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We Tested the Best Dog Puzzle Toys – Here’s Our Top 7!

As dog owners, we play a big role in the development of our dogs as well as maintaining their health. A dog’s growing mind is quite receptive to its environment, so we must take the time to stimulate and maintain its mental health. But how?

While this is a very important responsibility as a pet owner, no one said that the process couldn’t be fun! Puzzle toys are an excellent way to keep your dog happy, healthy, and occupied! We couldn’t help but wonder which puzzles were the most beneficial for dogs.

Our curiosity led us to happily test the highest-rated puzzle toys we could find with our dogs. Here at BarkVa, it’s important to us that every pup out there, regardless of age or breed, can get the mental nourishment it needs! 

After many hours of research and testing 20 of the best dog puzzle toys, we ended up with 7 top picks and 7 honorable mentions. Read on to find out which ones we love and why they take our top spots.

Need more toys to keep your dog interested in healthy playtime? We reviewed the Best Treat Dispensing Toys in a complete guide.

Our Top Picks

  Product Details    
Best-Overall-Nina-Ottosson-Interactive-Puzzle Best Overall: Nina Ottosson Interactive Puzzle When buying Nina Ottosson products, you can be confident that you made the right choice. A brand famous for its game-changing approach to puzzle toys, there is no doubt you and your pup will be impressed. Check Price
Our-Dogs-Favorite-KONG-Classic-Dog-Toy Our Dog’s Favorite: KONG Classic Dog Toy This highly durable and reliable puzzle toy will have your dog occupied for hours on end. KONG values and understands the ideal components of a great puzzle toy, which shows in all their products, especially this one! Check Price
Best-for-Puppies-Trixie-Dog-Activity-Strategy-Game Best For Puppies: Trixie Dog Activity Strategy Game Made by a brand known for its precise attention to detail, Trixie manufactures a great puzzle toy that would be a perfect first puzzle for a puppy or young dog. Check Price
Most-Challenging-Puzzle-Nina-Ottosson-Outward-Hound-Game Most Challenging Puzzle: Nina Ottosson Outward Hound Game This epic collaboration between these two highly praised companies is something we can all be thankful for. We think this product would be a great fit for all the intelligent dogs out there looking for a challenge.  Check Price
Most-UniqueEccentric-Puzzle-PAW5-Wooly-Snuffle-Mat-For-Dogs Most Unique/Eccentric Puzzle: PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat For Dogs When it comes to toys that nourish your dog’s mental well-being, variety is a must-have! Paw 5 produces an excellent toy that pays homage to our dogs’ instinct to hunt for food, just like their ancestors did. Check Price
Most-Appealing-Puzzle-Toy-Outward-Hound-Fun-Feeder Most Appealing Puzzle Toy: Outward Hound Fun Feeder This puzzle toy is great not only for the health benefits it provides but also for its attractive designs! If you love color and pattern diversity, we highly recommend this product from Outward Hound. Check Price
Best-Wooden-Puzzle-Toy-SPOT-Ethical-Interactive-Pet-Toy Best Wooden Puzzle Toy: SPOT Ethical Interactive Pet Toy You can confidently trust that puzzle toy will provide you and your pup with the necessary support while you’re on the move. This product by SPOT is great for keeping dogs busy at home or on road trips.  Check Price

How We Tested Each Puzzle Toy

Dog playing with a puzzle toy
Puzzle toys are stimulating play for dogs.

We wanted to make sure that each product was tested accurately and fairly for this experiment. We decided on the 5 most vital qualities we look for in an ideal puzzle toy to properly compare the results. 

Here is what we decided on:

  • Design
  • Performance
  • Cost
  • Size
  • Durability

This research method was perfect for helping us answer our questions. It showed us what we should be looking for in the best dog puzzle toys while providing an accurate system to help us record our results. 

We started our search, which led us to many different brands, each offering different materials and quality. We also made sure to note the prices and value for each product. 

