two dogs playing outside with a plush KONG dog toy

Top 5 Benefits of Plush Toys for Dogs & Cats

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At KONG, we offer a diverse range of toys because we understand that dogs and cats require varied play for mental and physical enrichment. Each toy caters to a variety of pets’ senses—tactile, visual, olfactory, and taste, plus emotional needs, such as comfort and curiosity. While their wild counterparts satisfy these senses naturally outdoors, domestic pets often miss out. Plush toys help bridge this gap, ensuring comprehensive sensory enrichment.



1. Comfort and Security Huskie puppy cuddling a moose KONG dog toy

Just like a child might have a favorite stuffed animal, dogs and cats can also form attachments to soft toys. For dogs, these toys can provide comfort and security during  quiet time, time shared with family, and times of anxiety, such as thunderstorms. KONG Comfort Kiddos Jumbo Elephant is the perfect toy for soothing anxious pups.

For cats, this can be a small plush toy they carry in their mouth or sleep with often, like the Cat Active Moppy Ball.

2. Gentle Play

Not all pets enjoy aggressive play. For senior dogs or those with dental issues, soft toys can offer a gentler play option, reducing the risk of injury. A great toy for dogs who enjoy a toy with a dense mouthfeel that isn’t hard on their teeth or gums is KONG Snuzzles!

Cats who prefer softer, plush toys for gentle play love the KONG Cat Wubba. Its ultra-fuzzy plush material makes playtime a little gentler.

3. Mind/Body Stimulation

Many plush toys come with squeakers or other noise-making components. These sounds can intrigue dogs, providing mental stimulation as they try to figure out the source of the noise. Once the mind connects with the body’s response, this will oftentimes result in bouts of shaking and thrashing their toys. A perfect plush toy for thrashing is KONG Wild Knots, which has an internal knotted rope, making this toy more durable for playful sessions of shaking!

For cats, once the mind connects with a physical response, you’ll often see zoomies, kicking, and batting. To increase the mind/body connection in cats, try using KONG Naturals Catnip sprinkles or spray in or on their plush toys. We also offer the KONG Refillables line with multiple plush toys that can be filled with catnip.

4. Interactive Play

Some plush toys are made for tugging, which helps strengthen the bond between a dog and their human. Check out the KONG Tuggz line for soft, durable tug toys. Watch this video from KONG Ambassador Jennifer Malawey to learn How To Play Tug Of War Safely with your dog!

Bond with your cat while providing interactive play! KONG Teaser Feather is designed to increase the connection between human & feline by engaging your cat’s instincts through dragging, bouncing, and swinging this soft, plush bird from a wand.

5. Hunting Instinct Grey cat laying and playing with green KONG dog toy

Soft toys can mimic the feel of prey in a dog’s or cat’s mouth, catering to their natural hunting instincts in a safe and non-destructive manner. For dogs, we recommend Floppy Knots plush toys. With an extra-floppy body, squeakers, and an internal knotted rope, these toys meet a variety of multisensory needs.

Cats are hunters by nature, so domesticated cats need the outlet of play to fulfill their hunting instincts. Cats love to pounce on their prey and wrestle with it when hunting. KONG Kickeroos provide the perfect outlet for this exercise, with a plush stuffed body, squeakers, crinkle sound, and lifelike tail. Catnip inside this toy increases the excitement of the hunt! Watch this video about feline Hunting & Pouncing with KONG Ambassador Georgia Duncan.


KONG Pro Tip: Picking up your pet’s plush toys after a play session not only keeps them safe from unsupervised play, but it also keeps their toys exciting. Much like humans, our pets can get bored when they have the same menu to choose from. Try adding seasonal toys to your pet’s toy basket to increase variety and to help them explore multiple playstyles!

What’s your dog’s favorite KONG plush toy? What is their favorite way to play with plush? Let us know by tagging us @KONGCompany on Instagram, and use hashtag #KONGDog or #KONGCat for a chance to be featured on our Instagram page!

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