Your house and your belongings may suffer if you have a bored pup on your hands. Dogs need physical and mental stimulation just as much as we do. They have a default ‘seek and destroy’ or ‘cry and whine’ mode when there is nothing to do. If daily walks do not fit into your schedule, your dog may also be missing necessary physical stimulation. But you are in luck because there is an abundance of fun dog toys you can purchase to keep your pooch occupied.

It’s true that interactive pet toys with a treat hidden inside are among the most popular, but there are other ones that exist just to get your dog up and moving. If you do not have enough time as it is, an interactive toy is optimal for your pup’s development. Keep reading to find out which toys can help keep your pet entertained.

Looking for brain-teasers? Check out these puzzle toys for dogs.

Vet Approved Content
  • Sara Redding Ochoa DVM
  • Certified content. This article has been fact-checked and verified by our veterinary advisor.

    Approved By: Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM

Notes from our DVM, Sara Ochoa: “Interactive toys are a great way to keep dogs busy and entertained. These toys are great to use when you need your dog to entertain themselves or let you have a few minutes to get some work done.”

View The Best Interactive Dog Toys Below

1. SNiFFiz SmellyMatty Dog Food Snuffle Mat

SNiFFiz SmellyMatty Dog Food Snuffle Mat

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It may look like a rag, but this rag can be a real lifesaver! Dogs are blessed with an acute sense of smell. This sense needs to be cultivated and developed for a growing puppy. This smell mat is designed with many pockets and layers, ideal for your pooch to sniff out where the treats are hidden.

The dog mat is made from Oxford fabric, a tough material that can handle your dog’s tugs and chews and is machine washable. The snuffle mat has 5 snack dispensing pockets that can be set at different difficulty levels to keep your pooch hooked.

Pros:
+ Sturdy Oxford fabric
+ Machine washable
+ Difficulty levels
+ Slow feeder and dispensing toys

Why We Like It – The smell mat is great for dogs of any size. It comes jam-packed with content that includes brainteaser toys and a treat ball. If this pile of rags looks confusing to you, it comes with an instruction book to clear things up. If you’re looking for tougher toy options, an [virtually] indestructible dog toy may be what you’re after!


2. StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy

StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy

I would have loved a weeble-wobble toy that dispenses treats! If you feel like you have missed out, it’s alright because your dog doesn’t have to! This wobble toy can dispense treats or even entire meals from the larger chamber! The Bob-A-Lot comes in different sizes for different dogs. As your dog shuffles it about the house, it dispenses treats as it goes. The openings are adjustable for difficulty levels.

Enlarge the opening for an easier time and adjust it as necessary. This interactive dog toy is very easy to clean. Made of plastic, simply take it apart and rinse. If you have a fast eater, this toy will also work to reduce their intake speed.

Pros:
+ Can feed an entire meal
+ Adjustable difficulty level
+ Anti-slip bottom
+ Slows down fast eaters

Why We Like It – The Bob-A-Lot kills two birds with one stone. It offers your dog physical and mental exercise at the same time. It’s also great for regulating your pet’s weight.

Want to interact more with your pet while you’re away? Get one of these pet cameras to solve your woes!


3. Allstar Innovations Wobble Wag Giggle Ball

Allstar Innovations Wobble Wag Giggle Ball

This intelligent dog toy ‘responds’ to your dog! It makes giggle noises as it’s pushed around or picked up. Fun for any dog, the giggle ball keeps your pet active and engaged. There are six indentations that make it easy for your pup to lock its teeth in them and pick up the ball. Dogs love to toss and fling things about and the giggle noises only keep them more interested! As something your dog will most likely gnaw at, the ball is made with phthalate-free vinyl to ensure safety. No batteries are required for this interactive toy.

Pros:
+ Makes giggle noises
+ Piques your dog’s natural curiosity
+ Easy to clean
+ Battery-free

Why We Like It – This is an easy toy to keep on you and toss around whenever your pup starts itching for activity. Because it is easy to clean, the ball can be used outdoors as well.


