Your doggo won't understand that you are stuck in a last-minute meeting or have a date night with someone you are crazy about. It would keep waiting for you at the door with those puppy eyes. If only you had dog puzzle toys to keep your dog entertained for hours, you wouldn't have to worry about this part.
In the doggo world, boredom is a constant concern and it can escalate into anxiety before you know it. Intriguing and engaging, dog puzzle toys are not just your average toys. These are recommended by dog behaviorists for your dog’s mental stimulation and wellness. Some of these dog toys even have a rewarding end.
However, finding the right dog puzzle toy can be quite a “puzzling” task itself. From finding too many options and wanting to buy everything to determining the right difficulty level and everything in between – the hunt can surely take up a chunk of your time and energy.
Here’s some good news – in our article, we reviewed the 16 best dog puzzle toys that are challenging enough to grab your doggo’s attention for hours. Read on to get the full scoop and make a choice that your bored doggo will love.
16 Best Puzzle Toys For Your Dog To Keep Them Engaged & Mentally Sharp
Here is a glance over at 16 most sought-after dog puzzle toys:
Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Brick Puzzle Toy - Top Pick
TRIXIE Mad Scientist Turn Around Strategy Game For Dogs - Best Strategy Toy
DR CATCH Dog Food Puzzle Feeder Toys For IQ Training - Best For Medium-Sized Dogs
WestPaw Toppl - Best Slow Feeder
KONG Wobbler - Best Value
Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball Interactive Dog Toy - Best Interactive Ball
MateeyLife Dog Puzzle Toys For Smart Dogs - Most Engaging Toy
JW Hol-ee Roller Dog Puzzle Ball - Best For Teething Puppies
Volacopets 5 Functions Interactive Dog Puzzle Toys - Best 5-In-1 Puzzle Toy
Potaroma Dog Puzzle Toy 2 Level For IQ Training - Best 2-Level Puzzle Toy
RETALPQ Dog Puzzle Toys For IQ Training - Best For Enrichment
LIVEKEY Dog Snuffle Mat - Best Snuffle Mat
HOUNDGAMES Dog Puzzle Toys For Boredom - Best For Leveling-Up
Sniffiz SmellyUFO Interactive Puzzle Toy For Dogs - Best For Nose Work
Aelflane Treat Dispensing Chase Toy For Small Dogs - Best For Chasers
PETGEEK Motion Activated Automatic Dog Bone - Best Automatic Interactive Toy
Read below to know which puzzle toy best suits your dog.
1. Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Brick Puzzle Toy - Top Pick
If you’re looking for the right mental stimulation for your always-bored doggo, the Outward Hound Nina Ottosson brick puzzle toy should be your first choice. Here’s why. To start, the Outward Hound is considered a guru when it comes to making interactive dog puzzles.
You’ll be amazed how this toy will intrigue your dog and keep it engaged for hours. But the best part is that it helps reduce anxious dog behavior and redirect destructive behavior.
The Outward Hound brick toy is designed with 3 compartments. The first compartment is revealed by flipping open a lid, and there's a hidden second compartment that can be uncovered by sliding the lid. The third compartment is hidden beneath white, hollow brick-style bones that can be lifted out to access the delicious treats.
Our expert dog trainers at Suburban K9 have tested the Outward Hound brick toy. Go to this page to know more.
- Easy to clean
- For all breeds and sizes
- Engages dog's hunting instinct
- 3 types of treat-hiding compartments
- BPA, PVC, and Phthalate-free material
- Offers a challenge for more advanced dogs
- Dimensions: 12.75 x 8.75 x 1.75 inches; 1.2 pounds
Pros & Cons
|Easy to clean with soap and water||Not indestructible; keep an eye on your pup|
|Made from food-grade, non-toxic plastic|
|Encourages good behavior and reduces anxiety|
2. TRIXIE Mad Scientist Turn Around Strategy Game For Dogs - Best Strategy Toy
Meet the TRIXIE Mad Scientist strategy game for dogs, a great way to channel your dog's energy and curiosity into a positive and engaging activity. This intermediate-level clever game is designed to provide mental stimulation and entertainment.
