A lot of people don’t even know dog puzzle toys exist. When they hear dog toy they think ropes, balls, rubber, but not puzzles. Yet, dog puzzles and similar toys are perhaps the most interesting ones you can buy for your dogs. They are just amazing on so many levels. Let’s see why…
Challenging — because dog puzzle toys require the dog’s mind and intellect to function at higher levels than usual, it makes these toys challenging which results in an engaged dog
Prevent Obsessive Behaviours — for dogs who tend to go crazy when their human is outside for hours, these toys will keep them busy for enough time to forget about you (sorry!) and then, they’ll fall asleep so you can take your time
Cheap — dog puzzle toys are not pricey, yet they last forever and keep your dog busy and excited, it’s a no-brainer… we handpicked the best ones below as you should avoid poor quality toys found everywhere from online stores to national pet stores.
Stimulating — the challenge is one thing, but even when the dog figure how to get his treats out of the puzzle toy, it remains extremely stimulating as it is never the same game! Unlike a bottle of water with treats inside, these toys are designed to constantly stimulate your dog’s mind and it does work!
Tiring — running after a ball is tiring and we all know it, but did you know that a 15-minute mental exercise is extremely tiring for a dog and more fulfilling? Now you do!
Prolongs Eating Time — many if not most dogs eat far too quickly, so offering the meals (dry kibble in this scenario) using these dog toy puzzles will hugely slow the process and your dog’s digestive system will thank you
It’s almost a felony not to have one of these below since they really are amazing. We’re not manufacturing them so we aren’t bothered at dissing them if we had to but they really are amazing dog toys to own.
1. PetSafe Busy Buddy Twist ‘n Treat Dog Puzzle Toy
Most dog puzzle toys can be a nightmare for some dog owners using treats of very big sizes, they don’t fit well, they block the hole, and they just ruin the party for your dog who does not understand what is going on. Problem solved.
PetSafe, well known for its numerous quality dog supplies, has come up with a two-piece design that works with pretty much any treat option you may have. From huge to tiny, from flat to round, yep…
You can twist the two parts wide apart for a quick treat-dispensing game, or twist them close together for more of a challenge. I use the close twist for when I have to leave home for a few hours, it definitely keeps her active and her mind doesn’t get to think where her human is!
It is made of natural rubber but like most toys, if your dog has a destructive jaw, you may get the bigger size and watch it out the first time to make sure it is solid enough. It is not meant to be an indestructible toy but I’ve seen mine with Labradors, Rottweilers and Border Collies—it resisted so far!
2. Nina Ottosson Dog Brick Activity Toy
There is a wide range of quality dog puzzle toys made by Nina Ottosson but this one is the best all-rounder. It really does the job amazingly well by keeping your dog entertained while stimulating his mind and intellect.
This dog puzzle is not rocket science and it is not meant to be. But thanks to its unique design, it makes it very very very hard for dogs to figure it out easily even after they understand how to find the treats. It requires a great smell, a lot of practice from them but also a tiny bit of luck to uncover the right compartment. The luck part is crucial so the dog puzzle toy remains exciting for them even after months of use…
If you have treats already at home, chances are they will fit it. It uses regular sized treat compartments so you should be fine!
Another model, the Tornado dog puzzle toy by Nina Ottosson is amazing and slightly more challenging but there is a glitch: because it is not flat, any dog with a bit of strength will make it fall and break it to pieces within hours or days.
3. Northmate Interactive GREEN Slow Pet Feeder
Perhaps my favorite yet the least complicated of all. This slow pet feeder is simple, very resistant, and really entertaining for dogs. Lastly, it is actually better for your dog’s health as well. An academic study showed that feeding on far too hurriedly increases the risk of bloat by 15% What else can one ask?
Most dogs (mine for sure) eat fast. They literally gorge the entire bowl down and that’s it, the end. She isn’t sick or ill because of it but I would appreciate if she could eat a little slower (she is eating so fancy kibble… a perk of working for a dog blog!)
Northmate Interactive Slow Pet Feeder does exactly that with its unique dog puzzle toy: developed mirroring a tuft of grass, yet looking just like a fine modern artwork, the desirable amount of kibble must be tossed across the green and after this, it is your dog’s job to push the food out between the several blades of grass and puzzle his meal out!
Which one to pick would depend on what is your dog like. I would definitely buy the Northmate Slow Pet Feeder as a given, and then either the PetSafe Dog Puzzle Toy for a small dog or the Nina Ottosson’s one for a larger dog.
We’ve reviewed so many other dog toys and supplies, just take your pick: