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20 Interactive Dog Toys to Keep Your Pup Busy and Engaged

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Interactive dog toys provide pups with much-needed mental and physical stimulation. Sure, a game of fetch is fun, but sometimes you need the pup to entertain himself for a bit so you can rest your biceps or cook dinner (or sure, OK, binge The Real Housewives)! Thank Dog there are plenty of exciting and enticing toys on the market that cater to canines’ hunting and playing instincts. Here are 20 of our favorites.

Do Dogs Need Interactive Toys?

Dog toys do serve a purpose, even though at times it seems that the purpose is keeping your house really messy. In fact, the Humane Society says toys encourage healthy development, both physically and mentally. Dogs (especially puppies) need to chew and toys are healthy outlets for that behavior. Toys entertain bored dogs and soothe nervous ones.

Fuzzy, an online vet resource, says interactive dog toys stimulate doggy minds and bodies by satisfying their natural instincts like hunting and foraging. They can also be a good motivating tool for overweight dogs to get up, move around and shed some pounds (as long as you don’t overfill interactive treat toys with too many goodies).

If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, interactive toys can be excellent tools to curb that stress (and destructive behavior). Leaving them with a toy they enjoy when you head out for work can ease their anxieties.

What Are the Best Interactive Toy for Dogs?

25 Must-Have Items for Dogs with Separation Anxiety


Corgi puppy staring at rubber blue dog toy with treats inside.
Amazon

Best for Dental Hygiene

1. Feixun Dog Treat Toy Ball

Amazon

  • Why We Love t: Easy to insert treats, natural rubber material, cleans teeth, budget-friendly
  • Why Dogs Love It: Treat reward, durable
  • Size: 2.8” x 2.8” x 2.8”

Simple, straightforward and effective, these brightly colored balls are perfect for playing fetch or rolling around the house (or yard) if you need your dog to get a little dental work done. They clean your dog’s teeth as he chews, which is always a plus because, let’s be honest, brushing isn’t always a priority. Treats are easy to insert, yet don’t fall out everywhere before your dog has a chance at the ball. These may not be great for larger breeds, as they could be choke hazards.

A merled dog plays with an indigo colored dog toy on a grey-white background.
Wild One

Best for Unpredictable Bounces

2. Wild One Twist Toss

  • Why We Love It: stylish, can be stored in the freezer, natural rubber, BPA- and phthalate-free, top rack dishwasher safe
  • Why Dogs Love It: exciting movements from the toy, treat rewards
  • Size: 2.7" x 2.7" x 2.7" (standard), 2" x 2" x 2" (small)

This oddly shaped toy bounces unpredictably, meaning your dog will likely take much longer to get it under control and can then almost play fetch with himself. Dogs who are used to treat-dispensing balls might find this one from Wild One to be extra exciting. It holds treats (even peanut butter, like a Kong) which adds incentive to getting the Twist Toss to bounce wildly in the first place. Choose from six fun colors and two sizes!

Product shot of interactive dog toy on wood floor.
Chewy

Best Activity Board

3. Trixie Activity Flip Board

  • Why We Love It: dishwasher-safe, non-slip base
  • Why Dogs Love It: mentally stimulating, treat reward
  • Size: 9” x 9” x 2”

To boost your pup’s problem-solving (aka treat-finding) skills, go for a board like this that offers three different obstacles dogs must conquer to get their goodies. It’s dishwasher safe and best for smaller breeds. The manufacturer says this particular board is “ideal for the intermediate canine gamer,” so if your dog is super smart, it might be wise to level up and get them something more challenging.