Here's how it works: you place treats inside any of the 3 beakers and cover them with lids that have holes. To release the treats, your furry friend needs to flip and balance the beakers upside down correctly. The challenge lies in the lids, as there are 2 sets, each with different hole patterns. You can mix and match the lids to adjust the difficulty level for your dog. Don't worry about it slipping around; TRIXIE Mad Scientist stays put thanks to its non-slip rubber feet.
- Easy to clean turning elements
- Non-slip rubber feet keep it in place
- Ideal for small to medium-sized dogs
- Includes a booklet with effective tricks
- 2 sets of lids with different hole patterns
- Dimensions: 8.5 x 7 x 12.75 inches; 2.22 pounds
Pros & Cons
|Dishwasher safe||Not suitable for aggressive chewers|
|Suitable for various dog sizes||Not for very large dogs because of size limitations|
|Anti-slip rubber feet for better stability|
3. DR CATCH Dog Food Puzzle Feeder Toys For IQ Training - Best For Medium-Sized Dogs
DR CATCH dog food puzzle feeder toy is a delightful way to keep both you and your dog entertained while improving their problem-solving skills. This puzzle toy is designed to challenge your dog's intellect to keep their mind sharp and their IQ on the rise.
Beyond that, the DR CATCH dog food puzzle feeder is a great boredom buster, helping to stave off anxiety and providing some much-needed stress relief. It's built with safety in mind, featuring moving parts that won't harm your furry companions. It's durable, ensuring long-lasting playtime. Also, it promotes slower eating which aids digestion and offers healthy snacking options.
- Easy to clean
- Durable material
- Secure, non-removable pieces
- Gradually enhances cognitive abilities
- Dimensions: 9.44 x 9.44 x 1.14 inches; 12.7 ounces
Pros & Cons
|Makes mealtime enjoyable and engaging||Limited to small and medium-sized dogs|
|Provides relief from boredom and anxiety|
|Supports healthy digestion through slower eating|
4. WestPaw Toppl - Best Slow Feeder
WestPaw Toppl is a customizable puzzle and treat toy that's a hit among dog owners. The genius behind Toppl lies in its soft, rounded inner "teeth" that hold treats snugly until your clever pup figures out how to release them.
You can combine different sizes to level up the challenge – simply connect the small with the large or the large with the extra large. When it comes to treating options, WestPaw Toppl pairs perfectly with nut butters, creamy treats, cheese chunks, mashed bananas, dog biscuits, and more. You can even freeze wet treats inside for extended playtime.
If you are interested in knowing more about WesPaw Toppl, you can read the expert review on our website.
- Ideal for freezing wet treats
- Comes in 3 sizes
- Small: 2.5 x 3 x 3 inches
- Large: 3.5 x 4 x 3.5 inches
- XL: 3.75" x 4.75" x 4.75" inches
Pros & Cons
|Easy to clean||May not be suitable for very aggressive chewers|
|Made from recyclable Zogoflex material|
|Love it Guarantee™ for product satisfaction|
5. KONG Wobbler - Best Value
KONG Wobbler is a treat and food dispensing toy for both mental stimulation and fun for your dog's playtime. The Wobbler has a pretty similar look to the Kong Classic dog toy, but there's a clever twist. It's designed to be a slow feeder. Inside, it's hollow, just like the Classic, but it has this little front hole. When your pup gives it a nudge, it dispenses food and treats slowly.
Once initiated, it wobbles, spins, and rolls, periodically releasing tasty rewards. The unpredictable movement keeps your dog’s brain engaged and challenged, even if they've mastered the Wobbler. It extends mealtime and encourages exercise as your dog works to dispense their kibble or treats. The best part? It’s super affordable.
You can check out our expert review on KONG Wobbler on this page.
- Made in the USA
- Provides mental stimulation
- Sparks curiosity through wobbling action
- Dimensions: 6 x 4.25 x 4.25 inches; 0.02 ounces
Pros & Cons
|Easy to fill||Not ideal for extremely small dogs due to size|
|Supports healthy eating|
|Unscrews for convenience|
6. Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball Interactive Dog Toy - Best Interactive Ball
Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball is a treat-dispensing toy that gives your furry friend's brain a workout. This thing can keep your dog entertained for hours – you can fill up this ball with your pup's favorite treats and let them have a blast figuring out how to get to the goodies. It's perfect for dogs who tend to gobble down their food.
