Providing appropriate mental and cognitive stimulation for dogs while allowing them to have fun reminds us more of the aims of early childhood development. For this reason, interactive toys for dogs are highly recommended to help promote a more well-balanced temperament, making dogs a lot easier to train and helping minimize canine behavioral issues that stem out of boredom and frustration.
There are many interactive dog toys on the market. Each one has its unique advantages over the others. Understanding what these types of doggie toys are and what benefits your pooch can derive from these things can help you decide on the right interactive toy to purchase for your canine friend.
What are Interactive Dog Toys?
Interactive dog toys are playthings that keep canines fully stimulated in their simplest definition. Dogs are highly social animals. They thrive on interaction with members of the pack. Therefore, if you have several pets in the household, canine boredom is usually not an issue since they can at least play among themselves. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for single dog households, especially if you are too busy with work or if no one is left in the house to keep your pup stimulated.
Interactive dog toys can come in many forms. First, there are puzzle toys that use treats as the primary motivation for puppies to try and solve the puzzle. For instance, you can hide the treat in a mechanism that hounds will have to 'solve' to access the treat.
Some toys squeak or make funny noises and move. These play to the dog's predatory instincts. We've written a detailed article on why dogs like squeaky toys. Check it out.
Some toys come in various textures, tastes, and even sounds. Like human development, these things stimulate the brain. But, as we all know, stimulating the brain means working it to become sharper and primed for optimum canine training.
Different Types of Interactive Dog Toys
Before making any decisions, it helps to know the different types of interactive dog toys available to you and what they're each made for.
Food & treat-dispensing toys
Food and treat dispenser toys provide your dog with food-fueled fun. If treats drive your dog as reinforcement for behavior, a treat-dispensing toy can be the perfect way to encourage them to play independently. Doing this can help curb separation anxiety and train undesired behavior out of your puppy, such as barking.
Puzzle toys are ideal for intelligent dog breeds that demand a lot of mental stimulation. Puzzle dog toys can come in all shapes and sizes, and many of them are offered in a range of difficulties (some of which can even be difficult for a human to figure out). They're the perfect way to keep an active mind occupied.
Hide and seek toys cater to a dog's instinct to forage and hunt for things. By hiding toys within toys, they will feel compelled to find the hidden toys to get to play with them. They also come with the additional benefit of providing a space for your dog to stick their nose when they're feeling particularly snuffly.
Responsive toys are often good for highly active dogs (or all puppies). They will usually respond to sound or movement, triggering an exciting reaction that will catch your dog's attention. Responsive toys often move quickly and make plenty of light or sound to encourage your dog to play with them. This is great for keeping energetic dogs entertained.
High-Tech toys can range from an automated ball launcher to an app-controlled Roomba-style engagement toy. Each has its perks depending on what it is you need. Though high-tech dog toys are usually quite expensive, do plenty of research and make sure it suits your needs before investing. Also, always check the warranty and return information before letting your dog get at it.
The 25 Top-Rated Interactive Dog Toys
Picking the right interactive plaything for your pup need not be difficult. You can start with our list of the twenty-five best interactive toys for dogs.
- Irregularly shaped ball with flattened surfaces for unpredictability
- Emits giggles and other sounds when rolled
- With 6 clutch pockets for easy pick-up
- Constructed of durable and pet-safe material
One of the interactive dog toys you might want to buy for your pup is the Wobble Wag Giggle Ball. After all, it’s a ball, and everyone knows just how much dogs love chasing after balls or pretty much anything! The Wobble Wag ball works by having an extremely uneven surface which causes it to skip, hop, jump, wiggle, and waggle all over the place as your dog pushes it around the floor.
Sounds and giggles are emitted from the Wobble Wag every time your puppy gives it a push for a bit of additional audio stimulation. It is also designed to be easy for your dog to pick up in its mouth since there are already built-in clutch pockets for your pup’s teeth to latch on to. So forget your tennis ball for a while and use the Wobble Wag instead.
- Provides audio stimulation as well as physical
- The high contrast design is easy for a dog to spot
- No batteries are needed
- The sound is much more pleasant than the standard squeaker
- Dogs that like to chew can break the squeaker tubes
- Not all dogs like the sound – depending on their personality
- It is quite hard plastic and can scratch hard flooring
- Available in four difficulty levels
- Challenges your dog’s cognitive ability
- The non-slip bottom keeps the puzzle secure
- BPA, PVC, and Phthalate-free
If you’re looking for a dog puzzle toy that can test your dog’s cognitive ability, look no further than the Nina Ottoson Interactive Puzzle Game.
