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Best Tug Of War Dog Toy: The Ultimate Tug Toy Guide

best tug of war dog toys

What Is The Best Tug of War Dog Toy?

Best Tug Of War Dog Toy: The Ultimate Tug Toy Guide. Explore top picks, tips, and advice to enrich your dog’s playtime experience.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Tug of War Dog Toys

As passionate dog owners we’ve come to appreciate the joy and excitement that tug of war toys bring to our pets and us here at Pet Essentials Guide. But what is it that makes the best tug of war dog toy or best dog tug toys, and why is this type of toy so essential?

Tug of war dog toys are specifically designed products intended for interactive play between the dog and the owner or between two dogs. These toys are typically made of durable, robust materials such as rope, rubber, or strong fabric. They come in various shapes and sizes, ensuring there’s a perfect tug of war toy for every breed and size.

A significant reason why these toys have become so popular is their versatility and the multitude of benefits they offer. The best tug of war dog toy can serve as a tool for exercise, a means to relieve anxiety, and even a method of teeth cleaning for your four-legged friends.

Strengthen Your Bond

Most importantly, tug of war toys help strengthen the bond between the dog and the owner. Engaging in a friendly and controlled tug of war game is a wonderful opportunity to build trust, establish leadership, and improve communication with your pet. The game replicates the tugging action dogs would use in the wild, creating a fun and instinctually familiar activity.

For example, consider one of our reader’s golden retriever, Max. Ever since they introduced the right tug of war toy to him, their playtime has transformed into an interactive experience filled with energy and excitement. Max not only gets the physical exercise he needs, but he also learnt important lessons about patience, control, and following commands.

Furthermore, the best tug of war dog toys are the ones that can withstand the enthusiasm and strength of your furry friend. Durability is key. If the toy easily tears apart, it not only loses its purpose, but it can also pose a serious choking hazard.

Choosing the best tug of war dog toy requires an understanding of your pet’s size, strength, and preferences. But most importantly, it should ensure a fun, safe, and enriching playtime that both of you can enjoy.

As we delve further into this topic, we will explore these aspects in more detail, guiding you towards making the best choice for your beloved pet.

Best Tug of War Dog Toy: Jack Russell playing with a tug toy

Why Choose Tug of War Toys?

The best tug of war dog toy does more than simply entertain your dog. These dynamic dog toys offer a plethora of benefits, touching upon various aspects of a dog’s health and well-being. So, whether you’re at home in the back yard, the park down the road, or when you’re traveling on your holidays, the benefits to your beloved pooch are boundless.

To truly appreciate their value, let’s delve into the specific benefits that these dog toys provide, including dental health, exercise, mental stimulation, and relationship-building.

Dental Health

A good game of tug with a durable toy is an excellent method for cleaning your dog’s teeth. The tugging action helps to remove plaque, thereby improving oral hygiene. Many of the best tug toys are made of materials that are not only sturdy but also designed to safely rub against your dog’s teeth and gums, promoting cleaner teeth and fresher breath. For instance, rope toys with tightly wound fibres act much like floss, reaching into those hard-to-brush spaces between teeth.


A tug dog toy can be the perfect tool for energetic dogs needing a good workout. The physical effort required in a game of tug using a rubber toy provides a full-body workout, strengthening your dog’s muscles and improving cardiovascular fitness. When my energetic Australian Shepherd, Bella, and I engage in our daily tug of war game, she gets an excellent workout that keeps her healthy and happy.

Mental Stimulation

Contrary to what some may believe, tug of war is not just a game of strength—by using a dog toy it’s also a game of strategy. Dogs need to figure out the best way to pull a toy, when to hold, and when to let go, making the best tug of war dog toy a fantastic tool for mental stimulation. It encourages your pet to use their problem-solving skills and keeps their mind sharp and engaged.


Playing  great game of tug of war with your dog is a superb way to strengthen your bond. Regular interactive playtime shows your dog that you are fun to be around and enhances the connection between you two. It’s an opportunity for dogs to learn to trust their human companions and for the owners to assert gentle leadership.

Choosing the best toy can make a significant difference in your pet’s life. It offers a multi-faceted approach to health and well-being, all wrapped up in an enjoyable and interactive game. It’s a win-win situation for both dogs and their human friends.