Now because this tricky treat ball also doubles as a slow feeder, you have to clean it after every meal. Just give it a good wash with some soap and water or you can even toss it in the dishwasher.
- Dispenses treats
- Offers 3 difficulty levels
- Crafted from durable hard plastic
- Available in 3-inch (small breeds) and 4-inch (large breeds)
Pros & Cons
|Adjustable difficulty level||May not be exceptionally sturdy|
|Easy to disassemble for cleaning|
|Comes in 2 sizes to accommodate all breeds|
7. MateeyLife Dog Puzzle Toys For Smart Dogs - Most Engaging Toy
MateeyLife dog puzzle toy is an upgraded level 3 stimulating dog toy that's perfect for keeping your dogs occupied. It has 3 sequential steps: sliding, rotating, and rotating & covering. This engagement helps release their excess energy and keeps them mentally engaged.
MateeyLife dog puzzle toys are made from food-safe materials, ensuring they're non-toxic and tough enough to withstand extended play. Also, they double as dog squeaky toys with built-in whistles to grab your dog's attention and add an interactive element to the fun.
- Non-toxic and durable
- Comes in a beautifully packaged box
- Anti-slip design prevents sliding during play
- Dimensions: 11.8 x 7.87 x 1.18 inches; 13.44 ounces
Pros & Cons
|Maximizes slow feeding time||Requires supervision during play|
|Sequential steps engage dogs|
|Non-removable components ensure safety|
8. JW Hol-ee Roller Dog Puzzle Ball - Best For Teething Puppies
To keep a dog happy, give it plenty of exercise. That's exactly what the JW Hol-ee roller puzzle ball is all about – making sure your furry friend stays happy and active with their cleverly designed toy, and they're made to last with top-notch quality.
This puzzle ball is made from non-toxic rubber that can take a beating. Your dog can play tug-of-war, fetch, stretch it, or even have a good chew on it, and it won't wear out easily. It is also great for teething puppies. The Hol-ee roller puzzle ball comes in 4 different sizes and designs, so you can choose the one that suits your dog best.
- Made from patented high-quality rubber
- Easily cleanable with mild soap and water
- Comes in different sizes, designs, and colors
- Dimensions: 4.5 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches; 4.5 ounces
Pros & Cons
|Ideal for teething puppies||Can be messy|
|Suitable for different ages and breeds|
|Open design to safely breathe through|
9. Volacopets 5 Functions Interactive Dog Puzzle Toys - Best 5-In-1 Puzzle Toy
Volacopets interactive dog puzzle toys are a great choice for dogs that are crazy for all things spherical. If you are not entirely sure about the dog's preferences but want something that's bound to bring joy, simply get these vibrant, colorful balls that cater to all sorts of tastes.
It's a ball bonanza, featuring a dental ball, a squeaky ball, some bouncy balls, and even a rope ball. They're versatile enough to provide entertainment both indoors and outdoors. Volacopets interactive dog puzzle toys are made from dog-friendly rubber and rope. So there are no small plastic pieces that could become choking hazards.
- Value for money
- Safe materials with no choking hazards
- Dimensions: 7 x 6 x 3 inches; 1.4 pounds
- Built strong to withstand even the most enthusiastic dogs
Pros & Cons
|Promotes teeth health||Rubber smell can be a turn-off for some dogs|
|Durable and long-lasting|
|Provides mental and physical stimulation|
10. Potaroma Dog Puzzle Toy 2 Level For IQ Training - Best 2-Level Puzzle Toy
Potaroma dog puzzle toy is a great tool for engaging your dog's intellect and providing hours of entertainment. This innovative toy comes with 2 challenging levels. Level 1 is perfect for starters. Simply add some treats into the base compartments and watch as your pup figures out how to nudge the lids to claim their tasty reward.
For dogs who already conquered Level 1, Level 2 takes things up a notch. Place treats in the top compartments, teach your dog to press the top cover to dispense treats down into the base compartments, and then sit back and enjoy their triumphant reward. This toy also serves as a slow feeder, thanks to its large-capacity top transparent granary.
