The Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Toy is one of the most popular interactive toys on Amazon. For those of us who use Amazon for everything under the sun, you would have noticed this toy pop up time and time again as a best seller for dog toys. On first look, the Hide-a-Squirrel is impressively adorable, but there’s more than meets the eye. Its design and function is similar to many other interactive dog toys, so why is this one getting all the attention? By the end of this in-depth review, you’ll have that question answered. It captivates dogs of all sizes, and is a great toy for both active and passive playing pups.
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About the Product: Hide-a-Squirrel
The Hide-A-Squirrel plush toy comes from the Outward Hound company and is one of their best selling items for indoor toys. This plush, interactive dog toy features a soft tree trunk paired with three small stuffed squirrels. It is specifically designed to stimulate your dog’s curiosity and get their brain working. As their owner, all you have to do is stuff the trunk with each squirrel. Your pup will have a blast pulling the plush squirrels out of the holes in the tree trunk, and playing with each squirrel individually. However, if your pup doesn’t seem all that interested, try squeaking one of the squirrels to boost their excitement. Once your dog sees how you stuff it into the trunk portion, they will work their hardest to fish it back out!
Each squirrel includes a squeaker inside to further engage your dog. This can be troublesome for pups that like to destroy squeaker toys. Those particular dogs may become fixated on the squirrel and make it their mission to remove the squeaker. On the other hand, this toy will last longer than most, since it comes with more than one squirrel to play with. Ranging from size Junior to Ginormous, it’s easy to find the perfect size toy for your pup.The Junior, Large, and Jumbo sizes of this toy include three plush squirrels and the Ginormous size includes six squirrels. That is a true sign that Outward Hound knows what they are doing. They understand that larger dogs don’t just need a larger sized toy, but they also need a couple more components to make it last.
As well as giving your dog a challenge, this toy also allows your dog to release their energy. You may be thinking that dogs can only expel their energy by running wild in the yard, but that is not always the case! Educational activities, like a treat dispenser, also require energy from your dog. If your dog isn’t absolutely thrilled about this toy right away, try hiding treats inside to get them interested. They will have to work for the treats, which will still provide mental stimulation.
2. Safe Materials
The plush fabric used for these toys is non-toxic, safe, and machine washable. This way you and your dog can continue to enjoy the toy, without any stinky smells. Just make sure to keep an eye on your dog during play time so they don’t ingest any of the fabric or stuffing.
3. Great for Indoor Play
On a rainy day, it can be hard to please your pup. If their favorite activity is fetch in the yard, you’re going to find them very bored inside the house. Luckily, the Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel is ideal for indoor play. Since it’s made of soft materials, it won’t be destructive to play with in your living room. The squirrels are great for tossing, especially if your dog loves fetch. With the use of this interactive dog toy, you and Fido can both stay entertained when the weather is dreary.
4. Other Variations
If squirrels aren’t you or your pup’s thing, there are also other variations: bee, bird, hedgehog, and rainbow. Luckily, no matter which option you’re going for, they are all made from the same materials and have very similar designs. Unfortunately, it is only the original squirrel options that comes in four different sizes through Amazon. The rest only come in large. Additionally, it is very apparent that the original squirrel option is the best designed of all five.
5. Multiple Sizes
Unlike many other similar interactive dog toys, the Hide-a-Squirrel comes in four different sizes. Which, honestly, makes an owner’s life a whole lot simpler. As your new puppy grows, you can upgrade to the next size (without giving up Fido’s favorite toy). There are four sizes of the Hide-A-Squirrel:
Not Highly Durable
This particular toy has more stuffing than average because of the multiple plush animals and tree trunk included. With any plush toy, there is the potential for a mess to be made as your dog may pull out stuffing. The trunk of this toy also tends to shed with repeated use, but that’s to be expected.
Unfortunately, there are multiple seams on the trunk of the toy that are easily ripped by tough chewers. Plus, multiple holes in the trunk are close together with only a small amount of fabric in between openings. Those areas make prime targets for easy destruction. Each plush animal is another toy to destroy and potentially make a mess with, although they are more durable than the tree trunk.
If you want to avoid some destruction, you can cut off the fur and tags from the squirrels so your dog doesn’t target those areas. However, tough chewers and pullers will still try their best to destroy each one. On the bright side, if your dog rips apart an animal with repeated use, you can purchase replacement squirrels to continue the fun without having to re-purchase the entire toy.
Is this toy right for my dog?
For Gentle Dogs
Hide-A-Squirrel is best for dogs that don’t have a strong instinct to rip apart squeaker toys, or plush toys. Like most plush dog toys, they can be easy to come apart in the hands of a pup who likes to use their jaws. If you’re looking for something more sturdy from Outward Hound, head over to the Outward Hound Invincibles Review. Those bad boys can be used both indoors and outdoors to stand the test of time.
We do however, highly recommend the Hide-a-Squirrel to dogs who are more gentle but inquisitive. Especially for puppies and senior dogs, this toy will help get their brain cells in motion. Oftentimes, older dogs are no longer able to bounce around like they used to. Keeping them active with a more easy-going activity is the key to making their lives rich and healthy. The soft material will also be very comforting for any dog. It will not be uncommon to see your little darling fall asleep on it after playtime.
For Bored Dogs
Interactive dog toys like this are designed for solo play, which means that you can hand it over as a nice distraction or activity. In this sense, it’s like a treat-dispensing dog toy, but without the added calories! Considering how bored dogs will often exhibit signs of bad behavior to self-entertain, the Hide-a-Squirrel helps keep everyone engaged and calm. Hand it over while you get some work finished or sit down for your favorite show. Outward Hound also makes an extensive line of more challenging dog puzzles to boost your dog’s natural mental abilities. Check out this article on Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Puzzle Dog Games for lots of options that cater to any dog’s skill level.
If your pup is keen on ingesting squeakers and stuffing, this toy could be dangerous. We suggest keeping an eye on your dog with any new toy, especially of the plush variety. If your dog is a chewer that spits out toy pieces instead of ingesting them, you wont need to worry too much. It’s still best to keep an eye on them while they use any squeaker toys. This will ensure that you and your pup are happy campers!
About the Company: Outward Hound
Outward Hound is a trusted brand of nearly 25 years, who pride themselves on innovation. They create some of the most well known interactive dog toys and games, innovative dog feeders, and outdoor travel gear for dogs on the market. We have found that their toys hold up to even the toughest chewers, and their accessories are top notch. From life jackets to plush toys, to durable chew toys, Outward Hound is able to provide quality products at an affordable price. No matter how rough your pup plays, Outward Hound will have a toy that your pup can get excited about.