The best puzzle toys for dogs offer more benefits aside from providing entertainment. Its benefits include promoting mental stimulation, slowing down feeding (using food puzzles), aiding their curiosity, and improving their problem-solving skills. Thus, every pet owner should consider giving their dogs one.
Furthermore, if you are looking for challenging dog toys on the market, then you came to the right place! In this article, we will explore and rate different products and the factors you need to consider in buying one.
20 Best Advanced Puzzle Toys for Dogs
With a wide variety of puzzle toy products available, it is normal to feel overwhelmed. So, take a look at the list we prepared to make your hunt for the best dog puzzles easier!
1. TRIXIE Flower Tower Activity Strategy
The TRIXIE Flower Tower Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy is a multiple-level puzzle treat toy that allows you to hide your dog’s treats in its different hiding slots. With this product, your dog can have fun and learn different tricks simultaneously. You can also adjust its difficulty level by changing configurations or removing cones. Moreover, it has a booklet containing various tips and tricks you can teach your dog.
However, several customer reviews complain about the difficulty level of this dog puzzle. Most of them said that it is too easy and not that challenging for a level 3 puzzle and that their dogs can solve the puzzle in a short amount of time. So, if you have an expert puzzle solver dog, this might not be your best choice.
Plus, if your dog is a heavy chewer, ensure to supervise them at all times since there are reports about dogs chewing the rings and stoppers out of the puzzle.
- The level of difficulty is adjustable
- Have a booklet for tips and tricks
- Best for beginner dogs
- Not for chewer dogs
- It can be too easy
2. MultiPuzzle by Nina Ottosson
This mentally-stimulating dog puzzle game from Outward Hound is a level 4 puzzle that encourages your dog to go through a series of chronological steps to find their treats. Aside from providing mental stimulation and treats, this puzzle also helps fight boredom. This puzzle is best used by dogs who have already mastered level 1-3 puzzles.
On the other hand,100% supervision is needed when your dog is playing with this puzzle. Several buyer reviews complained about the durability of this product. Some pet owners shared that their dogs can take apart the puzzle parts easily, leading to a potential choking hazard.
- The level of difficulty is adjustable
- Very challenging for your smart dogs
- Best for providing mental stimulation
- Not durable enough for chewer dogs
- It can be a choking hazard
3. SNiFFiz SmellyMatty Snuffle Mat for Dogs
Are you looking for a solution to slow down your dog’s feeding time? Then, this SNiFFiz SmellyMatty Snuffle Mat for Dogs is the one you are looking for! By hiding their treats within this mat’s 5 challenging maze puzzles or compartments, you can keep your dog busy and sniffing for a while before they take their next bite. Besides slowing their feeding time, this SNiFFiz mat also assists in calming dogs with anxiety by keeping them busy with sniffing. Plus, the product is made with high-quality fabric (oxford, fleece), machine washable, and non-slip.
But, the downside of this product is that some dogs can discover other ways to retrieve the hidden treats – such as picking up the whole mat instead of sniffing it. Some pet owners also complained that their dogs sometimes confuse the puzzle mat with a potty place. And lastly, despite the high-quality fabric, heavy chewer dogs can still tear the mat apart, causing some potential choking hazards.
- Best for slower feeding time
- Helps dogs with anxiety
- Made with high-quality fabric
- Can be picked up by your dog instead of sniffed to find the treats
- Heavy chewer dogs might tear it up
- It might be confused with a potty place
4. Worker Composite Puzzle Game by Outward Hound
This another Nina Ottoson by Outward Hound puzzle dog toy is carefully designed to keep your dogs safe as they play. In addition, this interactive puzzle allows your dog to exercise their minds and have fun without their pet owners. Despite appearing like real wood, this product has the benefits of wood and plastic. Plus, the product’s durable construction allows your dog to play with it repeatedly without any damage.
However, this puzzle toy might not be your best choice if you have a larger or smarter dog. According to buyer reviews, their big dogs chewed the toy easily on the first try. The plastic used in this product might not be as durable as other materials. Moreover, some pet owners said their dogs with lower problem-solving skills solve puzzles easily. So, this product might not work best for smarter dogs.