It is the ideal brain stimulating toy for especially intelligent dog breeds that prove difficult to challenge outside of their training. This toy holds treats inside small compartments, which your pup will have to unveil before accessing them.
Each compartment has a small puzzle that needs to be solved for your dog to get to the tasty treats inside, a great mini-test for your dog’s IQ.
This is one of the best interactive dog toys because of the complexity of the puzzle, but it also comes in two additional difficulty levels. So if your dog is just too brainy, you can push their puzzle-solving skills further by purchasing the more advanced version.
- Can be used to keep your dog entertained whilst you work
- The non-slip bottom helps keep your dog focused on the puzzle
- The stimulation helps to curb undesirable behavior
- Holds a good amount of treats per use
- It needs regular thorough cleaning which can be time-consuming
- It is not ideal for big chewers or destructive dogs
- If you get the wrong difficulty your dog can give up trying
- Easy access for filling with treats
- Durable and dishwasher safe
- Made using high-quality food-grade polymer
- Made for use with dry treats only
Kong is known for creating some of the more indestructible dog toys. For example, the Kong wobbler toy dispenses treat as it is rolled around by your dog.
Each time a treat or piece of food is shaken loose, the wobbler will right itself in preparation for being rolled again. It is a surprisingly simple design based on the classic weeble shape with the cognitive challenge of an IQ treat ball.
Not only does its shape help to make it more challenging for your pup, but it also adds a fun movement style that makes it less predictable.
This means your dog will be more engaged in chasing it around the room as it shifts direction unexpectedly.
The extremely durable exterior makes it an excellent toy for heavy chewers and teething puppies.
- The extra-large, brightly colored design makes it hard to lose
- Great for keeping puppies occupied whilst crate training
- Can be used to redirect chewing habits
- Very engaging as it wobbles for a long time when nudged
- It cannot be used with pate or peanut butter
- Doesn’t wobble back to standing very quickly when full
- The hole is too large for small puppy kibble biscuits
- 2-in-1 play mode: standalone plaything and toss and fetch
- Tree stump hideout design with 5 holes
- Includes from 3 to 6 plush and pet-safe squirrel toys
- Both the tree stump and squirrels are made of dog-safe material
Designed to play to the predatory instincts of your dog is the Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Squeaky Plush Dog Puzzle Toy.
These toys mimic a tree stump, complete with holes within which you can hide the accompanying plush squirrels. Your pup will have a field day trying to sniff through the holes and pull out these furry toys.
Of course, you can also throw or toss the squirrels so your puppy can go and fetch them for you.
The tree stump and the squirrel toys of Outward Hound are made of safe materials, so even if your hound decides to keep it in its mouth, you’d still feel safe.
- The squirrels are squeaky and can be easily removed
- It is available in four sizes with eight different designs
- Can be mixed and matched with other plush animals
- The soft material is great for teething puppies
- Not ideal for aggressive chewers or destructive dogs
- Tiny dogs have been known to get their head stuck inside it
- Some dogs shake the toy rather than play with it
- Wiggles vibrates, and barks when it’s time to play
- The furry texture and shape resemble a real animal
- Movement and sound are motion-activated
- Available in four fun designs
Designed to jump, skip, hop, and bark its way around your home. The Hyper Pet Doggie Tail gives the dog owner a break as their dog’s animal instincts kick in, and it chases its new toy across the house.
Though the noise can be unsettling for some dogs, other dogs can’t get enough of it! Knowing your pup’s personality will help you know whether this toy will be the right fit for them.
It is a particularly appealing design for hyperactive dogs, as the movement and sound can match their energy levels.
In addition, pet owners that have purchased this toy in the past have remarked that it is an easy toy to set up initially and that the battery pack is easy to access, which is ideal with these types of interactive puppy toys.
- Easy to access the battery pack and replace the batteries
- It caters to a pup’s animal instincts to chase and catch
- Great for matching the energy of hyperactive pups
- The movement mechanism is easy to set up initially
- Not ideal for aggressive play as it can damage the motion sensor
- The noise can be disturbing to some dogs
- Dogs with high prey drives can become obsessive over it.
