Goughnuts are incredibly tough, fun, and safe toys for dogs of all sizes – and especially attractive to large dog owners used to pet store or department store toys lasting all of a few days before being destroyed. The solid rubber construction means these toys bounce, flex, give in a way that your pooch will love to chew on, and yet stay intact. They also offer a lifetime guarantee: If your dog destroys their toy, it’s replaced, no questions asked.
Full disclosure: I put honesty before income in my reviews. My editor has mentioned on more than one occasion that they’re never worried about total candor in my assessment of a product. Even if it means a company won’t be thrilled with what I have to say, if it’s true, I write it. So when I say Goughnuts are the best dog toys I have yet seen, and better than the best dog toy I’ve ever wished for, I mean it.
These American-made toys are from a company based out of California started by Amy and Rick Rockwood in 2006 out of their garage. They are passionate about dogs and recognized an unmet need for high-quality, safe toys for pups of all sizes. Goughnuts are currently sold worldwide.
Goughnuts toys come in a variety of carefully purposed shapes and sizes for different dogs and different needs (power chewing, playing fetch, playing tug-of-war with you). Most dog toys are destroyed at a rate commensurate with how much they’re loved: The more a toy is enjoyed, the faster it’s destroyed. Not so with Goughnuts, which persevere through even my Australian Shepherd’s dedicated chomping.
If you aren’t big on complete reading of reviews, here’s your TL;DR: Go to the Goughnuts website. Look for the product that fits what you need for your dog (chewing, fetching, or playing with you), and buy it. If you want spoilers on just how and why you’re going to appreciate what you get, keep reading. If your dog manages to damage it, Goughnuts will replace it.
At a Glance: What We Reviewed
|Goughnut Original Tug Toy
Goughnuts Dog Toys Reviewed
Who Makes Goughnuts Dogs Toys And Where Are They Produced?
Goughnuts dog toys are designed and molded in California in the United States. Goughnuts is devoted to making toys that fit your dog’s life: Shaped for play or hard chewing and built tough enough for even the greatest of Danes or, in my case, Australian of shepherds.
Which Types of Dogs are Goughnuts Best Suited For?
Any dog will enjoy a toy that will outlast them for many, many play sessions before it needs replacing. Dogs love a chew challenge, and Goughnuts give them that experience.
That said, owners of particularly destructive breeds or individual dogs will love Goughnuts for their sheer indestructibility. They state on their website that there is no such thing as a truly indestructible toy, and while I believe that, they certainly come closer to having made one than any other products I’ve experienced. A lot closer.
No major dog toy manufacturer is near their level of toughness, not even the toys you can get at farm stores or high end shops that say they’re able to take a beating. My Australian Shepherd eats mainstream brand “tough” toys as appetizers. Not so the Goughnuts.
Goughnuts: What Makes Them So Tough?
They’re made out of molded rubber. That’s right: The same stuff that lets your tires go tens of thousands of miles before they need replacing. Super tough and long-lasting.
“Wait,” you may ask, “isn’t rubber synthetic? Is that safe for my dog?”
Great question! Yes, it is. As a pharmacist with five children, two dogs, a cat, a dozen chickens, and assorted other animals my children insist on keeping as temporary pets, I can tell you I am pretty thorough in my research on what I let into the zoo that is my homestead. Rubber is synthetic, but nothing in your body or your dog’s body can break it down. If they get tiny pieces in their system, those particles pass safely through and out into their poop.
That said, if the Goughnuts toys break down, you need to take advantage of their lifetime replacement program! Simply send your damaged toy in and they send you another one, no questions asked. Like any other toy for a dog or child, damaged ones should be removed from play and replaced. The delightful thing about Goughnuts is you’ll be doing it a lot less often, especially if you buy the right size and strength toy for your dog.
Success Tips: What’s That Smell?
You know how I mentioned the toys are made of molded rubber, like tires? It also smells like tires. There’s no way to get the benefits of such a tough, flexible material without getting the scent.
If you’re like me and grew up with farming or do-it-yourself mentors and parental figures, you might like this smell. I do, and my dogs don’t seem to mind it. But some people and dogs may not enjoy it, and that’s okay. Here’s how you get around the problem: Let the toys air out for a few days.
When rubber is made there are volatile components, meaning they’re easily dispersed into the air. This is what you’re smelling when you open the box. Since Goughnuts have to be packaged for shipping, they’re trapped in a very small space with no airflow. Open the box and let the toys sit in your garage or outdoors for a day or three. The smell will dissipate and be much less noticeable.
Different Toys for Different Playtimes
Another great aspect of Goughnuts is the clear selection process for the right toy. You want a giant stick for your Husky to chew on for hours? Goughnuts makes that.
Have a Great Dane that needs an extra-strong, extra large version? Goughnuts makes that.
How about a ring you can throw bouncing and rolling through your yard for your Shepherd to chase and retrieve with far more fun than the average fetch toy? Goughnuts makes that.
