Interactive Dog Toys – What Are My Options?

From puzzles to treat balls to flip games, even slot machines, the amount of interactive dog toys on the market can be overwhelming.  As is tradition however, Kai the Chihuahua and her paw-some puppy testers are here to help!  Outward Hound, Ethical Pet, Hyper Pet, even Starmark, Kai has seen them all and she’s here to give you her honest opinions, disclose her findings, and make her recommendations.  All this, so that you can ensure you find the best interactive toys for your dog(s), ensuring your hard earned dollar goes that much farther, and your dog enjoys their day that much more!

What companies can I trust?

With so many companies out there making dog toys, it’s already tough discerning the best from the rest.  Now add to that a unique toy niche like interactive toys for your dog, and suddenly there’s Kong, and… and… hmmm….  You may not recognize these companies!  Names like Kygen, Starmark and SPOT may not ring a bell, while names like PetSafe we associate with dog training collars and doggie doors.  How can you rely on a pet device company to make interactive toys for your dog?!  Easy enough, just let Kai the Chihuahua do your dirty work and you pick from the best!

What Are My Options?

Puzzle balls, treat dispensers, slot machines?  Don’t these companies know there is such thing as too many options!  That’s OK, we’ve got a breakdown of all the different types right here for you!  From chew toys to fill-able rubber balls to confusing displays with hidden compartments, we’ve seen them all so you can make an informed decision as to what makes sense for your pup, your home, and your wallet.

Puzzle Treat Balls For Your Dog

As simple as it gets, we’re talking about a ball toy that you fill with treats, and let your furbaby loose!  Once you’ve done your part you set the toy down, and your pup can go wild.  Most of these have slots for training treats to fit through.  Your pup noses the ball around until gravity can assist in a treat falling through one of the holes, and your pup is excited to discover a treat left behind as the ball rolls away.  Here are Kai’s top 3 favorite Puzzle Treat Balls.

1. Outward Hound Puzzle Treat Ball

These Outward Hound puzzle treat balls are the perfect toy for any food-motivated pup.  It’s a fun and engaging way to feed your pups and keep them busy.  By filling a puzzle ball with kibble or training treats, your dog will be motivated to sniff around and investigate what’s inside.  Through simple movement, turning and jostling, the treats slowly trickle out of the holes on the exterior of the puzzle ball. These balls are usually colorful, make an attention-grabbing sound as the treats are tossed around inside, and often appeal to dogs of all ages. For more information, check out our Outward Hound Treat Chaser Puzzle Ball Review

treat ball

2. KONG Stuff-A-Ball Dog Toy

You can fill the grooves and the inside this fun toy with treats, food, or snacks for your pup. This toy is made of a high quality, durable rubber material that can withstand your dog’s aggressive play. This toy comes in small, medium, large, and extra large. Fortunately, it’s not incredibly easy for your dog to remove the treats from this ball. They will stay engaged for a decent amount of time, and they will burn off excess energy.

The activity ball is great for dogs who need to be kept occupied during the day. This toy is great to give your dog right before you leave for work in the morning, to decrease separation anxiety. Just make sure to supervise them the first few times they use the ball to make sure they don’t chew off pieces of the rubber. You want to make sure your dog is 100% safe while they are left alone! This toy is so durable that you may only need to buy one per dog–ever! We highly recommend it.

kong puzzle

3. FurryFido IQ Treat Dog Toy

This treat puzzle ball is made with indestructible thermoplastic rubber. It’s super durable, and your dog will be able to chew and chew until they are worn out without destroying this toy. It’s 3inches in diameter and comes in four different colors; transparent red, transparent blue, transparent yellow, and opaque blue.

The IQ Treat Dog Toy improves your dog’s mental and physical abilities as they learn how to dispense the treats you put inside this fun toy. This toy is also great for cleaning your dog’s teeth as they chew. The thermoplastic rubber has a fun textured pattern that helps to massage teeth and gums for an extra healthy pup. For best results, fill this toy with your dog’s favorite kibble, training treats, or healthy human food. Just make sure you do your research before giving your dog anything new. Your dog will play until every last treat has been dispensed!

furry fido

Puzzle Treat Boards for Your Dog

If you’re looking for a bit more of a challenge for your dog, a puzzle treat board may be just the right thing to try. With various flaps, pegs, dials, and other engaging parts, puzzle board teach your dog how to problem-solve. There are varying degrees of difficulty depending on your dog’s experience level. You can fill these toys with kibble, training treats, or any healthy treat. We chose our top two favorite Dog Puzzle Boards to share with our furry friends!

1. Ethical Pet Interactive Seek-A-Treat Flip N' Flap

We love that this puzzle board is made from eco-friendly materials. Ethical Pet has high standards for all of their products, so you can be sure that you’re getting a quality puzzle board. It measures 10 x 10 x 1.6 inches and is made from a wooden material. It is mentally and physically interactive and is a great way to cure boredom. Because dogs are natural working animals, it’s in their blood to have a task to complete. These boards give them an outlet to be the hard working dogs they are! It’s also fun for you to watch your dog open flaps, slide disks, and move wheels to find their treats. Ethical Pet is known for making safe innovative toys, so you know you’re buying the best for your pup.

puzzle board

2. Nina Ottosson Dog Fighter By Outward Hound

Our second top pick for dog puzzle boards is another wooden board. This interactive toy is made of a solid, eco-friendly wood and is made in Sweden. It features 9 treat pegs that slide around to hide and reveal your dog’s treats or kibble. Your dog has to knock each peg over to find each treat underneath. This toy can keep your dog entertained for long periods of time and help to expel their puppy energy! This puzzle toy is a difficulty of 2, or moderate. It’s best for smart dogs with single step solutions. You may want to test out your dog’s treat-finding abilities before purchasing this puzzle board, to make sure it’s the right difficultly level for them.

nina board

additional top picks

1. Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Toy

The Hide-A-Squirrel plush toy is one of Outward Hound’s best selling items. This toy features a plush tree trunk paired with small stuffed squirrels for stimulating and interactive play. Your pup will have a blast pulling each plush squirrel out of the holes in the tree trunk, and playing with each squirrel individually. Ranging from size Junior to Ginormous, it’s easy to find the perfect size toy for your pup. This plush toy also comes in two other characters; Hide A Bee or Hide A Bird plush, so you and your pup can choose your favorite.

Each squirrel, bee, or bird includes a squeaker inside to further engage your dog. This can be troublesome for pups that like to destroy squeaker toys. Although, this toy will last longer than most, with up to six squeaker toy animals included. The Junior, Large, and Jumbo sizes of this toy include three plush squirrels and the Ginormous size includes six squirrels. For more information, check out our Hide-A-Squirrel Dog Toy Review

2. Pet Qwerks Talking Babble Ball 

We love this interactive toy, because it utilizes sound to engage your dog. The Talking Babble Ball makes over 20 different wisecracks and sounds that are triggered by your dog’s movement. This ball may say, “Hey, what are you doing?” “Grrrrr” “Sweet Puppy!” and many more exclamations. The noises are trigged when your dog walks past the ball, breathes near it, or touches it. The fun sounds will make your dog go crazy–in a good way! It automatically turns off when your dog isn’t playing with it, but we recommend storing it away while not in use so it doesn’t randomly speak from your own movements. You can purchase this ball in size small, medium, and large on Amazon. Its durable construction will ensure many months of interactive playtime for your dog. You can also purchase an Animal Sounds Babble Ball on Amazon.

babble ball