Best Puzzle Toys for Dogs in 2022

Dog with puzzle toy

Having an excitable pup can be a little exhausting at times. You can take them for a long, tiring walk (at least for you!) and they still get back full of energy and ready to do laps around the garden. As much as you love them, it’s impossible for you to keep your dog entertained all day long. The solution? Getting your pup one – or two – of the best puzzle toys for dogs.

Product Details
TOP 1
Classic KONG
  • Helps to slow down eating
  • Is both a fetch toy and a puzzle toy
  • Very durable
TOP 2
Nina Ottosson Dog Brick Toy
  • Durable
  • Different difficulty levels
  • Interactive for owner and pup!
TOP 3
PetSafe Barnacle Treat Dispenser
  • Automated treat dispenser to keep dogs engaged
  • Unique form bounces for added fun
  • Good for dental hygiene

Why Are Dog Puzzle Toys a Good Idea?

As well as burning up some of that left-over-walk energy, puzzle toys are a great way of mentally stimulating your pup. Interactive dog toys can help them hone some of their natural instincts, such as hunting for food, which they’ll love! It’s a fun way for them to practice what’s natural to them!

Puzzle toys can also help to reduce boredom – and let’s be honest, no one wants a bored pup. They can become destructive, mischievous, and even aggressive if they spend too much time alone and bored. Giving them a quest to solve (such as finding out exactly where you’ve hidden their favorite treat) can keep their brains engaged – at least long enough for you to get through that zoom meeting in peace. An interactive dog toy makes your pup use their brain, learn new things, and be rewarded for their hard work!

best puzzle toys for dogs

The Best Puzzle Toys for Dogs

Here are some of the best dog puzzle toys that your pup will love! They’re all made of high-quality materials and have been designed to entertain your pup and help them to learn new skills.

Classic Kong

Classic KONG
Every dog’s must-have toy!

Classic for a reason. This bouncy, chewy, yummy toy is a favorite amongst dogs around the world!


How does it work?

There’s a reason it’s called the classic. The Classic Kong is one of the most popular dog puzzle toys amongst owners and pups alike. The durable, bouncy toy can be stuffed with your dog’s favorite food or treats for plenty of delicious fun. Try starting off with dry kibble so they understand how the dog puzzle toy works and then try it with wet dog food or treats such as dog-safe peanut butter, whipped avocado, or watermelon! You can even freeze the entire stuffed toy for a fun doggie ice cream on hot days.

Pros

  • The Classic Kong is available in a variety of different sizes so is ideal for puppies and senior dogs too.
  • Made from durable rubber in the USA.
  • Can help to slow down pups that love to gobble up their food! The Classic Kong ‘forces’ your dog to take their time eating which can help to prevent digestive troubles.
  • Can be used as a normal toy for games of fetch.
  • Great for training. Try filling the puzzle toy up with your dog’s favorite treats and putting it in their crate to help them adjust to crate time. 
  • Extremely durable. Kong is known for making really high-quality toys that (should) withstand even the chewiest of chewers. If your dog really does destroy every chew toy or pair of shoes they see, you could get them the Kong Extreme which is extra tough.

Cons

  • Although it’s sure to keep your doggo entertained, the Kong classic dog toy isn’t the most challenging puzzle toy out there. They’ll love moving it around and licking out every last bit of food but they won’t have to use their brains quite as much as with other toys.

Nina Ottosson Hide n’ Slide Dog Puzzle Toy

Nina Ottosson Hide n’ Slide
Super Fun Puzzle Toy

A great puzzle toy for those with short noses or who like to gobble down their food too quickly!


How does it work?

Fill up the tiny compartments with your dog’s favorite treats or dog kibble and watch as they work out how to slide the levers to reveal what’s underneath! This is a great toy that can help to regulate the amount of food your dog is eating whilst keeping them entertained and coming back for more!

The Swedish-designed, wooden dog puzzle toy is sturdy and not too difficult once your pup gets the hang of it. They’ll be delighted to show you how it works and will really keep them mentally stimulated!

Pros

  • The elevated levers make it an ideal puzzle toy for short-nosed dogs who find it a little trickier to move the pieces.
  • Try only filling up a few of the compartments and changing them each time for an added element of surprise!
  • Well constructed and durable.

