush Dog Toy Puzzle

Price: $10.78

Outward Hound Hide A Squirrel Plush Dog Toy Puzzle, Small

You know how some dogs just love to chase after squirrels around the yard?

You can help satisfy your Shih Tzu's instinct with the help of Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Plush Toy.

The squirrels are squeaky and would surely pick your dog's interests, especially when you toss or hide them, and they hunt.

This is a plush toy, which means it's safe and won't harm your dog's teeth and gums.

Just make sure to wash them every now and then to keep them squeaky clean.

Shih Tzu owners commended the toy's durability, even when playing rough with their dogs.

One review says:

My Shih Tzu
By LKB in the United States on October 4, 2022

I have a 12lb shih Tzu that will be 3 years old next month. We bought the small one and it is perfect. She loves her squirrels. She is pretty rough with them and we play tug a war they seem to be sturdy no problems with ripping.

But while many Shih Tzu lovers liked this, some customers received items with factory defects.

One comment read:

Reviewed in the United States on September 1, 2023

Cheaply made and unsafe for dogs. When I received the “Squirrel Plush Dog Toy Puzzle”-Small size I could tell I made a mistake ordering it. As I was carefully removing the plastic tags a lot of fur was coming off with it around the inner seams & either there's already a hole or the inner stuffing was just placed inside the log (very sloppy). Returning it. Save your time & money and buy something else.

Puzzle toys like this will not only entertain your pooch for hours, but it will also help boost their self-confidence in navigating and using their senses.

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6 Best Treat Feeder Toy for Shih Tzu: Joansan Dog Treat Puzzle Feeder

Price: $11.99

Joansan Dog Puzzle Toys, Interactive Dog Game, Dog Enrichment Toys for Puppy Mentally Stimulating Treat Dispenser Dog Treat Puzzle Feeder for Small,Medium and & Large Dogs Treat Training

Feeder toys are a must if you want to keep your dog busy and well-fed while you're off somewhere or doing something.

But this Joansan Dog Treat Puzzle Feeder doesn't do just that. It's also designed to exercise your Shih Tzu's mind by letting them figure out how to slide the parts to get their treats.

This is also fairly durable because it's made of non-toxic PVC material. That means it can endure bites and scratches if your dog can't figure it out the first time.

One customer reviewed this on Amazon. She said:

Small snout friendly
By Brianna G in the United States on June 16, 2021

I was needing something to keep my shih tzu entertained and came across this toy. So far he enjoys digging and scratching at it. The first time he tried it he picked it up and flipped it over. I’d say it’s durable, granted he’s a small dog and his scratching doesn’t compare to that of bigger dog. My only con is that the outer slots are overly flimsy. I know it’s meant to be easier for dogs but it’s almost too easy. I’d say it takes him a little under ten minutes to find all the treats. I got him a snuffle mat to keep him entertained longer. Overall not a bad purchase but might be better for smaller dogs

One thing to note, though, is it might be too easy for some pets, especially intelligent ones.

This customer wrote her experience with her dog:

Reviewed in the United States on May 24, 2023

This was way too easy for my 14wk old. She figured it out in less than 5 minutes and she's never done these dog puzzles before. It did really slow her down either.

If that's the case for you, we recommend getting a Snuffle mat (which we will cover below.)

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7 Best Toy for Shih Tzu Anxiety: Original Snuggle Puppy Heartbeat Stuffed Toy for Dogs

Price: $39.95

SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy Heartbeat Stuffed Toy for Dogs - Pet Anxiety Relief and Calming Aid - Golden

Shih Tzus are companion dogs, meaning they can get super anxious when left alone for extended periods.

This is when most Shih Tzu owners find Snuggle Puppy Heartbeat Stuffed Toy useful.

It features a ‘real-feel' pulse that mimics mother dogs or their litter mates.

This is especially recommended for crate-training puppies who suffer anxiety from being left alone, just like what one customer testified in her review:

My shih Tzu puppy loves her cuddle pup. This is a must to have at bedtime. .
By Shelly Fenton in the United States on January 20, 2016

My shih Tzu puppy loves her cuddle pup. she sleeps with it as she would her ‘pack' in the whelping box. she even uses it without the heating packs

That said, it didn't work as expected for some Shih Tzus, according to their owners.

Like the Concept
By Joaquin in the United States on September 24, 2022

Didn't do much for my 11-week Shih-poo. Nice concept though.

Not for everyone
By Ant in the United States on April 14, 2023

Nice concept, but all my Shih Tzu puppy does is whine and hump it

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Other Owner-Recommended Dog Toys for Shih Tzu

8. Hyper Pet Mini Tennis Balls for Dogs

This is another recommendation for a ball dog toy perfect for fetching with your Shih Tzu. It also works with ball launchers if you already have one.

