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Puppy Heartbeat Toy: Why Your Dog May Need One

puppy with heartbeat toy

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When a puppy leaves his mother and littermates, the transition can be really hard. It takes time to get used to a new home and new family members. While it won’t completely fill the void, a puppy heartbeat toy may help comfort your new pet. Many pet parents have had success with these toys, but not everyone is familiar with what they are or how they work. 

If you’re looking for a natural way to soothe your new pet, read on. We’ll explain how puppy heartbeat toys work, plus share some of our favorite picks that are cute, cuddly and comforting.

What Is a Puppy Heartbeat Toy?

A puppy heartbeat toy is a plush animal companion that produces an audible heartbeat sound. It can be used to help your puppy sleep through the night or during crate training to help ease crying and whining. The toy typically features a small pouch that holds a plastic heartbeat simulator. Puppies may find the steady vibrations of the heart and the warmth of the plush toy comforting as they transition to their new home. Some products also feature a small heat pack for added comfort. 

“These toys are typically marketed to help comfort puppies who have been recently separated from their mother,” says Dr. Wailani Sung, a certified veterinary behaviorist for the San Francisco SPCA. “Puppies are used to sleeping next to or on top of their mother or littermates. The puppies that are distressed about being alone may benefit from the toy that mimics the heartbeat of their mother and/or littermate.”

Puppy Heartbeat Toy Benefits

Puppy with lamb heartbeat toy

The theory behind the puppy heartbeat toy is based on evidence in human medicine where skin-to-skin contact between mother and infant has been shown to reduce stress in newborns, Sung says. “The warmth provided by the toy may be comforting to puppies used to sleeping next to the warm body of their littermate and mother. Not all puppies will necessarily find the toy comforting, however, as it can be based on individual preference.”

Though heartbeat toys are typically used with puppies, dogs of all ages may enjoy snuggling with one. That being said, there are currently no scientific studies to indicate that heartbeat toys are a helpful tool in reducing fear, anxiety, or stress in dogs, Sung points out. For instance, a heartbeat toy is unlikely to comfort a dog who has a fear of loud noises, like thunderstorms or fireworks. “When a dog has a phobia, she has an irrational fear,” she says. “The heartbeat and warmth will unlikely reduce the irrational fear.”

It’s also important to keep in mind that puppy heartbeat toys are not meant to be chew toys. “There is always a danger in leaving a toy with a puppy overnight if the puppy likes to chew on his toys,” Sung says. “There is a possibility that he can chew and ingest pieces of the toy or heat pack. The heat pack would expose the puppy to a potential thermal or chemical burn depending on what materials are used.” 

If your puppy starts chewing on the toy, take it away for a little while and then bring it back later. Repeat the process until your dog starts to associate the toy with snuggle time.

Best Tried-and-True Puppy Heartbeat Toys

If you think your pup would benefit from a warm and cuddly puppy heartbeat toy, here are a few to consider:

Best Overall Puppy Heartbeat Toy

Our pick: SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy 

SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy

If you’re looking for the tried-and-true, O.G. puppy heartbeat toy, this is it. The SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy has been around for more than 20 years. It features a “real-feel” pulsing heartbeat that you can set to beat for 8 hours or 24/7. The company also sells a new puppy starter kit that includes a Snuggle Puppy, Snuggle Blanket, three heat packs, a puppy’s first toy, and a heart-shaped puppy teething aid.

Highlights

  • Available in five colors
  • Push-button heartbeat has two modes (8-hour and 24-hour settings)
  • Disposable heat pack lasts 24 hours
  • Velcro belly pouch to hold heart and heat pack
  • Machine washable on gentle cycle (when heart is removed)
  • Replacement heart available 


What to Consider

  • Heart requires 2 AAA batteries (included), which last up to 2 weeks with 24/7 use
  • Comes with 1 disposable heat pack; replacement packs are available separately

Pro tip: If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, you can just buy a plastic “replacement” heart for half the price of the plush toy and put it under a blanket or pillow.

