Are you sick of your dog tearing and shredding his way through plush toy after plush toy?
A piece of fire hose might be the perfect dog toy for your pooch. This tightly woven, durable material holds up significantly better to wear and tear than a traditional stuffed animal.
We spent over 90 hours testing, reviewing 30+ fire hose toys, playing hundreds of games of fetch, both indoors and outdoors, until we were too pooped to go on.
Here are just a few of the different fire hose toys we tested…
We reviewed each fire hose toy for durability, quality, ease of use and suitability for different breeds, all to answer a simple question…
Which fire hose toy is best for your dog?
Want the answer? Then read on.
- What is a fire hose dog toy and does your pup need one?
- The best fire hose dog toys
- The fire hose dog toys that didn’t make the cut
What is a fire hose dog toy and does your pup need one?
As if the name didn’t give it away, a fire hose toy is a length of fire hose that has been sewn shut at the ends. The result is a soft yet durable toy for your dog.
Yep, it’s the same fire hose that firefighters attach to hydrants when they put out a fire. Given that a fire hose is designed to withstand pressure of higher than 1,600 PSI before it bursts, it should be more than up to the task of your rough dog, right?
While a few brands use recycled fire hose, most use new fire hose dyed in vibrant colors. Some go a step further and paint the surface or sew multiple pieces of fire hose together so that it resembles an animal.
Fire hose is surprisingly outdoor-friendly. I actually lost one of these toys during a harsh snowstorm. Just another Upstate New York winter! Once the snow melted, I found it in my back yard.
Don’t get me wrong… It certainly looks worse for wear, faded and dirty. But once I hosed it down and dried it out, it held up just fine for games of fetch. In comparison, a plush toy would be basically unusable.
Despite being able to fend off the weather, I still recommend fire hose dog toys for inside play. Not only will they last longer, but their soft design means you are less likely to break a window if your aim is off.
You often hear that fire hose dog toys are a heavy-duty alternative to a plush toy. Based on my testing, I would say this is true. As a material, fire hose is considerably more durable than the polyester fabric you find on your standard plush toy.
Even so, that doesn’t mean that fire hose is designed for power chewers. Fire hose toys worked best when given under supervision. While these toys held up just fine to gentle games of tug and fetch, they are not chew toys.
If you leave your dog alone to gnaw to his heart’s content, fire hose won’t provide much of a challenge. It’s not the fire hose that is at fault. Instead, you are using the wrong toy for the job. Want a more appropriate toy for chewers? check out our review of the best chew toys for dogs
I can tell you that the tightly woven material that makes up fire hose toys is surprisingly resistant to wear. Even the powerful jaws of a Labrador were unable to puncture the surface.
The seams, however, are another story. This was the weak point of all the fire hose toys we tested. This is unfortunate as the edges of the fire hose that are sewn shut are exactly where most of our dogs focused their attention. This was a particular problem with the more elaborate animal designs, which had more seams and stitching than the traditional tube-like fire hose toy.
That’s not to say fire hose dog toys are bad. But they certainly don’t hold up to their reputation of being unbreakable. If you wouldn’t trust your dog with a plush toy, then a fire hose toy isn’t right for your dog.
Unfortunately, the myth that fire hose dog toys are indestructible has spread like wildfire. An overwhelming number of product reviews express their disappointment that the toy wasn’t tough enough to hold up to aggressive chewers like Pit Bulls and German Shepherds.
I would also add that fire hose toys are not suitable for puppies. Their small teeth can puncture between the fibers, easily shredding the material. Adult teeth, on the other hand, were unable to chomp their way through.
If your dog aggressively shakes and tears into his toys, then I suggest choosing a different toy. Does that sound like your dog? Check out our guide on indestructible dog toys.
But if your dog doesn’t chew or you are looking for a slightly more durable alternative to a plush toy, one that is used under supervision, then there is a lot to love about fire hose toys.
The best fire hose dog toys
In our hunt to find the best, we tested and reviewed over 30 different fire hose dog toys.
It was a long journey, with plenty of chasing, tugging and biting. But after 90+ hours of testing, we narrowed down the competition to 4 winners, each unique in their own way.
To start, I highlight the best fire hose toy for most dogs. From there, I make recommendations for those looking for something a little more specialized, such as an extra-large choice and a fire hose Frisbee that can be thrown with the flick of your wrist.
