Really don’t have the time to read through our complete guide to the best interactive dog toys online? Our top pick for this buying guide is the Nina Ottosson Twister Dog Toy. This was our top choice after multiple tests and after checking out reviews and ratings from other experienced dog owners.
It’s pretty safe to say that dog toys come in all shapes, sizes, thicknesses and forms. Toys are crucial in keeping your dog stimulated and happy! After all, while they may take pleasure in simpler things than most people might, that doesn’t mean they don’t get bored or listless. It’s easy to think that a dog can be left to its own devices and make its own fun. However, this is often a pretty dangerous route to take.
What’s more, the right dog toys could help your pets to feel a bit more secure in themselves. Some dogs – from a pup or as they get older – can struggle to adjust to being on their own, especially if you need to leave them for several hours at a time. Therefore, if you are finding that your dogs need to keep themselves busy – in a non-destructive way – while you are out and about, it might be worth looking for the top-rated interactive dog toys on the market right now.
Interactive dog toys offer lots of great ways to help keep your dog busy and mentally stimulated. Even if it is just a case of lining up a few treats or a puzzle or two, this could really fascinate them for hours at a time! The best interactive toys dogs love are designed and built for use and fun across long periods. If you can’t be around to stimulate them, then the next best thing is to invest in a great smart dog toy to help keep them happy.
If it’s your first time taking a close look at interactive dog toys, don’t worry. I’ve set up a full buying guide for you below to help you check for the best features and facilities on offer. I’ve also taken a close look at five of the best interactive dog toys dogs love – which are all fantastically reviewed, and have our dogs’ paws of approval. That;’s all that matters!
The products we are going to review in this guide will include:
- Nina Ottosson Twister Dog Toy
- Funow Dog Chew
- Decyam Pet Fun Feeder
- IFOYO Squeak Dog Toy
- Nina Ottosson Dog Brick Interactive Puzzle
What are Interactive Dog Toys?
The name might not give you that much of a clue, but interactive dog toys are those which give your dog that bit more mental stimulation than a chewy piece of rubber. These toys for example might have great treats inside that dogs can hunt out and enjoy. These might include puzzle toys, too, which dogs can work out using their paws and noses, as well as their teeth.
Treat dispensing interactive toys for dogs tend to be amongst the most popular with pets and owners alike. That’s because these dogs’ toys tend to need very little encouragement for use! Once you show a dog a couple of times how to use a toy or toys, however, there is nothing to say they won’t get the hang of it every time from there on out. Dogs are deceptively clever, no matter how daft your own dog might be from time to time!
Dog interactive toys essentially encourage your pet to play on their own, to discover treats through hide and seek puzzles, and to entertain themselves with a distraction or two. The best interactive toy for your dog may not be the best for the next one, though it’s safe to say that all dogs learn at their own paces and show their individual personalities through training and learning.
These interactive dogs’ toys I’ve lined up for you in this buying guide offer great examples of how you can really encourage your pets to entertain themselves when home alone. However, you might not be too sure if you need interactive dog toys at all! Let’s take a closer look through before we crack on with the toy reviews.
Why Buy an Interactive Dog Toy?
The idea of an interactive dog toy might be new to you, and that’s really no big issue. After all, most of us probably think of a dog toy and just assume a squakey bone or a ball you can throw about will be enough! However, there is more than one way you can keep a pup happy, and you don’t always need to throw treats out, either!
Here are a few reasons why investing in interactive dog toys might be a good fit for you and your dogs.
You’re Out a Lot
If you need to leave your dog alone for long periods, they are naturally going to miss you! Therefore, it’s worth treating them to a play set or toy that they can explore while you’re away. All kinds of dogs experience loneliness and anxiety, and if you really want to show them that they are going to be ok while you are out, you should ensure that you have something fun to act as a distraction.
You Only Have One Dog
It’s safe to say that dogs are really social animals, and there is only so much that a really basic toy or treats will do to keep them happy. Most dogs will want to be by your side and to have fun all day long. However, we all know that this just isn’t possible all of the time. Therefore, it makes sense to try and line up a buddy of sorts for your dog – but it’s not always possible to house two or three dogs at once, either!
