Many dog behaviorists and vets recommend interactive dog toys, but why is this?
Well, put simply, these toys will deliver a welcome boost of stimulation to your pup and keep them engaged and having fun.
Most of these toys come with the ability to stuff them with treats. This not only serves to reward your pooch, but you’ll also be encouraging him to eat more slowly. This helps to optimize digestion and it’s something difficult to train your dog to do without the aid of a puzzle or game.
If you need to leave your dog unattended while you’re out at work all day, you’ll need more than just a no-bark collar. Leaving him with a selection of interactive toys will give him something to engross himself in for hours rather than pining for you in your absence.
Not only will you help to combat boredom and loneliness in your furball, but giving him a toy should also go some way toward discouraging destructive behaviors.
Now, what should you look out for when you’re trying to find the best dog puzzle toys?
- Temperament of your dog: Most importantly and before anything else, think about the temperament of your dog and his chewing style. Larger breeds and more aggressive chewers will easily destroy most soft toys so you should look for rubber toys instead
- Materials: Look for food-grade materials with no sharp edges for your dog to hurt his teeth or gums on. Ensure that the toy is easy to clean as you don’t want any dirt and bacteria accumulating on it
- Durability: Although most dog puzzle toys are pretty inexpensive, you need to ensure they’ll last the distance. Check for robustness and durability
- Customer reviews: If you take a few minutes to scope out some customer feedback for the dog toys on your shortlist, you can usually get a reasonably accurate idea of how the toys stands and falls in real-life conditions
OK, you should now be clear on some of the variables to consider when you’re comparing dog toys, so we’ll get right down to business now with a summary of the 15 best dog puzzle toys out there.
See which takes your fancy!
The 15 Best Dog Puzzle Toys
1. Our #1 Pick: KONG Classic Dog Toy
- 4 x 2.75 x 2.75 inches
If you’re searching for the best dog puzzle toys, you’ll come across plenty of games and interactive toys from the KONG stable.
This company has been making first-class dog toys for almost half a century now, so you’re buying into a wealth of experience and brand heritage.
The unique shape of this conical toy is designed to bounce unpredictably. This type of small pleasure always brings joy to dogs.
The classic toy is easy to fill with your dog’s favorite treats or kibble. As with all the best dog puzzles, there needs to be a reward on the end of it for Fido or he’ll rapidly lose interest and the toy will gather dust.
You can choose from a wide range of sizes to suit. There’s a sizing chart provided and you should take the time to study this, especially if you have an older version of this toy. A handful of readers have pointed out some changes in sizing so check before committing to purchase.
If anything does go wrong – and that’s unlikely – KONG offers robust and responsive customer care. What, then, are you waiting for?
2. Nina Ottosson Interactive Puzzle
- 6 x 11.6 x 2 inches
- 2 pounds
Nina Ottosson of Sweden has been creating dog puzzle toys like this for the past 25 years. She started making dog toys when she needed to entertain both her children and pup indoors. From there, millions of dog owners the world over have benefited from these intelligently-designed puzzles.
There’s a difficulty chart you can consult to determine which toys makes the best fit. This interactive puzzle is level 2, rated intermediate difficulty. If you have an especially inquisitive and smart hound, we’d suggest exploring some of the more advanced toys in the range.
The wooden build is rugged and perfectly safe for your doggie. You’ll get no phthalates and no BPA either.
The toy has 14 separate places for you to stash kibble and treats for your pup to uncover throughout the day.
Although this puzzle should keep your dog challenged, a few dissatisfied customers have complained about a fairly short lifespan. If your dog is a seriously aggressive chewer, you might want to consider other more robust toys on our shortlist.
3. Trixie Mad Scientist for Dogs
- 5 x 7 x 13 inches
- 2 pounds
If introduce an element of challenge into feeding your dog, he’ll thank you for it. Dogs love to forage just as much as they love to play, so why not check out this mad scientist set from Trixie?
