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The Best Interactive Dog Toys to Keep Your Pooch Busy (2021)

Last Updated July 12, 2021

Providing appropriate mental and cognitive stimulation for dogs while allowing them to have fun reminds more of the aims of early childhood development. It is for this reason that 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. Picking the right interactive plaything for your pooch need not be difficult. You can start with our list of the 10 best interactive toys for dogs.

The Best Interactive Dog Toys

1

One of the interactive dog toys that you might want to buy for your pooch is the Wobble Wag Giggle Ball. It’s a ball after all and everyone knows just how much dogs love chasing after balls, or pretty much anything for that matter! 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 pooch 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. Forget your tennis ball for a while and use the Wobble Wag instead.

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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

Specification:
  • Brand: Wobble Wag Giggle
  • Model: WG071104
  • Weight: 1.28 ounces
Pros

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

Cons

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

2

Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Hide N' Slide Puzzle Game Dog Toy
Owner gives her dog a puzzle toy

If you’re looking for a dog puzzle toy that can really test your dog’s cognitive ability, then 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 hold treats inside small compartments, which your pup will have to unveil before they can access them.

Each compartment has a small puzzle that needs to be solved in order for your dog to get to the tasty treats inside, a great mini-test for your dog’s IQ. Not only is this 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.

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Available in four difficulty levels

Challenges your dog’s cognitive ability

Non-slip bottom keeps the puzzle secure

BPA, PVC, and Phthalate-free

Specification:
  • Brand: Outward Hound
  • Model: 69538
  • Weight: 2.2 Pounds
Pros

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

Cons

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

3

KONG Wobbler Dog Toy
Opened KONG Wobbler
KONG Wobbler Dog Toy
Opened KONG Wobbler

Kong is known for creating some of the more indestructible dog toys. 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 also makes it a great toy for heavy chewers and teething puppies.

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Easy access for filling with treats

Durable and dishwasher safe

Made using high-quality food-grade polymer

Made for use with dry treats only

Specification:
  • Brand: KONG
  • Model: PW1
  • Weight: 1.1 Pounds
Pros

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

Cons

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

4

Outward Hound Hide A Squirrel Squeaky Puzzle Plush Dog Toy
Outward Hound Hide A Squirrel XL

Designed to play to the predatory instincts of your dog is the Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Squeaky Plush Dog Puzzle Toy. These dog hide and seek toys mimic a tree stump complete with holes within which you can hide the accompanying plush squirrels. Your pooch will have a field day trying to sniff through the holes and attempting to pull out these furry toys.

Of course, you can also throw or toss the squirrels so your pooch can go and fetch them for you. Both the tree stump and the squirrel toys of Outward Hound are made of safe materials so even if your hound does decide to keep it in its mouth, you’d still feel safe. Read the in-depth review here.

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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

Specification:
  • Brand: Outward Hound
  • Model: 31003
  • Weight: 7 ounces
Pros

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

Cons

Not ideal for aggressive chewers or destructive dogs

Tiny dogs have been known to get their head stuck inside it

Some dogs just shake the toy rather than play with it

5

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 to know whether or not 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. 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.

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Wiggles, vibrates, and barks when it’s time to play

The furry texture and shape resembles a real animal

Movement and sound are motion-activated

Available in four fun designs

Specification:
  • Brand: Hyper Pet
  • Model: 49484EA
  • Weight: 4 Ounces
  • Batteries: 3 x AAA batteries. (included)
Pros

Easy to access the battery pack and replace the batteries

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 initially set up

Cons

Not ideal for aggressive play as it can damage the motion sensor

The noise can be disconcerting to some dogs

Dogs with high prey drives can become obsessive over it

6

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 to keep your dog engaged. This durable plastic babbly ball responds extremely well to the lightest touch from your pooch, rolling, flashing, and babbling its way around the house, it’s even motion-activated to encourage additional play.

Though the hard casing can be quite 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 have your dog retrieve it. The loud and bright nature of this ball makes it a great interactive dog toy for canines with vision problems or hearing loss.

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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

Specification:
  • Brand: Pet Qwerks
  • Model: BLBB1
  • Weight: 3.84 Ounces
  • Batteries: 3 x LR44 batteries (included)
Pros

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

Cons

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

7

A clever, automated interactive dog toy that is 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 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 pooch 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, obedience, and test your dog’s IQ. Your dog has to learn to collect the ball within a 60-second window and deposit it back into the chute in order to have it throw out again. It can also be programmed to three different distances. However, make sure your dog doesn’t stand in front of the toy when it launches, as the ball comes out pretty quick.