- Encourages interactive play
- Improves mental stimulation
- Provides thrill, fun, and learning at the same time
- Not for big dogs
- It can be too easy
5. Hide A Squirrel Plush Dog Toy
With its 2-in-1 interactive play feature, this dog toy puzzle from Outward Hound is good for promoting both mental and physical stimulation in your dog. The essence of this puzzle is to hide or throw the tree trunk toy with squirrel plushies and let your dog fetch or find it. With that, your dog’s natural hunting skills can kick in. In addition, this challenging game can spark your dog’s playfulness and curiosity, keeping the boredom away.
But, what buyers don’t like about this product is that chewer dogs can damage the product quickly. Furthermore, the squirrel plushies can also get lost over time. Moreover, pet owners love this dog toy puzzle and found their dogs enjoying it years after buying it.
- Good for both mental and physical stimulation
- Safe for your dog’s teeth and gums
- Soft and durable
- The plushies can get lost
- It might not be applicable for chewer dogs
6. TRIXIE Dog Activity Turn Around Game
Let’s move forward to this another TRIXIE dog toy. The Dog Activity Turn Around Game is one of the most common toys you can see pet owners purchasing. This product comes with 3 beakers and 2 sets of patterned lids. With this turnaround game, your dog will have an additional challenge and activity before acquiring their treats. This activity also improves your dog’s mental stimulation and keeps them entertained.
However, the biggest concern about this product is that it has a California Proposition 65 warning issued upon products with significant exposure to chemicals that might cause cancer. In addition, the product’s size might be too small for larger dogs, and the materials used might not be durable enough for aggressive dogs.
- Provides extra challenge and activity for your dogs
- It keeps them entertained while eating treats
- It helps slow down feeding time
- Chemicals used
- It can be too small for big dogs
- Not very durable materials used
7. Dog Tornado Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy
The Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Dog Tornado Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy is proud of its ability to provide entertaining mental and physical challenges for your dogs. Your dog must follow multiple steps in this puzzle to get hidden treats. This product’s 12 hiding slots and 3 dog bone covers will surely wave off any boredom. Furthermore, this dog puzzle can be cleaned without any hassle. All materials used are also safe for your dogs.
On the downside, similar to other products, some buyers also complained about the materials’ durability. Several pet owners say their heavy chewing dogs can easily destroy the toy. That can lead to potential choking hazards.
- The level of difficulty can be adjusted
- Gives entertaining challenges
- Safe materials are used
- Material durability
- Not meant for chewers
8. iFetch Too Interactive Ball Thrower For Dogs
This iFetch Too (Large) Interactive Ball Thrower for Dogs is best for dogs who are extremely physically active and love going beyond during fetching. With its automatic launcher, dogs can place the ball on the top of the thrower and automatically throw 10, 25, or 40 feet away. You can also set it on “random” so your dog will not know how far it will go – perfect for providing thrill and physical stimulation.
Despite this product’s amazing benefits, there are still some downsides that come with it. Some of them are: batteries are not long-lasting, the product does not work well after exposure to wet/moist tennis balls, and technical issues can pose a serious threat to your dog. These technical issues include incorrect ways of throwing the ball and power issues.
- Allows your dog to play on their own
- Provides additional entertainment while fetching
- It comes with free standard-size tennis balls
- Tennis balls are not that durable
- Some batteries have defects
- Can pose dangerous hazards
9. Dog Worker by Nina Ottosson
This Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound is beneficial in reducing undesired behaviors such as aggressiveness. With this puzzle, your dog can give their full attention to navigating the puzzle instead of engaging in boredom and destructive behaviors. This product also helps dogs distract themselves during stressful situations like thunderstorms and fireworks. This toy can also be cleaned without any hassle.
However, this product’s durability is also questioned by buyers. Moreover, according to several product reviews, their dogs get the puzzle toy broken within a minimal time of usage. It might also be unsuitable for large dogs because it can be a choking hazard if it breaks.