Product shot of interactive dog toy on gray floor.
Chewy
  • Why We Love It: Dishwasher safe beakers, can adjust difficulty level, comes with booklet with tips
  • Why Dogs Love It: Mentally stimulating, treat reward, confidence-building
  • Size: 8.5” x 7” x 12.75”

If Air Bud could play basketball, your dog can work in a lab. At least let Nelson explore his nerdy side through this beaker set! If he gets really good at it, you can increase the difficulty level with different caps. One reviewer noted their dog was hesitant at first, but once the pup got the hang of it they increased the difficulty level and the dog had a blast. Unfortunately, it probably doesn’t work for very small or short dogs, as it’s over a foot tall.

Product shot of dog toy in packaging.
Chewy

Best for Dogs Who Love to Lick

5. JW Pet Nylon Dog Treat Pod

  • Why We Love It: Non-toxic materials, designed for longer engagement
  • Why Dogs Love It: Can gnaw, lick and chew; treat reward
  • Size: 5” x 2” x 10.5” (small), 6.6” x 2.5” x 12.8” (large)

Think of this toy as a treat/chew toy kebab. Simply insert treats (or peanut butter) into the pods and let your dog chew them and slide them around to get to the treats. The toy itself is chicken-flavored, so we’re willing to bet it’ll provide some entertainment even without the added treats. Licking has been shown to soothe dogs as well, so this could be a good option for dogs with stress or depression issues.

Black and white dog plays with purple plastic toy on grass.
Chewy

Best for Dogs Who Don't Need Treats

6. Kong Jumbler

Kong

  • Why We Love It: no treats, ideal for overweight dogs, works for solo play
  • Why Dogs Love It: solo play, unpredictable movements, squeaky noise
  • Size: 5.5” x 5.5” x 5.5”

For an overweight dog or one who doesn’t need any more excuses to eat treats, invest in toys like this one that encourage solo playtime (the outer ball squeaks, the inner ball rolls, what will happen next?!) and will keep Nelson interested for long periods of time. Keep in mind this is not made with rubber, so heavy chewers should steer clear. Kong advises this toy for moderate or light chewers only.

The alients from Toy Story in plush on a plush saucer dog toy.
Chewy

Best for Hide and Seek

7. Frisco Hide And Seek Plush Flying Saucer

Frisco

  • Why We Love It: no plush stuffing to pull out, longer entertainment sessions
  • Why Dogs Love It: solo play
  • Size: 11.75” x 4.5” x 6” (saucer), 6” x 4.5” (martian toy)

Ideal for pups who love to cuddle plush toys and then hide them for amusement later, this soft toy is all about a simple game of hide-and-seek. Note: Not ideal for tough chewers, though the manufacturer also advises against letting small breeds play with this toy. Use your best judgment when letting your dog play with plush toys with squeakers inside (each martian squeaks!) as these can be choke hazards if they come out. One happy reviewer noted there is no plush stuffing in the saucer and minimal stuffing in the martians, which is good news as their dog typically pulls stuffing out of every plush toy.

interactive dog toys starmark
Chewy

Best for Heavy Chewers

8. Starmark Everlasting Treat Bento Ball

Starmark

  • Why We Love It: Works for tough chewers, treat included, dental hygiene, phthalate-free material
  • Why Dogs Love It: Long-lasting treat reward, ignites instincts
  • Size: 3.5” x 3.5” x 3” (medium), 4.5” x 4.5” x 3.5” (large)

Tough chewers are going to need something like this bento ball. It comes with a giant treat already inside and stands up to big, powerful jaws. You can also add your dog’s kibble or favorite treat, or buy a replacement Everlasting Treat once your dog finishes off the one that comes with the toy. These types of toys ignite a canine’s hunting instincts, which is a huge perk.