Nina Ottosson was founded by one woman who simply wanted to create fun, engaging toys for her pups. 25 years later, her puzzles are known worldwide, with millions of dogs benefiting from her genuine ideas and game-changing approach.

We prioritized finding toys that would last as some have been known to break easily and aren’t very durable. This led us to KONG, a well-known brand for its authentic and long-lasting array of toys and puzzles.

Outward Hound was another big brand that came up a lot in our research. They’re quite established in this industry and trusted by dog owners everywhere for their top-notch toys, treats, and dog beds. This was a brand we looked forward to trying. 

We also took opinions from the dog owner community online, zeroing in on reviews and recommendations shared on popular shopping sites such as Chewy and Amazon. This information was very helpful for formulating our list.

We settled on 20 highly-rated puzzle toys and tested these products for one month with our dogs, observing how they liked each toy at first impression compared to the end of our test trial. We ended up with 7 top choices and 7 honorable mentions to follow.

Read our related article on How to Clean Dog Toys With Ease. Puzzle toys means treats and treats means grime buildup. Learn how to clean your dog’s toys!

Best Dog Puzzle Toys Reviewed

1. Best Overall: Nina Ottosson Interactive Puzzle

Product Ratings


Type: Interactive Puzzle Game | Design: Flat With Hidden Compartments | Main Material(s): Durable Composite Wood | Best for: Puppy-Adult | Price: $

What We Liked

  • Stores kibble or treats in 14 different spots
  • Free of BPA and phthalates
  • Variable difficulty levels

What We Didn’t Like

  • It may not last as long as some other toys we tested
  • Too easy for some dogs to finish quickly
  • Treats can occasionally get stuck in between the two pieces of this toy

Nina Ottosson is a serious contender in this industry with good reason. After all, she began her journey as a dog owner who wanted to provide her dogs with healthy mental stimulation. Her products have a very authentic feel, which we love!

How is This Puzzle Toy Designed?

This puzzle toy is designed to stay together as one piece so that no removable parts can be a potential choking hazard for your dog. There are 14 compartments to hide kibble or treats in this toy, each with a moveable lid to reveal the prize inside!

The materials in this toy are wood and plastic composite. It has a solid and stable base to prevent your dog from pushing it all over the house. This toy is also made without BPA, PVC, and phthalates, so we know it’s safe. 

There are 4 different difficulty levels for this product:

  • Level 1 (Easy)
  • Level 2 (Intermediate) 
  • Level 3 (Advanced)
  • Level 4 (Expert)

It is very easy to maintain and clean. Just rinse with warm water and soap between uses, and you should have no issues with gunky buildup. From our experience with this toy, we learned that this puzzle works the best with smaller types of kibble and treats.

Our Favorite Feature

We loved the variety of difficulties available for this product because it meant that there was a toy for each of our dogs to try. This is a unique feature that we’ve never seen before in any other puzzle toys, which was great to see!

How Our Dogs Liked It 

Our dogs couldn’t get enough of this toy, and they played with it for hours on end! The level 2 variety was the most popular amongst our pups. Even when there were no treats in the toy, they’d still carry it around with them as if some kibble would magically appear!

Initially, this product was perplexing and confusing to our pups who wanted a quick and easy treat. Once they started slowing things down and using their brains, they finally got the hang of it. Even after the month trial ended, they still loved to use it!

What Other Customers Had to Say

We found overwhelmingly positive reviews on this toy. Most customers were quite satisfied with their purchase and claimed it helped keep their energetic dogs focused and occupied indefinitely. We think this toy is a great value for the price.

Some had an issue with the durability of this toy and felt that it didn’t last very long. So we would advise that those with more aggressive, energetic dogs who love to bite may want to consider more robust puzzle toys. 


