10 Best Puzzle Toys for Dogs
Dog Toys

10 Best Puzzle Toys for Dogs

If your dog seems to be bored with the typical squeaky toy or tennis ball, why not try a different type of dog toy? Dog puzzle toys keep your pooch entertained, and help keep their minds sharp while testing and improving their innate skills. If you have an active, energetic dog, stimulating his/her mind can help to focus some of that energy, or keep the dog busy while you are at work. We’ve compiled a list of the best puzzle toys for dogs to help you find the ideal one for your pup. When rating the best puzzle toys for dogs, we took into consideration price, durability, and feedback from customers.

10. Outward Hound Paw Flapper Interactive Dog Toy Puzzle for Dogs

Outward Hound paw flapper

Ideal for: Slowing down dog’s eating, while providing mental stimulation

This puzzle is a great choice for most dogs, big and small. The puzzle is designed with eight treat hiding spots. Four are covered by hatches your dog has to lift with his snout. Then, he will use his nose or paw to find the treats in the four hatches hidden underneath.

Many reviewers note the low price and durability of this dog puzzle. Other viewers state that their dogs did figure it out quickly, but still enjoyed playing with this puzzle. This is an important reason they would consider purchasing another like it.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use;
  • Encourages dog’s smelling skills;
  • Low price;

Cons:

  • Plastic Material (BPA, PVC, Phthalate-free);
  • May not be the best choice for aggressive chewers;
  • Chambers may be too small for large-breed dogs’ snouts;
  • May not be challenging enough for intelligent breeds;

9. SunGrow 3-in-1 Interactive Dog Ball

SunGrow interactive dog toy

Ideal for: Small dogs / Increasing IQ

This item may be one of the best puzzle toys for dogs if you’re looking for puppy puzzle toys or a puzzle toy for small dogs. This toy is in the shape of a ball with a food hole and openings where the food dispenses as your dog chases the ball to make his food/treats come out. Another aspect pet owners will love is that the ball’s material helps clean your dog’s teeth as he tries to solve the puzzle!

Overall reviews note that many of their dogs enjoyed hours of fun while using this puzzle toy. The price and puppy interaction make this a popular puzzle toy. However, if your puppy is an avid chewer, this puzzle may not be durable enough for your pup to enjoy.

Pros:

  • A puppy puzzle toy that keeps puppies busy;
  • No batteries required;
  • Inexpensive;

Cons:

  • Only to be used with puppies and dogs who weigh 30 pounds or less;
  • May not hold up to rough chewers;
  • Plastic parts may break off and pose a hazard to your pup if s/he is a strong chewer;

8. Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel and Puzzle Plush Squeaking Toys for Dogs

outward hound hide a squirrel

Ideal for: Dogs of any size

This item could be your best option if you’re looking for a puzzle that tests your dog’s sniffing and curiosity skills, but uses a reward that is not a treat or food. For this puzzle, the “tree” offers places for you to hide the four squeaky squirrels, and watch as your dog tries to sniff out where each one is. The Hide-A-Squirrel puzzle is available in four sizes, so this is a great puzzle for dogs of any size.

The squirrels can be used for different play when not in use with the puzzle. Some dogs may easily destroy the squirrels. This item is one of the best puzzle toys for dogs who aren’t aggressive with their toys, and if you’re looking for a puzzle that isn’t food motivated.

Pros:

  • Available in a variety of sizes;
  • No treats required;
  • Plush not plastic, if you don’t want to worry about plastic breaking;

Cons:

  • May not hold up to rough chewers;
  • Squeakers inside squirrels could pose a threat to your dog if he/she demolishes stuffies;
  • Durability;

7. Spot Ethical Pet Interactive Seek-A-Treat Shuffle Bone Dog Toy Puzzle

spot ethical interactive seek a treat

Ideal for: Small to medium sized dogs

This pet puzzle by Spot is meant to stimulate and strengthen your dog’s IQ. This is one of the best puzzle toys for dogs who like and need a challenge to keep busy. The Shuffle Bone offers ten hiding spots for dog treats, and six movable discs that your dog must move to sniff out and find the treats that reward their hard work. Keep in mind this puzzle was specifically designed to be used with training-sized dog treats, so this puzzle may be best suitable for small to medium sized dogs.

Some owners find that the treat pocket is not deep enough, the discs are too hard to move, and the product is not durable enough to hold up to dog’s teeth. Therefore, this puzzle may be a good choice if you have a smaller dog, and one that isn’t an aggressive chewer.

Pros:

  • Stimulates dog’s IQ;
  • Relieves boredom & provides mental stimulation;
  • Constructed from eco-friendly materials;

Cons:

  • Hidden pockets may be too small for large dogs;
  • May be too advanced for young dogs;
  • Durability;

6. Trixie Pet Products Flip Board, Level 2

Trixie pet products

Ideal for: Older dogs

The best puzzle toys for dogs are ones that provide a strong challenge and engage your dog. This puzzle by Trixie does just that. There are multiple flaps, covers, and cones your dog has to lift and remove to find the hidden treats. This may be one of the best puzzle toys for dogs who are intelligent and like to stick with a challenge to receive a reward.

While this may not be the best puzzle toy for puppies, it is a good choice if you’re looking to stimulate your older dog. The multiple hiding spots do offer a bit more of a challenge, which may help keep your dog entertained longer than some other dog puzzles available.

