If you’re looking to keep your pooch entertained, active, and free from boredom, check out our pick of the best interactive dog toys on the market.
Dogs are wonderful, intelligent creatures most of whom have been bred to ‘work’. Most pooches these days are house pets rather than working dogs, so don’t have work to do as such.
Despite this they still have a natural need to keep busy, stimulated, and entertained.
When they’re not mentally engaged, they can become bored and start acting out.
So, before you get to that stage, why not treat them to a fun interactive dog toy, guaranteed to keep them entertained for hours whilst making them a canine-stein.
Here’s our pick of the 15 best interactive toys for dogs designed to ignite your pup’s curiosity, supporting their reasoning and intellectual development.
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15. Dog Activity Game
The Trixie Bone Activity Game is the perfect distraction for your intelligent dog.
With two levels and games to master, you can turn up the difficulty as your dog gets used to playing, so this game will still challenge your dog even after they initially ‘crack’ it.
Demanding a complex set of actions – cones must be removed in the correct way, slides must be moved precisely - before your dog’s favourite tasty morsel is revealed.
Your dog will love puzzling through the various games and options this smart dog toy offers.
Holes in the top of the cones mean your dog gets a tempting sniff of what’s hidden inside, encouraging them to reveal the treasure.
It comes with full instructions and ideas for how to make the game more challenging – adding extra cones to the sliding game and varying the number and placement of treats for example - this stimulating dog toy is worth the investment.
14. Kong Classic
When it comes to dog entertainment toys, Kong has got you covered and this simple, yet effective, interactive toy is a classic for a reason.
Made from durable patented Kong rubber, this Classic version is great for average chewers – if you have a power chewer in the family, check out Kong Extreme.
You can simply stuff this stimulating toy and watch as your dog enjoys hours of interactive entertainment. Healthy play and encouraging your dog to work for their food, channels their natural instincts and aids mental development.
It’s great for fetch too, as its erratic bounce keeps your dog guessing and promotes mental and physical agility.
13. Interactive Treat Puzzle
Nina Ottosson is a name you can trust. She has a 25 year pedigree of producing boredom-busting dog activity toys.
This interactive Dog Casino treat dispensing game will provide your dog with all the excitement they need.
With three difficulty levels, and a complicated sequence of steps to master, your dog will love opening and closing the orange drawers, swiveling the dog bones, and generally figuring out how to get to the delicacies inside.
You will love this toy too – it’s BPA, PVC as well as phthalate-free, so perfectly safe.
It has no removable parts making it easy to clean and even safer for your dog, and is built to withstand even the most determined treat-hunter!
Overall, this is one of our top picks for dog activity toys from a brand you can trust.
12. Dog Activity Flipboard
This Trixie Flipboard is ‘Level 2’ difficulty, so intermediate, and great for dogs who are familiar with mastering puzzles to get their treats.
There are a range of operations to conquer from sliding, removing, and flipping. Sturdy enough to stand up to your dog’s teeth and paws, this game is designed to improve concentration, memory, and cognitive function.
Available in a range of colours, this stimulating dog toy will take some time to learn, so sit back and watch your dog as they figure it out.
Some dogs need encouragement, or you might need to demonstrate how some of the operations work, but they will be itching to give it a go in no time.
This could be the answer to your separation anxiety behavior-related problems.
The Bob-a-Lot does just that, wobbling and bobbing along, dispensing delectable delights as it goes.
One of the best things about this slow feeder is the ability to adjust the opening through which the treats are dispensed, allowing you to control the pace and difficulty.
This means this toy will grow with your dog as they become more competent, keeping the challenge alive for longer.
It’s available in two sizes, so you can choose the right one for your dog and a couple of color options too.
There are lots of happy reviewers on Amazon, with this interactive pet toy scoring 4.5 out of 5 overall.
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10. Mad Scientist for Dogs
Another Trixie toy in our list, which also sounds like great fun.
This is easy to use, so might be best for beginner canine puzzlers, but you can increase the difficulty by using the different lids on the ‘test tubes’ – upping the ante as your dog gets used to the turning action.
Great for small and medium sized dogs, this game is about 12” tall so well within their reach, but might be too low for bigger dogs to play with properly.
