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.
7. Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Dog Smart Beginner Dog Puzzle Toy
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.
- Encourages dog’s smelling skills
- Low price
- BPA, PVC, Phthalate-free
- Plastic Material
- Chambers may be too small for large-breed dogs’ snouts
- May not be challenging enough for intelligent breeds
6. Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel and Puzzle Plush Squeaking Toys for Dogs
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.
You can use the squirrels to play with your dog independently of this toy.
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.
- Available in a variety of sizes
- No treats required
- Plush not plastic, if you don’t want to worry about plastic breaking
- May not hold up to rough chewers
- Squeakers inside squirrels could pose a threat to your dog if he/she demolishes stuffies
5. Trixie Pet Products Flip Board
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.
- Stimulates the dog’s IQ
- Non-slip rubber rim keeps game in place for the dog as she/he sniffs out treats
- Dishwasher safe
- Plastic may break with rough use
- Some pieces, if broken off, could pose a choking hazard to your dog
4. PetSafe Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble Meal Dispensing Dog Toy
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.
- Adds exercise to your dog’s playtime
- Easy to fill-up
- Available in two sizes
- Small kibble may easily slip through dispensing holes
- Difficult to clean
3. Outward Hound Kyjen 41004 Paw Hide Treat Toy Dog Scent Puzzle
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.
- Multiple scent guides for your dog
- Easy to fill-up
- Available in two sizes
- Dogs with large snouts may have trouble due to hole size
- Requires cleaning after each use
2. Outward Hound Kyjen 41004 Paw Hide Treat Toy Dog Scent Puzzle
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 you can use it as an interactive feeder. It can also hold at least two cups of kibble.
- Great for puzzle beginners
- Easy to fill-up & holds a large quantity of treats/kibble
- Cute and colorful
- 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
1. Fetch Pet Products Hatchables Interactive Hide and Seek Puzzle Plush Dog Toy
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.
- Not completely treat motivated
- Two toys in one
- Many animals to choose from
- Not suitable for strong or aggressive chewer
- Surface wash only
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.
Please share your thoughts on these dog puzzles and share any other suggestions you have with us using the comment form below!
Suggested: You can pair the puzzle with a quality dog treadmill, to meet the fitness needs of your pet as well.
Hale is very much an outdoors fan and there’s no place he’d go without Peanut, his golden Shep buddy. When they aren’t camping, backpacking, or hitting some trails, this pair enjoys discovering the latest toys, and usually goes for a walk in the park to try them out.