Pros:

  • Stimulates dog’s IQ;
  • Non-slip rubber rim keeps game in place for dog as s/he sniffs out treats;
  • Dishwasher safe;

Cons:

  • Plastic may break with rough use;
  • May be too advanced for young dogs;
  • Some pieces, if broken off, could pose a choking hazard to your dog;

5. PetSafe Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble Meal Dispensing Dog Toy

PetSafe busy buddy Kibble Nibble

Ideal for: Large dogs

One the best puzzle toys for dogs is this one by PetSafe. It’s a great toy that can also be a lifesaver if you have a dog who’s a picky eater and doesn’t like meal time. This puzzle holds up to two cups of nuggets. Your dog has to interact with the ball and make it move to dispense what’s inside. This can be a great toy to make mealtime more fun and engaging, or it can be used with treats for a game as well.

Due to the size of the holes that the treats/kibble come out of, smaller treats and kibble won’t work well with this toy. That’s why this puzzle is one of the best puzzle toys for dogs who eat a larger sized kibble.

Pros:

  • Adds exercise to your dog’s play;
  • Easy to fill-up;
  • Available in two sizes;

Cons:

  • Could be messy if your dog doesn’t eat what’s dispensed;
  • Small kibble may easily slip through dispensing holes;
  • Difficult to clean;

4. Outward Hound Kyjen 41004 Paw Hide Treat Toy Dog Scent Puzzle

Outward hound kjiev paw hide treat

Ideal for: Treat-seeking fun

The cute factor of this puzzle can’t go unnoticed: it’s in the shape of a dog’s paw! There are six holes with covers to hide treats for you to test your dog’s sniffing ability. The pockets are deep enough to hold a number of treats at once. You could use it for feeding by refilling the hiding pockets and having your dog complete the puzzle multiple times.

While some dogs may not find this puzzle overly challenging, most likely they will still be excited to complete it and find their treats over and over again.

Pros:

  • Multiple scent guides for your dog;
  • Easy to fill-up;
  • Available in two sizes;

Cons:

  • Dogs with large snouts may have trouble due to hole size;
  • Requires cleaning after each use;
  • Made of plastic – may not hold up to aggressive chewers;

3. Outward Hound Lucky Dog Slots Interactive Dog Toy Puzzle for Dogs

Outward Hound lucky dog

Ideal for: Introducing dogs to interactive toys

This seems to be one of the best puzzle toys for dogs who need to be introduced to puzzles. It’s a very simple puzzle that offers a big reward for your dog’s efforts. Your dog only needs to press the lever and the three chambers release a surprise for your dog. This puzzle holds a large number of treats, or can be used as an interactive feeder, as it can hold at least two cups of kibble.

Pros:

  • Great for puzzle beginners;
  • Easy to fill-up & holds a large quantity of treats/kibble;
  • Cute and colorful;

Cons:

  • May not be suitable for small dogs with short paws;
  • Doesn’t offer portion control for treats;
  • May not be challenging enough for some dogs;

2. Fetch Pet Products Hatchables Interactive Hide and Seek Puzzle Plush Dog Toy

fetch pet products interactive

Ideal for: Puppies

Hatchables offers the second best puzzle toys for dogs on this list, which stand out due to their cuteness. These toys come in a variety of animals, but the one we’ve reviewed is a Toucan that when reversed turns into an egg. You need to encourage your dog to puzzle it out and turn it back into its Toucan form. After this is done, you can then hide treats inside the Toucan, and watch as your dog sniffs them out.

This may a good choice for a puppy puzzle toy, or for gentle dogs that aren’t aggressive chewers. If your dog fits into this category, this may be one of the best puzzle toys for dogs you can buy. Many reviewers seem happy with the purchase and share many stories of this puzzle toy quickly becoming their dog’s favorite toy.

Pros:

  • Not completely treat motivated;
  • Two toys in one;
  • Many animals to choose from;

Cons:

  • Not suitable for strong or aggressive chewer;
  • May not invoke interest in all dogs;
  • Surface wash only;

1. Nasus Pet Dog Cooling Chew Toy

Nasus chew toy

Ideal for: Teething puppies / Keeping older dogs hydrated

This last puzzle we’re reviewing is unique, and is one of the best puppy puzzle toys because it can help with chewing and soothe teething pain. This bright blue rubber bone is dotted with honeycomb holes, and on the inside is a sponge that absorbs water. For teething, you can freeze the bone, and let your puppy chew to feel the relief. For older dogs, you can fill the bone with water and let them chew to get a drink of water.

This unique dog puzzle is different from the typical dog puzzles on the market. It serves multiple purposes, and can be great for teething puppies or keeping older dog hydrated while playing outside. It’s a fun twist on the typical dog puzzles available.

Pros:

  • Not treat/food motivated;
  • Great for dogs of all ages and sizes;
  • Can be frozen to relieve mouth/teething pain;

Cons:

  • Not for power chewers;
  • May not invoke interest in all dogs;
  • Can be messy due to water leakage;

Conclusion

Finding the best dog puzzle toys for your canine companion can take some time, but there is a perfect one out there for every dog! Keep in mind your dog’s chewing style and strength, ability level, and size when selecting a dog puzzle. You can pair the puzzle with a quality dog treadmill, to meet the fitness needs of your pet as well. Please share your thoughts on these dog puzzles and share any other suggestions you have with us using the comment form below!

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