A green and yellow automatic ball launcher launches a ball as a brown dog leaps to catch it.
Amazon

Best for Energetic Dogs

9. PALULU Automatic Ball Launcher

Palulu

  • Why We Love It: burns doggo energy over sustained amount of time, solo play if your dog can figure out how to put the ball back in the machine
  • Why Dogs Love It: solo fetch, independence-building
  • Size: 9.8” x 9.8” x 8.7”

This ball launcher comes with six balls and can toss them at distances of 10, 20 or 30 feet. It’s battery-operated which means you can use it outdoors if you don’t want balls flying down your hallway. (You can also plug it in if needed indoors.) One drawback is the balls that come with it are smaller (2” in diameter) than standard tennis balls, so you can’t just toss in a tennis ball if you lose one that was provided. Users love this machine but note the balls could be choking hazards for larger breeds. There is a remote control version if you want to be more involved, too.

Red and white dog pulls on a purple plastic dog toy.
Chewy

Best for Variety

11. Busy Buddy Tug-a-Jug

Busy Buddy

  • Why We Love It: works for heavy chewers, dental hygiene, unique design
  • Why Dogs Love It: reduces anxiety, treat reward
  • Size: 3.15” x 3.15” x 10.23” (small), 3.93” x 3.93” x 11.85” (medium/large)

One quality to look for in interactive dog toys is variety. This toy offers a thick braided rope, a spiked ball and a clear plastic jug. Toss treats (or a meal!) into the jug so your pup can release them and enjoy them after a game of tug-of-war or simply a relaxing chew session. The spiked ball cleans teeth and the jug stands up to tough chewers. We like that this is a unique design among interactive treat-dispensing toys.

interactive dog toys petsafe
Chewy

Best for Dogs Who Bore Easily

12. Petsafe Sportsmen Jack Dog Toy

Petsafe

  • Why We Love It: Top rack dishwasher safe, durable, longer chew sessions
  • Why Dogs Love It: Treat reward, different textures to chew on, reduces boredom
  • Size: 5” x 5.7” x 5” (medium), 7” x 8” x 7” (large)

Again, variety helps keep Nelson’s attention longer. This toy offers up three different textures (including rawhide rings your dog will spend hours trying to dislodge and tiny bumps that will clean his gums as he plays). For dogs who bore easily, this toy keeps their attention with variety and the treat, which is already accessible but requires extra effort to fully enjoy. Replacement treat rings are available once your dog eats those provided.

Golden retriever holding a faux animal tail in its mouth.
Amazon

Best for Dogs with High Prey Drives

13. Hyper Pet Doggie Tail Interactive Plush

  • Why We Love It: battery-operated for solo play, treat-free toy,
  • Why Dogs Love It: ignites instincts
  • Size: 5” x 5” x 2”

This isn’t just any plush toy. It’s a plush toy that looks like a rodent, makes funny noises and wiggles. Basically, it’s playing on your dog’s hunting skills and will keep them entertained trying to get hold of it. This is a battery-operated toy that you can turn on and off for your pup, then it takes over. The manufacturer says velcro keeps the fur on the ball that initiates motion, but it’s wise to watch your pup at first to make sure he doesn’t peel that fur right off and start chewing on the wrong part.

interactive dog toys puzzle cube
Chewy

Best for Smarty Pants

14. Outward Hound Puzzle Cube

  • Why We Love It: Not treat-related, longer play sessions, durable materials
  • Why Dogs Love It: Mental challenge, more playtime is the reward
  • Size: 4.25” x 4.25” x 4.25”

At first sight, this looks like a magic trick. Upon further inspection, it’s an interactive dog toy that entertains your pup as he tries to figure out how to get the squeaky balls out of the rubber puzzle cube. Hint: There are 18 unique ways to extract the balls (which are different sizes) from the cube! Honestly, this would keep us busy for a while.