The stable base comes with 3 beakers attached to a frame. These beakers come with an assortment of patterned lids.
Using this puzzle couldn’t be easier. Start by placing your dog’s treats inside the beakers and allowing him to get used to feeding from the open containers. Then, pop the lids on and watch as he learns to master flipping the beakers over to upend the food he’s craving.
Once your pup starts getting to grips with this game, you can mix up the lids to give him more of a test.
You might find aggressive dogs bite some of the plastic away, so we’d recommend keeping a close eye on proceedings if your pooch is prone to biting.
4. Nina Ottosson Outward Hound Game
- 75 x 9.25 x 2 inches
- 5 pounds
Next up comes another intriguing puzzle from the highly reputable Nina Ottosson in the form of this Outward Hound game.
Rated intermediate (level 2), this puzzle is great if you’re just starting to train a younger dog, and you’d like to mix up that training with a healthy dose of fun.
Your dog gets 3 different ways to use this toy as you use different compartments in which to stash the food he’s slobbering for.
All plastic components are free of phthalates, BPA, and all other contaminants so you can keep your canine on his toes with a clear conscience.
The pieces are very easy to keep clean, too. We’d suggest regularly wiping them down with some hot soapy water to prevent any bacteria from accumulating.
5. Outward Hound Fun Feeder
- 5 x 8 x 2.6 inches
- 5 pounds
Outward Hound has a deep bench of engaging and interactive dog puzzles to stretch your hound’s gray matter. How does this toy stack up, then?
The key selling point of this slow feeder is the way it encourages your dog to enjoy his food without wolfing it down. Eating at a gentler pace will help improve your dog’s digestion, and this bowl will ensure he eats up to 10 times more slowly.
All materials are made from food-grade substances leaving you with no niggling concerns about your dog’s welfare.
The design of this bowl means that it won’t make the best fit for all dogs. We found many owners complaining that their dog’s snout didn’t sit well with the bowl.
Choose from multiple sizes to suit and according to how much kibble you need to distribute.
Backed by vets with just cause, this dog puzzle will slow your furball down at feeding time with positive benefits for his health. What’s not to love?
6. Trixie Dog Activity Strategy Game
- 12 x 10 x 5 inches
- 3 pounds
Next up in our collection of the best dog puzzle toys comes a slick strategy game from Trixie Dog. What do you get for your money here?
Firstly, this is quite flimsy and fragile, so best suited for small and more docile dogs. Put a larger breed who chews aggressively near this thing and you’re asking for trouble.
As long as you have a smaller dog to consider, you can encourage him to use a variety of techniques in order to uncover the food you’ve hidden for him. If your dog gets easily bored when you’re away from home all day, introducing this game into proceedings will help to keep him occupied and stimulated.
While this might not be the most rugged dog toy, it comes mounted on a non-slip base making it safe and stable.
If you need some entertainment for your smaller dog at a reasonable price point, we’d strongly recommend this nifty strategy game from Trixie Dog.
7. PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat for Dogs
- Virgin upcycled materials
- 9 x inches
- 2 pounds
Feeding mats make for entertainment and stimulation when it’s time for your hound to eat. How does this wooly snuffle mat from PAW5 shape up, then?
The manufacturer doesn’t disclose the specifics of this material except to say that it’s virgin and upcycled as well as completely sustainable. The texture should be very much to your pup’s liking, though.
By throwing your hound’s treats inside this mat and allowing him to sniff and dig them out, you’ll be giving him a lot more fun and stimulation than if you just tossed them in a bowl. He’ll be able to get back to his wild roots, and you can also watch him eat more slowly as he needs to first find his food.
The only real drawback of this mat concerns the stitching. Several consumers have highlighted this as a potential weak point on an otherwise fine piece of kit.