- Motion actives flashing lights with 18 sounds
- Extra-durable construction to withstand lots of playtimes
- Available in three sizes to suit most dogs
- Helps to reduce anxiety and keep your dog from getting bored
Most interactive dog toys cover one or two areas of interaction. However, the Pet Qwerks Babble Ball covers three; light, sound, and movement. With flashing lights, a babbling voice, and 18 other sounds, it keeps your dog engaged.
This durable plastic babbly ball responds exceptionally well to the lightest touch from your pup, rolling, flashing, and babbling its way around the house. It’s even motion-activated to encourage additional play.
Though the hard casing can be pretty harsh on hardwood floors, it is otherwise one of the best interactive dog toys for active pups. It can even be used as a fetch toy by rolling it along the ground and having your dog retrieve it.
In addition, this ball’s loud and bright nature makes it a great interactive dog toy for canines with vision problems or hearing loss.
- It automatically switches on and off so the owner doesn’t have to do it
- A great toy for dogs losing their sight (or blind dogs)
- Super hard-wearing and can withstand destructive dogs
- Capable of holding a dog’s (or multiple dogs) attention for a long time
- The hard casing can be noisy and potentially scratch hardwood flooring
- Saliva can get into the ball through the speaker holes
- No on/off switch, so store out of reach of your pup at night time
- Automatic ball launching technology
- Can be set to launch at three distances
- Designed both for indoor and outdoor use
- iFetch Too is also available for larger ball launching design
A clever, automated interactive dog toy created to help keep your dogs interested in a way unlike any other toy on our list. iFetch works much like a pet fitness robot in that it will play fetch with your dog using the tennis balls specifically designed for the ball launching chute.
It is a toy made to suit anything from small dogs to large dogs. Seeing as any old pup can play fetch, it’s the oldest game in the book!
Not only does it work to keep your dog entertained, but at the same time, it helps you to train your dog in agility and obedience and test your dog’s IQ.
For example, your dog has to learn to collect the ball within a 60-second window and deposit it back into the chute to have it thrown out again.
It can also be programmed to three different distances. However, make sure your dog doesn’t stand before the toy when it launches, as the ball comes out pretty quickly.
- A great training tool and brain-teasing interactive toy
- Will play fetch automatically and keep your dog interested
- Comes with a 1-year warranty
- Battery life lasts a good amount of time between charges
- Only the balls that come with the toy will fit
- Auto-shutoff can be problematic if the dog isn’t quick enough
- Dogs should avoid getting in the way when the ball launches
- Provides mental stimulation for bored pups
- The Interior disk can be adjusted to change the difficulty level
- It can be used with a wide range of dog breed sizes
- It helps to encourage extended playtime
This simple yet effective design works well with a huge range of dogs, from Corgis to Bernese Mountain Dogs. Pick the size you want, and away you go!
The Pet Zone IQ treat ball can be used as a slow feeder or for stashing away hidden treats to be discovered as your dog plays. To add a little bit of extra challenge, this ball also includes an adjustable ring on the inside that can alter how easily the treat dispenser will allow the biscuits to fall through.
Fortunately, this treat ball is easy to disassemble by simply twisting it in half, making it especially easy to clean. It has also proven to keep a dog’s attention for a good amount of time, owing to food as an incentive.
The only thing to bear in mind with a toy design like this is that it is not made to withstand heavy chewing, nor will it take being excessively thrown around. It is not made for fetch. It is made to be rolled along the ground.
- Very easy to disassemble and clean between uses
- Great value and long-lasting durability
- Helps to slow down fast eaters by restricting access to the food
- The food acts as a great incentive to keep playing
- Not recommended for toy breeds or aggressive chewers
- Can be noisy on hard floors because of the hard case
- Some dogs can figure out how to unscrew the ball
- Ideal for positive reinforcement training
- Includes target stick for learning tricks
- Training guide and training DVD included
- Includes handheld remote with a 1,000-foot range
The classic idea of rewarding behavior with treats is done in a hi-tech way. The Petsafe Treat & Train machine helps you reward your dog easily for a wide variety of good behavior and even tricks.
Furthermore, there is an extendable target stick included in the package, which can be used in various training techniques, including agility training and obedience. The handheld remote is where this really gets interesting, however.
The remote has a 1,000-foot range and allows you to reward your pet when you’re not even in their vicinity. This is especially helpful with dogs that struggle with separation anxiety, as it can help them accept that your absence is not always so terrible.
It comes with a handy step-by-step training guide and helps to improve focus and awareness. First, make sure you pack biscuits into the hopper to fit through the treat dispenser hole. Otherwise, you’re just going to cause frustration for both your pup and yourself.