Therefore, if you do have a solo dog and they are likely to get lonely or listless, a fun interactive touy is likely to all kinds of wonders. You can set up hide and seek games, hide treats, and set up fun squeaky or rattling puzzles to help keep their interest. A bored and listless dog really isn’t a happy sight, and as such, you should be doing all you can to cheer them up! If that means setting up some treat dispensing goodies, then so be it.
Your Dog is Destructive
Yes, unfortunately, many of us have dogs who – while we love them dearly – have a habit of destroying things when they get bored. This is especially the case for dogs who need lots of exercise, and who for whatever reason are unable to get it too often. A bored or listless dog can be a destructive dog, which means that it’s well worth setting up an interactive dog toy or two to help take their full attention away.
This isn’t always a guarantee, of course, which is why you should always try and train your dog accordingly to stop attacking pieces of furniture while you are out. However, you can easily incorporate interactive dog toy systems into your training regimen and routine. An interactive toy will be a great distraction from the usual carpet edges, cushions and sofas.
They Really Stimulate Your Dog
Dogs need more than just walkies and the odd fussing. They need mental stimulation. Many people will buy interactive dog toys purely so they have something to do when left alone. However, they also make for fantastic treats when fully supervised, too! If you really want to train your dog’s brain, there are some seriously great toy picks out there which will encourage them to solve problems that are likely to be pretty complex at first.
However, the downside to having a smarter dog is that they might get better at figuring out where you’ve hidden non dog treats when home alone – so take this as a point of caution – train them to a level you can feasibly cope with!
What Should I Look for In an Interactive Dog Toy?
As there are many different types of interactive dog toy out there, it can be easy to find things more than a little confusing. However, there are a few factors and features which hold pretty firm. First of all, only ever look for toys for dogs which have fantastic user reviews and ratings! These should be easy enough to spot, but when looking at an interactive toy or toys in an online listing, you should make sure that the reviews you read are from verified buyers.
Types of Interactive Dog Toys
Most interactive dog toy options are pretty simple to categorise. However, you will find that there are some which slide open and close, others which tip over and are treat dispensing, and there will be many – to your neighbours’ delight – which make plenty of noise. Therefore, you really need to consider what’s best for your dogs, here. Does your dog enjoy chewing or using their teeth?
Or, is your dog creative with their paws? Are they likely to bat things down or out of the way to try and solve a puzzle? Maybe they love hide and seek, and you want to find a toy or toys which can replicate this experience for them to enjoy on their own. This isn’t too much to demand, and you will easily find toy options and brands which really fulfill this need.
Otherwise, most dogs will probably be pretty happy with one or two toys where you hide treats such as peanut butter for them to find. Simple pleasures!
It’s maybe a bit harsh to judge dogs by their ‘skill’ levels as far as working out puzzles are concerned, but you will often find that dog toys – interactive or otherwise – are graded in certain ways. This means that, say, a ‘level one’ toy in one range is likely to be pretty simple. If you find that your pup graduates from this toy pretty easily, and can suss it out within minutes, then it might be worth looking one level up.
However, speaking of the word pup – do also consider the age of your dog. A genuine pup is unlikely to have much of an attention span for the more complicated interactive toys, but that doesn’t mean they can’t use them. In fact, there are a few pup friendly interactive toy ranges out there which are designed and built to help growing minds and curiosities.
Start them early enough, of course, and you’ll be setting them on a path to being seriously smart – why not take a look at graduating them up the levels?
Durability and Safety
You should always look carefully for interactive dog toys which are built to be safe for dogs to use and enjoy. This means that you need to ensure they are made with safe plastics, and that they are unlikely to damage easily. The best interactive dog toys are those which will take some serious gnawing. Sadly, there are a few inferior products out there which really won’t last long. That’s why this guide exists – to help you sort the best from the worst!
Of course, you should also be careful for moving parts and choking hazards. Think carefully about the activity level your dog is likely to demonstrate while using their toy. Are they going to be so desperate for treats that they wrench one or two moving pieces off? Look for well-built toys from brands like Outward Hound and Mad Scientist – these are well-trusted companies who build interactive dog toy systems which are safe to use and built to last.