They also make a toy specific to tug-of-war interactions with you, balls that are made to be easy to pick up and let your dog breathe while carrying them, and a super heavy-duty rubber frisbee!
Some Goughnuts toys have a red safety core. If you can see this core, it’s time to send the toy back to Goughnuts and get a new one from them. When you buy a Goughnuts product, you’re not just getting an individual toy: You’re getting a relationship with the company that lives on with your dogs as they use the product. This core also lets certain Goughnuts toys float!
The ultra-heavy duty toys do not have this core. I assume this is because they’re made of tough, high-density rubber all the way through. You can still tell when the toy has been chewed to the point it needs replacing, however!
A Quick Look at Goughnuts Pet Toys
Reviews of the Goughnuts Pet Toys We Tried
I received two Goughnuts Rings, a Goughnuts Stick, and a Goughnuts Original Tug Toy for review. Am I disappointed I didn’t get a Ball and Fly Nut? Maybe a little! Here are my thoughts on the three I received:
Goughnuts Rings are the size of a large donut and easily my favorite. They’re the most fun fetch toy I’ve ever used with my Australian Shepherd, Luka. With some practice I got them to bounce 5-10 feet in the air on the packed ground of our large dog run, and he absolutely loved chasing alongside the donut and trying to snatch it out of the air as it bounced and rolled. The gentle tug-of-war we played when he brought it back was fun for both of us – he can hang on to it, but not enough that I can’t get it away from him for another throw. I can only imagine the balls and Fly Nut are similarly well made.
The Goughnuts Original Tug Toy is perfect for tough tug-of-war episodes. Your dog can get a mighty grip on it, and so can you, but unlike a loop of rope if your dog gets too aggressive it will slip out of their mouth without risk of tearing out teeth (something Australian Shepherds will absolutely do if given the opportunity). This is great for their oral health and good exercise for dog and owner. I think it’s a great design and it was what first confirmed my observation that these toys are next-level tough.
I made sure the side he sank his teeth into was the side with the website imprinted and took detailed photos of those imprints after we’d played tug-of-war. I’m 6 feet tall and 215 lbs, and like to think I’m pretty strong – even so, Luka can yank toys out of my hand when we play. He bites hard and pulls hard. I’ll let you check the photo, though, and be amazed like I was. You can’t even tell he bit the toy!
The Stick took me a little longer to understand. The Goughnut Rings were pretty straightforward, and so was the Tug Toy. I wasn’t really sure what the straight black toy was for, and I certainly won’t repeat all the thoughts I had about it initially – but when I read on the website and realized it was a dedicated heavy chew toy, it made perfect sense. It’s not for fetch or playing, it’s a long-lasting synthetic substitute for a moose femur or cow hip, and provides a more satisfying “chomp” surface because the rubber gives. My Catahoula mix, Penny, is a little older and more sedate and loves toys like these.
Our Experience With Goughnuts Pet Toys
When I opened the box (but before I handled the toys) I was initially unimpressed by their shapes. They didn’t have any of the ribbing or indentations dogs commonly need to enjoy chewing toys. I immediately understood why they didn’t need that when I touched them and realized they’re made of rubber. Rubber is extremely flexible and can be temporarily deformed just by squeezing it between your fingers, meaning dogs get a satisfying chew from a smooth surface, unlike cheap toys made of lower quality substances like plastics.
The other thing I immediately noticed was the smell, which confirmed my realization that the toys are made of rubber. The entire box smelled like fresh tires. After taking the “unboxing” photos I set the box aside, open, for a few days and the smell faded. I don’t know that this was critical to my dogs accepting the toys, but I was excited to get something this well made for them and wanted to maximize the chance they’d like them from the very first impression.
I took the toys out and let the dogs smell them. Both my Catahoula mix Penny and Aussie Luka gave their sniff and taste tests and both immediately approved. Even though Penny doesn’t play fetch, she enjoyed carrying one of the rings around and chewing on it while I threw the other one for Luka, who was beside himself with delight in trying to anticipate where it would bounce or roll next.
Penny’s mouth is sensitive with age and early years full of using her eye teeth to end coyotes and feral dogs that threatened our animals, so I let her have the Stick to chew on while Luka and I played with the Tug Toy. No matter how he yanked or bit on it, it didn’t leave a mark. I was floored. Penny hasn’t made a dent in the Stick, either. Goughnuts says these toys will eventually be destroyed, and I have to believe them, but it’s going to take a long, long time.
Dog toys need to stay intact to be safe for the dog playing with them. Dogs love to tear things apart. Before receiving Goughnuts products to test, I would have said that these were not a good mix. Goughnuts toys are so strong (yet flexible and “chompable”) that they can survive mauling much, much longer than any other toys I’ve seen or used with my dogs. Other than leaving them out for the rubber smell to dissipate before giving them to pickier dogs, I can’t imagine a complaint you’d have with these, especially when you realize that Goughnuts will send you a new toy if your dog manages to damage the one they have. I love these toys for my dogs and will not be buying other dog toys going forward. These are the best, and given the reasonable prices, the best bang for your buck as well!