- A great electronic dog toy for simple trick training
- Helps puppies that struggle with separation anxiety
- Improves focus when training with food as an incentive
- The step-by-step training guide is extremely helpful
- Target stick will not withstand being played with
- If the kibble is too large, it can get stuck in the dispenser
- The remote battery comes separately and can be easy to lose while unpacking
- KONG-inspired treat-dispensing design
- Extra-strong and durable construction
- Free from BPA and recyclable
- Bounces, floats, and dishwasher safe
The West Paw Zogoflex toy is an interactive dog toy that we honestly think draws its inspiration from the Classic KONG toys. Instead of having three progressively smaller balls stacked on top of another, the Zogoflex Tux has three balls attached centripetally.
A fun way to describe it is to resemble an oversized fidget spinner. The hole under the Zogoflex is designed to house one of your dog’s favorite treats for your pup to try and get to, much like the Qwizl puzzle toy.
The Zogoflex Tux is one of the best interactive dog toys for tough chewers, thanks to the combination of puzzle elements (similar to an IQ treat ball) and durability.
Your furry friend will need to manipulate the nodules around the edge of the toy to widen the treat dispensing hole and release the tasty treat. It’s perfect for water-related activities, too, as the Zogoflex Tux is buoyant.
- Can be filled with broth or water and frozen for teething puppies
- The overall design is easy for our furry friends to grasp
- A good idea for dogs that are a bit too eager when it comes to treats
- Capable of keeping a dog occupied for a couple of hours
- The simple design can be boring for dogs only interested in the treat
- Can be a bit too easy for more intelligent breeds to figure out
- Design is too big for small dog breeds
- Available in four colors individually or a dual pack
- Works for both cats and dogs
- Provides a good method of portion control
- Dishwasher safe with 90-day warranty
A smart yet very simple design that can be highly effective, especially with anxious pups. It is a known fact with dogs that they lick themselves, furniture, and their owners excessively to self-soothe.
However, excessive licking can be damaging either to the furniture or to their skin, which can become raw and irritated and even result in loss of fur. That’s where the Hyper Pet Treat Mat comes in.
By smearing peanut butter, pate, cream cheese, banana, or any other spreadable goodies onto the mat and laying it down for your dog, you can keep them focused and engaged on a single task.
By doing this, they are distracted from the cause of their anxiety and can soothe themselves and calm down. Single focus tasks are a technique often used for anxiety management in humans, so it makes sense that it can also help dogs.
- Helps to soothe anxiety by allowing your dog to lick repetitively
- A great way to engage and distract dogs that struggle with separation anxiety
- Training your dog to lick the mat can protect your furniture and their skin
- Durable material can withstand repetitive use
- Not suitable for aggressive chewers
- buyers beware: contains latex so not good for dogs with a latex allergy
- Not designed with a way to stick them to the ground
- Auto shutoff after 10 minutes of inactivity
- Motion-activated with a single touch
- Two modes – hopping and rolling
- LED lights provide easy visibility in low light conditions
A battery-operated toy with no need to replace the batteries! Charge it up each night, ready for another day of playtime.
The BENTOPAL Wicked Ball utilizes lights and rapid movement to encourage your dog to engage with it. The stop/start motions also allow your dog to anticipate more movement, adding an element of excitement.
Previous customers have said that the customer service is highly responsive to any concerns you may have regarding your Wicked Ball.
Additionally, multiple dog owners have mentioned how attaching a toy tale to the ball helps add an extra element to these fantastic interactive puppy toys. Though near in mind that the bounce mode – while exciting – can be quite noisy on the hard floor, as the ball is not made from soft material.
- A great interactive toy for hyperactive, high engagement puppies
- Customer service is extremely responsive and helpful
- Can have a tail attached to it for extra appeal
- The rechargeable battery lasts a good long while
- Bouncing mode is quite noisy on hard flooring
- It needs to be switched off overnight so as not to give you a fright
- Not made to be chewed excessively
- Made of natural, non-toxic, chew-proof, and eco-friendly rubber
- Easy grab tabs to help pup pick up the ball
- Quick and east initial setup
- The lightweight, buoyant design is great for pools and lakes
This is a fantastic interactive toy with a sensory element that is just the right size for all dog types. The easy grab tabs are a fantastic addition as they help small pups pick up the ball easily and are often favored by medium-sized dogs and large pups.