Made from dog-safe materials, with rubber feet making it non-slip, this dog activity toy will keep you both entertained for hours.
This interactive dog toy delivers on all fronts.
It is made of a variety of strong, dog safe materials – natural rubber, acrylic, and linen – and randomly dispenses treats as your dog plays.
This promotes interest and reasoning as they try to work out what they need to do to get that treat.
Great for use as a slow feeder for greedy pups, you can feed an entire meal this way as the bottle size will hold a large amount of kibble.
With different size options available, you can choose the right one for your dog. This is best for very inquisitive and determined dogs.
As the treats are not dispensed every time, some dogs may get bored trying to figure it out.
All in all, this is a great interactive toy, slow feeder, and distraction for most inquisitive dogs.
8. Kong Flexball
This is a newer addition to the Kong collection of challenging dog toys and is one your medium to large dog will love.
More flexible and squishy than the other Kong products, this ball is designed to bounce randomly, play tug-of-war - it has holes you can firmly grab at the sides - and rebounds into its original shape even after long chewing and play sessions.
Great for solo or interactive play, your dog will love chasing, fetching, shaking, bouncing, and chewing this durable ball.
As with all Kong products, it’s great value for money and easy to clean. Simply wipe with a wet cloth.
7. Dog Treat Ball
This Dog Treat Ball is the perfect interactive toy for your smaller four-legged friends.
Its compact egg-shaped design, stable gravity base, and transparent plastic center make this the ideal, tempting interactive dog toy for your small dog.
Great for slowing down feeding time, the concealed internal maze dispenses food through the small opening slowly - you can feed a whole meal using this toy, extending the meal, their enjoyment, and ensuring proper digestion.
So, if you’re looking for something designed specifically for your small furry companions, this could be just the ticket.
6. Outward Hound Hide-a-Squirrel
All dogs love to chase squirrels, right? This super cute interactive plushy toy has three of them, and really is as much fun as it sounds.
With so many different play options, your pup is bound to get hours of exciting solo or interactive play from this toy.
You can stuff the squeaky squirrels in the plushy stump, throw it, and let the games begin.
Sniffing out the hidden squirrels engages your dog’s hunting and retrieval instincts, or you can remove the squirrels for a game of fetch like no other.
As it is soft and plushy, this toy is gentle on delicate mouths – making it a great option for small dogs, young dogs, and seniors.
However you decide to use this toy, your dog will love chasing it, hunting down those squirrels, and bringing them back to you to begin the game all over again.
5. Busy Buddy
These cute interactive toys for dogs come in two different designs – a green ‘Elephunk’ or a blue ‘Hippster’.
Both are great for medium to large sized dogs, over 20lbs, and can be filled with your dog’s favourite wet or dry treats for rewarding positive play.
Randomly dispensing treats as it bumps along during playtime, this is a great way to space out your dog’s treats throughout the day preventing boredom and weight gain.
You can even regulate the rate at which the treats are dispensed by trimming the ‘Treat Meter Prongs’ near the opening, so your pooch gets just enough to keep them interested, whilst avoiding over-feeding.
Great for aggressive chewers, and dishwasher safe, this flexible durable rubber dog toy is built to last and comes with a two-year manufacturer warranty.
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4. Kong Tennis Rewards
Kong’s ‘version’ of the tennis ball has a lot going for it. Equipped with the famous opening for stuffing with treats, and despite looking like a tennis ball, this is an altogether tougher more interesting proposition.
Featuring a durable Kong rubber exterior and a super bouncy bounce, these interactive dog toys create the ultimate, rewarding game of fetch.
Using this ball as a slow feeder makes mealtimes more interesting, ensuring your dog doesn’t gulp their food in one go.
It might look like a tennis ball, but we’re pretty sure this will outlast any tennis ball your dog has ever played with.
3. Snuffle Mat
Dogs love to stick their noses into things and forage - and this neutral, sustainably produced, durable, machine washable feeding mat encourages them to do just that.
Feeding your dog’s main meal this way, promotes curiosity and excitement when it comes to mealtimes – perfect if your dog can be a bit fussy when it comes to food and needs encouragement to eat by making it a fun game, or vice versa and they need help to slow down.