Best Tug of War Dog Toys

Review: Best Tug of War Dog Toys of 2023

Selecting the best tug of war dog toy can be a challenge given the vast array of choices available in today’s market. As dedicated dog owners, we’ve tested countless options with our canine companions. We initially spoke to our training community and asked many puppy owners on what they have used with success. And that’s a great tip for you too, local dog loving communities providing support like this can be invaluable and one of best ways to research what is best for your dog.

We’ve compiled a list of top-rated tug of war toys, taking into account their durability, safety features, and the level of enjoyment they offer to our furry dog friends.

1. KONG Tug Toy (kongcompany.com)

KONG is a well-respected brand in the dog industry, and their great tug toy doesn’t disappoint. Made with natural rubber, it is extremely durable and can withstand vigorous tugging from large, strong breeds.

It has comfortable control-flex technology for safer play and to withstand the thrills of a good tug session. My Border Collie, Daisy, is particularly fond of this toy.

  • Pros: Durable, control-flex limits potential strains.
  • Cons: Not suitable for heavy chewers when unsupervised.

2. Mammoth Flossy Chews Cottonblend Color Rope Tug (mammothpet.com)

This great tug toy also doubles as a dental health tool. The long, thick strands of rope are excellent for cleaning your dog’s teeth during play. It comes in several sizes to suit different dog breeds. Our Golden Retriever, Max, spends countless hours with this toy.

  • Pros: Promotes dental health, comes in various sizes.
  • Cons: Some dogs may fray the rope over time.

3. West Paw Zogoflex Bumi Dog Tug Toy (westpaw.com)

The West Paw Zogoflex Bumi is made from eco-friendly, non-toxic materials and is an excellent choice for environmentally conscious pet parents. Their dog toys unique S-shape makes it bounce unpredictably, adding to the fun. 

  • Pros: Eco-friendly, offers exciting play due to its shape.
  • Cons: Pricey compared to other tug toys.

4. GoughNuts – TuG Interactive Large Dog Toy – MaXX Black (goughnuts.com)

The GoughNuts TuG toy is designed with safety in mind. Their dog toys features a built-in safety indicator where green means “GoughNuts” and red means “Stop.” It’s the best tug of war dog toy for heavy chewers.

  • Pros: Extremely durable, safety features included.
  • Cons: Some dogs may find the rubber flavor unappealing.

5. Nylabone Power Play Furry Tug (nylabone.com)

The Nylabone Power Play Furry Tug is perfect for those who enjoy a touch of softness in their dog toys. With its plush, furry ends and a sturdy rubber middle, the toy offers the best of both worlds. 

  • Pros: Soft yet durable, squeaker for added fun.
  • Cons: Not suited for aggressive chewers.

Choosing the most suitable dog toys for your pet depends on your pet’s size, breed, and chewing habits. Each toy has its unique set of features, making them suitable for different types of play and breeds.

Always supervise playtime with all toys to ensure your pet’s safety and remember that even the most durable toy can become a hazard if it starts to break apart. May your toy choice bring countless hours of fun and bonding with your four-legged family member!

Beagle playing with a tug toy in the kitchen

Choosing the Best Tug of War Dog Toy for Your Breed

Finding the best tug of war dog toy can make all the difference in your pet’s playtime. Dogs, like humans, have distinct personalities, strengths, and preferences.

These factors, along with the size and breed of your dog, should guide your selection. Here’s a quick guide on how to choose the best tug of war dog toy based on your dog’s breed.

1. Labrador Retriever

Labs are known for their strength and love of play. A durable, rubber tug toy like the KONG Tug Toy would be an excellent choice.

2. German Shepherd

These intelligent and strong dogs need toys that can withstand their power. The GoughNuts TuG Interactive Large Dog Toy is a superb choice due to its durability and safety features.

3. Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers have strong jaws and are generally gentle chewers. They would enjoy the Mammoth Flossy Chews Cottonblend Color Rope Tug, which also benefits their dental health.

4. French Bulldog

Despite their small size, French Bulldogs can be quite strong. A smaller but durable tug toy like the Nylabone Power Play Furry Tug would suit them best.

5. Bulldog

Bulldogs have a strong grip but a relatively low energy level. A rubber tug toy that can withstand their grip but doesn’t require too much effort, like the KONG Tug Toy, would be ideal.