2. Our Dog’s Favorite: KONG Classic Dog Toy

Product Ratings


Type: Chew Toy | Design: Conical | Main Material(s): Rubber | Best for: For All Dogs | Price: $

What We Liked

  • Comes in multiple sizes
  • Dishwasher-friendly for easy cleaning
  • Great for stuffing with treats

What We Didn’t Like

  • Occasional sizing issues, though the ones we bought were true to size
  • Strong rubbery smell
  • Can be too hard for some pups to chew on

Kong is a popular dog toy manufacturer that has been making high-quality, state-of-the-art products for dogs and cats alike since 1976. Over the years, they’ve produced an impressive selection of toys and gained the trust of pet owners worldwide!

How is This Puzzle Toy Designed?

This toy is designed similar to a cone shape and is made to bounce unpredictably when dropped on the ground. It is made of rubber and comes in 3 different sizes for dogs of all ages and sizes. 

These 3 sizes include:

  • Small (Dogs up to 20 lbs)
  • Medium (Dogs up to 15-35 lbs)
  • Large (Dogs up to 30-65 lbs)

The uncontrollable nature of this toy helps satisfy your dog’s insatiable need to hunt and play. It is a very stimulating and healthy way for your dog to expend some energy. We observed that the rubber material makes this toy durable and long-lasting.

Another aspect of this product that we liked was the stuffing feature. This toy can be filled with tasty treats like kibble or peanut butter to make things more exciting! This toy is also dishwasher safe, making for easy clean-up whenever it’s needed.

Our Favorite Feature

The durability of this toy is amazing. This is very important to us because our dogs have a habit of going through toys fast. Our dogs play with these toys every day, and it’s been more than half a year since we got them, but they’re still going strong!

How Our Dogs Liked It

Our dogs fell in love with this toy the very first time they laid eyes on it! Every time we tested this toy, it resulted in a chaotic, storming sea of excited dogs running from left to right, trying to catch and predict where the bouncing cone would go next.

This is the only product on our list that we still use every day, and it has become our dogs’ go-to chew toy. They love when we load it with treats and kibble. Having a special treat waiting for them inside the toy makes it all the more rewarding when they finally catch it!

What Other Customers Had to Say

Many exclaim that this is their dog’s favorite toy as well! Some people even go as far as to say that “KONG is what candy crush is to humans,” and we have to agree. The only issues we found in some reviews were the sizes being different than advertised.


3. Best for Puppies: Trixie Dog Activity Strategy Game

Product Ratings


Type: Flip Board Strategy Game | Design: Puzzle/Board | Main Material(s): Plastic | Best for: Puppies | Price: $$ 

What We Liked

  • Easy to wipe clean
  • Dogs need to use different techniques 
  • Non-slip base for total stability

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not the most challenging game, even for some puppies
  • Not very durable compared to other toys we tested
  • Lift off cones can be a choking hazard

Some dogs can get overwhelmed or even lose attention due to the difficulty of some puzzles, especially those who aren’t very experienced with them. Trixie is known for its exciting and engaging products and its desire to make the best toys for the best pups.

How is This Puzzle Toy Designed?

This product is a flat board with many different switches, panels, and compartments to hide treats in. The idea behind this toy is to provoke your dogs to use different mental strategies to reach their prizes, so it really makes them think!

Some notable features in this product:

  • Non-slip base
  • Dishwasher safe 
  • Contains a booklet with tips and tricks on how to use the toy

The stable base of this toy gives your dog the chance to explore and interact with this toy without constant disruptions. Changing the number and location of the treats when using this product can create an excellent and healthy challenge for your pup.

Our Favorite Feature

We loved the stability and size of this toy because it was perfect for our smaller dogs. It’s light, easy to store, and doesn’t end up getting pushed all over the house like some puzzle toys we have had in the past.

How Our Dogs Liked It

Our dogs were very fascinated with this toy when they first saw it. It took them a couple of days to get the hang of it, and we observed they were almost in a trance-like state over solving each piece of the puzzle. At the end of our trial, however, this changed.

While this was very exciting for our dogs initially, it didn’t seem to last, and most of them seemed to be bored of it by the end of the month. Our puppies loved this toy, though! This product was a perfect introduction to puzzle toys for them.