Best Puppy Heartbeat Toy that Gives Back

Our pick: Calmeroos Puppy Heartbeat Toy

Calmeroos Puppy Heartbeat Toy

The Calmeroos puppy heartbeat toy applies the same formula: a soft plush puppy to snuggle against, the soothing sound of a beating heart, and a heat pack for added warmth. What we really love is that for every Calmeroos sold, the company donates 2 pounds of food to shelter pets in need. 

Highlights

  • Heart features simple on/off toggle switch
  • Air-activated disposable heat packs last 36 hours each
  • Machine washable on the gentle cycle. Air dry or tumble dry on low heat. (Remove heart and heat packs prior to washing.)
  • Velcro belly pouch to hold heart and heat pack
  • Replacement heart also available 

Things to Consider

  • Only available in one color
  • Heart requires 2 AAA batteries (included), which last up to 3 weeks with continuous use
  • Comes with 2 disposable heat packs; replacement packs available separately

Best Puppy Heartbeat Toy with Reusable Heat Source

Our pick: All for Paws Heartbeat Plush Toy with Warm Bag

All for Paws Heartbeat Plush Toy with Warm Bag

Who says your puppy’s cozy plush companion also has to be a puppy? This cuddly gray sheep is just as lovable. It comes with a pulsing plastic heart and a reusable warm bag that you heat in the microwave, so you won’t have to stock up on disposable heat packs. However, there is a major drawback, and that’s the battery life. The heartbeat runs on three cell batteries and only lasts four hours. That pales in comparison to the battery length of the hearts that run on AAA batteries. 

If you plan on using the heartbeat function often, it’s probably worth springing for one of the higher-priced heartbeat toys. But if your dog finds the warming aspect more comforting than the heartbeat sound, this may fit your needs. (The company does also make a heartbeat pillow that takes AAA batteries and lasts longer, but it does not have a heat source.)

Highlights:

  • Less expensive than other puppy heartbeat toys
  • Comes with a reusable warm bag that heats up in the microwave 

Things to Consider:

  • Surface washable only; wipe with damp cloth to clean
  • Runs on 3 cell batteries, and they only last 4 hours 
  • May cost less but you’ll be spending more on batteries 
  • Dogs may chew on the zipper compartment that holds the heart and warm bag

Best Budget Puppy Heartbeat Toy

Our pick: Moropaky Puppy Heartbeat Toy

Moropaky Puppy Heartbeat Toy

If you’re looking for a puppy heartbeat toy that’s a little more affordable and doesn’t sacrifice battery performance, this one from Moropaky may be the ticket. The only caveat is that it does not feature a heat source like others do. However, you could always purchase your own disposable heat packs and insert them in the velcro belly pouch that holds the heart.

Highlights:

  • Push-button heartbeat shuts down automatically after running for 8 hours
  • Velcro pouch to hold heartbeat simulator
  • Machine washable (with heart removed)

Things to Consider:

  • Runs on 3 AAA batteries but they’re not included
  • Does not feature a heat source  
  • Heartbeat simulator may not sound as realistic as other products (some reviewers found it too loud)

Best Blanket-Style Puppy Heartbeat Toy

Our pick: Moropaky Puppy Heartbeat Toy Bed Mat

Moropaky Puppy Heartbeat Toy Bed Mat

There’s nothing more adorable than a snoozing puppy, especially when he’s curled up with his favorite plush toy. But this blanket-style puppy heartbeat toy ups the cuteness and cozy factor even more. It’s from the same makers as our “budget” pick above, so you can expect the same features and functionality—just spread out across a cuddly non-slip mat.

Highlights:

  • Two-in-one design 
  • Velcro pocket for heartbeat simulator
  • Heartbeat automatically shuts down after eight hours
  • Machine washable (without heart)

Things to Consider

  • At only 18-by-18 inches, it’s smaller than expected 
  • Heart takes 3 AAA batteries but they’re not included
  • No heat source 
  • Some reviewers warn that the blanket stuffing becomes lumpy after washing 

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