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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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