What Other Customers Had to Say

Reviews are generally positive for this toy. Many customers were quite satisfied with this toy and felt it was worth the price. Others felt that this product was easy to break and claimed their dogs could easily bite the plastic off the toy to get to the treats.

For heavy chewers, we reviewed the Best Indestructible Dog Toys. Be sure to check those out!


4. Most Challenging Puzzle: Nina Ottosson Outward Hound Game

Product Ratings


Type: Interactive Puzzle | Design: Flip and Slide Compartments | Main Material(s): Plastic | Best for: Adult Dogs | Price: $

What We Liked

  • 3 ways to play with one puzzle toy
  • 12 different treat compartments
  • Easy to clean pieces

What We Didn’t Like

  • Build quality could be improved for durability
  • Flimsier than some other toys we tested
  • Plastic pieces come off too easily, so it isn’t great for persistent chewers

Once again, Nina Ottosson makes our list! This time, featured by Outward Hound, these two brands collided to make an innovative toy that was one of the coolest ones we’d seen! This brain stimulator had a unique design that left most of our dogs perplexed!

How is This Puzzle Toy Designed?

This dog puzzle is designed like a hide-and-seek toy with 12 different places to hide the treats and three different types of compartments made to test the skills of your furry friend! 

Through our research, we found that this dog toy was free of the following harmful chemicals:

  • BPA
  • PVC

Being crafted from 100% food-safe materials, you can trust that this toy is a safe alternative for your dog. This product, similar to #1 on our list, also comes with 4 varying difficulty levels for the dogs out there who enjoy an extra challenge. 

Because it is a more breakable toy, we only allowed our dogs to play with it when we were present to supervise so we could keep them from ruining it.

Our Favorite Feature

We loved the design of this product, specifically, we loved that there were so many different places you could hide the kibble in. It made the puzzle much more challenging and exciting. The challenge had our dogs occupied for longer too, which was a plus!

How Our Dogs Liked it

This puzzle was the hardest one for the majority of our dogs. There are three levels to each compartment within the toy, and by the end of the test trial, they still hadn’t figured out about the 3rd level! They loved the toy, but it was too confusing for them on the hardest level.

What Other Customers Had to Say

Most customers thought this product was very cute and enjoyed how it healthily occupied their pups. Many leave positive comments about how affordable it is. Others complained that the plastic lids on this toy came off too easily and that it was a bit flimsy.


5. Most Unique/Eccentric Puzzle: PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat For Dogs

Product Ratings


Type: Rug Puzzle | Design: Foraging Mat | Main Material(s): Cotton/Polyester | Best for: All Dogs | Price: $$

What We Liked

  • Encourages dogs to forage for food
  • Made from sustainable materials 
  • Machine Washable

What We Didn’t Like

  • Stitching could be more substantial
  • More expensive than the other options on this list
  • Can get pretty messy on the mat and the floor

Paw 5, a newly founded and sustainably-run company, understands the importance of feeding mats and how they can be an excellent source of mental activity for all dogs out there. 

How is This Puzzle Toy Designed?

This product is a sustainably made snuffle mat composed of upcycled materials. It is designed to engage your dog’s senses and brain, especially its sense of smell. Foraging for treats in this rug simulates a satisfying feeling of hunting for food in nature.

Some notable features of this rug include:

  • Easy-to set up
  • Exciting to use
  • Durable design

This rug has also become a classic part of our dogs’ toy collection! It is durable and made to last while easy to clean and maintain. This rug is safe to use in the washing machine as well.

Our Favorite Feature

Our favorite feature of this product is that it helps stimulate our dogs’ love to hunt and forage for food. We love that idea of helping them satisfy their instincts and to provide them with a safe way to do that!

How Our Dogs Liked It

Our pups love to use this rug! Their noses start to become very active whenever they see it, and their tails instantly begin wagging. We can confirm that fulfilling these hunter instincts makes them feel great! 

By the end of our month, our dogs not only loved this toy even more but got good at solving it. Their sense of smell seemed to grow stronger, and they were able to get all the pieces of kibble from the rug in a shorter time.

