It is important to get outside with your dog and help them to live a healthy, active lifestyle. While walking your pup daily is great exercise, dogs also need some mental stimulation on a regular basis.
This is where some great interactive toys and puzzle games for dogs will come in handy. Dogs can get bored easily, particularly when left on their own during the day, and you need to make sure you are giving them enough mental stimulation.
We take a look at the benefits of giving your dog an interactive toy, what features to look for when buying your dog toys, and which are the best of the bunch.
Why You Need Some Interactive Dog Toys for Your Pup
Dogs love to chew things and they are not particularly picky about what they chew. They chew brand-new things, expensive things, irreplaceable things, your favorite things. Some of the reasons for your dog’s destructive behavior may be:
- Attention seeking. Chewing on your stuff may be a bid for your attention. “Look at me. I helped you clean up your stuff. I put that one here, and this one over there. Did I do good? Did I? Huh? Huh?”.
- Boredom. Dogs are highly intelligent animals who need regular mental stimulation. When left to their own devices they will create their own fun with whatever they can find.
- Lack of exercise. Dogs often have a lot of energy they need to work off. If you don’t help them with this they will likely work off that energy on your stuff and most likely destroy everything in sight.
- Loneliness and separation anxiety. When left alone dogs can chew things as a means of self-soothing and comfort. Destructive behavior can result from the distress of being separated from you.
- Youth. A puppy at least up to the age of six months needs to chew things often. It helps them learn about things in their world and is good for their teeth and gums as they are growing.
You can prevent some of these issues and control your dog’s destructive chewing with some interactive dog toys.
The best interactive dog toys will provide a great challenge for your dog, physically and mentally. They are designed to keep your dog’s attention, keep them moving, and stimulate their brains.
Some useful features to look for in a good dog toy are:
- Sounds. Toys that squeak are a great way to keep your dog interested, particularly when chasing or fetching.
- Movement. Toys that move on their own or with a little nudge from your pooch allow them to play when they are on their own.
- Puzzle features. Toys with hiding spots for treats are a great way to keep your dog’s mind active.
- Durability. Strong toys that can withstand biting, chewing and some heavy throwing around are good to look for. Particularly if your pup is large or a strong biter.
- Non-toxic. Look for toys made with non-toxic materials to keep your pup healthy.
Keep in mind that dogs play with their mouths and sharp teeth. There is no such thing as a completely indestructible dog toy. Even the best will eventually wear out and fall apart. You will need to keep buying them if you want to keep your dog entertained throughout his life.
Just like with kids, their toys will break and get old. And they will get bored with them after a while. Always have a few extra toys on hand, rotate them regularly, and continue to add new ones.
The Best Interactive Dog Toys
Here are some of our recommendations for great mentally stimulating dog toys. As always, read the product descriptions and reviews and make your own decision. You know your dog and whether they are a heavy chewer or are hard on their stuff (or your stuff).
If your dog is small or still a puppy don’t buy a big toy that they can’t get their mouth around. If you are not sure where to start, try a few of the cheaper ones first and go from there. Check at the bottom for our best budget picks.
Try not to leave your dog unsupervised with a new toy. This is just to make sure that it is safe for your dog and that they won’t be hurt or swallow any parts of the toy if it breaks apart.
Best Chew Toys for Dogs
This is a wishbone-shaped, bacon-flavored chew toy for dogs. It is made of super-strong nylon and food-grade bacon, with no chemicals or artificial flavors. The bacon flavor is infused throughout the entire bone. What dog doesn’t like bacon, right?
Benebone toys are designed in Brooklyn and manufactured in Long Island, New York. What I like about this company is that a percentage of each sale goes to support animal welfare, especially dog shelters and rescue centers.
Note that this is a non-edible toy. It may fall apart over time so make sure to keep an eye out for bits falling off so your dog doesn’t eat them.
This is made with long lasting durable nylon and is specially designed for strong chewers.
The extra large chew bone is ideal for large dogs over 50-pounds and it comes in a variety of flavors that dogs love.
These types of chew toys are a great way to promote clean teeth and help control plaque and tartar buildup for your dog. They will satisfy your dog’s natural urge to chew and help to encourage positive chewing habits.
Best Puzzle Toys for Dogs
This is a great interactive hide-and-seek puzzle toy for your dog to play with. It is a durable plush hive with 3 squeaky bees to hide inside. You just have to put the squeaky bees in the beehive and watch as your dog sniffs them out.
There is a range of these types of toys with an engaging array of shapes, sounds, and textures so you can have some interactive fun with your pup for hours.
Another great puzzle toy for dogs is this activity flip board by Trixie. It is designed to keep your dog busy flipping lids using knobs and sliding disks to the side.
