The 5 Best Interactive Dog Toys

Interactive toys are an effective way to give dogs' brains a workout. The best interactive dog toys are adaptable, so they can account for your canine's current skill level and beyond.

There are several things to consider when shopping around. First, keep in mind your dog's size and breed. For instance, there's no use getting a puzzle if the pieces are too large for their paws. Conversely, a large dog will demolish a small toy aimed at mini breeds.

Next, think about your pooch's current skills. A toy that's too challenging might frustrate them, while a toy that's too easy might make them lose interest quickly. The best choices will have adjustable features so your pup can grow with them.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, consider their personality. What do they like to do? Don't bother splurging on an interactive ball for your dog if they don't normally like to fetch. At the same time, a dog with a weak or disinterested sense of smell won't care about sniffing out treats on a snuffle mat.

Below, I've gathered the best interactive dog toys in a variety of categories and skill levels to help you keep your pup engaged.

1. The Best For Dogs That Love To Fetch

Playay ID Treat Ball

$6

Amazon

If galloping after swiftly moving objects is the thing that fills your dog with the most joy, they'll adore this unique treat-dispensing IQ ball. As the toy bounces and rolls, little bits of food fall out, prompting them to bat it around in an attempt to extract the treats. The clever toy gives them a way to play their favorite game while also getting a mental workout. It's made with squishy-but-durable material. Best of all, the ball bounces and floats.

  • Available sizes: One Size

2. The Best For Dogs That Love Plush Toys

Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Puzzle Plush Squeaking Toy

$12

Amazon

Sometimes there's no substitute for the cozy feel of a plush toy. If your dog's a sucker for stuffed animals, they're sure to love these plush hide-and-seek toys. Available in four different sizes and four different critter options, the toy consists of a large dwelling place with squeaky plush toys inside. Stuff the animals into their hiding place and watch your pup go crazy trying to get them out. With this, you and your dog will enjoy hours of stimulating play time.

  • Available sizes: Small - X-Large

3. The Best For Dogs With A Sharp Nose

SNiFFiz Food Snuffle Mat Toy

$70

Amazon

Dogs with sharp noses will adore this snuffle treat mat, which triggers their innate hunting and tracking instincts. To use it, place it on the ground and scatter food or treats throughout its shaggy fleece. Then, watch your dog go wild chasing down the scent. Perfect for pups of all sizes, this mat features an anti-slip material on the bottom so it won't slide around as they forage. What's more, it features special bonus compartments where you can bury treats for more advanced play.

  • Available sizes: One Size

4. The Best For Food-Driven Dogs

Outward Hound Slow Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl

$11

Amazon

If your dog is "food-driven" — aka their love of bacon knows no limits — then this slow feeder dog bowl is guaranteed to keep them busy. With more than 8,000 reviews on Amazon, the spiral-shaped bowl is one part interactive toy, one part food dish. The idea is to combine mealtime with a game or puzzle to provide mental stimulation and slow their eating down. It's especially great for dogs who have a tendency to wolf down their meals, sometimes to the point of digestive distress.

  • Available sizes: Small, Large

5. The Best For Extra Brainy Dogs

Outward Hound Nina Ottoson Dog Brick Treat Puzzle Dog Toy

$18

Amazon

If your dog is too smart for their own good, this canine puzzle toy offers advanced stimulation to keep their brain engaged. It features 20 separate storage compartments for treats, and each one has an adjustable, removable lid. Your dog can open the lids by sliding, flipping, or pulling them — they just have to figure out which method works best. Lightweight enough that dogs of all sizes can play, this game has optional bone inserts to make it even more challenging as your dog's skills progress.

  • Available sizes: One Size

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