8. Outward Hound Hide-a-Squirrel
- Plush fabric
- 3 x 6.x 9.5 inches
If you have a smaller dog who just wants fun, fun, fun, this set of plush fabric squirrel toys from Outward Hound is well worth popping on your shortlist.
Aggressive chewers would make light work of these toys, but smaller and more restrained pups will revel in the squeaky fun.
Pop the trio of squeaky squirrels inside the tree trunk and watch as your furball’s natural hunting instincts kick in.
As long as your dog isn’t likely to rip a soft toy like this apart – and plenty of feisty dogs will! – then you’ll give him endless fun with his new nemesis the squirrel.
The super-soft texture of these toys guarantees your dog won’t end up damaging his teeth or gums. These toys work equally well for adult dogs or puppies.
As an added kicker, you can also use these toys to play catch or fetch with your pup.
9. KONG Stuff-a-Ball Dog Toy
- 5 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches
- 5 pounds
We have another nifty toy from the inimitable KONG up next in the form of this stuff-a-ball dog toy.
The solid rubber build makes this a great fit for larger and more aggressive dogs who would make mincemeat of some of the plush puzzles on our shortlist. This large size is intended for dogs weighing from 30 to 65 pounds. There are several others sizes available if this doesn’t seem right for your dog.
The ridges of this toy are specifically designed with your dog’s teeth in mind. Simply using the toy will help with his dental hygiene and ensure those gnashers stay squeaky clean.
All KONG toys are made in the US from materials sourced worldwide.
If you need to keep an aggressive larger dog stimulated, this is one of the best dog puzzle toys you can find from a brand you can trust.
10. SPOT Seek-a-Treat
- 11 x 1.4 x 9 inches
- 3 pounds
SPOT makes some great dog toys well worth your further investigation.
This seek-a-treat puzzle makes it more demanding for your dog to get the treats he craves than poking his snout in his bowl.
The bright red, yellow, and blue colors will grab your dog’s attention and fall within the spectrum of colors he can pick up on.
Whether you use this as a pure puzzle, or you load it with treats, your dog will have endless fun flipping and playing.
Although some customers have complained about the lifespan of this toy, the company has a comprehensive customer care policy and you shouldn’t have any problems with their 100% satisfaction guarantee.
The sturdy materials are food-grade and free of all contaminants like phthalates and BPA.
The toy is produced by a family-run US company that’s been in business for over half a century helping pet owners just like you to liven up their furball’s lives.
11. West Paw Zogoflex Dog Treat
- 2 x 6.7 x 4.3 inches
- 6 pounds
West Paw Zogoflex serves up a neat toy, so what can you expect?
This is more of a play toy your dog can chew than a dedicated chewing toy. If you have an aggressive dog and you leave him alone with this thing, he’ll likely tear it apart. If you have a dog who only chews moderately, though, it’s a smart choice.
The brand also sells a deep bench of toys ideal for more aggressive chewers so be sure to scope those out if you have a feistier canine.
You can choose from a wide array of vibrant color schemes to suit your mood and your dog’s temperament.
Using this thing couldn’t be easier. Pop your dog’s favorite treats inside, push to combine the two halves of the puzzle, and twist to lock it into place. Watch, then, as your pup tries to break out his snacks.
Made from patented Zogoflex, you get a sustainable and recyclable solution to keeping your dog mentally stimulated and entertained.
12. SPOT Ethical Interactive Pet Toy
- 4 x 2.75 x 2.75 inches
Another ethical pet toy up next from the SPOT line. This comes from Ethical Products, Inc, a family-owned and family-run American company catering to pet owners just like you.
The plastic build is mercifully free of phthalates, BPA, and other contaminants toxic to your canine.
Easy to clean, you can safely pop this toy in the dishwasher so you make certain it remains spotless.
Designed to float and bounce, this makes a great companion if you head to the beach with your dog, or if you have a small swimming pool for him at home in the yard.