What Other Customers Had to Say

Many dog owners love this puzzle toy because it’s authentic, creative, unique, and a toy that your dog is guaranteed to love! The only issues we could find with this rug were that it could get a little messy sometimes and was also a bit expensive.

Read our related article, How to Make a Fun and Functional Puzzle Mat for dogs! Not sure if this is the right puzzle mat for your pup? Here’s how you can make a personalized mat.


6. Most Appealing Puzzle Toy: Outward Hound Fun Feeder

Product Ratings


Type: Bowl Puzzle | Design: Spiraled Fun Feeder | Main Materials(s): Plastic | Best for: Most Dog Breeds | Price: $

What We Liked

  • Promotes slower eating
  • Helps improve digestion
  • Food-grade materials

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not a good fit for breeds with longer snouts
  • Awkward for bigger dogs to use
  • Angles of the bowl are a bit sharp

Outward Hound produces an impressive and reliable puzzle toy, using high-quality materials to achieve a safe and intriguing design. You can rest assured this brand aims to provide your dog with the mental nourishment it needs.

How is This Puzzle Toy Designed?

This puzzle is essentially a bowl with spiraled ridges. It is designed to give your dog the chance to slow down while eating so that it can properly digest its food. The bowl also has a non-slip base and can hold up to 2 cups of dry dog food!

This toy is manufactured excellently and has many different versions. Each alternating inner ridge creates a different type of shape or pattern. Some of their options are:

  • Blue Notch
  • Gray Drop
  • Orange Swirl
  • Purple Flower
  • Turquoise Drop
  • And More!

While looking for a puzzle toy to help stimulate and train your pup’s mind, you may as well get one that helps it establish better eating habits as well! This product also comes in 3 sizes; small, medium, and large. 

Our Favorite Feature

We couldn’t help but appreciate how this bowl was designed to help our dogs eat at a more healthy and reasonable pace. It helped some of our dogs who had digestive issues, and that was really great to see. 

The use of different designs within the bowl stood out to us as well. Our favorite designs were the orange swirl and the purple flower.

How Our Dogs Liked It

Our dogs had mixed emotions with this puzzle toy at first. Usually, their first instinct would be to scarf down their food all at once, but this toy prevented them from doing so! This led to some resentments, and even some dogs trying to bite off the plastic!

After an initial two-day rejection period, our dogs learned to work around this issue and just slow down. A couple of weeks later, it was like they never had a fast-eating habit in the first place.

What Other Customers Had to Say 

Many dog owners love this brand, and they love this product. We found a lot of satisfied customers who enjoyed the look of this puzzle toy and each alternative for it. However, owners of dogs with longer snouts claimed this product wasn’t suitable for their pup.


7. Best Wooden Puzzle Toy: SPOT Ethical Interactive Pet Toy

Product Ratings


Type: Ethical Pet Puzzle | Design: Shuffle Bone | Main Material(s): Wood | Best for: All Dogs | Price: $

What We Liked

  • Made from wood
  • Free from harmful chemicals
  • 10 sliding doors to hide treats
  • Great for use in the car

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not great for aggressive chewers
  • Not the most exciting toy
  • Can be difficult to clean

It’s important that we bring some dog toys out on the road with us when traveling with pets, especially toys that can withstand the outside world! SPOT produces a high-quality and wonderfully crafted puzzle toy that you can take with you anywhere.

How is This Puzzle Designed?

This puzzle is a board in the shape of a bone with 10 holes for hiding treats and pieces of kibble. Six moving discs are designed to give each dog a challenge, provoking them to guess which holes have what treats using their intuition, brain, and senses.

Some features in this product that stood out to us during our test trial were:

  • Crafted with sturdy/durable material
  • Helps with motor skills
  • Increases dogs’ memory

This puzzle toy is truly great, not just because of its affordable price and high quality but also because it gives you the chance to take this anywhere you want! Our dogs enjoyed playing with this simple sliding-door toy in the car. This helped to calm the jangled nerves of our more timid travelers.