4. PEDOMUS LED Interactive Ball for Dogs

PEDOMUS LED Interactive Ball for Dogs

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For dogs, anything that overloads their senses can keep them entertained. Unlike the smell mat, this dog toy flashes and acts as a visual distraction for your Rover. The high-quality rubber is extremely durable and is suitable to play in any environment. This soft and durable rubber ball also acts as a chew toy for pups.

It massages the gums and prompts blood circulation. The LED interactive toy has a squeaker ball on the inside, which produces squeaking noises to further entice your pup. Because of the size, this ball is meant for small to medium dogs. If you have a large dog that is a strong chewer, we would advise against it.

Pros:
+ Lights up
+ Squeaks
+ Made of high-quality rubber
+ Doubles as a chew toy

Why We Liked It – The unique shape gives your pup a better grip on the ball and it makes it easier for them to activate the light-up feature.

Related; frisbees for dogs.


5. Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Plush Squeaking Toys for Dogs

Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Plush Squeaking Toys for Dogs

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This interactive toy for dogs simulates a real ‘hunt’ in a controlled environment. This squirrel squeaking toy comes in 4 different sizes so any dog of any size or age can enjoy it! Stuff the squirrels into the holes and leave it up to your pooch to figure out how to remove them. It’s a game of hide-and-seek with a squeaker inside each of the prey.

Each squirrel also doubles as a fetch toy. Take them into the yard and have a great outdoor play date! If squirrels don’t tickle your fancy, Outward Hound also has bee, bird and hedge characters available!

Pros:
+ Squeaker toys
+ 4 different sizes
+ More than 1 character choice
+ Safe and durable

Why We Like It – The squirrels and plush tree trunk simulate real-life hunting scenarios. This toy satisfies your dog’s natural predatory urges in a safe and controlled environment.


6. Pet Qwerks Blinky Babble Ball Interactive Dog Toy

Pet Qwerks Blinky Babble Ball Interactive Dog Toy

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The Babble Ball Interactive toy needs batteries (included) to operate and make the 18 different sounds! Engage and fire up your dog’s predatory instincts with this motion-activated ball. Aside from different sounds like banjo music and squeaking, the ball also talks! The flashing lights stimulate your dog’s visual sense.

The ball comes in three different sizes that can help with separation anxiety and indoor exercise. The tough construction can hold its own against the chews and throws from your pet.

Pros:
+ Lights up
+ 18 different sounds
+ Three sizes
+ Durable construction

Why We Like It – We love how this interactive toy offers oral stimulation and exercise to keep your pet healthy and active. Make sure you find the right size for your pooch!


7. Nina Ottosson Outward Hound Interactive Dog Game

Nina Ottosson Outward Hound Interactive Dog Game

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This interactive dog game is slightly more difficult and requires more mental concentration than the rest. You hide the treat or treats in the different panels, which your dog then has to slide open to find the treasure inside. That might not sound too difficult, but if the panels are slid open in an incorrect order, the treats won’t be accessible.

There are no removable or loose parts that pose a choking hazard. The built-in pieces do not fall off over time. Looking like real wood, the toy is actually made of composite material that is easy to clean and very durable.

Pros:
+ Mentally stimulating
+ Great for smart pooches
+ Easy to clean
+ Safe and sturdy

Why We Like It – This toy ranks as a number 2 on dog the toy difficulty level. It’s enough to keep your pet zoned in and away from destructive behavior.


8. Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Brick Interactive Dog Toy

Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Brick Interactive Dog Toy

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The Brick Interactive Dog Toy requires your dogs to go all out with their jaws and paws to get to the treats inside. You can imagine the amount of slobber that accumulates in the compartments. Worry not, this toy is easy to clean with soap and water or dog wet wipes without taking more than 5 minutes out of your day.

The three different feeding methods incorporated into one toy to make for an engaging mealtime. It sure is a tough toy to crack and requires lots of concentration on your dog’s part and watching them try to figure it out will be very amusing for you!

Pros:
+ High difficulty
+ Easy to clean
+ Durable
+ Mental stimulation

Why We Like It – Difficult enough for the smartest pooches! Just be aware of the removable bone pieces, they can easily become a chew toy that will bend to your dog’s will.


