We can’t always be around to play with our dogs, which can make them feel bored and lonely. Luckily, toys are advanced enough that there are now interactive ones available to keep your favorite pup entertained when it’s alone or when you’re busy. There are many kinds of these toys out there, from treat dispensers to high-tech. The question is, which one do you choose for your pet?
Purchasing an interactive dog toy involves considering the usual factors for buying a new product and keeping in mind your pet’s likes, dislikes, and more. This can make the job more difficult. Thankfully, you can make a better-informed decision and pick the perfect toy for your dog with the help of our reviews of the 10 best interactive dog toys on the market below, plus the guide to everything you need to know about these fun pet accessories!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites – 2022 Update
The 10 Best Interactive Dog Toys
1. Frisco Hide & Seek Volcano Puzzle Toy – Best Overall
|Breed size:||Medium & large|
Our choice for the best overall interactive dog toy is the Frisco Hide and Seek Plush Volcano Puzzle. This cute puzzle toy provides a soft volcano and tiny dinosaurs that offer hours of hide-n-seek entertainment for your pup. Stuff the dinosaurs in the volcano and watch as your dog figures out how to get them all out! The squeakers in the dinosaurs mean your pet will love this puzzle even more. Plus, when your dog is done playing, they can snuggle up with the super soft and plush volcano and dinosaurs for a nap. The soft material also means it will be gentle on your dog’s teeth.
However, you may want to avoid this toy if your dog is a heavy chewer, as they could end up destroying it.
2. Ethical Pet Sensory Ball Dog Chew Toy – Best Value
|Toy feature:||Tough chewer|
Want the best interactive dog toy for the money? Then this sensory ball is just what you need! It may look like just another chew toy, but this ball offers so much more for your pet than chewing. It contains both a squeaker and a bell for fun sounds, smells, and tastes like beef to stimulate the nose and tastebuds, plus offers multiple colors and textures for sight and touch. That means the toy will engage each one of your dog’s senses during play!
While no toy is ever indestructible, the sensory ball is made from thermoplastic rubber to offer more durability. The ball comes in two sizes and a variety of colors.
3. PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Dog Feeding Mat – Premium Choice
|Breed size:||All sizes|
When you want to get your favorite doggo a premium interactive dog toy, you’ll want to consider this feeding mat by PAW5. This toy is designed to simulate how it would be to hunt for food out in the wild, so it engages not only their sense of smell but their brain as they sniff out treats. Simply place your pet’s food (dry only, of course) or treats throughout the mat, then let them enjoy the hunt!
This feeding mat is made from materials that are sustainably sourced and non-toxic, so it’s safe for your dog to eat from. Just keep it off the floor when it’s not in use, as it isn’t made to be chewed on. Cleaning it is simple – just toss it in the wash!
4. Outward Hound Hide A Squirrel Puzzle Dog Toy
|Toy feature:||Squeaky, exercise, training|
This adorable interactive dog toy is another hide-n-seek game that dogs seem to love! Just place the squirrels into the tree trunk, so your pup can sniff and dig them out. The squirrels all have squeakers for hours of chewing and squeaking fun! This toy comes in four sizes – junior, large, jumbo, and ginormous – so no matter the size of your doggo, you can find a size that works for them.
The squirrels and tree trunk are made of materials built to be durable, but, as with all toys, some dogs may be capable of chewing the toy apart. It’s recommended that you keep an eye on your pet during playtime.
5. KONG Wobbler Dog Toy
It’s not surprising to find the KONG on this list; it’s a classic for a reason! Made from a plastic polymer that’s FDA food-approved and incredibly durable, this fun toy allows your pet to get treats whenever they want – so long as they can get them out. The KONG rolls, tips, and wobbles to provide plenty of engagement for your dog. And bonus, you can use it at mealtimes to slow down hasty eaters. The KONG has a screw top that allows for easy refilling and is dishwasher safe for simple cleaning. This product comes in two sizes – small and large – and is vet-recommended.
Some dogs need to get used to the size of the KONG toy, especially if they are a smaller dog breed. The plastic polymer is also not as durable as rubber, so keep this in mind if your dog has strong jaws.
6. Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Snoop Treat Dispenser Toy
|Toy feature:||Tough chewer, training, exercise|
This interactive dog toy has a unique design – it features a crevice that pops out so you can add small treats or food. When you’re done adding treats, just pop it back in so your pup can figure out how to pop it out again! The Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff is made from eco-friendly and chemical-free materials, so it’s safe for your dog to chew to their heart’s content. Cleaning this toy is incredibly simple; fill it with water and shake it around!
