Best Mental Stimulation Toys For Dogs

Dogs are smart, hyper, loyal and funny. They crave so much; between attention, feeding and entertainment, sometimes it can be a lot!

When we have a busy work day ahead of us, we know that our precious doggo will not get the play time that they deserve, so that’s why it is beneficial to have toys that keep them entertained while we are busy.

By Allison Salonko.

Allison is a Veterinary Technician in the state of Indiana. She graduated from International Business College and Vet Tech Institute of Indianapolis with a degree in Animal Science and Technology in 2011.

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Dog Puzzle Feeders For The Busy Companion

Dog puzzle feeders are a wonderful tool for those of us with dogs that enjoy being active and follow their nose.

Not only do they provide entertainment for both you and your pooch but they will truly love the challenge of opening the different compartments or trying to lap up kibble through a small opening.

If you have a busy canine companion that could use some extra mental stimulation and slow down their eating, consider looking into one of these recommended puzzle feeder toys.

Dog Puzzle Toy For IQ Training And Enrichment

This dog puzzle toy by WingPet is a great option for owners whose dogs have a hard time containing their excitement over food. This particular toy has several different compartments where food or treats can be stored.

It encourages dogs to slide lids around and move parts so that they can reach their kibble.

As a veterinary professional, I frequently recommend these types of puzzle feeders for dogs that have a tendency to gobble their food so quickly they have vomiting and digestive issues.

Dog Puzzle Toy – Penerl Puzzle Feeder

This puzzle feeder made by Penerl is one that will work well for mental stimulation and can also double as a feeder toy. It is similarly designed as the one before it with compartments that slide open.

Your pet will have to work hard to move the covers out of the way so that they can finally reach their reward!

The fact that slow feeders cause your dog to eat at a snail-like pace, they will have less incidents of vomiting and should digest their food better.

After all, our grandma’s told us to take small bites and chew well for a reason!

Nina Ottoson Interactive Puzzle Game Toy

This interactive puzzle toy by Outward Hound is a beginner level toy that should suit any dog just starting out with these tricky feeders. There are several different levels of difficulty, beginner to advanced.

It is one that can be used as an enrichment and entertainment tool or can be used for daily feedings.

The bones can be lifted or knocked away with a paw or teeth and the food is right there!

Dogs that have a tendency to eat too quickly should benefit greatly by this easy to figure out but certainly time consuming feeder tool.

Hide And Seek – This Time As A Dog Toy!

All dogs need toys, we know this. But some toys are superior to others in their durability and their entertainment and mental stimulation factors. Sometimes we try a toy that our dog only finds interesting while they can destroy it, which probably takes 15 minutes at most. That’s why hide and seek dog toys are growing in popularity.

These find a way to make getting to the entire toy far more time consuming and rewarding! When you have multiple toys inside a toy, well, that is just even better for our doggos!

They love trying to tear the inside out of stuffed things, so why not do it that way on purpose?

Hide-A-Squirrel Squeaky Puzzle Plush Dog Toy

Outward Hound does it again with this squirrelly stuffed toy.

The hollowed log is full of squirrel fun for your doggo to spend plenty of time pulling them all out. The small cylindrical shape is soft and comfortable and contains six small stuffed squirrels for your dog to seek, pulling them out one at a time!

The material is durable and fun, while also being soft and easy on their teeth. The adorable little squirrels can also be replaced through Outward Hound in case they were torn up, lost or you just want more!

ZippyPaws Food Buddies Burrow Hide And Seek Dog Toy

The Food Buddies hide and seek dog toy by ZippyPaws is super cute and has several different unique designs. This one is a milk carton with three small cookies that your pooch must dig or pull out.

Many dogs love the challenge of trying to grab and yank the stuffed toys in order to win!

These toys are durable and built to last most chewers, except the super aggressive chewers, that is.

So if your doggo can keep a toy around for more than 5 minutes, the Food Buddies toy is the one for them!

Dog Carrot Puzzle Toy For Foraging And Stress Relief

This adorable and fun foraging puzzle toy with eight carrots may look easy but many dogs find it fun and satisfying. The carrots go inside the toy, where the dog has to pull them out, inside there can be nothing, or maybe a little snack awaits them!

This toy is durable and built to outlast most plush toys, with a material that can rival most chewers! The carrots themselves are also strong and should withstand most abuse.

You can receive replacement carrots online by purchasing through the manufacturer. Many owners think that it eases anxiety by having to use their foraging skills again, plus it reduces digging and aggressive behaviors by keeping them busy.

Interactive Dog Toys – Keeping Your Dog Active And Mentally Engaged

The point in the interactive dog toys is to keep them active while also mentally stimulated. Finding ways to get your dog moving and burning energy while also using their brain is key to raising a happy and healthy canine companion. These animals require activity and mental interaction in order for them to reach their full potential.

AWOOF Snuffle Interactive Pet Dog Feeding Mat

While the AWOOF Interactive Snuffle Mat may not encourage as much activity as some toys, this particular mat is nice because it keeps your dog moving around and searching for kibbles hidden under flaps and between a few pieces of cloth.

Even the fastest eater will have to take their time sniffing out and finding every last kibble.

Not only is it fun for feeding time and treats, but there are other interactive components to the snuffle mat. There are four additional feeding games, a BB call in the middle, three bells and four pieces of ringing paper in the petals.

StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy

The Bob-A-Lot Dog Toy by StarMark is a lightbulb shaped toy that your dog rolls around, encouraging kibble or treats to fall out.

The large compartment can house up to three cups of food! Determined and food motivated dogs can spend hours turning and rolling the Bob-A-Lot toy about the house, going until they’re too tired or run out of food.

One of my favorite aspects of this toy is the activity.

Lazy or overweight dogs may not even realize that they are spending more time on their feet than normal. While they may be eating, they are at least still being active.

Since you can fit so. much. food. inside, you can even make this how they receive their breakfast!

AUKL Interactive Dog Motion Ball

This Interactive Motion Ball by AUKL is one that is guaranteed to keep your pet moving around for hours. This battery powered, motion activated ball will roll around, as long as your dog is playing with it.

Note that this toy does not have a compartment for food or treats.

The interactive motion ball can simply roll around, but it also has a mode where it can bounce!

Many dogs and cats will have hours of entertainment from this fun and interactive bouncy ball.

This is a great option for dogs that become easily bored when their owner is away!

Flirt Pole Interactive Dog Toys

The Flirt Pole really makes me think of the fishing pole toys that were originally made for cats.

Except, this is much sturdier!

This toy is meant more for outdoor use and its fishing pole design allows for the handler to control and change the direction quickly for jumping and physical/mental stimulation.

These toys bring plenty of mental enrichment to your dog’s day while also keeping them active, aiding in mobility and the best part, plenty of fun!

The rope and pole are made of a durable material that will last even the most active dogs.

Toys That Are Meant For The Mind And Not Just The Teeth

Having enough entertainment for your dog is crucial for their happiness. They are a species that craves activity and mental stimulation, with natural instincts for hunting and foraging your dog will always benefit from having something that keeps them engaged.

Not only will this keep them from tearing up your favorite pair of sneakers, but it is proven that play time eases stress and anxiety in dogs as well.

It is important to note that all of these toys should be given to your dog under your supervision.

It would not be safe to allow them to chew on things, even the most durable toys, while you are not at home or watching them.

Photo by Bruno Emmanuelle.

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