6. Beagle

Beagles are playful and energetic. A smaller, soft yet sturdy tug toy such as the Nylabone Power Play Furry Tug would keep them entertained.

7. Poodle

Poodles are intelligent and enjoy mental stimulation. A toy like the West Paw Zogoflex Bumi Dog Tug Toy that bounces unpredictably would provide both physical and mental engagement.

8. Rottweiler

Rottweilers are incredibly strong, so they need a toy that can take a lot of tugging. The GoughNuts TuG Interactive Large Dog Toy is durable enough to withstand their strength.

9. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies are small but enjoy a good game of tug. A smaller rope toy like the Mammoth Flossy Chews Cottonblend Color Rope Tug would be perfect for them.

10. Boxer

Boxers are energetic and strong, so they need a toy that can handle their energy. The KONG Tug Toy, with its control-flex technology, would be an excellent choice.

To ensure that you choose the best tug of war dog toy, take into account your dog’s size, strength, and breed characteristics. Consider also the durability of the toy, your dog’s chewing habits, and the safety features of the product.

Remember, every dog is unique. What works best for one might not work for another, even within the same breed.

By understanding your dog’s individual needs and preferences, you’ll be able to select the best tug of war dog toy that will provide hours of fun, exercise, and bonding time. Happy tugging!

Best Tug of War Dog Toys of 2023

Safety Guidelines for Tug of War Toys

The thrill of finding the best tug of war dog toy for your furry friend can sometimes overshadow an equally important aspect: safety.

As exciting as these toys are, they must be used with care to avoid any potential accidents. To ensure a safe and enjoyable tug of war experience, here are some guidelines to follow:

1. Supervise Playtime

Always supervise your dog when they are playing with their tug toy. Dogs can get carried away and may accidentally ingest parts of the toy. Supervision also allows you to regulate the intensity of the game, ensuring it remains fun and safe for both you and your pet.

2. Regularly Inspect the Toy

Inspect the tug toy regularly for signs of wear and tear. No matter how durable or reputed the best tug of war dog toy is, it will eventually wear out with time and use. Look for loose threads in rope toys, cracks or chunks missing from rubber or plastic toys, or any other potential hazards.

3. Replace Worn-out Toys

Do not wait for a toy to fall apart before replacing it. If you notice the toy is significantly worn or damaged, it’s time to discard it. Continued use of a damaged toy can lead to accidental ingestion of toy parts, posing a choking hazard or potentially causing digestive issues.

4. Train Proper Release Commands

Training your dog to understand release commands like “drop it” or “let go” can ensure safety during tug of war games. It gives you control over the game and ensures your dog can stop the game when needed.

5. Choose the Right Size

Choosing the best tug of war dog toy also means selecting the right size. A toy that’s too small could be a choking hazard, while a toy that’s too big might cause strain to your dog’s mouth and neck.

6. Avoid Tugging Upwards

Refrain from tugging upwards during play, as this can cause excessive strain on your dog’s spine and neck. Keep the game at your dog’s level to prevent any potential injury.

7. Know Your Dog’s Limit

Every dog has its limit. Pay attention to your dog’s behavior during play. If they seem uncomfortable or overly tired, it’s time to end the game.

These safety guidelines ensure that the tug of war game remains a source of joy rather than worry. The best tug of war dog toy is one that brings fun and health benefits to your dog while also providing peace of mind for you. Play safe and enjoy the quality time with your furry companion!

Best Tug of War Dog Toy: German shepherd playing

Expert Tips for Tug of War Games

As dedicated dog owners, one of the most common questions we get is how to make the most out of tug of war games. With the best tug of war dog toy in hand, these games can be an excellent way to bond with your furry friend while providing them with the physical exercise and mental stimulation they need.

Here are some expert tips to ensure your tug of war games are both enjoyable and beneficial.

1. Use Tug of War as a Training Tool

Tug of war can be an effective training tool, providing both mental and physical exercise.

Teach your dog to “wait” before starting the game or only begin when given a specific command. This practice not only promotes discipline but also gives you control over the game.

2. Teach Release Commands

As mentioned earlier, teaching release commands like “drop it” is essential.