Our Favorite Feature

We like the simplicity of this toy. The materials, design, and solution are not overly complicated, and dogs enjoy the repetition. We like to use this little shuffleboard to play memory games with our dogs.

How Our Dogs Liked It

Our dogs loved this toy and while some tried to chew it, it held up really well to the abuse. A few of our dogs got really good at playing memory games with the sliding doors, and all the dogs enjoyed hunting for treats.

What Other Customers Had to Say 

The one issue some had with this toy was that it didn’t last with some of their more aggressive dogs. We recommend using this toy with supervision rather than leaving a known chewer home alone with it.


Comparison Chart

ProductsBest OverallOur Dog’s FavoriteBest for PuppiesMost Challenging PuzzleMost Unique/Eccentric PuzzleMost Appealing PuzzleBest Wooden Puzzle Toy

The Winner

Overall, our favorite option off this list is Nina Ottosson Interactive Puzzle. This is a fantastic puzzle toy because it’s affordable, authentic, top quality, and a perfect fit for any dog’s daily routine! We all agreed that this puzzle toy was superior to all the others.

READ MORE: Best Flirt Poles for Dogs. New to training? Looking for an interactive dog toy? See what we discovered when we tested the top flirt poles on the market. 

Honorable Mentions

Here’s a quick look at 7 other options that didn’t quite make our best puzzle dog toys list.

1. Trixie Mad Scientist for Dogs – Considered for Puppies

Though this is a great puzzle toy, it didn’t quite make our list because there seemed to be some issues with this product regarding the quality.

This product is very cute, and while our dogs enjoyed playing with it, it didn’t seem to hold their attention for very long. This option wasn’t as exciting to them as the Trixie Dog Activity Strategy Game was, so it didn’t take the top pick.

2. Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel – Considered for Most Unique/Eccentric Option

This product is also great on its own, but it didn’t have all the qualities we were looking for. The PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat For Dogs was favored because it provides dogs with the natural simulation of foraging and hunting for food.

We think that this product is so unique, and we found many great reviews and satisfied customers. After all, dogs seem to have a natural inclination to hunt squirrels too so this may just be the perfect fit for your dog!

3. KONG Stuff-A-Ball – Considered for Best Overall

This is an excellent product because of how good the value is for the price. It would have made the list if it had more variety and health benefits for a dog’s mental well-being. That’s why we ended up going with the Nina Ottosson Interactive Puzzle instead.

4. SPOT Seek-A-Treat – Considered for Puppies

This is a great dog puzzle toy with many accessories to help ensure your dog is getting the best mental nourishment it can. Here are some notable health benefits:

  • Increased IQ
  • Sharpened Cognitive Skills
  • Improved positive decision making

We love the diversity and possibilities for learning with this toy, but it simply didn’t engage our pups. This puzzle toy didn’t excite them as much as the Trixie Dog Activity Strategy Game did.

5. West Paw Zogoflex Toppl Treat Dispensing Dog Toy – Considered for Our Dogs Favorite

While this is a very high-quality dog toy and our dogs loved this one almost as much as the KONG Classic Dog Toy, it was still favored by them amongst most other options on the list. They loved carrying it around with them everywhere.

The one factor that gave #2 on our list an advantage was the unpredictability and excitement that it brought. Our dogs are very energetic so they were more drawn to that.

6. KONG Wobbler Dog Toy – Considered for Best Overall

A great-looking dog toy and a very fun idea, but it’s not very interactive or stimulating. That’s why we ended up choosing the Nina Ottosson Interactive Puzzle for this category because it is more fun to play with and higher quality for the money.

7. Frisco Hide And Seek Plush Toy – Considered for Most Unique/Eccentric Option

This was up against PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat For Dogs, but our dogs tore it up pretty quickly, so we decided that the snuffle mat is a better buy for the money. We still like it for dogs that play nice with their toys.

This is a high-quality toy and those willing to pay a little money will be greatly rewarded with some laughter watching your dog play with this cute volcano plush toy! We recommend using it with supervision.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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