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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

Specification:
  • Brand: iFetch
  • Model: 1
  • Weight: 3 Pounds
  • Batteries: 2 x AAA batteries (Rechargeable)
Pros

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

Cons

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

8

This is a simple, yet effective design that works well with a huge range of dogs, from Corgis to Bernese Mountain Dogs. Simply 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, which makes it especially easy to clean. It has also proven to keep a dog’s attention for a good amount of time owing to the use of 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.

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Provides mental stimulation for bored pups

The Interior disk can be adjusted to change the difficulty level

Can be used with a wide range of dog breed sizes

Helps to encourage extended playtime

Specification:
  • Brand: Pet Zone
  • Model: 2550012659
  • Weight: 2.4 Ounces
Pros

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

Cons

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

9

The classic idea of rewarding behavior with treats, done in a hi-tech way. The Petsafe Treat & Train machine helps you to reward your dog easily for a wide variety of good behavior and even tricks. There is an extendable target stick included in the package which can be used in a variety of 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 to 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. However, make sure you pack biscuits into the hopper that will actually fit through the treat dispenser hole. Otherwise, you’re just going to cause frustration for both your pooch and yourself.

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Ideal for positive reinforcement training

Includes target stick for learning tricks

Training guide and training DVD included

Includes handheld remote with 1,000-foot range

Specification:
  • Brand: PetSafe
  • Model: 70912
  • Batteries: 4 x D batteries (not included)
Pros

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

Cons

Target stick will not withstand being played with

If the kibble is too large it can get stick in the dispenser

Remote battery comes separately and can be easy to lose whilst unpacking

10

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 3 progressively smaller balls stacked one on top of another, the Zogoflex Tux has 3 balls attached centripetally. A fun way to describe it would be that it resembles 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 in order to widen the treat dispensing hole and release the tasty treat. It’s perfect for water-related activities too, as the Zogoflex Tux is highly buoyant.

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KONG-inspired treat-dispensing design

Extra-strong and durable construction

Free from BPA and recyclable

Bounces, floats, and dishwasher safe

Specification:
  • Brand: West Paw Design
  • Model: ZG041TNG
  • Weight: 10.6 ounces
Pros

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

Cons

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

11

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 as a way of self-soothing. However excessive licking can be damaging either to the furniture or to their skin, which can become raw and irritates 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 number of 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 able to soothe themselves and calm down. Single focus tasks are a technique often used for anxiety management in humans, and so it makes sense that it can help dogs as well.

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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

Specification:
  • Brand: Hyper Pet
  • Model: 51254EC
  • Weight: 7.37 Ounces
Pros

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

Cons

Not suitable for aggressive chewers

buyers beware: contains latex so no good for dogs with a latex allergy

Not designed with a way to stick them to the ground

12

A battery-operated toy with no need to replace the batteries! Simply 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 provide your dog with a chance to anticipate more movement, adding an element of excitement.

Previous customers have said that the customer service is extremely 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 – whilst exciting – can be quite noisy on the hard floor, as the ball is not made from soft material.

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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

Specification:
  • Brand: BENTOPAL
  • Model: 8.47 Ounces
  • Weight: Rechargeable (built-in)
Pros

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

Cons

Bouncing mode is quite noisy on hard flooring

Needs to be switched off overnight so as not to give you a fright

Not made to be chewed excessively

13

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 to pick up the ball with ease, and are even often favored by medium-sized dogs and large pups as well. 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 whilst retrieving it. It is also a much safer water toy, thanks to the easy grab tabs 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.

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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

Lightweight, buoyant design is great for pools and lakes

Specification:
  • Brand: QDAN
  • Model: 8.2 ounces
  • Size: 6 inches
Pros

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

Cons

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

14

The Wickedbone is an intelligently designed interactive toy created with the intention of providing your dog with temporary entertainment whilst you undertake an important task. It can even work extremely well for distracting stressful dogs as you leave the 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 activity much 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 natural instinct to chase. Though a downside to this dog toy is that it does not function well on deep carpet.

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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

Specification:
  • Brand: Wickedbone
  • Model: Wickbone-White
  • Weight: 10.56 Ounces
  • Batteries: 1x Rechargeable Lithium Polymer battery (included)
Pros

The mobile app is simple and easy to use with a user-friendly interface

It is extremely easy to clean because the wheels can be removed

Is very effective for keeping dogs busy whilst you undertake a task

A perfect distraction for dogs with separation anxiety

Cons

Some dogs find the sudden movements jarring

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

15

A fun, brightly colored design made to help with dogs that are particularly difficult when it comes to brushing their teeth. Dental hygiene is just as important with dogs as it is with humans, and keeping on top of your dog’s teeth from an early age is important. This interactive dog toy gives your pooch the chance to play whilst also 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, meaning it can take a beating. However, the teeth are not indestructible due to them being smaller and so this would not be advised for super-chewers.