Best all-around fire hose dog toy
The Outward Hound Fire Hose Squeak N Fetch hits the sweet spot between quality and cost. In fact, our top pick was the most affordable fire hose toy of the bunch. For the price of most other fire hose toys we picked, you could buy two or more Fire Hose Squeak N Fetch toys.
Part of what makes this fire hose dog toy so affordable is its simplicity. It’s a short length of fire hose with a squeaker and some stuffing stitched inside. That’s it. No handles, even its design is quite plain compared to other fire hose toys available.
Now, our Labrador tester was able to crush the squeaker on all models with little effort. Not that my ears minded, that constant squeak… squeak.. squeak… gets old real fast. If you want a good toy that squeaks, then check out our best squeaky dog toy guide instead!
But while the squeaker inside may have busted, the outer surface held strong. After countless games of fetch, the red firehose material didn’t show any signs of wear. In fact, it makes for a great indoor fetch toy – it’s soft enough that you won’t break a window if your aim is off.
During our review process, our Dachshund tester, Coco, sneakily chewed open the end of one while we were not paying attention. It didn’t take long for her to figure out the stitched black ends were the weak spot and quickly tore open the seam. Like all fire hose dog toys, this one should only be used under supervision – as a chew toy, they just don’t last.
Now, the lack of a handle makes this fire hose a less suitable option for games of tug-of-war because it’s difficult to properly grip the Fire Hose Squeak N Fetch while your dog is pulling with all his strength. If you want a fire hose toy for games of tug, then check out my pick for best fire hose tug toy later in this guide.
But for everyone else, the Fire Hose Squeak N Fetch is a great toy at a budget price. Highly recommended.
Best large fire hose dog toy
Looking for something a little bigger? ZippyPaws has you covered with their oversized fire hose toy, the Firehose Blaster. At a whopping 27 inches long, it’s only suitable for medium-sized dogs and larger. Despite our Pomeranian’s best attempt to play with the toy, it proved to be too large for her to carry around, and she resorted to gnawing on it instead – not the behavior we want to encourage.
This extra-large fire hose toy contains three squeakers. Surprisingly, our Golden Retriever was only able to puncture a single squeaker over the course of testing. Interestingly, the squeaker that was punctured still gives off a squeaking sound, just not as loud as the others. Even so, it still squeaked loud enough to keep our pups entertained.
This is also one of the few fire hose toys we tested that is stuffing-free. If your dog manages to tear his way through the outer surface, you won’t have to worry about him eating the loose stuffing.
It’s a tad too large to play fetch with. And while it may be tempting, if you use it as a tug toy, it’s going to tear. You see, the ends where your dog bites down are where the stitching is.
Because of its larger size, we found our dogs were less likely to chew on the seams at either end of the fire hose, instead chomping on the most durable area, the red fire hose. Even so, I’d keep an eye on your pooch and remove the toy if he works on the stitching.
And there really isn’t much more to it than that. If you are looking for a large fire hose toy, then this is as good as it gets.
Best fire hose dog tug toy
I’m going to level with you… Fire hose isn’t the best toy for games of tug-of-war.
Because of the tubular shape, your dog will bite down on the weakest point of the toy – the edge with the stitching. Aggressive tugging soon causes the stitching to split. In fact, our German Shepherd tugged so hard the handle tore right off one of the fire hose toys we tested.
It is for this reason that fire hose should only be used for gentle games of tug with less powerful breeds, such as a Boston Terrier. If playtime turns rough, remove the toy!
Now, it is worth mentioning that there are two-handled fire hose tug toys. You grab either end and your dog clamps down on the actual fire hose. While these are more durable, I found the double-gripped design more awkward to use than those held with a single fist.
If you want a heavy-duty toy designed just for games of tug-of-war, then check out our review on the best dog tug toys instead.
But of the fire hose tug toys we tested, Ray Allen was the clear winner. Not only were they available in the widest range of sizes but were also one of the only fire hose tugs not to tear during our testing. Oh, and they don’t contain squeakers.
It’s a simple toy with a handle that is perfectly suited for gentle to moderate games of tug.
Best fire hose dog Frisbee
If you want a fire hose fetch toy that will travel farther, check out the Frequent Flyer by Katie’s Bumpers. This American-made fire hose toy features a Frisbee-like design, allowing it to be thrown with ease.
The unique square design is actually a single length of firehose that has been folded into a Frisbee. There are two squeakers sewn into either side of the fire hose. While they were quickly popped by our excited dogs, it didn’t affect the performance of the toy.
