When you're shopping for the best treat-dispensing dog toys, a lot will depend on your dog's personal preferences. However, there are a few universal factors you'll want to keep in mind:
- Size of treats: Don't buy a toy until you've considered whether your dog's go-to treats would be compatible. The treats must be small enough to fit inside the toy but not so tiny that they fall right out.
- Size of your dog: In addition to the treats themselves, think about your pup's size. Can they handle large, heavy toys or are smaller, lighter toys a better fit?
- Durability and materials: Think about what the toy is made of and how that fits your dog's style of play. If you have a strong chewer, for instance, you'll want tougher toys that are built with strong silicone or other chew-resistant materials. Smaller dogs, on the other hand, may be able to play nice with softer materials.
To narrow down your selection, I've rounded up the best treat-dispensing toys in each category to help you find something that's perfect for your pooch. Keep in mind that you should supervise your pets with these types of toys — especially when they're playing with them for the first time.
1. The Best Treat-Dispensing Ball
Whether you're playing fetch or letting your dog roll this around on their own, this treat-dispensing dog ball will provide hours of entertainment. It's made with rugged material built for tough chewers. As a bonus, this toy features ridges in the middle that will help clean your dog's teeth. This Playay IQ toy is Amazon's Choice for "tricky treat ball," and it has almost 200 five-star reviews to back that title up. "My Aussie, Diesel, loves this ball," wrote one reviewer. "I put food in it between meals for him to work on. The rubber is soft enough to bend around gums, but stiff enough to make it moderately hard to get food out. It's great for treats or dog food."
2. The Best Toy For Nosy Dogs: A Treat-Dispensing Snuffle Mat
If you have a pup who loves following their nose, this treat-dispensing snuffle mat will keep their attention fixed. Intended to mimic grass or shrubbery where dogs would be sniffing around in the wild, the mat allows you to hide bits of food or treats in the thick shag and let them follow their senses to dig them out. In addition to fighting boredom, the toy provides mental stimulation and hones dogs' natural foraging instincts. The drawback is that some of the more clever dogs out there could discover that they can pick the mat up and shake it to get the food faster — which could potentially lead to a kitchen catastrophe. But when it's time for clean-up, this mat is fully machine-washable.
3. The Best Toy For Smart Dogs: A Treat-Dispensing Puzzle
Designed to bolster your pup's IQ while also providing entertainment, this treat-dispensing puzzle game for dogs offers fun and brain stimulation all at once. To play, simply hide treats in the little slots under the toy bones and watch your dog go crazy trying to extract them. Built with nine treat compartments, this game helps build intelligence and sharpen your dog's thinking. "This was a hit!" wrote one Amazon reviewer of his four-year-old poodle. "He loves this and figured it out fast. I put his kibble in this and he loves finding the food ... This plastic model is super easy to clean too. My kids roll with laughter watching him."
4. The Best Treat-Dispensing Chew Toy
For pups who love nothing more than gnawing their chew toy for hours on end, this treat-dispensing Kong bone is the perfect choice. The virtually indestructible, bone-shaped toy is made with ultra-tough rubber that, while not 100 percent chew-proof, is far more durable than others. It has special slots on the ends to stick food and treats, adding excitement and extra motivation to their regular chew time. This toy is even available in three different sizes to suit most dogs. One reviewer on Amazon wrote this toy is "perfect for those times when you need your dog to focus on something other than your houseguests for an hour or so."
5. The Best Treat-Dispensing Pet Camera
This high-tech pet monitor isn't exactly a toy, but it can dispense goodies while you're away, allowing you to play with your pup remotely. The built-in microphone makes it possible to talk to your dog, which may provide comfort if they suffer from separation anxiety. The Pawbo also has a live-stream camera that makes it possible to keep an eye on your pet throughout the day. The speaker lets you listen in, too. Best of all, you can sync this with your social media account to share photos and videos of what your pooch is up to while you're gone.
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.