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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

Specification:
  • Brand: Cutiful
  • Weight: 8.6 ounces
Pros

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

Cons

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

16

It won the Fear Free Award at the Global Pet Expo for its speedy, fun design that doesn’t startle your pooch. This is because 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 at all recommended for dogs that would pick it up and chew on it.

Specification:
  • Brand: PETGEEK
  • Model: K90759D5
  • Weight: 1.5 Pounds
  • Batteries: 1x Rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery (included)
Pros

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

Cons

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

17

Another fantastic design that can be used both as a way to keep your dog occupied as well 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 whilst 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. Additionally, you get three to a pack! so you will always have a spare if one is waiting to be cleaned.

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Made from food-grade, pet-safe silicone

Extra-durable material is dishwater safe

Suction cups able to attach to glass, porcelain, and tile

Each pack contains three brightly colored mats

Specification:
  • Brand: PET STATE
  • Weight: 13.12 Ounces
Pros

The suction cups are perfect for stopping the mat from moving around

Licking action helps to soothe doggie anxieties

The different designs provide some variation to your dog’s experience

Capable of keeping a dogs attention for a good length of time

Cons

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

18

The PAWS Wooly Snuffle Mat is the perfect snuffle pad to give to your pooch. It looks very much 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, as well as something any dog can simply 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!

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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

Specification:
  • Brand: PAW5
  • Weight: 2 pounds
Pros

The gentle fabric is pleasant on your dog’s nose

Can be used as a game by hiding small treats in the mat

Can be used to slow down overly eager eaters

Great for soothing anxious dogs and entertaining bored dogs

Cons

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

19

As dog owners, we all know that every dog loves a good snuffle once in a while. 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, additionally 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. Additionally, it is not suitable for flat-nosed dogs or destructive ones.

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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

Specification:
  • Brand: Pet Arena
  • Model: Viral Product
  • Weight: 9.91 Ounces
Pros

The adjustable bag adds some fun variation for your pup

Can be easily packed away when not in use

Treats can be hidden inside it to encourage foraging

Can be used to control a dog’s food intake, assisting in weight loss

Cons

Destructive dogs have a tendency to rip this apart

Can take up quite a bit of room whilst in use

Not suitable for dogs with flat muzzles

20

Treat-holding puzzle toys such as these can be especially helpful for dogs that may struggle with keeping their weight down. Not only will it 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 be work putting their food into the puzzle dispenser for them to uncover over a longer period of time

By slowing your dog down when they eat, their digestive system is giving 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.

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Helps with digestion and weight loss

Made of safe, non-toxic PVC material

Provides mental stimulation

Ideal for small dog breeds and puppies

Specification:
  • Brand: Dr. Catch
  • Weight: 13.4 ounces
Pros

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

Can be used as an effective positive reinforcement too

Cons

Can be a bit tricky to access for flat muzzled dogs

More intelligent dog breeds may find it too simple

Shouldn’t be given to large dogs as they can easily damage it

21

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 is able to figure out the best technique to get them out. Not only that, both 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 a toy like this makes the perfect positive reinforcement treat. This is owing to the fact that your dog will not only get some fun out of it, but it provides them with delicious snacks too. It is especially durable which makes it a great toy for heavy chewers, as well as being available in five fun colors to help you pick the color to suit your pup!

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100% natural, eco-friendly, non-toxic rubber

Available in five colors

Textures exterior good for dog’s dental health

Top shelf dishwasher safe

Specification:
  • Brand: Fairsh
  • Model: Fairsh-03
  • Weight: 7.8 ounces
Pros

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

Cons

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

22

The Mad Scientist for Dogs is just one of two dog puzzle toys from TRIXIE that is sure to stimulate the problem-solving skills of a wide range of pooches. 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 just large enough to allow the treats to be dispensed, which makes this a good 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. There are several lid designs that 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!