Cons

  • Some dogs may find this Nina Ottosson dog toy a little simple after the first few times.
  • Not a toy designed for mealtimes. The compartments are too small to fit an entire meal in!

Trixie Activity Board

Trixie Activity Board
Ideal for Super Smart Pups!

This puzzle toy is great for intelligent dogs that want a bit of extra challenge.


How does it work?

This is a great puzzle toy for pups that want a little extra challenge! As with other toys, you can hide their favorite treats or food in the little compartments and they have to work out how to find them! The Trixie Activity board is a great, interactive toy that will get your pup using their mouth, nose, and paws to work out the different techniques to open the compartments.

Pros

  • Ideal for intelligent dogs that want more of a challenge! It’s harder than other puzzle toys and will take them longer to work out.
  • It has non-slip rubber feet which means it won’t move as your dog batters it in an attempt to find the food!
  • Machine washable. This can be really handy when it comes to cleaning little compartments covered in peanut butter and doggie drool!
  • Helps with mental stimulation and to reduce boredom.

Cons

  • You may have to sit with your dog at the beginning and help them to work out the puzzle. If they find it too hard and don’t get the reward, they may lose interest in the game.

Outward Hound Hide a Squirrel Puzzle Toy

Outward Hound Hide a Squirrel
Fun (and cute!) Puzzle Toy for Pups!

This is a great toy for doggos that love hunting. It’s also ideal for big pups that find some interactive toys too fiddly.


How does it work?

Outward Hound dog puzzles are a great way to engage your pup’s brain whilst also satisfying their natural instincts. They’re a lot of fun too! In this hide and seek game, you hide the squeaky toys (the squirrels) in the tree trunk and your pup has to hunt them out. Unlike some of the other best dog puzzle toys on the list, this one isn’t treat-based. Your dog is rewarded with the satisfaction of finding all 6 squirrels and pulling them out of the bark.

Pros

  • Ideal for big dogs – this puzzle comes in four different sizes which is great for big dogs that find the smaller, more fiddly puzzle games difficult.
  • Enhances their problem-solving skills, satisfies hunting instincts, and will engage your dog’s brain.
  • Great bonding game for the two of you. Each time your dog successfully pulls out the squirrels you can hind them again for endless fun!
  • They’re very cute toys for your pup to play with!

Cons

  • Your dog might lose interest in this Outward Hound game earlier than those that are treat-based. All dog owners know the power of food!
  • Not designed for heavy chewers. We want to avoid a squirrel massacre!

Starmark Bob-A-Lot Dog Puzzle Toy

Starmark Bob-A-Lot Toy
A Great Toy for Quick Eaters!

This fun and interactive bobbing toy is a wonderful way to keep your dog’s brain engaged and slow them down whilst eating.


How does it work?

The Bob-a-Lot puzzle is a really fun toy that your dog will love! It’s weighted on the bottom and has a non-slip base, which means it will stay in place as your dog uses their feet and face to bash the toy so it spills out the food or treats inside. You can make the opening larger or smaller depending on how difficult you want it to be for your pup to get their reward.

Pros

  • It’s sure to make dinner time very entertaining for your dog (and you)! It will also help to slow down how quickly they eat and allow you to monitor their portions.
  • Whilst this interactive puzzle toy doesn’t replace walks and making sure your dog gets enough exercise, it will get them moving a bit more and burn up some excess energy.
  • Helps to forester natural foraging instincts in your pooch.
  • Easy to clean.

Cons

  • Not suitable if your pet is a real chewer. Some dogs may be able to bite off the yellow top and eat all the food inside – which kind of defies the point!

Kong Wobbler

Kong Wobbler
A Fun and Interactive Way to Eat!

This weighted food dispenser will keep your pup entertained at all mealtimes! By using their paws and nose they’ll need to knock over the toy to reveal what’s inside!


How does it work?

Similar to the Starmark puzzle toy, the Kong Wobbler works as a food dispenser that your dog can push across the floor in an attempt to eat all the delicious food or dog biscuits inside. Why not try shrimp or broccoli as a healthy treat – just remember to wash it afterward! It’s not weighted (so less of a toy that needs to be battered) but rolls across the floor in an unpredictable and fun way! As with all Kong toys, it’s durable, entertaining, and engaging for your dog!