- 2 Levels in 1 Toy
- 4 Non-slip rubber mats and a weighted base
- Made from durable food-grade PP materials
- Dimensions: 10.24 x 10.24 x 4.25 inches; 1.27 pounds
Pros & Cons
|Easy to clean||Some dogs may take time to adapt to the puzzle|
|No assembly required|
11. RETALPQ Dog Puzzle Toys For IQ Training - Best For Enrichment
RETALPQ dog puzzle toy has 25 holes and 21 sliders which makes it the perfect educational game for your furry friend. It taps into their instincts, helps train their sense of smell, and provides mental stimulation.
RETALPQ dog puzzle is also a helpful companion for your puppy. It gives a playful way to relieve stress and a fun challenge for them to find food by sliding parts – enhancing their eating pleasure and IQ.
This slow feeder makes your dog eat slowly which can aid digestion and promote healthier eating habits. It also lets you provide your dog with a variety of healthy snacks, ensuring they enjoy their meals to the fullest.
- Compact and portable
- Offers a challenging experience
- Promotes healthier eating habits
- Dimensions: 9.84 x 9.84 x 1.18 inches; 14.07 ounces
Pros & Cons
|Easy to clean||Not fit for large dogs|
|Good for solo play|
|30-day money-back guarantee|
12. LIVEKEY Dog Snuffle Mat - Best Snuffle Mat
LIVEKEY dog snuffle mat is designed to mimic the thrill of hunting for food. It encourages your dog to use its nose and brain together as it searches for hidden treats and kibbles. It keeps them occupied when you need a bit of downtime. Also, if you require a larger play area, you can easily combine multiple mats to create a big snuffling playground.
Made from dense and sturdy fleece, this mat is built to last and can withstand enthusiastic snuffling without falling apart. It's worth every penny, providing both mental stimulation and a fun pastime for your pet.
Read a detailed review on LIVEKEY snuffle mats here.
- Slows down the eating speed
- Convenient size for easy storage
- Effortless cleaning for pet parents
- Dimensions: 17.7 x 17.7 x 1.18 inches; 1.17 pounds
Pros & Cons
|Both machine & hand washable||Watch out for the plastic on the bottom|
|Made from high-quality material|
|Prevents boredom and destructive behavior|
13. HOUNDGAMES Dog Puzzle Toys For Boredom - Best For Leveling-Up
Meet HOUNDGAMES dog puzzle toys, the ultimate way to keep your furry friend's brain buzzing and boredom at bay. They are an investment in your pet's mental and physical health and a bonding experience like no other.
HOUNDGAMES dog puzzle toys offer great treat-size flexibility. No matter how big or small your dog's favorite treats are, these toys can handle them all. It comes with 5 puzzles and each puzzle is labeled with a difficulty level from 1 to 5. You can start easy and ramp up the challenge as your dog becomes a puzzle-solving pro.
Fits any treat size
Comes with 4 different puzzle toys
Made from tough, non-toxic rubber
Dimensions: 3.35 x 3.35 x 4.9 inches; 12.31 ounces
Pros & Cons
|Dishwasher safe||Not suitable for small dog breeds|
|30-day money-back guarantee|
|Strong enough for even the most enthusiastic chewers|
14. Sniffiz SmellyUFO Interactive Puzzle Toy For Dogs - Best For Nose Work
Sniffiz SmellyUFO interactive puzzle toy is an IQ toy for engaging your dog's brain, fostering learning, and developing problem-solving skills. The adjustable treat dispenser lets you customize the difficulty level.
With its 2 extra-large maze chambers (one for easy and one for hard), you can extend playtime and make sure your dog stays mentally engaged even when you're away. Fill both mazes of Sniffiz SmellyUFO with treats and you've got yourself a real canine challenge.