What Are the Best Interactive Dog Toys?
Without further ado, here is my list of the top picks for interactive dog toys available online right now. Take a look through and compare what other dog owners have to say, too!
Best Interactive Puzzle Toy – Nina Ottosson Twister Dog Toy
This superb hide and seek toy is a ‘level 3’ interactive option in the Nina Ottosson line, but that really shouldn’t be a problem for a hungry pup in search of treats. They simply pull the individual drawers out of the toy to uncover tasty treats hidden within.
This is a colourful, pleasing little toy which I think is a great choice for those dogs and owners who have already worked their way through a couple of starter options already. It’s a good competitor against the likes of the best of Mad Scientist and Outward Hound, too!
- May not be the best choice for a dog who is new to interactive toys
Best Interactive Toy For Aggressive Chewers – Funow Dog Chew
Chewing is a major issue that some people strive to get their dogs out of through interactive toys. This brilliant bone is amazingly priced and is deceptively simple. It’s really hard wearing, and makes a funny noise when rattling around.
Not only that, but it’s beef flavoured – as well as being nigh on indestructible, which is naturally going to be a good thing if your dog is always likely to go rough with bits of furniture as well as other types of toy, for example!
- No treats inside – it’s just a bone
Best Dog Treat Feeder Toy – Decyam Pet Fun Feeder
This is a dog toy interactive treat lovers will want to invest in if they are on a budget. Not only that, but this is also a great slow dog feeder. This means that you can dispense food and treats into the toy and your pup will need to work their way around the little maze inside. It really helps to stimulate a dog’s brain, as well as to encourage problem solving – as much as is possible, in any case!
This dog toy is non toxic and is very easy to clean, particularly as it’s safe for you to pop in the dishwasher. You can use it with any dog food you wish, or any treats and bits of kibble that appeal to your dog. Therefore, it’s one of the more versatile dog toy options if you are considering going the interactive route. And after reading this list, why wouldn’t you?
- Not the trickiest of puzzles to work out after a while
Top Rated Hide & Seek Toy – IFOYO Squeak Dog Toy
If your pup really loves playing hide and seek with you, then they are likely to be the sort of dog that really goes wild for hide and seek toys. This interactive toy range allows you to sneak little creatures and critters inside a soft base, which your pet will then need to hunt out and retrieve. These are really nice and soft toys, ideal for gentler dogs.
These toy options come in two flavours – alien or bear – and both are likely to appeal to any dogs which normally carry soft toys around. Therefore, if your pet is likely to respond better to soft plushiness than tough chewy toys, this is going to be a fantastic choice.
- Not a toy for serious chewers
Best Overall Interactive Pet Toy – Nina Ottosson Dog Brick Interactive Puzzle
This really is the holy grail of interactive toys for dogs. A ‘level two’ option in the Nina Ottosson range, this plastic puzzle encourages your dog to either pick up and remove plastic bones from the middle to retrieve treats, to slide along boxes to uncover treasure, or to open up chests to find more goodies.
It’s a brilliant three in one discovery toy which, after only a little bit of instruction, should be pretty easy for even the most laid back of dogs to work out and enjoy. It’s nice and robust, and while it has moving and removable parts, they are never going to cause you hassle – until it comes to tidying everything up!
- Can be a hassle to tidy up afterwards
As you can see, there are many different ways you can entertain your pet with interactive toys. Some will freely dispense treats, while others will need a little bit of encouragement. Ultimately, they are great at giving dogs a bit more to do, either while you are out, or even when they are spending a lazy Sunday evening in.
There are more great interactive toys available from brands such as Outward Hound, but I think the above picks show off the best that the interactive toy scene has to offer right now. If you’re new to these types of toys, give them a look over and see what others have to say, too. Our personal recommendation would be the Nina Ottosson Twister Dog Toy as it is durable and mentally stimulates your pet.
If your dog is likely to chew up the chair or go a bit spare, try giving them an interactive plaything or two. You never know – it might do them a world of good!