Keeping your dog mentally stimulated is a key part of their well-being. That includes playing with your dog, but it’s also important that they can keep themselves stimulated when you’re not around. Dog puzzle toys are a great way of keeping your dog entertained and keeping them sharp with different types of puzzles and toys depending on the needs and ability of your dog.
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Dog Puzzle Toys Reviews
We’re going to take a look at some of the best dog puzzle toys available, and just what makes them so special for you and your dog’s fun time.
1. Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Dog Toy
This soft, puzzle toy is designed to be interactive and a whole lot of fun for your dog and their hunting instincts. It has three squirrels that you can stuff inside the trunk and then, your dog gets to try and dig them out. The great thing about this is that it’s going to protect their teeth and gums, keep them excited and active. It’s mentally and physically stimulating (especially if you throw some fetch in there).
- Stimulates both mentally and physically
- Great for younger and older dogs
- Can be used in different ways for different types of play
- Soft material can be too soft for stronger dogs
- Seams will eventually split, especially with big dogs
2. Nina Ottosson Dog Brick Interactive Puzzle Game
Getting your dog mentally stimulated is an important part of keeping them healthy and this puzzle game is a great way to do it. Their goal is to be able to move or open the different pieces in the board to get to the treats that are hidden inside. So you’ll definitely want to stock up on their favorite treats. They’ll love playing and it will keep them occupied inside the house.
- Mentally stimulating for at-home play
- BPA, PVC, Phthalate-free pieces for safety
- Multiple types of treat hiding places
- Pieces are very lightweight and may not work for stronger dogs
- Not ideal for dogs who chew extensively
3. Nina Ottosson Tornado Interactive Puzzle Game
Keeping your dog entertained doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think. After all, they can entertain themselves with the right tools and this game is one of those. It’s a great puzzle game with two different levels so they can spin it and locate the treats hidden inside. The idea is to keep them physically active as well as mentally active and give them some treats to go along with it.
- Easy to clean with soap and water
- Mentally stimulating for dogs of different ages
- 12 hidden compartments for treats
- Not ideal for chewers as the pieces are small and lightweight
- Can be too lightweight for larger or stronger dogs
4. SPOT Seek-a-Treat Flip N’ Slide Treat Dispenser
Bright colors definitely make this toy a whole lot more fun for your dog, and the mental stimulation of the game is going to be even better. It will help improve their mental capabilities and give them something to occupy their time while you’re hanging around the house. All you have to do is put the treats inside and then it’s up to them to find those treats. And then of course they’ll devour them and want some more.
- Mentally stimulating for your dog
- Slows down eating for dogs who may move too quickly
- Different ways to interact with the board for fun
- Not ideal for soft treats that may stick
5. Starmark Bob-a-Lot Dog Toy
With this toy, your dog is going to have all kinds of fun batting it around the house. On soft surfaces it may bob back and forth a little less, but on hard surfaces it can slide all the way across the floor, keeping your dog moving and mentally intrigued once they figure out there are treats hidden inside. This toy has different difficulty levels and can be used with treats, food, or anything else you like.
- Different difficulty levels for your dog
- Easy to fill and clean for any pet owner
- Can be used with treats and with regular food
- Loud during use as the dog chases it around
- Does not hold large quantities at a time
Dog Puzzle Toys Buying Guide
When it comes to buying a puzzle toy for your dog you want to make sure that you’re getting something they’re going to enjoy, and that means looking at a few important factors.
Size of the Dog
One of the first things you’ll want to pay attention to when choosing the right dog toy of any type is the size of your dog. If you have a very large dog you’ll generally want a larger toy, but you’ll definitely need something that’s durable. On the other hand, a smaller dog may be able to make do with a much smaller toy or something a little less durable.
Keep in mind that even if your dog is a gentle giant they tend to have larger mouths and teeth, which means that even without trying they might be a little harder on their toys. You want something that will stand up to that rather than a toy that’s going to be easily broken or chewed up.
Also, look for different materials. Soft fabric toys may not be a good idea for large or especially strong dogs. On the other hand, you don’t want anything that’s made with too thin of plastic either, as your dog may be inclined to chew on it and it may break apart.
