Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Do Heartbeat Toys Work for Puppies? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ

Written by: Kathryn Copeland

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

Do Heartbeat Toys Work for Puppies? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ


Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo


Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Bringing home a new puppy is such an exciting time, but it can also be quite overwhelming! Still, imagine how your puppy must feel: They have left the only home that they have ever known, along with their litter mates and mother. This is the reason that heartbeat toys are available—the warmth of the toy and the sound of the heartbeat can help some puppies transition to their new homes a little more smoothly.

If you’re unsure if these toys will work for your dog, we’ll discuss the pros and cons and offer a few tips to make your puppy’s first few nights happy ones.

dogster face divider

What Exactly Is a Heartbeat Toy?

A heartbeat toy is supposed to simulate a puppy’s mother or littermates. They are typically stuffed toys with a machine that vibrates or makes sounds similar to a heartbeat. Some may have removable warmers to give the toy a more lifelike feel. The toy is typically shaped like a dog but can also be different animals, such as sheep or pillows.

The Snuggle Puppy is one of the first heartbeat toys, having been around since 1997. It’s a soft, plush toy with a plastic “heart” that repetitively vibrates like a heartbeat. It also comes with a heat pack (a one-time-use hand warmer).

A brown puppy chewing on a toy.
Image Credit:, Shutterstock

How Do Heartbeat Toys Help?

The intended use for these toys is to help comfort puppies when they are brought to their new homes. Studies have shown that skin-to-skin contact between human mothers and babies reduces stress, and the babies tend to cry less.1 Heartbeat toys were created for dogs partly based on this kind of evidence.

The softness and warmth of the toy and the sound and feel of the heartbeat may comfort puppies because it mimics how they felt when they were with their mother and littermates.

Not Just for Puppies

Heartbeat toys have the potential to ease the stress of adult dogs as well. They won’t help during particularly anxiety-ridden events, such as thunderstorms and fireworks, but if a dog gets nervous going into their crate, for example, the toy might make a difference.

miniature bull terrier dog playing with its toy
Image Credit: I_Love_Bull_Terriers, Pixabay

What Are the Issues With Heartbeat Toys?

Heartbeat toys should only be given to a puppy while under supervision. The heart contains batteries, and a puppy’s rough play could expose them. Also, since puppies chew everything, like with any soft toy, there’s a risk of ingesting the material.

If a heat pack is inside, there’s a risk of a chemical or thermal burn. If your puppy starts chewing on it, take it away from them and try again later. Give them chew toys in place of the heartbeat toy. Repeat this process until your puppy stops chewing it and only uses it for snuggles.

Another consideration is how dependent the puppy will become on the toy. If it’s being used to ease separation anxiety, what happens when you take the toy away? Will the separation anxiety get worse? If your puppy is becoming too dependent, you may want to look for additional ways to create calmness.

How Do You Wean Your Puppy From a Heartbeat Toy?

You can leave the toy with your puppy or dog and take out the “heart” and heat pack. But if you want to wean your pup entirely, you must do it slowly. Start by taking the toy away when you’re around, so separation anxiety isn’t as much of an issue. After a while, you can try taking it away at night but letting your puppy have it when you’re away. Eventually, you’ll be able to take it away permanently.

Preparation is key when helping your dog with recovery. Photography by: ©gollykim | Getty Images
Image Credit: ©gollykim | Getty Images

Other Methods to Comfort Your Puppy

Many experts will tell you that crate training is one of the best ways to soothe puppies. When puppies are scared, they’ll seek out comfortable, small spaces, which the crate can provide. Ensure that the crate is full of soft blankets, dog toys, and maybe even a heartbeat toy.

If you use a crate, bring it into your room, which can help your puppy’s separation anxiety. If it’s your puppy’s first night, hopefully, you have a blanket or clothing with their mother’s scent. If not, use one of your pieces of clothing or a blanket that smells like you.

You’ll also need to have a bedtime routine:

  • Feeding about 4 hours before bed
  • Playtime 1 to 2 hours before bed
  • Outside for a bathroom break right before bed

The first few nights will be rough, but following a routine may help comfort your puppy.

dogster paw divider


Are All Puppies Comforted by Heartbeat Toys?

No, heartbeat toys will not work for every puppy. They might stress out some dogs. Destructive, aggressive, or overly anxious pups might not do well with this toy. The vibration and sound might be triggering and lead to increased aggression or anxiety.

What Sounds Do Puppies Find Soothing?

White noise can provide some puppies with a certain level of comfort, so a sound machine might help. Classical music has also proven to have a calming effect on dogs, with an emphasis on music featuring solo piano.

You can find playlists on Spotify and YouTube that are meant to relax and calm canines. There are also apps available. You just need to search online for the music or sound to help calm your puppy or dog.

dog lying on carpet near record player with vinyl disc playing music
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Should I Play Music During Thunderstorms and Fireworks?

This might not work for all dogs or puppies, but it might effectively distract your pet when loud noises bother them. The music might also mask some of the sounds that make them nervous. But don’t blast the music! Keep the volume low to moderate, and start playing it while your puppy is still young. While classical music has been proven to work for dogs, try different genres to figure out what kind of music is the most calming for your pup.

Finally, you should play music for your dog when you’re at home and when you’re away. This will prevent your dog from associating the music with your leaving. The music will become a stressor rather than helping to soothe them.

dogster face divider


Heartbeat toys can be effective for some puppies, particularly when they have just moved into a new home. They may also be effective for adult dogs that might be mildly anxious. Just remember that heartbeat toys are not a cure-all and won’t help dogs overcome severe anxiety. They also aren’t a good idea for dogs that will likely tear them apart.

Introduce your puppy to the toy slowly, and supervise them at all times until you are confident that your puppy won’t chew it.

Featured Image Credit: Catherine Murray, Shutterstock

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.