While Katie’s Bumpers makes a circular version that flies farther, its entire perimeter is bordered by stitching. Unfortunately during testing, a seam snagged on a pointed tooth and began to fray shortly after. The Frequent Flyer Square, on the other hand, has very little stitching – it’s considerably more durable.
Numerous reviewers state that they took their Frisbee to a tailor to have them re-stitched when the seams came undone. While the Frequent Flyer held up just fine during testing, I can see the benefit of double stitching it for extra durability.
Another benefit of the frequent flyer is that it’s easy to fold up and stuff in the bottom of your bag. The light-weight design is barely noticeable as you tote it around. While the flat design makes it difficult to see when your dog is in the water, it does float.
Remember how I told you that I lost one of the fire hose toys in a snowstorm? This was the one. Once the snow melted, it looked a little brown and faded but was still perfectly functional. As far as a soft weather-proof toy goes, this is as good as it gets.
Now, this fire hose toy won’t give you the same long, arcing throws of a traditional Frisbee. If you want a proper dog Frisbee, then check out our review on the best dog Frisbees. But for games of fetch in the back yard or even indoors, where you don’t need distance, Katie’s Bumpers Frequent Flyer is a fun, soft fetch toy.
The fire hose dog toys that didn’t make the cut
Let’s face it, there isn’t a lot to fire hose dog toys. Most of them are little more than fire hose material and a couple of stitches.
With that said, not every fire hose toy can be a winner. Our top picks manage to edge out the competition in one way or another to take first place. While our recommendations outperformed, the following fire hose toys fell short in one way or another.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that these are bad fire hose toys. Some put up a great fight and were only narrowly edged out by our top picks. Others were much more flawed. However, based on our testing, we see little reason to choose these over our recommendations above.
The Outward Hound Fire Biterz Lizards quickly had their limbs removed. One came lose when our pup was carrying it back during a game of fetch. While the torso was equally as durable as our extra-large pick, we couldn’t declare this the winner with parts of it having broken off. With that said, if you find this stuffing-free fire hose toy at a discount, then it’s worth checking out.
Outward Hound also makes their Fire Biterz in a variety of other styles. We tested the Toucan, Boobie and Flamingo. The edges are boarded and stitched with an extra piece of material that was more tearable than the fire hose material in the middle of the toys – likely because of the seams.
Hyper Pet’s Fire Hose Friends are among the weirdest looking fire hose toys I have seen. The Fox, Frog and Racoon all have big exaggerated lips with a tongue poking out. A better description would be that they are half fire hose and half stuffed animal. The plush bits were quickly shredded.
While Hyper Pet’s Firehose Flyers performed better, they had the same problem as the Fire Biterz animal toys – the black edges showed signs of excessive wear during testing. Now don’t get me wrong… Hyper Pet is more than capable of creating an impressive soft Frisbee – they took first position in our Frisbee review. Unfortunately, this doesn’t compare.
The Petmate Zoobilee range was similar. While the designs were considerably more adorable, they too featured extras like fleece and fluff. We tested the Zoobilee Firehose Parrot Toy – its tail and fluffy forehead were quickly torn.
Multipet made two different fire hose tug toys. The first is the Fire-Hose Hydrant Toy. As you might have guessed, it’s shaped like a fire hydrant. The other, the Fire-Hose Tug Toy, had mini handles that were easy to tear. Both had a rope handle attached, which was significantly less comfortable to grip than the thick strap handles found on other fire hose toys.
Kong has a great reputation and has won many categories across our various reviews. Unfortunately, it saddens me that their Ballistic Fire Hose Sqwuggie dog toy didn’t hit the mark. All three sizes, small, medium and large, were quick to tear – the black-and-white checker material at the bottom of the toy is the weak spot. And by the end of testing, all the toys showed signs of fraying in that area.
Katie’s Bumpers makes a wide variety of different fire hose toys. Their Firehouse Sqwuggie not only shares the same name as the Kong but looked and performed equally. Unfortunately in this case, it wasn’t a good thing.
A shout out to Gralen’s Big Tug. It had the most comfortable handle of any fire hose tug toy we tested.
If you made it this far, congratulations! You now know which fire hose toy is ideal for your dog.
A recap of our results…
The best fire hose dog toys we tested:
- Squeak N Fetch – Best all-arounder
- Firehose Blaster – Best extra-large fire hose dog toy
- U-Stuff-It – Best fire hose dog tug toy
- Frequent Flyer Square – Best fire hose dog Frisbee
Which fire hose dog toy do you use to play with your pooch? Let me know in the comments below!