Either way, this feeding mat is perfect for any breed, training them to use their sense of smell to find their kibbles, and is the perfect distraction for when you are out of the house – happy stimulated dogs are much less likely to engage in mischief when you’re not around.
2. Wobble Ball
This stimulating dog toy is genius. If your dog is fascinated by sounds and squeaking toys, this will take their excitement to another level, keeping them happy, entertained, and healthy all day long.
Aptly named, this Wobble Wag Giggle Ball, literally ‘giggles’ and wobbles as your dog plays with it, keeping dogs engaged and having fun.
Its irregular shape contributes to the ‘wobbling’ action, and this brightly coloured giggling ball could keep your dog entertained when you’re not around, its noises mimic ‘happy human’ sounds.
Suitable for indoor and outdoor use, it is quite large, at about 8.5” at its widest part, so may not be suitable for smaller dogs.
Although it does have several holes dotted around it making it easy to pick up.
Beware, clever dog toys that make a noise can become addictive… If your dog loves this toy and plays with it constantly, the relentless giggling could get annoying.
However, we’re more than happy to sacrifice a little quiet time to keep our pooches happy and having fun, right?
1. Puzzle Feeder
If you’re looking for something to develop your dog’s IQ and slow their feeding, then this Dog Puzzle Feeder is just the thing.
The multiple cavities for food, are covered by sliding and removable shapes, encouraging your dog to think about how to get to their next tasty morsel.
The cavities are designed to be large and numerous enough to feed an entire meal this way, putting an end to the nausea, bloating, and weight gain associated with eating too quickly.
Designed to be easy to use and sturdy, the unit is reinforced with screws to prevent the food section from dislodging, while the rubber anti-slip coating on the bottom, stops the feeder moving around while your pup is eating.
Whether you choose the blue or the pink option, this puzzle feeder is made from safe, resilient Polypropylene with built-in ‘bite resistance’.
Why Get an Interactive Dog Toy Anyway?
That’s a great question. They can be a little more expensive than your standard tennis ball or chew toy, so are they worth the extra investment?
In our opinion, they are, and here’s why…
None of us wants to think our dogs are anything but happy and healthy, but the truth is our busy lifestyles sometimes get in the way of us being as connected with our dogs as we would like.
Our dogs love being with us and when we’re not around they can become bored, engaging in some destructive behaviours – it’s only natural for them, but a big headache for us.
Choosing the right interactive dog toy for your best friend could be all they need to modify their behaviour, develop their natural instincts, and increase their IQ.
Help Monitor Weight
Lots of interactive dog toys involve food or treat dispensing. While this may seem counterintuitive when it comes to weight control – how can eating treats all day be good for them?
When you use these smart dog toys, puzzles, and feeders to deliver their entire meal, rather than just a few playtime treats, you can extend the meal over a longer period, slowing feeding, reducing overeating, and putting an end to nausea and bloating.
All of which will make your dog happier and healthier, reducing overall weight gain.
If you are just feeding treats this way, make sure you adjust your dog’s overall food allowance for the day to make sure they don’t gain weight.
Mental and physical agility
Another benefit of stimulating dog toys is improving your dog’s mental and physical agility.
Chasing puzzle balls, plushy squirrels, and Kongs is great fun and excellent for improving co-ordination and increasing exercise between walks
Hopefully, we’ve convinced you it’s worth spending a little time and effort tracking down the perfect dog enrichment toys for your pooches, so here is a last-minute checklist of things to look out for.
- Look for ways to increase difficulty. Games with different levels mean the toy will last longer, as you can heap on the difficulty as and when your dog figures it out.
- Get a few and rotate them. This is at least partially about beating boredom, so give your dog some choices of entertainment. Their moods vary and what they love today might leave them yawning tomorrow, so mix it up.
- Get involved. Intelligent dog toys are fun for the whole family and can help develop your bond with your dog, so don’t just leave them for when your dog is alone.
- Moving parts. Always be wary of moving and removable parts, which could become a choking hazard especially if your dog is an aggressive chewer.
- Check for wear and tear. You should check all your dogs’ toys regularly for wear and tear, but as interactive toys tend to have more moving parts than most – you should be extra vigilant. Retire and replace any that become dangerous or no longer fit for purpose.