The material does contain peppermint oil to provide a minty fresh flavor. Though peppermint oil has been said by some not to be safe for dogs, there were no complaints of the small amount here making dogs ill in any way.
7. Nina Ottosson Hide N’ Slide Puzzle Game Dog Toy
If your doggo needs some extra brain stimulation, this puzzle toy could be just right. This toy offers plenty of engagement and learning. Simple pop some treats into the compartments, then enjoy watching your pup learn how to slide pieces around to find them! There are several compartments to try out different combinations of treat placement. This way, your pet will have the chance to have a different experience each time the toy is used.
The built-in pieces are designed to stay in place, and the materials used are made to hold up. Because the game is a bit elevated, making it easier for those with short snouts to move pieces around.
|Breed size:||Extra small & toy|
|Toy feature:||Electronic, glowing/light-up, exercise|
Keep your dog entertained and away from destructive behaviors with this interactive dog toy that not only lights up but also talks! Once it’s been activated by your pup knocking it around, it has a vast array of 18 phrases and sounds to entertain your pet. While it’s talking, it will also flash some lights to hold your dog’s attention. With this combination, it can stimulate the senses of sound and sight. This toy is activated by touch, but it will turn off automatically once your pet is finished playing with it to conserve battery power.
Something to keep in mind is that some dog owners felt the toy was quite loud. If you want a quieter household while your dog plays, this toy might not be a good fit!
9. As Seen on TV Wobble Wag Giggle Ball Dog Toy
|Toy feature:||Squeaky, outdoor, crinkle, exercise|
Keep your favorite pupper happy with this (literally) happy toy! Designed to sound like human giggling, laughter, and happiness, this interactive dog toy entices your pet’s curiosity and need for play. It doesn’t only include happy sounds, though; it also offers unique motions and comes in fun colors. This ball is made from vinyl that is phthalate-free and pet safe so that it won’t harm your dog’s health. The vinyl is also extremely hardy to keep the ball from being destroyed by chewing. The best part? No batteries are required for this one!
Some people have complained about the noise level of this toy. Although the sounds are meant to convey human emotions, a few buyers of this product felt the sound was too loud. In addition, there has been mixed reviews on the toy’s durability.
10. Pet Zone IQ Treat Dispenser Ball Dog Toy
|Toy feature:||Tough chewer, exercises|
With this challenging yet fun toy, you can have your dog puzzle out how to get their treats with various levels of difficulty. Start at the beginner level, then work your way up to more difficult ones to keep your dog entertained, engaged, and stimulated. The different levels guarantee your pup will never get bored! You can also use this toy to slow down mealtimes for those doggos who tend to eat too quickly. This toy comes in two sizes – 3 inches or 4 inches. You can wash it easily by taking it apart and cleaning it with soap and water.
There have been a few people who bought this toy that reported some difficulty taking it apart as well as changing the levels.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Interactive Dog Toy
What are Interactive Dog Toys?
Interactive dog toys are toys that keep your pup fully stimulated. As dogs are social and active creatures, they need lots of time with others and play. When you have more than one animal and plenty of people in a home, your pet will typically get enough social interaction and playtime to meet its needs. But what if you only have one pet or household members who are away from home for long periods of time? The result could be bored dogs, which leads to destructive behaviors. Interactive dog toys can help ward off that boredom.
Types of Interactive Dog Toys
Interactive dog toys come in several different forms (not all of which are on this list). However, here are some of the most popular types of interactive toys
Treat Dispenser Toys
Probably the most common type of interactive dog toy is one you’re familiar with – the treat dispenser. With these toys, food or treats are hidden inside the toy, and your pup works to get it out through various means. These work great for dogs who respond well to positive reinforcement; you can also use these during mealtimes for pets who tend to eat too fast.
Responsive Interactive Dog Toy
Responsive toys usually have movement, sounds, and light. These toys are triggered by sound or movement, so they can easily catch pets’ attention. This type of toy is good for active dogs with plenty of energy.
Puzzle Dog Toy
This type of toy is fairly self-explanatory – they’re puzzles for dogs! This type of interactive toy offers plenty of mental stimulation to keep your pup from becoming bored. They’re great for dog breeds that are smart with active minds. Puzzle toys can come in a variety of levels, from easy to so challenging you may not even be able to do it.
