The 15 best puzzle toys for dogs

best puzzle toys for dogs

We all know that exercise is really important for our dog's well-being. But it’s not just their bodies that need to be kept engaged – their brains also need to be exercised. One of the best ways to prevent your dog from becoming bored or frustrated (especially when you’re not there to entertain them) is with a dog puzzle toy.

They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and can be used as training devices or purely for fun. They’ll be sure to put your pup’s brain to use and keep them entertained all day long!

So, what are the best puzzle toys for dogs?

What are puzzle toys for dogs?

They’re actually pretty similar to children’s puzzle toys. They’re designed to keep your dog’s brain active, make them learn, and be fun! There are thousands of mentally stimulating dog toys available and they can be made out of many different materials, have a different goal, and be more suitable for puppies or older dogs.

Some dispense a treat when your dog successfully completes a task, others hone their skills and help mental stimulation, and some just keep them entertained for hours at a time.

Does my dog need a puzzle toy?

Most dogs benefit from a little extra entertainment and puzzle toys are the perfect thing. They’re especially good for when you leave the house and your pup needs to create their own excitement. If you set up a puzzle toy before you leave, they’ll hardly notice you’re gone – which is ideal for dogs that suffer from separation anxiety.

Bored dogs can also become destructive and badly behaved, and it’s just not possible for you to keep them entertained all day long. Occupying them with a dog puzzle toy allows you to work, cook or do whatever else you need to get done without a dog under your feet!

The best puzzle toys for dogs

Because there are so many different types and makes of puzzle toys out there, knowing which one your dog would enjoy the most can be a bit overwhelming. We’ve put together a list of 15 of the best dog puzzle toys to make it that little bit easier for you!

Nina Ottosson Hide N' Slide Puzzle Game

nina ottosson puzzle game
This interactive game is a wonderful way to engage your pup and reward them with treats or kibble for their intelligence! Simply hide the food in the ‘secret’ compartments and watch as your dog presses and plays with his nose and paw to reveal the hidden food.

The puzzle is made out of durable wood and plastic, so even if your pup decides to chew it rather than the food, there shouldn’t be too much damage. Because of its raised pieces, it’s also suitable for dogs with short noses that usually find pushing harder. It’s engaging and your dog will love it.

However, dogs used to puzzles may find it too simple so it's best for those pups who are new to the puzzle world!

KONG Classic Dog Toy

kong for dogs
It’s a classic for a reason. This durable chew toy is the perfect puzzle for dogs that like to work for their treats. Fill it up with delicious dog-safe peanut butter (Kong also does Stuff’N Easy treats which you can use) and see how your dog spends hours licking out every last bit!

It comes in four different sizes, so can be used for puppies and more senior dogs. It will relieve boredom, help keep their teeth healthy, and the bouncy rubber material will get them moving too. If it’s particularly warm, you can also freeze the puzzle with the treat inside to make it last longer and help to cool your dog down.

TRIXIE Activity Flip Board

trixie activity flip board
This is a great ‘board game’ for your dog if they like a bit more of a challenge. They’ll have to critically think and use their nose, mouth, and paws to lift the pieces to reveal the treats inside. The way it’s designed means certain parts can’t be pushed over but need to be picked up, which means your dog won't get bored and will really have to engage their brain to complete the task.

It has a non-slip bottom, so no matter how much your dog pushes, it will stay in one place. It’s also dishwasher safe – which is a big bonus for dog owners. Because it is a bit more challenging, you may have to sit with your pup for the first couple of times and show them how it’s done.

Bob-a-Lot Dog Toy

starmark treat dispensing
This is a great mentally stimulating dog toy that gets them moving too. The Bob-a-lot puzzle is on a weighted base and as your dog kicks and pushes it will swing back and forth. They’ll become very excitable as they wait for their treat (or entire meal) to be dispensed!

This game can be customized to make it more or less difficult as well as how much food is released at one time. This is a great way to entertain your dog when you’re out of the house and also provides them with food.

Nina Ottosson Dog Tornado Puzzle

nina ottosson dog tornado puzzle
This interactive game is a really fun toy for your dog. Made up of four rotating levels, you can hide treats in the little compartments or underneath the bone toys. Compared to other puzzles out there, it is a little more complicated and you may need to show your dog how it’s done at the beginning.

Something that’s particularly good about this toy is that it’s suitable for all ages and sizes. You can make it as easy or as difficult as you like – depending on where you hide the treats.

KONG Stuff a Ball

kong stuff a ball toy for dog
Similar to the Kong classic, this is a durable and chew-resistant toy that encourages your dog to play and use their brains to release their treats. There are multiple settings so it can dispense food at different times to constantly keep your dog on its paws!

