13 min read

We Tried This Snuggly Toy And It Magically Calmed Our Anxious Dogs

It even has a heartbeat so they feel like they're cuddling a friend 💕

Snuggle Puppy

Why We Love It:

It keeps our dogs from crying or whining when we have to crate them. The heartbeat and heating pad help our pups feel less alone when we can’t be with them.

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All pet parents love when their dogs are obsessed with them, but sometimes that clinginess can go from cute to full-blown separation anxiety.

And there’s really nothing more heartbreaking than hearing your BFF whine and cry from his crate because he just wants to be with you every second of every day.

So, we gave some of our anxious Dodo dogs a SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy to see if it would actually help calm them down.

And it worked in the cutest way. Here’s why it earned our Paw of Approval.

What Is The Snuggle Puppy?

The Snuggle Puppy is a plush behavioral aid toy from SmartPetLove designed to help anxious dogs calm down.

It’s shaped like a dog — so your pup can have a snuggly BFF — and comes with disposable heating packs and a battery-powered heartbeat simulator that you can put inside it.

According to SmartPetLove, the warmth and the heartbeat are supposed to create a feeling of intimacy for your nervous pup, which will comfort him, help him sleep and even keep him from barking or whining.

It comes with two AAA batteries — which should keep that heartbeat going for two weeks — and is machine washable (just make sure you take the heart out first). The heating pack lasts for 24 hours, but you can stock up on more when you run out.

The SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy comes in a bunch of different breeds, so you can pick your favorite or collect them all.

The Judges

We picked three Dodo dogs with separation anxiety whose parents wanted to see if the Snuggle Puppy could calm them down.

Mushu
Mushu
Mushu gets bad separation anxiety whenever I leave because he is a COVID puppy. He loves people and other dogs more than any treat.” — his mom, Melanie Tse
Henrietta
Henrietta
Henrietta has separation anxiety. She’s a little pup with tons of energy, loves humans but is shy around dogs.” — her mom, Liz Rosas
Pipsy
Pipsy
“Pipsy has developed some severe separation anxiety due to me working from home for the last year.” — her mom, Barbara Shallow

So … Did It Actually Calm Our Pets Down?

Incredibly, two of our three judges actually stopped whining and crying when they cuddled in their crates with their Snuggle Puppy.

Mushu usually cries or yelps when I crate him to leave, but once I put this toy in with him, he was silent.” — Melanie T.

“Henrietta has recently started to whine about being in her crate at night, so I have started to put the dog in there with her and it does help soothe her a bit.” — Liz R.

They even seemed to get attached to their Snuggle Puppy, which is a total win since it was able to redirect a little bit of their separation anxiety.

“This was the toy of choice Mushu took to bed recently, so the fact that he kept playing with it and wanted to sleep with it was a win.” — Melanie T.

“This was a toy that I could see my dog actually enjoy, didn't treat as a toy to destroy but moreso to lay on or cuddle, which I had not seen her do with other toys.” — Liz R.

Our third dog judge loved her Snuggle Puppy, too, but didn’t realize it was a toy meant for cuddling and not playing.

So, her mom didn’t think the Snuggle Puppy helped much with her anxiety, since it wasn’t being used the way it was intended, even though Pipsy enjoyed it.

Mushu hugging his new Snuggle Puppy is the sweetest thing. | Melanie Tse

What Pets Loved: They Have A New Best Friend

Our judges were so thrilled to have a new BFF, and wanted to be with their Snuggle Puppy all the time.

Every time I came back after leaving Mushu with the Snuggle Puppy, he would be snuggled right up to it with his head on top of the heartbeat.” — Melanie T.

“Henrietta likes to snuggle with it when she is left alone, and I notice that she does carry it along when she goes from room to room.” — Liz R.

Two of our judges felt the Snuggle Puppy was soothing and calming. The third judge also loved it, but she just wanted to play with it.

“Pipsy loved this, but not for the right reasons. She wanted to tear it apart rather than lay with it and be comforted by it.” — Barbara S.

Henrietta is cuddling her new bestie. | Liz Rosas

What Parents Loved: Their Pups Can’t Tear It Apart Like Other Plushies

All of our judges love playing with toys, and they love tearing them to shreds even more.

But thanks to the Velcro on the Snuggle Puppy, they couldn’t rip out the heart like the squeakers in their other toys.

I was a little worried that Mushu would get through the Velcro and break the heating pad/heart at first since he's super destructive, so I monitored him with it in the beginning. He tried to get into it, but the Velcro was strong enough to keep him out of it.” — Melanie T.

“The Velcro is indestructible, at least for my dog, because she is typically able to break through those things.” — Liz R.

In fact, the whole toy is pretty durable, especially for a plush — despite our judges’ best efforts to destroy it.

“It still looks brand new after a couple weeks of thrashing and dragging around.” — Melanie T.

It was also a big plus for our pet parents that the heating pad and the heartbeat don’t have to be on at all times.

“I liked how the heating pad could be put away and used at different intervals of time so you didn't have to use it for 24 hours at once.” — Melanie T.

Any Downsides?

A couple of our dog judges didn’t recognize the Snuggle Puppy as a behavioral aid right away.

I would love some feedback on how to introduce this to my dog without her thinking it's a toy. I put a T-shirt of mine on it to add my scent to the Snuggle Puppy and it didn't work.” — Barbara S.

I had to sleep with the toy for a couple of nights so that it smelled like me, then it worked.”  — Melanie T.

It was a major plus for our pet parents that the Velcro was pretty much impenetrable. But on the flip side, it was so difficult to open that it made it a little tough to take the heart and the heating pad in and out.

“The heartbeat should be easier to press from the outside as opposed to ripping the Velcro open every time to press it. Since the Velcro is dog-proof, it takes some elbow grease to open!” — Melanie T.

“The Velcro can be hard to pull apart, making it difficult to turn on the heartbeat or remove/insert the heat pack. However, it makes sense since we don't want pets to access the inside.” — Liz R.

Despite the minor downsides, two of our three pet parents feel the Snuggle Puppy is reasonably priced at $39.92.

In fact, two of our testers plan to continue using the Snuggle Puppy, and all three would recommend it to other pet parents.

Our Takeaway: It’s A Lifesaver For Dogs With Separation Anxiety

It’s huge that the Snuggle Puppy was able to get some of our clingiest and most anxious dogs to settle down and actually sleep in their crates without a peep.

The heartbeat and heating packs really make your anxious pup feel like he’s cuddling up with another dog, which is honestly the sweetest thing — provided your pup is willing to cuddle with it instead of just wrestle with it, but at this price point, it’s worth a shot!

Besides, there’s really nothing cuter than seeing your pup carrying his favorite toy with him everywhere he goes, especially when it’s a toy with so many benefits.

The Dodo may receive complimentary samples to test in our Paw of Approval program, but all our opinions are 100 percent our own. We only publish endorsements of products we (and our dogs and cats) absolutely love! You can find out more about our testing process here.

If you have a product you love that you want to share with other pet parents, send a tip to dodopaw@thedodo.com.

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