Intelligence of the Dog
Now, you want to believe that your dog is the smartest dog ever, but that might not be the case to start out with. That’s why puzzle toys can be a great option. They can mentally stimulate your dog and help them get even smarter as they continue to play.
If your dog is already pretty smart you want a toy that is a little more advanced, or if you’re trying to build them up a little more you may want a toy that has multiple levels you can change it to. That way, they can continue to use the same toy for a longer period of time and still be challenged by it.
Some of these types of toys are easy to change as well, so you can easily set it up at one level and then change it as you need. This can be great for dogs who learn quickly, mixing it up a little, or using the same toy with different dogs. The key is to make sure that you’re keeping it fun.
Why Are You Looking for a Toy?
Now, the reason you’re looking for dog puzzle toys will also play a part in which one you want to get. For example, if you’re looking for a toy that will slow down how fast your dog eats you may want a toy that will hold more so you can put food in it. But you want it to be a little bit of a challenge.
These toys will allow you to give your dog the food they need, but will force them to work a little harder to get it, which makes them slower and can reduce stomach problems later on. This can be good for many dogs and you can use the toy to give them food instead of just treats.
If you’re looking for something that will keep your dog entertained for a little bit of play while you’re out you may want to look for a more durable toy. Keep in mind that if you’re not going to be home your dog may chew on the pieces of the toy, which means you need it to be strong and safe.
These types of toys can be good for dogs that would otherwise chew on things they shouldn’t or for dogs who suffer from anxiety when left alone too long. They can help your dog feel more comfortable when they are home because they keep the dog occupied for a little while without you there.
Another great benefit is to give this type of toy to your dog when they are bored with you home. It can be a great mentally stimulating toy for them and that will help your dog get smarter and have some fun. Plus it gets them some good treats at the same time. So it’s a winning situation all around.
Dog Puzzle Toy FAQ
When it comes to choosing a dog puzzle toy you may have a few questions, and we’re going to take a look at some of those so you can make the right choice.
Is Mental Stimulation That Important for Dogs?
Mental stimulation is essential for your dog and will help them to be as healthy as possible. If you’re not stimulating them mentally it can actually wear on them and it means that they may be more susceptible to other health problems, diseases, and conditions.
So, getting a dog toy, like a puzzle toy, that will require them to think and work out puzzles in their head is definitely a good decision. You’ll be able to help your dog overall and you’ll be keeping them happier as well. After all, they’re going to have something fun to play with and they’re going to get some treats at the same time.
Why is Slow Eating Important?
Slow eating, which can also be achieved with the help of dog puzzle toys, is important because it keeps your dog healthier. When your dog gets really excited about food (which can happen to all of us, right?), they might eat very quickly. When they eat too quickly the first thing is that they might not feel full.
If your dog eats quickly and doesn’t feel full you may be inclined to give them more food, thinking they haven’t had enough. That means that your dog eats even more than they actually need or more than they normally would. In the long run, this can cause your dog to become overweight and unhealthy, leading to a range of different health problems.
But in the short run, eating too much or eating too quickly could cause bloating. Bloating for a human isn’t a big deal (though it’s definitely not comfortable) but for a dog it can be extremely serious and it’s something you absolutely want to avoid.
With one of these types of puzzle toys you can slow your dog down and require them to wait a little bit between bites of their food. This helps reduce the chances of bloat, as well as obesity, in your dog.
What Kind of Puzzle Toy Should I Get?
There are a lot of different types of puzzle toys out there and the specific one for your dog is going to depend on just that, your dog. You want something that they will find challenging, but that they can eventually figure out.
Just like anyone, if the puzzle is too difficult and they can’t figure it out or get a reasonable amount of progress in a short period of time your dog is going to get overwhelmed and they’re going to give up. So, make sure you choose a toy that will get them interested and keep them that way. And make sure that you find something they can eventually figure out.
Of course, you also want them to be challenged. This means walking a bit of a fine line between a toy that mentally stimulates your dog and one that they can still figure out eventually. You may want to try out a few different toys to find something that they really enjoy.
Find the Dog Puzzle Toys That Are Right for You
When it comes to choosing the best dog puzzle toys for your dog you want to start with something that’s going to be a little bit of a challenge but not too overwhelming. From there, keep building your dog up and helping them have a whole lot of fun with their new toy (and the treats that go along with it).