We love puzzle toys, and your dog will too. Often recommended by dog behaviourists, interactive dog toys are designed to help keep your dog busy while you’re away.
While these toys offer much-needed mental stimulation for your pup, nothing can replace the value of engaging in interactive play with your dog (i.e. tug-of-war or fetch). But when you can’t be there, puzzle toys are a great supplement. This selection of puzzle games and treat toys has something for small dogs, large dogs, and everyone in between.
Move over, hide and seek. There’s a new game in town, and it’s called hide and squeak by Outward Hound. This plush puzzle game is simple, really— you stuff the adorable little squeaky squirrels into the oh-so-soft tree trunk and watch your dog pull them out one by one. Then stuff ’em back in, and do it again. This interactive toy is super fun and food free for dogs on a diet.
It’s slightly less cardio-heavy than the normal chasing of squirrels, but it keeps dogs entertained even when they’re just, well, chewing on the squirrels. Comes in three sizes.
2. KONG Classic
Whether your dog is pawing it around the house or carefully licking out every last goody, it’s bound to keep him entertained all day long. Available in multiple sizes and with special varieties for puppies, seniors, and extreme chewers.Buy Now on Amazon
Watch out! You let your dog spend too much time with this clever puzzle and he’ll soon outsmart you. The toy requires your dog to manoeuvre the levers to reveal the dog treats.
Made by well-regarded Swedish puzzle toys for dogs line Nina Ottosson, it’s a great exercise in mental stimulation that keeps your dog curious.Buy Now on Amazon
You know those blow-up bop bags you’d punch as a kid? This treat-dispensing toy by Starmark is kind of like that, only much smaller, and filled with delicious goodies. It’s a dog puzzle to be solved with face and feet, so expect some loud and ecstatic playtime with this.
Fill the toy with your dog’s favourite treat, or even his entire dinner, then customize the opening to determine just how many calories your dog should get. As he works for it, the toy bobs and tilts on an anti-slip, weighted base. It’s like dinner and a show.Buy Now on Amazon
Like the Bob-a-Lot, the IQ Treat Ball can be filled with treats, then an opening is determined based on the desired difficulty. Want to entertain your canine all day long? Tighten that opening. Make it easy? Open it up. A one-size-fits-all dog puzzle toy.Buy Now on Amazon
It’s like fast food for dogs. The Tug-A-Jug, which holds up to an entire meal worth of kibble, won’t only satisfy your dog’s hunger, but keep him occupied for quite some time, too.
The unique design features a textured rubber wrap, which cleans teeth, a rope to tug on, and a jug filled with snacks. Best suited for larger breeds, it’s basically a dog’s dream.Buy Now on Amazon
Available in multiple sizes and with additional treat packs, this dog treat dispenser toy is as simple as it sounds— a familiar ball shape, with tricky-to-find treats. No gimmicks here. Simply load it up and watch as your dog pushes it around the house, focused and trying to get out his favourite snack. One of our readers’ most popular treat-dispensing toys of all time.Buy Now on Amazon
This little puzzle by Trixie Pet Products is legitimately difficult. Each knob, flap, and cone must be operated in some way (tongues, paws, whatever) to get the treat.
Remember: dogs don’t have opposable thumbs. With a non-slip rubber rim, this game stays in place as long as it takes.Buy Now on Amazon
9. Dog Twister
We’ve all played the human Twister, but how about Dog Twister? This game features a wheel of compartments to be filled with hidden treats that are only revealed after the dog moves one block after another in a circle.
You can even lock some of the blocks with a bone-shaped peg for added difficulty. When dogs finally understand how the game works, more blocks can be locked, upping the difficulty level.Buy Now on Amazon
10. Snuffle Mat
This low-tech classic asks dogs to use the power of their nose to find tasty treats. The mat is both sturdy and soft, and it’s machine washable if it ends up covered in drool. Portable, simple, and versatile, the snuffle mat is a worthy addition to your dog’s puzzle toy collection.Buy Now on Amazon
Mental stimulation is incredibly important as is an appropriate amount of exercise, and lots of love and affection. So if for whatever reason you can’t be around for your dog as much as you’d like, you can find lots of amazing sitters who’d be happy to keep them company and who provide dog boarding on Rover.com.