It ensures that you can stop the game anytime, particularly if it’s getting too intense. The tug of war game is a lot safer and more enjoyable when your dog knows when to let go.

3. Let Your Dog Win Sometimes

Contrary to popular belief, letting your dog win the tug of war game does not make them dominant. Instead, it can boost their confidence and make the game more fun for them.

So, don’t be afraid to let them win and parade around with their prize sometimes!

4. Mix it Up

Variety is the spice of life, even in tug of war games. Switching between different types of the best tug of war dog toys can keep the game exciting for your dog.

One day you can use a rope toy, the next a rubber one. This variety can also help determine which toy your dog enjoys the most.

5. Keep the Game Positive

Tug of war should always be a positive experience for your dog.

Avoid tugging too hard or causing discomfort. Always end the game on a high note, like giving praise or a treat, to ensure your dog associates the game with positive feelings.

6. Use the Game for Bonding

Tug of war is not just a game; it’s a bonding opportunity. It allows you to spend quality time with your dog, strengthening your relationship.

Show enthusiasm during the game, and don’t be afraid to get down on their level to make the game more engaging.

7. Know When to Stop

Knowing when to stop is crucial for a safe and enjoyable game.

If your dog is panting heavily, seems disinterested, or appears aggressive, it’s time to stop. Never force your dog to play if they don’t seem to be enjoying it.

Tug of war is more than just a game to pass the time. It’s a chance to interact with your pet, teach them new commands, and give them the mental and physical exercise they need.

With the best tug of war dog toy and these handy tips, you’re well on your way to enjoying countless hours of fun with your furry friend!

Shih Tzu playing with a tug toy in the backyard

Maintaining and Cleaning Your Tug of War Toy

A well-kept tug of war dog toy can significantly enhance your pup’s playtime experience and ensure the longevity of the toy. Just as you researched to find the best tug of war dog toy, it’s equally important to learn how to maintain and clean it properly. Below are some useful tips to help you keep your dog’s favorite toy in great shape.

1. Regular Inspection

Always inspect the toy after each play session. Check for any signs of wear or damage, like loose threads, fraying, or broken pieces. Remember, even the best tug of war dog toy will not last forever, and timely detection of damage can prevent potential choking hazards.

2. Clean the Toy Regularly

Cleaning your dog’s tug of war toy can help prolong its lifespan and keep your pet healthy. For rubber or nylon toys, use warm water and mild soap. Thoroughly scrub the toy to remove dirt, rinse it well, and let it air dry.

For rope toys, soak them in a solution of water and mild bleach (one part bleach to 10 parts water) for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and allow to dry. The bleach will help remove any bacteria from the fibers.

If you have a washing machine safe rope toy, it can often be cleaned by simply running it through a wash cycle. However, always check the cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer.

3. Store Toys Properly

Proper storage of the tug toy when not in use is critical. Store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, as excessive heat and sun can cause the toy to degrade faster.

4. Replace Damaged Toys

No matter how durable the best tug of war dog toy is, once it shows significant signs of wear, it’s safer to replace it. Damaged toys not only lose their efficacy in providing a good grip but can also pose safety risks to your pet.

5. Have Multiple Toys

Having multiple toys in rotation can help extend the lifespan of each individual toy. It also offers your dog variety, keeping their interest in the game alive.

Just like anything else, maintaining your pet’s toys requires a bit of effort and time.

However, with the best tug of war dog toy, this routine upkeep can be well worth the joyful wagging tail and hours of fun for your furry friend.

Proper maintenance not only ensures a safer play experience but also helps you get the most out of your investment in high-quality toys.

After all, a clean, well-kept toy makes for a happy dog, and a happy dog makes for a happy pet parent!

Best Tug of War Dog Toy: Dachshund playing

Conclusion: Best Tug of War Dog Toys

Choosing and using the best tug of war dog toy for your beloved pet may seem overwhelming at first, but with the right information, it becomes an exciting journey.

Throughout this article, we’ve explored the ins and outs of tug of war toys, from their benefits to the various options available in the market, and now, it’s time to put that knowledge into action.

Remember, the best tug of war dog toy is more than just a plaything; it’s an instrument for bonding, training, and promoting good dental health.

These toys provide a fun way for your dog to satisfy their natural instincts while staying active and engaged.

