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Are Dog Toys Scented?

Dog toys are one of the most foolproof ways to keep your furry friend occupied and engaged. As new and newer varieties of dog toys come out, one of the most successful kinds is those that are scented.

Are dog toys scented?

It depends on the type of toy for it to be scented. Scented dog toys are proven to be more engaging and sometimes also more long-lasting, so the market for them grows. However, dog toys come in both kinds, scented and unscented. Playology, Westpaw, Benebone, and Kong dog toys are typically scented.

Scented dog toys are becoming popular amongst pet owners these days for they are loved by their fluffy companions. Whilst not all toys are scented, more and more companies are planning to have an option where the sniffing-loving canines can enjoy their products.

Benefits of scented dog toys

Dogs are famous (and infamous) for their strong-smelling prowess. It is said their noses are ten thousand times more powerful than us. 

So, it makes sense to let them use their sniffers and play with a scented dog toy so they can stay engaged with their mind, the body as well as the olfactory cortex.

Studies have shown that dogs that are exposed to scented toys are:

  • Calmer by relieving stress and anxiety 
  • Sleeping better
  • More playful
  • Mentally stimulated
  • Show all-around more positive behavior

Certain scents exhibit certain behaviors from the dogs exposed to it. For example,

  • Lavender

Just how lavender has a calming, restful effect on us humans, lavender is believed to help our canine friends sleep as well. Dogs also play more with lavender-scented toys than those unscented.

  • Ginger

Studies have shown that ginger or the smell of it helps lower stress for our furry companions. While ginger itself is a digestive beneficiary for both humans and dogs alike, the scent of it can also lessen barking.

  • Coconut

Even dogs cannot deny how delicious and helpful this wonderful tropical fruit is. Studies have shown dogs who are exposed to coconut scent are less restless and vocal for it is believed to provide mental stimulation.

  • Valerian

This magical herb calms cats, dogs, and humans alike. Helpful for times when you know it is going to stressful for your four-legged companions, such as loud fireworks (we are thinking the infamous fourth of July celebrations) or visits the vets.

  • Vanilla

Same with the scents mentioned above, vanilla is a popular choice amongst toy companies for it is universal, and most dogs respond positively to it. Vanilla is also known to calm them down by relieving stress.

  • Animal (Rabbit/deer) scented

While it is no surprise, toys that smell like other animals get a reaction out of our furry mates. Maybe calling to their ancestral DNA, toys smelling like rabbit or deer or other prey make them more playful. 

How do you scent dog toys?

While you can just buy toys that already have a distinct smell, you can also DIY them.

In order to awaken the most active part of their brain- the olfactory complex by enticing them with different aromas, there are certain steps you need to follow.


Before doing anything else, you must make sure your pup and/or dog likes the smell you are going to introduce them to.

The method is rather easy, just drop a dab or two of the scent/oil to a bandana and bring it to your dog; see their reaction.

If they respond positively, tie it to their neck: are they barking less? Or even go for a snooze? 

The way they react to it will be a telltale sign as to how they will take to the new scent. If they really like it, they will stop smelling and licking.


So, they responded positively to it, great! Now starts the actual task.

If it is a small toy, you can just rub or roll the toy in the scent extract, and you are good to go.

If it is slightly bigger- or harder or squeakier, worry not. Place the toy in a Ziplock bag with something that smells strong, so the smell carries over. Keep it in for several days, so the odor is absorbed.

Attention: this method is not long-lasting, so you will have to do it every now and then. However, it opens up the window of trying out new smells ever so often!


Once your dog is used to the smell, you can go a step further and start hiding the toy (and some treats) in some corners or underneath the furniture.

This will encourage them to investigate their surroundings and exhibit further play behaviors.

Are scented dog toys safe?

A good rule of thumb is that if it smells too strong, something is not right. A dog is supposed to have smelling powers that are thousands of times stronger than ours- so if us measly humans can smell it, it is probably going to overpower our fluffy friends.

Labels or terms to look out for: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Phthalates, Bisphenol A (BPA), Lead, Chromium, Formaldehyde, Cadmium, and Bromine.

That being said, well-reputed and trusted dog toy companies extort their scent from a derivative protein, so no chemicals are used to create the scent.

So yes, scented dog toys (from well-known producers) are safe.

Point to be noted: when making scented toys yourself using essential oils, always make sure that it is diluted and mixed with proper carrier oils. Essential oils are never to be digested or directly applied to the dog’s orifice.

If in doubt, a quick call to the vet will bring peace of mind and secure your pup’s future.

Why do dog toys smell like vanilla?

Honestly, the question should be, why don’t most things smell like vanilla?

Vanilla is a pleasant scent that is universally accepted. Furthermore, studies have shown that exposure to anything that smells like vanilla has the potential to reduce stress.

On top of that, dogs are also more likely to play with vanilla-scented toys than those unscented. Studies have shown time and time that dogs respond to the vanilla aroma.

So, it makes sense why vanilla is a top pick amongst manufacturing companies.

What scents are calming to dogs?

Certain scents just outperform others. For dogs, these tend to be Ginger, the aforementioned Vanilla, Coconut, Lavender, and Chamomile.

When going for aromatherapy for dogs, the top essential oils picked (other than the ones already mentioned) are cedarwood, citronella, cardamom, eucalyptus, and frankincense.

Orange and lemongrass can also help calm your dog. Test and (humanely) experiment it out to see if they like it!

How to get your scent on a dog toy?

So, you have decided rather than the artificial smell of essential oils; you want your natural scent on your dog’s toy to deepen the bond between you two, as well as make your dog like the toy more.

There are toys such as the Comfort Cuddler, which directly uses your scent to comfort and calm your pup. You insert something that has your scent into the mesh pouch, and immediately your canine takes a liking to it.

You can also take an old piece of clothing– a T-shirt or sock, and attach it to the toy by tying it or sewing it together. What this will do is it will combine your smell with the toys to make a new, hybrid smell.

Since it already distinctively smells like you, your furry friend is bound to respond positively- if not outright love it immediately. This is called splicing.

What to keep in mind when transferring scents?

Whilst your dog loves you and is extremely attached to the way you smell, there are going to be times when a toy just does not click with your pup no matter what you do with it.

It happens; each dog is unique with its own personalities and preferences.

Also, as mentioned above, showcase extreme caution when dealing with essential oils. There are some that do not react well with dogs, so do your due diligence!

As dogs play more with scented toys, it makes sense that manufacturers are making toys that smell like the things they love.

Different odors bring out different attributes of your canine companion, so try diversifying your flavor palette to fully enrich your pet’s playtime and, so inevitably, life.

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