Black and tan dog playing with two different-sized dog toys.
Chewy

Best for Dogs Who Need to Shed Pounds

15. Petsafe Ricochet Interactive Sound Game

  • Why We Love It: Pet Business 2019 Best Interactive Dog Toy
  • Why Dogs Love It: Aerobic exercise with a purpose
  • Size: 4.2” x 6.8” x 3.4”

Picture this: Your dog is playing with a small speaker. Another speaker behind him makes a noise, so he turns and runs toward it. Just then, the first speaker makes a noise, so he runs back that way, trying to catch the sound! This can go on for a while and up to 30 feet apart. IT’s a great way for dogs to lose weight (if your vet has recommended they do so) or to burn excess energy (if your don’t wants to run around constantly). Be ready to reward his efforts with a snack.

interactive dog toys poker
Amazon

Best for Changing up the Treat Game

16. Trixie Poker Box

  • Why We Love It: can adjust difficulty level
  • Why Dogs Love It: Treat reward, ignites hunting and foraging instincts
  • Size: 12” x 12” x 4”

Dogs that have graduated from simple treat puzzles will find this toy slightly more challenging. There are four distinct ways your dog can uncover his treat, and the toy comes with a list of ways to make the arrangements even trickier if Nelson gets the hang of it quickly. Some users say they’ve increased the fun level for their dog by putting different treats in each compartment. One reviewer’s dog took a few play sessions to get the hang of it, so don’t worry if Nelson doesn’t take to it right away.

interactive dog toys starmark 2
Chewy

Best Budget Bobbing Treat Dispenser

17. Starmark Treat Dispensing Bob-a-lot Dog Toy

  • Why We Love It: budget-friendly, can adjust difficulty level, works for treats and meals
  • Why Dogs Love It: treat reward, unexpected movement keeps them guessing
  • Size: 6” x 6” x 9.5”

Get this: It dispenses treats and it bobs back and forth to keep your dog on his toes (paws?)! You can also adjust the opening to make it easier or harder for Nelson to crack the code. Feel free to use this solely as a treat toy or as a full meal adventure. The one drawback: Heavy chewers might just opt to destroy this for the goodies inside, based on reviewer photos.

Small brown dog playing with interactive dog toy on grass.
Chewy

Best for Dogs Who Like Noise

18. Pet Qwerks Talking Babble Ball

  • Why We Love It: Solo play, durable construction
  • Why Dogs Love It: Engages dogs aurally
  • Size: 3.75” x 4.5” x 1.5”

Fair warning: This ball talks. There’s a slight chance that your dog will bark like crazy at this talking ball, but an even bigger chance you’ll forget about it and scare the living daylights out of yourself when you walk past it (a motion sensor activates the sound). However, many dogs love the interactive element and will appreciate the attention. Several reviewers note their dogs see the ball as a companion, which we love.

Product shot of glowing interactive dog ball toy.
Amazon
  • Why We Love It: Non-toxic, dental hygiene, solo play
  • Why Dogs Love It: Solo play, unexpected movements
  • Size: 3” x 3” x 3”

This piece of smart technology comes with three interactive settings: normal, passive and gentle. Which means it works well with varying breeds and personalities. It bounces, is non-toxic and provides dogs with interactive ball time! When you turn it on, it automatically starts moving, bouncing or shaking to get your dog to join in the fun. One hour of charging provides four hours of playing. Some users note their heavy chewing dogs are set on destroying this toy, so it may not be the best option for those who want to chew, chew, chew.

Pink dog slow-bowl
Chewy
  • Why We Love It: slows meal time, BPA- and phthalate-free, top rack dishwasher safe
  • Why Dogs Love It: ignites instincts, makes mealtime more engaging, prevents bloat
  • Size: 8.5” x 8.5” x 1.75” (2-cup), 11.75” x 11.75” x 2” (4-cup)

For dogs that like to play constantly—or need to learn to slow down when they eat—this interactive dog bowl will keep their brain engaged and their belly free of bloat, a condition that can be lethal for larger breeds like Greyhounds and Great Danes. Choose from three unique designs (or get all three to keep your dog guessing at every meal).


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Sarah Ashley

Freelance Writer

Sarah Ashley is a Chicago-based freelance journalist. She has covered pets for PureWow for six years and tackles everything from dog training tips to the best litter boxes. Her...
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