Hide-n-Seek Interactive Dog Toy
Also straightforward toy is the hide-n-seek interactive toy. This kind of toy involves you hiding some form of toy within another (like dinosaurs in a volcano or squirrels in a tree trunk). The hide-n-seek toy encourages your dog’s hunting instincts and is great for pups who like to snuffle.
High Tech Interactive Dog Toy
High-tech interactive dog toys tend to be among the pricier of toys. This type of toy can be anything from an automatic ball launcher designed to let your dog play fetch by themselves to a toy that’s controlled by an app when you’re away from home.
Why Buy Interactive Dog Toys?
There are several benefits to interactive dog toys other than keeping your dogs entertained when you’re away from home!
The fact that interactive toys provide both physical and mental stimulation for your pets is a huge benefit. Not only do these toys provide engagement when they’re on their own, but these toys can help you in training them. How so? Interactive toys require your dog to focus on the task at hand, like how training requires them to focus. The more they play with interactive toys, the better their focus!
These types of toys can also increase puzzle-solving skills that are useful for them to have during training.
If you’re the parent of a pupper with separation anxiety, you know that leaving them on their own can cause an increase in behaviors such as excessive barking or chewing. Leaving them alone with toys they can interact with can help make them feel more comfortable on their own.
Can Help Curb Bad Behaviors
A lot of bad canine behavior results from your pup being bored. With the mental stimulation interactive toys provide, your pet will no longer be bored, which should reduce or get rid of negative behaviors, like chewing up shoes or furniture.
Slow Down Fast Eaters
Some interactive toys such as treat dispensers are excellent for helping fast eaters at mealtimes. Not only can feeding your pets this way reduce the risk of bloat, but it can also help overweight pups to lose weight.
What to Look for in an Interactive Dog Toy
Choosing the right toys for your pet is a combination of knowing what they will like best, how easily they’ll destroy something, plus the typical factors one should consider when making a purchase.
Your dog’s personality may be the top factor to consider when looking for new toys. Is your dog the nervous type? Then they may not enjoy toys with lights or noise – particularly if it’s a responsive toy that will sound off when it registers movement. Does your pet love to play fetch but has no interest in tug of war? An automatic ball launcher may be their thing.
Don’t waste money on a toy your dog will despise!
Dog’s Chewing Habits
If your dog is fond of chewing on things until they’re completely destroyed, you’ll want to search for a toy that’s super durable. On the flip side, if your pup is a light or moderate chewer, they may prefer a softer toy over strong rubber or plastic.
Dog Toy Size
The size of the toy is important. If it’s too large, your pet may end up scared of it. Too tiny, and it could be a choking hazard. Check to see if the product has specific breed sizes recommendations listed. If not, check the dimensions of the product to see how it stands up.
Materials Used in Toy
Not only do you want to make sure the materials used to make a toy are incredibly durable, so you aren’t throwing money down the drain on something that will be torn apart in minutes. But you also want to make sure it’s safe enough to be in your dog’s mouth. Look at the materials a toy is made of and whether they are non-toxic or chemical-free. If you have environmental concerns, you can even find some made from eco-friendly materials.
Interactive Dog Toy Price
You want to stay within budget while ensuring you’re getting your money’s worth. A toy may be super cheap, but that could be because it was cheaply constructed and will fall apart in a short time. It may also be a more expensive toy that you discover via reviews didn’t hold up well.
Interactive Dog Toy Reviews
Reading customer reviews is an essential part of purchasing any product. With reviews, you can discover information such as how well a toy stands up to chewing and general puppy chaos or whether a majority of dogs seemed to dislike the product for no particular reason. Remember, though, that all dogs are different, and you know your pup best.
Conclusion Best Interactive Dog Toy
Our choice is the Frisco Hide and Seek Plush Volcano Puzzle for the best overall interactive dog toy due to its soft material and hours of hide-n-seek fun. If you’re searching for the best value toy, we recommend the Ethical Pet Sensory Ball as it stimulates all five senses of your pet. Finally, if you want a premium toy, we suggest the PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Dog Feeding Mat because it’s sustainably sourced and helps slow down quick eaters.
Featured Image Credit: Chewy
Misty Layne lives out in the woods in small-town Alabama with her two Siamese—Serafina and Jasper. She also has an array of stray cats, raccoons, and possums who like to call her front porch home. When she’s not writing about animals, you’ll find her writing poetry, stories, and film reviews (the animals are, by far, her favorite writing topic, though!). In her free time, Misty enjoys chilling with her cats, playing piano, watching indie and foreign films, photographing abandoned places, and catching up on her never-ending TBR list.