Like plush toys, this ball is soft and less likely to damage the furniture or flooring. However, unlike plush toys, it is durable and can be thrown around with no risk of damage to the interactive toy itself.
The air-filled lightweight design makes it a great choice for trips to the beach or lake, as you can throw it into the water and let your dog take a dip while retrieving it.
Thanks to the easy grab tabs, it is also a much safer water toy, making it simple to retrieve. Though some owners have felt that the size of the ball is not ideal for especially big dogs, as they are naturally more heavy-handed than smaller dogs and more likely to damage it.
- The tabs and textures provide a varied sensory experience
- It is available in three fun color combinations
- The tabs make the ball much easier for small dogs to pick up
- Can be pierced by dogs with strong jaws and a habit of chewing
- Some feel it is too small to be enjoyed by a large do
- Made using FDA food-grade polycarbonate
- Lasts for over 4 hours on one charge with interactive mode
- Designed to be used both indoors and outdoors
- Nine different movement settings
- Operated via a mobile app for remote control
The Wickedbone is an intelligently designed interactive toy created to provide your dog with temporary entertainment while you undertake an important task.
It can work exceptionally well for distracting stressful dogs as you leave home. It lasts for over 4 hours on a single charge, with some dog owners saying it has kept trucking for up to 8 hours!
It is programmed to encourage moments and acts like the Varram pet fitness robot. That encouragement means it is well suited to pups that may struggle with their weight as it uses exciting movements to entice them as opposed to treats.
It also caters to your dog’s instinct to chase. However, a downside to this dog toy is that it does not function well on deep carpets.
- The mobile app is simple and easy to use with a user-friendly interface
- It is extremely easy to clean because you can remove the wheels
- It is very effective for keeping dogs busy while you undertake a task
- A perfect distraction for dogs with separation anxiety
- Some dogs find the sudden movements jarring
- It works better with smaller dogs that can’t pick it up easily
- Moved more easily on the hard floor instead of thick carpets or fluffy rugs
- Made with virtually indestructible rubber
- Designed to improve dental hygiene
- Multiple textures to get between the teeth and massage gums
- Suitable for all sizes of dog
A fun, brightly colored design is made to help dogs that are particularly difficult to brush their teeth. Dental hygiene is just as important with dogs as with humans, and keeping on top of your dog’s teeth from an early age is essential.
This interactive dog toy gives your pup the chance to play while brushing its teeth and massaging its gums.
It makes a fun squeaky sound to keep your dog interested for longer and provides a pleasant array of textures for them to enjoy.
Additionally, it is made from an extremely durable natural rubber, which can take a beating.
However, the teeth are not indestructible because they are smaller, so this would not be advised for super-chewers.
- The range of textures is pleasant for dogs to chew on
- Squeaky noise encourages continued use of the toy
- Extremely helpful for dogs that don’t enjoy having their teeth brushed
- Three-in-one function of squeaker, chew toy, and toothbrush
- Some dogs can get too riled up by the squeaker sound
- The teeth can get broken by particularly aggressive chewers
- Some dogs can lose interest once the toothpaste is gone
- Touch activation responds to a nose boop
- Won the Fear Free Award at the Global Pet Expo 2019
- Spinning wheels and flipping tale for extra intrigue
- Lasts for up to 2 hours per charge
The Petgeek Automatic dog toy is the ideal interactive toy for excitable puppies that enjoy chasing things around. Petgeek has created this top to include a textures casing to massage your dog’s gums when they catch it and a flipping tail paddle.
The paddle operates both as a break and an additional element to capture your dog’s attention.
It won the Fear Free Award at the Global Pet Expo for its speedy, fun design that doesn’t startle your pup.
Each motion is smooth and quiet, perfect for dogs that can be frightened by toys that would perhaps be considered too “obnoxious” for shy breeds.
Though it is very fun to chase, it is not recommended for dogs that would pick it up and chew on it.
- The multi-textures material used massages your dog’s gums
- Helps to keep docile dogs more active
- Easy to set up, charge, and clean between uses
- Perfect for excitable puppies to chase between naps
- It does not move very well on deep carpet or thick rugs
- Not recommended for aggressive chewers
- Best suited to dogs that will chase it, not pick it up
- Made from food-grade, pet-safe silicone without BPA, BPS, lead, or phthalates
- Extra-durable material is dishwater safe
- Suction cups able to attach to glass, porcelain, and tile
- Great tool for keeping your pup distracted during grooming
Another fantastic design that can be used to keep your dog occupied and as a slow feeder and portion control for fast eaters. The fun patterned design adds a sense of whimsy to this handy tool.