- It helps in relieving boredom
- Provides calm during stressful situations
- Promotes mental stimulation
- Low maintenance and easy-to-clean
- Not that durable
- Not for large dogs
10. TRIXIE Dog Activity Flip Board
The TRIXIE Dog Activity Flip Board is an entertaining hide-and-seek challenge that provides your dog an additional thrill and activity before they can retrieve their treats! In this flip board game, you have a wide variety of spots where you can hide the dog treats; it can be under the cones or sliding disks or under the doors. Furthermore, it also has a durable design and a non-slip rubber ring that keeps the product intact.
On the downside, similar to what we mentioned in the previous TRIXIE product, this dog toy is labeled with California’s Proposition 65 – a sign that a certain product has chemical exposures that might cause cancer. Plus, despite being durable, some buyers still complain about the product being destroyed easily.
- Keeps boredom at bay
- It offers mental stimulation while eating
- Easy-to-clean and maintain
- Potential health hazard
- Not best for large dogs
11. Smart Interactive Treat Puzzle by Nina Ottosson
This mentally stimulating and engaging dog puzzle manufactured by Outward Hound is most suitable for dogs who are trying puzzles for the first time. This level 1 game will prepare and train your dog for tougher and more complex puzzles. Also, this product contains 9 hidden compartments that are covered with adjustable bone pieces. Moreover, this product is also beneficial in reducing boredom and destructive behavior among dogs.
On the other hand, the removable bone pieces can cause choking hazards among dogs – especially if your dog is known for swallowing and chewing random objects. Moreover, the overall product might also not apply to big dogs who chew aggressively.
- Best for beginner dogs
- Promote mental stimulation and entertainment
- Reduces aggressiveness and boredom
- Made with safe materials
- Pose choking hazard
- Not for chewers
12. OurPets Waffle Interactive
This interactive puzzle game dog toy from OurPets is a great way of promoting mental stimulation while your dog enjoys its treats. In this product, you need to place your dog’s treats in the two-level slots and let them find their way to them. Besides that, this waffle puzzle can also train your dog to eat slower and chew their treats properly. Furthermore, this activity can be a bonding time with your dog – you can give them subtle hints in finding their treats.
The downside of this product is that it might not be your top choice if you have a small dog. Plus, even though this product claims to be easy to clean, buyer reviews state otherwise. Some buyers complained that it is impossible to dry once washed, making the treats soggy.
- Good for slowing feeding time
- Provides mental stimulation
- Best for beginner dogs
- Maintenance (hard to clean)
- Not for small dogs
13. OurPets Sushi Interactive Puzzle Dog Toy
This other high-quality OurPets product is beneficial in exercising your dog’s mental abilities. To use this puzzle toy, you just need to place the treat on the compartments available and cover it with the sushi flippers. With this activity, your dog can improve its cognitive abilities and have an additional thrill simultaneously. Moreover, this OurPets product can also train your dog to eat and chew its food slowly.
But, the problem with this product is the durability of the materials used. Similar to the previous OurPets product, some buyers complain about how their dogs can easily chew and break the puzzle.
- It helps train your dog to chew slower
- Improves cognitive functions
- It can serve as an additional bonding time
- The durability of the materials used
- Not suitable for aggressive chewers
14. SPOT Seek-a-Treat Flip ‘N Slide Treat Dispenser
This treat dispenser for dogs from SPOT stands out from other puzzle toys because of its color combinations that are specially designed for your dog’s vision spectrum. Its colors, such as blue, red, and yellow, make your dog more attentive and interested in the toy. This claim is proven by Coren (2008). His research concluded that the colors that are most likely to be noticed by dogs are yellow, red, blue, green, and violet.
Aside from that, this treat dispenser promotes sharper decision-making skills and mental abilities like other puzzle toys. Furthermore, since you can help and guide your dog while they find their treats, this activity can also serve as your bonding time.
However, the only downside to this product is that it might not provide many challenges for smarter dogs. Several buyer reviews stated that their dogs find the treats within minutes and even seconds. So, if your dog is a professional puzzle solver, this product might not work best for you.
- Colors that fit your dog’s vision spectrum
- Promotes super decision-making and cognitive skills
- It can also serve as a bonding time
- It can be too easy for smart dogs
- The plastic material might not be the most durable
15. Starmark Treat Dispensing Chew Ball
This dispensing chew ball from Starmark provides your dog with a high-quality and fun playing time. To use this product, you just need to fill the ball with your dog’s favorite treats, and they will retrieve it by continuously playing with it. Made with stronger and longer-lasting materials, this product claims to be applicable even for tough chewers. It is also tested for safety and health precautionary measures.