There are also some cones to be lifted up to reveal treats for your pup. Make sure to vary the number and placement of your treats to increase the level of difficulty and keep things interesting.
Best Treat Dispensing Toys for Dogs
Fill this interactive toy with your dog’s favorite treats or kibble to keep them active and healthy during feeding. It has adjustable feeding difficulty levels that help continue to challenge your dog as they learn.
As your dog plays and rolls the ball, the treats will fall out to reward them for being active. This ball twists apart for easy cleaning, comes in a variety of colors, and is available in 3” and 5” sizes. Keep in mind that this might not be suitable for puppies or small dogs.
The Kong Wobbler is a favorite in our house. It dispenses food and treats for hours of fun and helps to prevent your dog from eating too fast. The wobble action keeps the toy sitting upright until your dog pushes it down. This is when it dispenses the treats. The unpredictable movement keeps the toy challenging and keeps your dog’s mind active.
The twist off dispenser makes it easy to fill and clean. It is made in the USA of FDA food-approved high strength plastic polymer. It is dishwasher safe and comes in two sizes – small (fits ½ cup of food) and large (fits 1 cup of food).
This is a great interactive ball for all breeds, ages, and sizes. It’s easy for your dog to pick it up because it has 6 unique clutch pockets that only require a nudge of their nose to go off.
We also love its internal tube noisemaker that excites and engages your dog as it rolls around.
The Wobble Wag Giggle Ball does not need a battery to enable its interactive feature. It only needs to be rolled or shaken and your fur baby’s curiosity will surely be fueled!
Best Fetch Toys for Dogs
Fetch is a great challenging game to play with your dog. It keeps them active and teaches them discipline.
This fetch ball is similar in size to a soccer ball (7 1/2 inches in diameter with deep ridges which make it easier for your dog to retrieve.
The durable canvas, rubber and EVA foam construction make it a great ball for outside games of fetch with your dog. The vibrant, high-visibility orange color makes this toy easy to track in large open spaces.
It is made from natural high-bounce rubber and has a puncture-resistant foam core for durability.
The Kong Jumbler ball is a great interactive toy for your dog. The squeaker and tumbling interior tennis ball will entice your pup to want to play for hours. The handles make picking up and shaking it around easy for dogs.
It is made from durable, tough thermoplastic which is ideal for rough play. It is available in two sizes to accommodate most size dogs.
Best Tug Toys for Dogs
This is a pack of four durable rope toys that make great chewing and playing for your dog. Great for throwing, fetch and tug games.
The cotton fibers help to clean your dog’s teeth while playing. Made with beautiful and vibrant colors to attract your dog’s attention.
This is a floatable tug and fetch toy that stretches to twice its length so makes tug of war games with your dog more fun.
The interactive shape makes it perfect for play between two dogs or you and your dog. It’s innovative ‘S’ design makes it perfect for fetching and tugging while its bright colors make it easy to find.
Bumi’s tough and durable design make it perfect for heavy-duty tug sessions, yet easy on dogs’ mouths and gums. It is made in America, is BPA-and-Phthalate-free, non-toxic and FDA compliant. It is recyclable and dishwasher safe.
All Zogoflex dog toys are available for recycling through the manufacturer’s closed-loop recycling program, Join the Loop.
West Paw Design recycles all Zogoflex. This toy is also 100% guaranteed against dog damage by the manufacturer.
Best Fun Toys for Dogs
These Kong dog toys are cute, soft and cuddly plush toys that are made with an extra layer of material to make them extra tough and durable for dogs.
They have minimal filling for minimal mess and have a squeaker inside to help entice play.
Choose from 10 fun characters for your pup to play with. Keep in mind that these are not chew toys. They are ideal for games of fetch or for your dog to squeeze out the sound.
What dog doesn’t love chasing bubbles? This is a great dog toy that dispenses more than 800 bubbles per minute to create whirlpools of fun between you and your dog!
Your dog will be able to spend hours popping, chasing, and pouncing on the bubbles. It’s fun and exercise all in one. This toy includes 2 8.05 bubble solution and requires an AC adapter or 4 cc batteries.
Best Budget Pick for Interactive Dog Toys
The Kong Classic sets the standard for basic interactive treat dispensing dog toys. The all natural durable rubber helps to massage your dog’s teeth and gums for great dental hygiene.
It is a great starter for pups new to interactive toys. The treats are easy to find and get out. It comes in a variety of sizes to best suit your dog. There is even a cute puppy size.
Stimulate Your Pup’s Mind!
Interactive dog toys are very important for your furry friend because they need active exercise not only for their body but also for their minds.
They are different from your standard dog toys which only encourage chewing and physical plays because these products promote mental stimulation.
Pick an interactive dog toy for your dog now! Make sure it is something that fits their needs and preference.