Simply spread on whichever flavored paste of treat you want your dog to enjoy and stick the mat to the ground.
The sticky cups prevent the mat from shifting while your dog is licking away their treat, which makes it especially useful for larger breeds that put more force behind their licks.
It is ideal for soothing anxious pups in stressful situations, such as loud environments or separation.
- The suction cups are perfect for stopping the mat from moving around
- Licking action helps to soothe doggie anxieties
- Capable of keeping a dog’s attention for a good length of time
- It can be fiddly to clean by hand due to the crevices
- Not strong enough to withstand aggressive chewers
- Won’t stick properly to wood or linoleum flooring
- Handwoven materials sourced from up-cycled fabrics
- Simulates natural dog instinct to forage for food
- Machine washable and easy-to-use mat
- Suitable for all dog breeds and sizes
The PAWS Wooly Snuffle Mat is the perfect snuffle pad for your pup. It looks like a shag rug, compiled on long tabs of fabric, making it more durable than your typical shag product.
It plays to a dog’s natural desire to forage and sniff its way around. When you consider the facts that dogs have highly sensitive notes, the gentle tickling sensation provided by this snuffle mat is rather enjoyable.
An excellent detail is that this Snuffle Mat is made of up-cycled fabric, making it a sustainable material and more eco-friendly than many other interactive dog toys of a similar design.
This is an excellent training tool for sniffer dogs and something any dog can enjoy. And as a fun little side-note – if you happen to have a pot-bellied pig around, they’d also enjoy PAWS Snuffle Mat!
- The gentle fabric is pleasant on your dog’s nose
- Can be used as a game by hiding small treats on the mat
- Can be used to slow down overly eager eaters
- Great for soothing anxious dogs and entertaining bored dogs
- Not a good idea for destructive dogs that could rip them apart
- Not ideal for heavy droolers as the fabric is very absorbent
- Not all dogs will show interest in the snuffle design
- It can be used as a treat puzzle
- Machine and hand washable on a low heat
- The bag is made of non-slip cloth
- made of eco-friendly, sustainable, anti-pilling fleece material
As dog owners, we all know that every dog loves a good snuffle once in a while. But, if you’re really lucky, you might have had the pleasure of your pup blowing boogers onto your arm after having a good sniff.
That instinct is something all dogs share, and it stems from their natural drive to locate food and scope out their surroundings.
The Pet Arena snuffle mat is fantastic for that exact natural urge. And you can even add a little extra entertainment for your pup by from in some dry biscuits for them to dig out.
This particle mat can be closed up into a bag and easily stored. Also, that same bag in a non-slip base for the mat when it is fully opened. Just remember that once opened it can take up a good chunk of floor space. It is not suitable for flat-nosed dogs or destructive ones.
- The adjustable bag adds some fun variation for your pup
- It can be easily packed away when not in use
- You can hide treats inside it to encourage foraging
- It can be used to control a dog’s food intake, assisting in weight loss
- Destructive dogs tend to rip this apart
- It can take up quite a bit of room while in use
- Not suitable for dogs with flat muzzles
- Helps with digestion and weight loss
- Made of safe, non-toxic PVC material
- Provides mental stimulation
- Ideal for small dog breeds and puppies
Treat-holding puzzle toys such as these can be especially helpful for dogs that may struggle with keeping their weight down. It will allow your dog to get some mental stimulation and practice their puzzle-solving skills, but they will also be slowed down.
If your pup is overly eager at mealtimes, it may work to put their food into the puzzle dispenser to uncover over a longer period of time.
By slowing your dog down when they eat, their digestive system is given a chance to catch up and process food properly. The Dr. Catch puzzle feeder is made using non-toxic PVC, so it’s not the end of the world if your dog has a nibble at it.
However, you’ll want to monitor them so that they don’t try to break it. You should also note that this particular interactive toy is better suited to small dog breeds and puppies.
- Slow feeding helps dogs to digest their food better
- The puzzle elements help to keep dogs occupied as they figure them out
- Helps with training dogs in both obedience and puzzle-solving
- It can be used as an effective positive reinforcement too
- It can be a bit tricky to access for flat muzzled dogs
- More intelligent dog breeds may find it too simple
- It shouldn’t be given to large dogs as they can easily damage it
- 100% natural, eco-friendly, non-toxic rubber
- Available in five colors
- Textures exterior good for dog’s dental health
- Top shelf dishwasher safe
Based on the classic Kong design, but with a fun twist! This hand grande shaped rubber treat-dispensing toy bursts with treats once your pup can figure out the best technique to get them out.