And don’t forget your local dog community or club, they’re a great source of information for tips and tricks, and many even offer free training to help you on your journey to find the best toy. They are a wealth of information for anything and everything dog related. 

Choosing a Toy

When choosing a tug toy, consider your dog’s size, strength, and preferences. This approach ensures a comfortable and enjoyable playtime for both you and your dog.


Safety is paramount in any game, and tug of war is no exception. Regularly inspect the toy for signs of wear and tear and replace it when needed. A well-maintained toy not only lasts longer but also reduces the risk of potential injuries or accidents.


Cleaning and maintaining your dog’s tug of war toy is just as important. Regular cleaning helps extend the lifespan of the toy and keeps your pet healthy by reducing the risk of bacterial contamination.

Proper storage when the toy is not in use is another key aspect of maintenance.

Tug of war games, played with the best tug of war dog toy and following the expert tips provided, can bring countless hours of fun and provide various benefits for your pet.

They not only help meet your dog’s physical and mental needs but also strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend.

With all this information in hand, you’re now well-equipped to make an informed decision. So, let the fun begin and enjoy the wonderful game of tug of war with your beloved pooch!

FAQ: Best Tug of War Dog Toys

What makes a good tug of war dog toy?

The best tug of war dog toy is durable, safe, and suitable for your dog’s size and strength. It should be made of non-toxic materials and be easy for both you and your dog to grip.

Look for toys with reinforced stitching or those made from strong rubber or nylon for enhanced durability.

Are tug of war toys safe for all breeds of dogs?

Yes, tug of war toys can be safe for all breeds when chosen correctly. The key is to select a toy that matches your dog’s size and strength. For example, larger breeds will require tougher, larger toys, while smaller breeds will be better suited to lighter, smaller toys.

Can tug of war toys help improve my dog’s dental health?

Absolutely! When your dog tugs and chews on the toy, it can help remove plaque and stimulate their gums, promoting better dental health. However, it’s important to remember that a tug of war toy is not a replacement for regular dental care routines such as brushing.

How often should I replace my dog’s tug of war toy?

This largely depends on your dog’s chewing habits and the durability of the toy. Regular inspection is crucial. If you notice significant wear and tear or any loose parts, it’s time to replace the toy to prevent choking hazards.

How should I clean and maintain my dog’s tug of war toy?

For rubber or nylon toys, clean them with warm water and mild soap, rinse thoroughly, and let them air dry. For rope toys, you can often machine wash them or clean them with a bleach solution. Always store the toys in a cool, dry place when not in use.

Is playing tug of war good exercise for my dog?

Yes, tug of war is a fantastic physical and mental workout for dogs. It helps strengthen their muscles, improves coordination, and can be a great way to teach them self-control and good behavior.

Can puppies play with tug of war toys?

Yes, but make sure the toy is appropriate for their size and strength. Also, ensure the play is gentle to protect their developing teeth and joints.

Are there any risks involved in playing tug of war with my dog?

If not done properly, there could be risks like tooth damage or increased aggression. Always supervise play, use appropriate toys, and ensure your dog knows the release command.

Can playing tug of war cause aggression in dogs?

No, tug of war does not cause aggression when played correctly. It should be a controlled game with rules, and your dog should be trained to release the toy on command.

What should I look for when buying a tug of war toy for a larger breed?

When choosing the best tug of war dog toy for a larger breed, prioritize durability and size. The toy should withstand their powerful jaws and be large enough that they can’t accidentally swallow it.

What is the best tug of war toys for large dogs?

The best tug of war toys for large dogs are made from heavy-duty materials like reinforced nylon or thick rope, designed to withstand strong jaws and pulling force.

Is there an indestructible tug-of-war dog toy?

No toy is completely indestructible, but some are made with extremely durable materials like rubber or heavy-duty fabric, designed to last longer under intense play.

What are heavy duty tug toys for dogs?

Heavy-duty tug toys are designed using strong materials like thick rubber or double-stitched fabric to endure aggressive chewing and pulling.

Dog tug-of-war toy that sticks to floor?

Some tug-of-war toys come with suction cups that stick to the floor, allowing the dog to play independently by pulling against the resistance.

What is the most durable tug-of-war toys for dogs?