However, even though it can tolerate mild chewing, it can still be destroyed by aggressive chewers. It can also be worn off with continuous chewing. In addition, there are buyers who complain about the chew ball’s smell and size.
- Serves as an additional entertainment
- Can withstand mild chewers
- Easy to use and clean
- Can be too small for your dog
- Can’t withstand aggressive chewers
- It might have a too bad smell
16. AWOOF Pet Snuffle Mat for Dogs
The AWOOF Pet Snuffle Mat for Dogs is a unique mat that allows you to hide treats for your dog to find. This product is beneficial in many ways: training your dog’s sense of smell, keeping them entertained to avoid aggressive and destructive behaviors, and promoting better cognitive skills. In addition, this AWOOF snuffle mat offers two designs – it can be folded into a mat style or a bowl. It is also easy to clean and environmentally friendly.
On the contrary, there are buyers who complain about this product’s quality. Also, some of them said their dogs tore the mat easily after using it a few times. Meanwhile, some smart dogs choose to flip the mat up to gather the treats instead of sniffing them.
- It helps train your dog’s sense of smell
- Improves your dog’s mental stimulation
- Prevents undesired behavior
- Offers two designs
- It might not have the highest-quality materials
- Not recommended for smarter dogs
17. Paw 5 Dog Snuffle Mat for Dogs
This other snuffle mat for dogs from Paw 5 is a great helping hand in keeping your dog entertained and occupied. It also fulfills your dog’s natural instinct and desire to sniff stuff. This mat can be a substitute for your dog’s typical dog bowl or bed. Also, the Paw 5 mat makes meal time extra fun and longer, which is helpful for fast-eating dogs. Moreover, a longer eating time reduces choking accidents, bloating, and even obesity.
Moreover, this mat for dogs prevents any destructive and aggressive behavior and even anxiety attacks. However, some large dogs might toss the mat to retrieve the hidden treats like other mat products. Moreover, some buyers stated that the mat is too small for their dogs.
- Fulfills dog’s natural desire and activity to sniff things
- It makes meal time extra fun and longer
- Can aid in promoting better cognitive abilities
- Lowers the chances of destructive behaviors
- Some dogs might toss it instead of sniffing
- It might be too small for your dog
18. Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball
This Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball is a treat dispensing dog toy that allows your dog to stay mentally and physically active. Additionally, this ball puzzle also prevents your dog from eating faster, making it a great alternative to lick mats for dogs or slow feeder dog bowls. Depending on your dog’s skills and capability, you can also adjust the difficulty level.
On the other hand, similar to other products, this Pet Zone dispenser ball might not be suitable for strong chewing dogs. Small dogs are also not recommended since their jaw and teeth can get stuck on the toy’s opening hole. And lastly, the quality of the materials used is what makes it not suitable for chewing dogs.
- The level of difficulty is adjustable
- Promote mental and physical activeness
- Slows down feeding time
- East to clean and use
- Quality of materials used
- Not for heavy chewers
19. PetSafe Large Sportsmen Barnacle Toy
With dispensing various treats while your dog plays, this PetSafe Large Sportsmen Barnacle Pet Chew Toy allows your dog to have fun and extra-entertainment as it retrieves its treat. Aside from putting dog treats inside, you can also smear treats like peanut butter – depending on your dog’s preference. This product also mentally stimulates your dog as they navigate the chew toy to get their treats
Moreover, the concern about this product is related to its durability and choking hazards. Even though it is advertised as suitable for heavy chewer dogs, several pet owners complain that the chew toy gets destroyed easily within minutes. The debris from its destruction can also threaten your dog’s health.
- You can put treats in two ways: by putting them inside or smearing
- Offers additional physical activity
- Good for slowing fast-eating dogs
- The durability of the materials
- It can be a choking hazard
20. ZippyPaws Food Buddies Burrow Dog Toy
This interactive dog toy from ZippyPaws is a unique and fun way of playing treat hide and seek with your dog. With this product, your dog can have a wonderful time digging the popcorn plush out of the bucker. The popcorn also contains squeeze sounds for additional entertainment! Aside from its cute design, this ZippyPaws product can also benefit your dog by reducing the chances of boredom and undesired behaviors.