Here's what a Shih Tzu owner has to say about this toy:

Perfect smaller size for Shih Tzu
By Nozama in the United States on July 24, 2023

These bright orange balls are holding up well! They're slightly smaller than standard tennis balls, which is just what I was looking for. My 17lb Shih Tzu boy LOVES these play balls!! They bounce ok on hard surfaces, but not great; I mainly use them in the yard, so it's not an issue. These balls often get left outside, and they're really holding up great! The orange color helps me to locate them in taller grass. I've found no reason not to recommend these!

9. Multipet Plush Dog Toy

This toy is another crowd favorite for easing a clingy Shih Tzu's anxiety. It even has a squeaker that makes it more interesting for dogs.

One customer review says:

Reviewed in the United States on June 17, 2023

Needed soft comfort plush product for my 11 lb Shih Tzu. Well loved, small size, able to bite into & carry around. Washes well & dries quickly

10. AWOOF Pet Snuffle Feeding Mat

If puzzle feeders aren't your dog's thing, you can try this snuffle feeding mat instead. It's proven to keep pups busy for hours while practicing their foraging instincts.

It's also great for slowing down food guzzlers!

Great for fast eaters
By Lisa M. Yarost in the United States on April 9, 2021

My shih tzu puppy bolts her food, and this keeps her from eating too quickly. She loves the game aspect of it.

11. Mammoth Flossy Chews Rope Tug

This rope can be useful for teething puppies and those with excess energy to burn off while fetching around.

Most Shih Tzu puppies fall in love with it, just like this customer's pup:

Excellent toy for puppies.
By HV in the United States on February 5, 2018

This toy was purchased for our 7-week old Shih Tzu puppy who chews on everything. As soon as I let him get his first bite on it, he wouldn't let go! Excellent toy for the puppy! Recommended!

12. ZippyPaws Spencer The Crinkle Monkey Dog

Sounds interest most pups, and that's what this dog toy is about. It has a squeaker, and the monkey's legs also have crinkly paper inside that makes funny sounds when your dog bites it.

My little Shih Tzu loved it
By Azi in the United States on February 14, 2020

My little Shih Tzu loved it. No complaints did the job good for the price you pay.

13. TRIXIE Mini Mover Strategy Game

If you're looking for toys for mental stimulation, especially for a senior Shih Tzu, this strategy game is recommended for you.

This Shih Tzu owner testified to how useful it is:

Keeps my 12 year old Shih Tzu occupied
By Lisafaye in the United States on April 16, 2014

My Shih Tzu, Ikiin can't really go fetch anymore, cataracts and stiff joints. But this toy is the best. It was so much fun watching him get so excited while trying to figure out how to get the treats. Proudly, I say he had the treats all out in just a few minutes. Every time I get the toy out, he is ready to play.

14. Knivel Puppy Rope Toys for Small Dogs 

This is another great rope toy for highly active Shih Tzus, especially young pups. What's good here is you already get 4 pieces for the price of one. Talk about value for money!

Shih Tzu puppy LOVES these!
By MMN in the United States on February 10, 2019

This is the perfect size for a small puppy, and mine absolutely LOVES these! I can even throw them in the washing machine when needed and they’ve held up extremely well. The colors are fun too!

15. WEST PAW Zogoflex Hurley Dog Bone Chew Toy 

Another recommended toy for chewers is this bone chew toy. This is a safe alternative to wood sticks. It's also dishwasher safe and recyclable.

It’s now one of his favorite toys!
By Byrd in the United States on April 17, 2022

My year old Shih Tzu is a chewer and has demolished some of the famous brand toughest toys and I needed something he could chew on but not actually eat it and this is it! I has quickly become one of his favorite toys! It’s chew proof so far! Worth the price! Fast shipping!

Best Dog Toys for Shih Tzu: Before You Go…

Regardless of how small and cuddly they are, Shih Tzus also need the best toys that will help them be happy, healthy, and thriving.

Remember that toys are tools we can use to raise our cute little pups.

And to get the best dog toys for Shih Tzu, you should know their individual needs and interests. You should also stick to the dog toys other Shih Tzu owners vetted.

Want to learn more about raising Shih Tzus? Check out our recommended articles below!

Related Articles:

Jossana started as a TV writer in 2017, until her love for dogs gets the best of her and started writing about them instead for Top Dog Tips. Jossana is the proud mama to Xavier and to mixed-breed dogs Zorro, Budak, Lucky, and Lily, who she loves spoiling with toys and treats.