The most durable tug-of-war toys typically include those made from rubber, reinforced nylon, or thick braided ropes designed for strong pullers.

What are some of the best tug toys for small dogs?

Small dogs often enjoy softer materials like fleece or lightweight rubber, sized appropriately for their mouths and strength.

Can you use tug toys for working dogs?

Yes, tug toys can be an effective training and reward tool for working dogs, helping to build strength, coordination, and obedience.

What’s a good tug toy for large dogs?

A good tug toy for large dogs should be sturdy and durable, made from materials like rubber or reinforced fabric that can handle strong pulls.

Are tug of war toys good for dogs?

Yes, tug of war toys provide both mental and physical stimulation, promoting exercise, training, and bonding with the owner.

What is the best tug-of-war toy for German Shepherds?

The best tug-of-war toy for German Shepherds will be strong and durable, made from materials like reinforced nylon or rubber to withstand their powerful bite.

Do dogs like winning tug-of-war?

Dogs may enjoy the feeling of “winning” tug-of-war as part of the play, but it’s essential to teach them to release on command to maintain control.

What is the best toy for two dogs to play with?

A sturdy, elongated tug toy that allows for two dogs to grip and pull simultaneously can provide engaging play for two dogs, fostering cooperation and exercise.

What’s the top tug toy for small dogs?

The top tug toy for small dogs is typically made of softer, lightweight materials, such as fleece or plush, that are easy for them to grasp and gentle on their smaller jaws.

What’s a great top tug toy for very large-sized dogs?

A great top tug toy for very large-sized dogs should be constructed from heavy-duty materials such as reinforced nylon or thick rubber, offering enough resistance to accommodate their considerable strength and large mouths.

Is a rubber ring a great toy buy for dog tugging?

Yes, a rubber ring can be a great toy for dog tugging as it offers durability, a good grip, and flexibility, making it suitable for both interactive play and training exercises.

What’s the top tug toy for medium-sized dogs?

For medium-sized dogs, a top tug toy might be a braided rope or medium-hard rubber toy, designed to match their moderate strength and bite force, providing both durability and enjoyment.

How many inches does a rope tug toy need to be?

The length of a rope tug toy should match the size and strength of the dog, typically ranging from 12 inches for small breeds to 24 inches or more for larger breeds, allowing comfortable play.

Can you buy a plush style dog toy for a puppy for tugging?

Yes, a plush style tug toy can be ideal for a puppy, offering a soft and gentle texture that’s suitable for their developing teeth and gums while still encouraging interactive play.

How important is grip for tugging dog toys?

The grip is crucial for tugging dog toys as it ensures both the dog and the owner can comfortably hold the toy, preventing slipping and enhancing control during play, thus making the game safer and more enjoyable.

How to assess or review the benefit of a dog using a tug toy?

Assessing the benefit of a dog using a tug toy involves observing the dog’s engagement, physical exercise, and mental stimulation during play. Monitoring improvements in coordination, strength, and bonding with the owner can further indicate the positive impact of the tug toy.

Is a tug toy with grip better than a toy with no grip? What are the pros and cons?

A tug toy with grip is generally considered better as the grip offers more control and safety for both the dog and owner during play. The pros of a dog toy with grip include better handling, reduced risk of accidental slipping, and a more engaging play experience.

However, the cons might include a slightly higher cost for well-designed grip features, and it may take some time for your dog to get used to a different texture. A dog toy without grip might be simpler and less expensive but may lead to a less controlled play experience.

Can you give your dog a treat after losing a tug of war game?

Yes, you can give your dog a treat after losing a tug of war game. In fact, treating your dog, whether they win or lose, can help maintain a positive and enjoyable experience, reinforcing good behavior and interaction during the game.

It’s essential to ensure that the game of tug is played with rules and clear communication, and that the treat is used as a reward for following those rules, not necessarily for winning or losing. This approach helps foster a healthy relationship between you and your dog, and helps in training them to play tug of war appropriately.


About the Author

Roger Bann

Roger Bann

Roger Bann, an accredited dog trainer with 35 years under his belt, is the proud owner of a dynamic canine trio: a spirited Shih Tzu, a loyal Golden Retriever, and an energetic Border Collie. When not adventuring on family camping holidays with his furry entourage, he's spoiling his Ragdoll cat at petessentials.guide.

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