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Science laboratory-inspired treat-dispensing toy

Made of durable and pet-safe materials

Sturdy and stable base

Several difficulty levels available

Specification:
  • Brand: Trixie
  • Model: 32019
  • Weight: 2.22 pounds
Pros

Great for training your dog in problem-solving and improving its focus

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

Cons

Not the ideal interactive dog toy design for heavy-handed

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

23

Authen Suction Cup Tug Toy for Aggressive Chewers
Dog playing with his Authen Suction Cup Tug Toy

This fun and unique design on our list combines a whole bunch of 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. Meaning 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, along with a squeaky element to entice them to place with the ball itself. The more your pup plays with the ball, the cleaner their teeth will be. Though 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.

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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

Specification:
  • Brand: AUTHEN
  • Weight: 1.21 pounds
Pros

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

Cons

Required the floor pads in order for suction to work properly

The rope toy element can shed with the use

Can be tricky to set up properly the first time round

24

ChuckIt! Classic Ball Launcher
ChuckIt! Classic Ball Launcher glowing in the dark

The Chuckit brand is known for its effective ball throwing tools, as well as its high-quality toys. This ball launcher is plain and simply designed to make ball-throwing a much easier task 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 pooch 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.

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Available in three lengths and three ball sizes

Capable of easily throwing balls long distance

Ergonomic design for comfortable grip

Extra flexible for durability

Specification:
  • Brand: Chuckit!
  • Model: 31318
  • Weight: 0.63 Pounds
Pros

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

Cons

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

25

Etusur Dog Toy Treat Ball

Simply pop in your dog’s favorite treats and let the ball roll! The sheer volume of biscuits this ball is capable of holding 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 by the way – 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 work to help massage your pup’s gums and care for their teeth. Whilst the heavy-duty design makes it an excellent ball for playing fetch, as it is capable of flying a good distance thanks to the added weight. The min 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.

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The package contains two balls (red and blue)

2.4 inches in diameter

Can be used for training purposes

Helps to redirect teething energy

Specification:
  • Brand: Etusur
  • Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Manufacturer: RuiSen
Pros

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 whilst you work

Works great as a positive reinforcement reward during training

Cons

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

Best Interactive Dog Toys Buying Guide

There are many interactive dog toys in the market. Each one has its unique advantages over 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?

In its simplest definition, interactive dog toys are playthings that keep canines fully stimulated. Dogs are highly social animals. They thrive on interaction with members of the pack. If you have several pets in the household, canine boredom is usually not an issue since they can at least play among themselves. Unfortunately, for single dog households, the same cannot be said especially if you are too busy with work or if no one is left in the house to keep your pooch stimulated.

dog playing with rope toy

Interactive dog toys can come in many forms. There are puzzle toys that use treats as the primary motivation for pooches to try and solve the puzzle. For instance, the treat can be hidden in a mechanism that hounds will have to ‘solve’ to access the treat. There are also toys that squeak or make funny noises as well as move. These play to the dog’s predatory instincts. There are toys that come in various textures, tastes, and even sounds. Like human development, these things stimulate the brain. As we all know by now, stimulating the brain simply means working it so that it becomes sharper, primed for optimum canine training.

Check out our article on the best dog treats.

Different Types of Interactive Dog Toys

Before making any decisions it helps to know the different types of interactive dogs 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 your dog is driven by treats as reinforcement for behavior a treat-dispensing toy can be the perfect way to encourage them to play on their own. By doing this you can help to curb separation anxiety as well as train undesired behavior out of your pooch – such as barking. Especially seeing as there are multiple automated treat dispensers on the market.

Puzzle Toys

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

Hide and seek toys cater to a dog’s natural instinct to forage and hunt for things. By hiding toys within toys they will feel compelled to find the hidden toys in order to get to play with them. They also come with the additional benefit of providing a space for your pooch to stick their nose when they’re feeling particularly snuffly.

Responsive Toys

Responsive toys are often a good choice for highly active dogs (or pretty much all puppies). They will often 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

High-Tech toys can range anywhere 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, so 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.

Take a look at our latest review of Automatic Fetch Machines.

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 but with caution.

Check out Indestructible Dog Toys for Aggressive Chewers.

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 chew toys.

Read here our ultimate guide on Dental Chews for Dogs.

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.

Sources:

  1. Mark Stickney, Tips for Buying Dog Toys, Texas A&M University
  2. At-Home Tips for Keeping Your Pets Busy and Engaged, ASPCA
Eloise Hands
Eloise is the owner of a Malamute/Akita cross, a first-time mum, and an animal enthusiast from England. She comes from a family which has never gone a day without a pet (or 3!), and over the years has learned all the best tips and tricks to raising a difficult pet. A knowledge that she has put to good use, to help others navigate the limitless world of pet care.
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