Not only that, but the shape of this incredibly hard-wearing top also provides your dog with a lovely gum massage and can help to reduce plaque build-up.
Many owners find that this toy makes the perfect positive reinforcement treat. This is because your dog will get some fun out of it while it provides them with delicious snacks.
It is especially durable, which makes it a great toy for heavy chewers, and available in five fun colors to help you pick the color to suit your pup!
- The texture helps to look after your dog’s teeth.
- The perfect treat ball style toy for large dog breeds
- Helps to entertain lonely dogs that struggle with separation anxiety
- Can be used as a reward for good behavior
- It can be too noisy for your dog to use at night time
- Not completely indestructible and won’t stand up to aggressive chewing
- The tough exterior can be unappealing to some dogs
- Science laboratory-inspired treat-dispensing toy
- Made of durable and pet-safe materials
- Sturdy and stable base
- Several difficulty levels are available
The Mad Scientist for Dogs is just one of two dog puzzle toys from TRIXIE that will stimulate the problem-solving skills of a wide range of puppies. Three tubes or beakers are skewered on a stick and propped on a double A-frame stand.
The lids to each of the tubes contain holes large enough to allow the treats to be dispensed, making this an excellent slow feeder to control your dog’s mealtimes.
Your dog’s job is to learn to flip the tubes so that the treats will slide through the holes. Several lid designs provide varying difficulty levels once your dog has gotten the hang of the basic tub flipping technique (which is best learned with the lid off).
The Mad Scientist is durably constructed and has a stable base so that your furry friend is only tipping the tubes and not the entire toy!
- Great for training your dog in problem-solving and improving its focus
- It can help to control your dog’s food intake speed
- The gradual dispensing of dog biscuits holds a dog’s attention for longer
- Very quick and easy to assemble
- Not the ideal interactive dog toy design for heavy-handed
- It can be too difficult for some dogs to figure out or too simple for others
- Too small for any dog breed larger than the medium breed range
- The suction cup can withstand a pulling force up to 200lbs
- Outer surface designed to protect dog’s teeth
- Easy release mechanism for owners
- Bite resistant rope and squeaky design
This fun and unique design on our list combine many playing styles into one vibrant toy for your dog to enjoy. The powerful suction cups are specifically used to share the pull force between them and withstand up to 200lbs of pulling force.
This means your dog can tug on these tension toys to its heart’s content (so long as it’s not a powerful breed capable of surpassing the force limit.)
It has a rob toy aspect for your dog to gnaw and pull at and a squeaky element to entice them to place with the ball itself. Of course, the more your pup plays with the ball, the cleaner their teeth will be.
However, the fun doesn’t stop there. It also includes a “food spilling” design, in which food can fall from the opening as your dog applies pressure to various areas of the ball, making it a great feeding tool for fast eaters.
- Combines the treat ball design with a tugging game
- Dogs respond well to the squeaky element
- The food-spilling design can help fast eaters
- The spiked design is highly effective at cleaning doggie’s teeth
- Required the floor pads for suction to work properly
- The rope toy element can be shed with the use
- It can be tricky to set up properly the first time round
- Available in three lengths and three ball sizes
- Capable of easily throwing balls long distance
- Ergonomic design for comfortable grip
- Extra flexible for durability
The Chuckit brand is known for its effective ball throwing tools and its high-quality toys. This ball launcher is plain and designed to make ball-throwing much easier for every owner.
If you’ve ever tried throwing a ball for a fast dog breed and wrenched your shoulder, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
By using the Chuckit ball launcher, you can cover tremendous distances much easier, meaning your speed pup can get their daily exercise in a much shorter amount of time.
This is an especially helpful tool for puppy parents looking to agility train their dog, as it will encourage them to cover large distances as quickly as possible.
It is comfortable to hold and available in a range of sizes, though keep in mind that you should avoid letting your dog chew on the ball between uses.
- Requires little effort to get a ball to go a significant distance
- The easy grip helps to reduce fatigue with repeated use
- The variety of lengths and sizes suits most dog breeds
- A glow in the dark variety is available for low light conditions
- The balls cannot withstand dogs that like to chew
- It can take some practice to get the throwing angle right
- Can be cumbersome to carry around between uses
- The package contains two balls (red and blue)
- 2.4 inches in diameter
- Can be used for training purposes
- Helps to redirect teething energy
Pop in your dog’s favorite treats and let the ball rolling!