The only problem with this toy is the squeakers. According to several buyer reviews, the squeaking sound immediately fails after minimal use. Some dogs also find the product uninteresting after several days or weeks.
- It offers two forms of entertainment
- Reduced chances of boredom and its negative effects
- Allows your dog to enjoy and play on their own
- The squeaking toy doesn’t last long
- Heavy chewers can still damage it
What to Look For in A Good Puzzle Toys for Dogs
Buying the best puzzle for your dog is not as easy as you think. You still need to be aware of the factors you need to look for. With that, here are the factors that owners should look out for when buying puzzles for dogs:
Ensuring that your puzzle toy is size-appropriate should be your number one priority. An inappropriate toy size can result in dangerous accidents such as choking. Don’t choose puzzle toys with extremely small removable parts if you have a big dog. Meanwhile, if you have a small dog, buying toys with larger hiding slots or holes might remove the thrill and challenge.
As observed in product reviews, one of the most common problems with puzzle toys is their durability. Any dog toy must be durable. You should choose toys that can withstand your dog’s chewing behavior. A less durable toy is prone to disintegrate, and the destroyed parts might cause harm to your dog in case they swallow it.
Moreover, if you know that your dog is an aggressive chewer, it is best to invest in puzzle toys made with ultra-strong or composite rubbers. Meanwhile, a plastic toy can suffice if you have a small one who doesn’t engage in chewing.
The material of your dog’s puzzle toy should be neither too soft nor too hard. A too soft material is prone to breaking, and your dog might even chew off its parts easily. Meanwhile, a dog’s teeth can be fractured easily by hard toy materials. Also, based on a 2018 study by Rivera, et al, chewing treats and toys are becoming a more prevalent cause of teeth fractures.
The main essence of puzzle toys is to provide additional entertainment for your dog. Thus, it is important that your dog is interested in it. A puzzle that can be solved by your dog within a short amount of time will not provide much thrill and fun for your dog. With that, find puzzle toys that will require your dog to interact a lot with them. The longer the interaction, the better.
Best Advanced Dog Puzzles: FAQs
Do you still have questions? Don’t fret as we prepare the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the best advanced dog puzzles on the market!
Following the factors we mentioned in looking for the best dog puzzle, a good dog puzzle is one that is durable and made with high-quality materials, has a size appropriate to your dog’s, and is challenging for your dog to interact with it more.
Similar to humans, puzzles can also make dogs smarter! Since dog puzzles promote mental stimulation among dogs, it makes their brains more active. In addition, exposing your dog to puzzles also sharpens their problem-solving and decision-making skills.
Depending on the type of dog puzzle, you can usually put your dog’s favorite kibbles on it. Plus, some toys even offer you the chance to smear treats like peanut butter or cheese. In addition, you can also store or hide their small toys inside puzzle plush toys, then your dog will dig the plush toy to find it.
Yes, dog puzzles are definitely worth it. As previously mentioned, dog puzzles don’t only provide entertainment, but also offer other benefits such as improving mental and physical stimulation, slowing down your dog’s feeding time, relieving boredom, decreasing the chances of undesired behavior, and even calming them down during stressful situations. With that, giving your dogs puzzle toys is definitely worth trying.
Moreover, mental stimulation from doing games, whether through the computer, is proven to be a good way of sharpening your dog’s mind. According to Fanucchi, mental games and interactive toys are beneficial in waking up a dog’s inactive brain parts.
Use harder and more complicated puzzle dogs to entertain your highly intelligent dog. Most dog puzzles come with a description of their difficulty level, thus, choose harder ones that will surely make your smart dog occupied and challenged for a couple of hours.
In conclusion, with a wide variety of the best advanced dog puzzles available on the market, choosing which one suits your dog the most can be very stressful. Thus, our guide can lend you a hand in deciding your choice! Plus, never forget the following factors you need to consider in looking for what dog puzzle to buy.