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.
20 Interactive Dog Toys to Keep Your Pup Busy and Engaged
1. Interactive Dog Ball By Furryfido
Simple, straightforward and effective, this brightly colored ball bounces like crazy and dispenses treats along the way. It also cleans your dog’s teeth as he chews, which is always a pro because, let’s be honest, you haven’t been great about the brushing.
Buy it ($14)
2. Twist Toss By Wild One
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. It also holds treats, which adds incentive to getting the Twist Toss to bounce wildly in the first place.
3. Trixie Activity Flip Board
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.
4. Trixie Mad Scientist Turn Around
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.
5. Jw Pet Nylon Dog Treat Pod
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.
6. Kong Rambler Ball
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.
7. Frisco Hide And Seek Plush Flying Saucer
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.
8. Starmark Everlasting Treat Bento Ball
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. These types of toys ignite a canine’s hunting instincts, which is a huge perk.
9. Ifetch Mini Frenzy
The future is here and it is this automatic fetch toy. Dogs can learn to drop the mini tennis balls into the top of the machine themselves and then chase after the balls when the machine randomly shoots them out one of three slots. Mental and physical exercise accomplished.
10. Ifetch Too Automatic Ball Launcher
A larger version of the iFetch Mini, this iFetch machine only throws in one direction, but it tosses the balls farther. Big breeds and super-energetic pups will get a lot of playtime out of this (and your rotator cuff won’t wear out as quickly).
11. Busy Buddy Tug-a-jug
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.
12. Petsafe Sportsmen Jack Dog Toy
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).
13. Kong Puzzlements Monkey Toy
Kong makes some of the most durable dog toys available, so we were excited to see this funny plush option from them. The monkey crinkles as your dog tries to pry him out of the puzzle ball. It’s like a mini rescue mission with three levels of difficulty.
14. Outward Hound Puzzle Cube
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 puzzle cube. Magnificent!
15. Petsafe Ricochet Interactive Sound Game
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. Be ready to reward his efforts with a snack.
16. Trixie Poker Box
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.
17. Starmark Treat Dispensing Bob-a-lot Dog Toy
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 harder for Nelson to crack the code.
18. Pet Qwerks Talking Babble Ball
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.
19. Nina Ottosson Outward Hound Treat Puzzle
With several actions necessary to get to each treat, this puzzle challenges dogs to experiment and explore. Plus, none of the parts are removable, which means they can’t break off and become dinner. Phew!
20. Outward Hound Fun Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl
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.