The sheer volume of biscuits this ball can hold makes it a useful tool for both positive reinforcement training and portion control.
Additionally, the Eusur treat ball – which comes in a pack of two – is made using resilient, high quality, non-toxic rubber, making it the perfect toy to redirect a puppy’s teething energy.
The small teeth made to hold the biscuits in place also help massage your pup’s gums and care for their teeth. At the same time, the heavy-duty design makes it an excellent ball for playing fetch, as it can fly a reasonable distance thanks to the added weight.
The mаin negative to this toy seems to be that especially intelligent dogs tend to figure it out quite quickly and stop showing much interest in it shortly after.
- Treat ball is easy to use for young dogs and puppies
- Great for a classic game of catch to build your bond
- Keeps a dog entertained for 10-15 minutes while you work
- Works great as a positive reinforcement reward during training
- Some owners feel the food can be too easy to access
- Not made to withstand a lot of chewing
- Intelligent breeds may become less interested quite quickly.
How to Choose the Right Interactive Dog Toy
Since the pet market is actually littered with lots of toys, picking the right one for your pooch can be quite challenging. You no longer have to fret about such things as we’re here to help you choose the right toy for your dog. Here’s how.
Understand Your Pooch’s Jaw Characteristics
While dogs can actually play with their paws, the principal organ that is involved in playtime activities is still the mouth. As such, even before you start buying toys for your pet, it is imperative that you have a clear understanding of the characteristics of its jaws, especially its bite force.
Generally, puppies have a much softer bite than fully-grown adult dogs. Also, there are certain breeds that, even though they are already fully grown adults, still have a relatively soft bite.
For instance, the Labrador retriever is well regarded for its gentle bite, something that it needs to pick up felled prey without necessarily shredding the prey to bits. There are also breeds that, small as they are, will have the bite force of a croc, pun intended just to make a point.
For gentle chewers, a soft squishy, hollow ball is usually sufficient. For aggressive chewers, one that is perfectly round and comes in a single color is ideal, although you can always experiment with caution.
Choose Appropriately-Sized Interactive Dog Toys
It goes without saying that you need a toy that is appropriate to the size of your pooch’s jaws. Too small and you risk choking your dog. Too big and your canine friend will lose interest in an instant.
Always Go for Interactive Dog Toys That Are Safe
Make sure the toy you choose is made from safe materials. It should also be sturdy enough that it will not be easily broken into bits and risk indigestion or even choking in your pooch.
Benefits of Interactive Dog Toys
There are many reasons why a lot of animal experts recommend giving interactive toys to dogs. For the most part, the benefits our canine friends derive from these types of playthings are simply great. Here are some of them.
Helps Prevent Undesirable Behaviors
Interactive dog toys work to keep the dog’s mind busy so that it will not be tempted to do things that are considered undesirable. For instance, instead of chewing on your furniture or barking incessantly when you’re not around, it can focus all of its attention and energy on ‘solving’ puzzle toys or chewing on dental chews.
Alleviates Canine Anxiety or Grief
Canine anxiety, like that of humans, can be manifested in a lot of ways. There’s barking, jumping, destructive chewing, and many more. When pooches are ‘sad’ because you’re going to leave them alone for several hours, it can be particularly devastating for them. Giving them interactive toys can help them vent out their anxious energies into more constructive mechanisms.
Provides Mental and Physical Stimulation
Training your dog requires it to listen to and obey your commands. This can only happen if it can focus on the task at hand. Giving them interactive doggie toys help train their minds to focus on a particular activity at any given time. Puzzle toys also help sharpen their problem-solving skills which can come in handy in dog training.
Slows Down Fast Eaters
Treat dispensing toys that come in the form of puzzles can help slow down fast eaters. This is helpful if you have a pooch that is susceptible to bloating. It’s also helpful for obese dogs that definitely need to lose weight.
Keeping our pooches mentally and physically stimulated can be made a lot easier with the use of the right interactive dog toys. It is, therefore paramount that we take ample time looking at the various products made available to us. By making sure that these products are of the correct size and correspond well to the unique characteristics of our dog, you, too, can easily pick out the right interactive toy for your hound.
- Mark Stickney, Tips for Buying Dog Toys, Texas A&M University
- At-Home Tips for Keeping Your Pets Busy and Engaged, ASPCA