- Holds up to 18oz
- Extremely strong and safe materials
- Dimensions: 7.6 x 7.6 x 3.3 inches; 1.35 pounds
- Tests with over 20 breeds to ensure maximum toughness
Pros & Cons
|Convenient top opening for treat loading||Works best with small treats or kibble|
|All parts disassemble for effortless cleaning|
15. Aelflane Treat Dispensing Chase Toy For Small Dogs - Best For Chasers
Aelflane treat dispensing chase toy comes with a unique inner structure that controls your pet's eating speed and helps in healthy digestion. When the toy rolls and dispenses treats, it instantly grabs your dog's attention and makes them go wild for it.
The Aelflane chase toy is designed to encourage prolonged playtime. It limits the amount of treats your dog receives while keeping them engaged and active. These chase toys are made with ABS which guarantees durability. The roller component, made of a soft rubber type, offers a quieter rolling experience.
- 25+ years experience
- Promotes cognitive development
- Convenient disassemblable design
- Dimensions: 3.15 x 3.15 x 5.63 inches; 1.76 ounces
Pros & Cons
|Lifetime return service||Limited to small dog breeds|
|Made from durable materials|
|Regulates eating speed for better digestion|
16. PETGEEK Motion Activated Automatic Dog Bone - Best Automatic Interactive Toy
PETGEEK motion-activated automatic dog bone is a truly revolutionary toy. It comes with built-in programmed moving patterns that create different routes and unexpected movements. Simply plug it in using the USB port and it's ready to roll. The toy is powered by an 850 mAh lithium polymer battery and a quick 1-hour charge provides over 2 hours of interactive play.
This motorized dog training toy is designed to entice your dog to chase, bite, and run after it. It's not just fun but also a great way to keep your dog physically active and mentally stimulated.
- Long-lasting battery
- Includes a detachable protective cover
- Product Dimensions: 10 x 5 x 3 inches; 1.5 pounds
- Made of upgraded TPU material with a rubber cover
Pros & Cons
|Easy operation||Works best on hardwood floors|
|Satisfies your dog's hunting instincts|
|USB rechargeable for hassle-free use|
5 Essential Factors To Consider When Choosing A Dog Puzzle Toy
Before you go shopping, there are a few key things you should consider. Let's break them down:
I. Match The IQ
Just like us humans, some dogs are super smart, while others might take a bit longer to figure things out. So always match the puzzle toy's complexity with your dog's IQ. If you have a genius pup, go for a more challenging toy with multiple compartments and moving parts. For a less Einstein-like pup, start with something simpler and gradually level up.
II. Size Does Matter
Make sure the puzzle toy is an appropriate size for your dog. It shouldn't be so small that they can swallow it but also not too big that it becomes unwieldy. The right size will ensure your pup interacts with the toy comfortably and safely.
III. Consider Durability
Dogs are natural chewers and if you've ever witnessed their skills with a squeaky toy, you know what we mean. So opt for the puzzle toy that can withstand a bit of rough play. Look for materials like tough rubber or durable plastic. A puzzle toy that falls apart in seconds won't be much of a challenge for your pup and it could pose a choking hazard.
IV. Safety First
Speaking of hazards, safety should always be a top priority. Check the puzzle toy for any small parts that could break off and potentially be swallowed or choked on. If you're buying a puzzle toy with treat compartments, make sure they are secure and can't be pried open too easily.
V. Easy To Clean
Puzzle toys can get pretty messy, especially if they're filled with treats or kibble. Look for toys that are easy to disassemble and clean. Some are even dishwasher-safe which is a bonus for us busy dog parents. Keeping the toy clean not only ensures your pup's health but also makes them more willing to engage with it.
Are puzzle toys good for dogs? Absolutely! Nothing can beat the perks that they bring. Apart from killing boredom, these are great for your dog’s mental stimulation. These interactive dog toys also come in handy when curbing your dog’s anxiety that builds up for various reasons.
Remember, it's not just about getting your dog moving physically; mental exercise is just as important for their well-being. Let's just say, if you want a well-behaved doggo by your side, let it indulge in mentally stimulating activities using dog puzzle toys.
However, it takes a bit of expertise to make the most out of these toys and ensure your dog listens to your commands. That's where Suburban K9 dog training services come into play. Whether you want your dog to master basic commands or tackle advanced tricks, we can make it happen. Request your free quote today and discover the power of balanced training.
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