By introducing an elements of problem-solving into feeding dog time, you’ll nudge your pooch to think before he acts, always useful for overall obedience training.
This puzzle doesn’t make the smoothest fit for more aggressive chewers. We highlight plenty of toys cut out for more serious punishment, so we’d advise checking out some of the competition.
For any pet owners with more restrained dogs, though, this makes a great addition to feeding time.
13. KONG Wobbler Dog Toy
- 4 x 2.75 x 2.75 inches
As we edge to the end our curated list of the best dog puzzle toys, we have yet another entry from the mighty KONG stable. This brand offers a broad range of choice if you’re looking to give your pup a treat, so how does the wobbler stand out?
This is the large version of the toy and it’s designed for large and giant breeds. Where many brands claim their toys are intended for beefy dogs, they often fail to deliver. This is not the case with the super-robust wobbler.
Vets all over the world recommend this toy, and that’s the kind of backing we always look for here at BarkVA.
As with all dog toys of this nature, if you supervise your furball rather than leaving him unmolested, you’ll end up prolonging the lifespan of the toys you palm his way.
14. Nina Ottosson Outward Hound Brick Puzzle
- 75 x 1.75 x 8.75 inches
- 2 pounds
The legendary Nina Ottosson makes yet another appearance, and with her toys so neatly designed and well-made, it’s no surprise.
This puzzle is a good fit if your dog is super-smart and always looking for more of a challenge at playtime.
You hide your dog’s favorite snacks and treats under the sliding discs of this puzzle. He’ll then be forced to move the sliding pieces of this puzzle around if he wants to get his lips on what’s below.
You can manipulate the difficulty level of this toy by altering the disc coverings.
When you’re buying toys and puzzles for your furball, you should always remain realistic. Sure, there’s a chance he will remain engaged with a toy over the long-haul, but there’s much more chance he’ll get rapidly bored. This being the case, you’ll appreciate the pocket-friendly pricing of this puzzle, and you won’t incur too stiff a loss if your hound loses interest.
15. Frisco Hide and Seek Plush Volcano Toy
- Plush fabric
- 4 8.5 x 9.5 x 8.5 inches
To round out our search for the best dog puzzle toys, we have a hide-and-seek game from Frisco, so what do you get for your money?
The soft texture of these toys ensure your dog doesn’t end up causing any damage to his teeth at playtime. The flip-side of this gentle and pup-friendly construction is that more aggressive dogs are likely to demolish this thing in short order. When you’re comparing the best dog toys, you should always think first and foremost about the temperament of your dog. Fail to do so and you’re asking for a destroyed puzzle.
The squeaky volcano is surrounded by 6 squeaky dinosaurs to engage all your dog’s senses.
Not only will this toy keep your pup engaged for hours, but it also comes in at a very reasonable price point, so you have no reason not to buy. Your dog will thank you for it.
Well, if you arrived here at BarkVA today with no idea at all about the best dog puzzle toys out there, we hope to have changed that.
Since these toys require very little to consider when you’re on the buying trail, we decided to include more choice for you today.
To reiterate, the most important factor to focus on when you’re comparing dog puzzle toys is the temperament of your dog, specifically how he tends to chew. For light to moderate chewers, most of the puzzles on our shortlist will be appropriate. If your dog is a larger breed or tends to chew aggressively, though, we’d suggest taking a little more time and trouble when you’re comparing the best dog toys. You can find plenty of options suitable for bigger breeds, and an abundance of toys designed to withstand the rigor of aggressive chewing.
Most of these puzzles are reasonably cheap, so you shouldn’t need to spend too much time comparing prices. Stick with any of the models we review above and you’re in for one of the easiest buying decisions you’ll face this year.
Before you head off shopping dog puzzles, we’d ask you to take a moment to bookmark our blog. We’re here to bring you concise and impartial reviews of all the best dog equipment and accessories. We’re shaping up for a very busy year, too, so pop back soon as we update our content daily.