Pros

  • Really easy to use! Simply fill up the Wobbler with your dog’s favorite food and let them play as they eat.
  • Should withstand excitable mealtimes and heavy chewers.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Generally, pups don’t lose interest in this dog puzzle feeder as it’s constantly giving them food!

Cons

  • Although really engaging, this toy isn’t particularly difficult and your pup won’t have to ‘work out’ the puzzle, which is the case for some other puzzle toys.
  • It can be a little messy and noisy! Because the Kong Wobbler isn’t fixed in one place it will dispense food wherever it’s rolled to – including under the couch!

PetSafe Barnacle Treat Dispenser

PetSafe Barnacle Treat Dispenser
Ideal for Pups Who Don’t Like Harder Games

A fun, bouncy toy that your dog will love to play with. It randomly dispenses treats to keep them engaged!


How does it work?

The Barnacle Treat Despenser works in a similar way to other treat-based toys – but with a few key differences. It has a unique Treat Meter that randomly dispenses kibble or biscuits as your pup plays with it. They’ll be kept on their paws as they wait for their treat! The unique shape of the toy also makes it bounce in unpredictable ways which your dog will love.

Pros

  • Made out of vanilla-scented rubber to make it even more attractive to your dog.
  • As well as the unique Treat Meter design, you can also smear your dog’s favorite paste or wet treat into the bone-shaped grooves on the toy.
  • Dishwasher safe which keeps it clean and safe.
  • Can be used as a normal toy without treats for your pup to play with it.
  • Durable and withstands chewing.
  • Helps with dental hygiene.

Cons

  • Probably not the ideal toy if you want a bigger challenge for your doggo. Although super fun, they don’t actually have to ‘do’ anything.

Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Brick Puzzle

Nina Ottosson Dog Brick Toy
A Great Go-To Puzzle Toy!

Keep your dog engaged with this wonderful dog brick toy. Mix it up once your pup gets the hang of it to make it more difficult!


How does it work?

This dog brick puzzle toy is a really fun way for your dog to forage for his food. Simply hide food or kibble behind different bricks and your dog will have to work out how to slide or lift the bricks to find the delicious treats. This is a great enrichment toy for pups new to the idea of puzzle toys and it can be made harder by adding more parts.

Pros

  • This dog toy is perfect for bonding with your pup. Each time you can hide the treat under a different brick and help them to sniff it out.
  • Can change the difficulty of the toy.
  • Made from durable, non-toxic plastic which can be washed in the dishwasher.

Cons

  • Even though you can change the difficulty of the toy, it may be too simple for dogs who like a good challenge. If that’s the case, there are other dog toys in the series which are more difficult.

Paw5 Wooly Snuffle Mat

Paw5 Wooly Snuffle Mat
Train Their Senses With This Fun Toy!

A really fun way for you to hide treats and food for your doggo to sniff out. You can easily make it harder or easier depending on what they like.


How does it work?

Snuffle mats are a great way for your dog to satisfy their natural doggie instincts. Dogs love to forage and sniff out their own food (which is why the head is constantly in the trash can). Just hide kibble or dry food amongst the strips of fabric and let your pup find their dinner. It’s great fun and a good way to slow down their eating habits.

Pros 

  • A huge pro for dog owners is that this Snuffle mat is machine washable. Even though we recommend only using dry food, it can still get pretty dirty after a while!
  • Great for all breeds whether big or small. Your dog will have to engage their brain and work out how to find the hidden treats using all their senses. It’s a fun challenge!
  • Mats can help to relax nervous dogs. Sniffing is a really good way for dogs to calm themselves down – especially if a treat is the reward.

Cons

  • Depending on how often your pooch plays with the mat and how boisterous they are when playing, the fabric may stretch out of shape and start to look a little shabby.

Sniffiz Smelly Matty Snuffle Mat

Sniffiz Smelly Matty Snuffle Mat
Hours of Fun and Learning!

Your dog will love searching and scratching for all the yummy treats you’ve hidden in this fun and interactive snuffle mat.


How does it work?

This is a wonderful snuffle mat that seems to do it all! Not only does this enrichment toy have the usual strips of material to hide kibble in, but it also has ‘grass’, puzzle boards, fabric to roll treats in, a little book with compartments, and a food dispensing ball. It really is all in one! Dogs love to engage in interactive play and work hard to reveal treats, so they’ll be very happy with these dog puzzle toys!