An extra that this puzzle has is that it cleans your dog’s teeth as they chew and play. The unique ridges massage gums to improve dental health – all whilst having fun! When it's not being used as an interactive puzzle, it's also perfect for a good game of fetch.

Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball

ball puzzler with dog food
This game is a great way to stimulate your pup’s brain and get them moving and playing. The ball can be filled up with treats or kibble which your dog can bat around and chase. You can set it to exactly how much food should be released and can make it more or less difficult. As they engage their brains, they’ll learn to twist the ball to dispense treats – and the last one will be that bit more difficult!

It’s made out of easy-to-clean plastic which is durable and detachable. It also comes in two different sizes depending on how big your dog is.

Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug

busy buddy dog chew toy
The Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug is a really well-designed, 3-in-1 dog puzzle toy that will keep your pup busy all day long. It’s particularly good for those pups that love to gulp down their food or those with digestive problems.

Because it’s a tug toy it’s also a game you can get involved with – you can throw it, pull it and use it in a game of hide and seek! Fill up the clear bottle with treats or a whole kibble meal and your dog will have to use their brain to work out how to pull on the rope and dispense the food. The spikey ball is a great chew toy that helps with dental hygiene too.

TRIXIE Mad Scientist Toy

trixie mad scientist
Show how intelligent your dog is by turning them into a scientist! This fun and engaging toy will make your dog work for their food. Simply fill up the test tubes with kibble and the food will be released as they spin them. They’ll have to work out how to turn them upside down and balance them there.

This durable, interactive dog toy can be made more difficult by changing the lids of the tubes or filling each one to a different level. It’s a great way to make sure they don’t eat too fast and that they’re having fun.

Spot Seek-a-Treat Flip ‘N Slide

spot puzzle
Our dogs have a different color spectrum than us and this engaging game has been designed using colors that your pup will love. Hide treats in the slide or flip compartments and watch your pup as they decide the best way to reveal the food!

This is a great game that you can play together. Your dog will love interacting with you and the puzzle toy and it’s a wonderful way to bond together. It’s made out of durable materials, so should withstand even the most boisterous of playtimes!

PAW 5Wooly Snuffle Mat

paw5 wooly dog toys to keep them busy
Snuffle mats are a wonderful way to soothe anxious pups. They encourage them to use their natural instincts and forage for food. Hide kibble (really, don’t use wet food!) or treats amongst the strands of fabric, and your dog will have to use their sense of smell to hunt them down.

This dog puzzle toy can be used by all ages, breeds, and sizes and is made from durable and upcycled materials. It’s also machine washable which is always a plus!

PetSafe Sportsmen Barnacle

petsafe sportsmen barnacle
When it comes to dog toys to keep them busy, this one is ideal. It’s also a great option for those pups that get a little frustrated by harder puzzle toys. You can fill it with dog food or smear the bone shape groves with their favorite treat. It encourages them to have fun and slow down whilst eating.

It’s made from hardy materials that are dishwasher suitable and can also be used as a ‘normal’ toy in a game of fetch.

ZippyPaws Burrow Squeaky Chipmunk Dog Toy

zippy paws burrow toy puzzle dog
Just look how cute this dog puzzle toy is – and you can get it with squirrels and hedgehogs too! Unlike other toys on the list, this one isn’t driven by your dog's favorite treat or food. It’s designed to stimulate their natural instincts and enhance their curiosity. You hide the animals in their burrow and challenge your pup to find them.

The individual animals also make great squeaky toys, so you’re getting two for the price of one. Although durable, this puzzle toy isn’t suitable for overly chewy dogs.

OurPets Waffle Puzzle Toy

waffle puzzle toy for bored dog
This is one of the best toys for bored dogs because it’s so cute and also gets them interacting! The waffle and syrup design lets you hide their food in the waffle compartments and the syrup covers them over the top.

Your dog will be encouraged to use their brain to find their food and use their sense of smell to get the rewards. They have to work out how to spin the syrup to get their treat or kibble. But that’s not all, you can also spin the waffle to reveal another waffle below!

West Paw Qwizl Dog Chew Puzzle

westpaw mentally stimulating dog toys
If you have a pup that loves to chew almost anything – this is the puzzle toy for you. Extra durable, it can withstand (almost) anything. When you fill up the chew toy with kibble or treats your pup will be able to smell them thanks to the little cutouts in the middle. They’ll be excited and will want to engage their brains to get the delicious smelling treats.

The Qwizl dog puzzle toy can also be used as a normal toy to play with without the need for treats – which your dog is sure to love.

Puzzle toys are a great way to engage your pup, help them learn, and make playtime even more fun. To make sure the toys stay entertaining, hide them away after they’ve finished playing and try to mix them up a little. This will help to keep it interactive and they might not remember the solution to the puzzle next time!

Does your dog like to play with puzzle toys? Which is their favorite?

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