Pros 

  • Because there’s so much for your dog to do with this snuffle mat, it can really help to reduce separation anxiety when you leave. In all likelihood, they’ll probably not notice you’ve gone!
  • It’s one of the best dog puzzle toys for nervous pups.
  • Helps with mental stimulation. Dogs will learn a bunch of new techniques to find the treats.
  • Owners can get involved too by hiding the food (not wet food) and interacting with their pets at mealtimes.

Cons

  • It’s durable but pups shouldn’t be allowed to chew it.
  • It can get a bit dirty (especially if you forget where you’ve hidden a treat) but it is machine washable! Win!

Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Dog Tornado

Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Dog Tornado
Engage Your Pup and Help Them Learn!

A wonderful puzzle toy with two difficulty settings. It’s ideal for highly-intelligent doggos who love a good challenge!


How does it work?

Ok, we know there are a few Nina Ottosson and Outward Hound puzzle toys on this list but they really are some of the best. And there’s such variety! This one can be made pretty challenging by hiding treats in different compartments, on different levels, and by covering them with the bone blocks that come with it. Your pup will really have to engage their brain in order to use their nose and paws to spring the levels and find their reward!

Pros 

  • This is definitely one of the best dog puzzle toys for uber-intelligent pups. It can be made even more difficult by mixing p the hidden compartments so your dog will always have to work for their prize.
  • Made from sturdy material which should withstand excitable play.

Cons

  • If your doggo is cute, but not super-intelligent, they may find it too tricky and lose interest.
  • May have to sit with your pup and train them how to use it. But an extra bit of bonding time doesn’t have to be a negative!

Trixie Mad Scientist Turn Around Puzzle Toy

Trixie Mad Scientist Puzzle Toy
Test Your Pup’s Intelligence!

An original and fun dog toy that will keep your pooch entertained during meal times. Will yours get the hang of it?


How does it work?

We all think our pooches are clever, but could they be a scientist? Well, this dog toy will put their intelligence to the test! This interactive puzzle is made up of three test tubes that your pup will have to spin so that the treats fall out. They’ll also have to balance each test tube so that they have enough time to eat the reward. The Trixie Mad Scientist puzzle dog toy comes with different-sized lids to make each spin more or less difficult for your dog.

Pros 

  • As your dog pushes each test tube, it’ll be using its brain and body to balance it. They’ll be engaging the brain and learning new skills. 
  • It can be quite difficult to begin with so this toy will certainly keep your pup busy.
  • It’s a great interactive dog toy that your pup will love and you’ll enjoy watching them!
  • It has non-slip rubber feet to stop it from moving around the room.
  • Dish washer safe.

Cons

  • Once your dog gets the hang of their scientific experiment, they may find this toy too easy.

PetSafe Busy Buddy Tug-a-Jug Puzzle Toy

PetSafe Busy Buddy Tug-a-Jug Toy
The Perfect Mealtime Accessory

Encourage your dog to use all their senses with this fun toy. It’s great for fast-eating pups who need to slow it down a little!


How does it work?

The Tug-a-Jug dog puzzle toy is three enrichment toys in one! It has a bottle that can be used as a chew toy, a colored rope that’s great for a tug of war, and the clever lid works as a dispenser. Unlike most dog puzzle toys, you can fit a whole meal in this one! It comes in three different sizes so it’s great for most breeds, regardless of how big their mouths or appetites are.

Pros 

  • Pooches will have to use their sight, hearing, and smell in order to get their meal.
  • You can safely play with your pup as they eat.
  • The textured lid helps to clean teeth.
  • Helps to slow down eating for those pups that love to gobble up from a plate. They’ll also have to search for the kibble when it’s fallen out.

Cons

  • Not all kibble or treats will fit inside. They need to be fairly small if your pup isn’t to get frustrated when nothing comes out!

Final thoughts

Getting your dog an interactive dog toy is a great way for them to learn new skills, engage their brains, and have a lot of fun whilst doing it! If it’s a food-dispensing toy, it can also help to slow down mealtimes and reduce tummy troubles for your dog.

Dogs are highly intelligent, and some may find that certain puzzle toys are too easy and their pup gets bored. A good solution is to buy a few and rotate them so your pup ‘forgets’ how they work between turns.

Does your pet like puzzle toys? Which are their favorites?

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