9. KONG Wobbler Interactive Treat Dispensing Dog Toy

KONG Wobbler Interactive Treat Dispensing Dog Toy

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The Kong Wobbler might have been named after King Kong for its durability. The wobbler toy prevents speedy eaters from gobbling up their food in a matter of seconds while making mealtime fun and enjoyable. The easy twist-off body can hold food and treats. Is the small size too small for meals? They have a larger sized option for bigger pups.

Help shift destructive behavior into positive playtime by channeling your dog’s energy with this interactive toy. Customize the difficulty but adjusting the size of the treats you fill it with.

Pros:
+ Tough and durable
+ Helps slow down rapid eaters
+ Weighted bottom keeps it stable
+ Easy to clean

Why We Like It – A very simple design that pairs fun and entertainment with functionality. It keeps your pet occupied and away from your furniture and also keeps them from missing you too much!


10. Paw5 Wooly Snuffle Mat

Paw5 Wooly Snuffle Mat

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A much more pleasing to the eye sniffer mat, the Wooly Snuffle Mat engages your pup’s natural foraging skills as they sniff out the treats. The easy-to-fill sniffer mat is durable and mimics the hunting environment your dog would encounter in nature. Made from sustainable and recycled materials, the rug is machine washable.

It’s perfect for any dog that likes to make full use of their noses and gives the busy mom and dad some help by stimulating the dog mentally and physically. No matter the size, age and breed, your pup will stand to gain something from this mat.

Pros:
+ Machine washable
+ Made from recycled materials
+ Engages your pet
+ Develops their sense of smell

Why We Like It – It’s easy to use and blends in the décor. We suggest somehow taping or sticking the mat down in one place to avoid your dog picking it up and shaking it.


Interactive Dog Toys Buyers Guide

The toy you choose should also depend on your pooch’s personality. If he or she loves to exercise, perhaps one that gives them the thrill of the chase would be best. If you have a Bull Dog that loves to wreck and destroy, get a durable wobbler for maximum results. Give your pooch a challenge and give yourself a break! So what toy should you choose? Let’s take a look at what to look for.

What to Look for When Buying an Interactive Dog Toy?

Age

Age is important mostly because of dental reasons. The elderly dogs and puppies have more fragile teeth that might crack or injure on tough materials. Teething pups might suit something that is firm but still soft, much like a chew toy for teething puppies. An elderly canine will fare better with softer toys.

Chewing Tendencies

The material is also important for the kind of chewer you have on your hands. If your dog uses its paws over its jaws, then you have more options to choose from. If your dog tears and shreds anything it can get its jaws around, then you definitely want a toy that lasts. There is no harm done in buying one toy of each kind to evaluate your pet’s behavior first.

Size

The size of the toy is directly correlated with the size of your dog. A small toy becomes a choking hazard for a large pooch and a toy that is too big for a small pooch won’t allow it to gain any sense of accomplishment. The rule of thumb is to find a ball toy that can fit into your dog’s mouth, a wobble toy that can dispense enough food at the right pace and sniffer mats are good for any dog.

Does My Dog Need an Interactive Toy?

We know as humans how important it can be to have something to pass the time. For domesticated dogs, the need is similar to ours. An interactive dog toy’s purpose is to give your pet what it needs to exert pent up energy and alleviate boredom to curb destructive behavior. But what else can these handy little toys do?

Dopamine

Dogs’ brains also release dopamine to give them happy feelings. Sniffing and exercise lead to the brain secreting this chemical.

Curbs Destructive Tendencies

When their energies are focused in a healthy and productive way, they have less left over for nuisance behavior such as destroying, chewing and barking.

Mental Stimulation

Mental stimulation is what it takes for your dog to avoid depression and neuroticism. If you have a clingy fur baby that can’t stand the thought of being away from you, these dog toys keep your dog from getting bored and alleviate separation anxiety.

Exercise

Let’s face it; most of us don’t have enough hours in the day as it is. It could be tough to find time to take your dog on extended walks. A dog toy or treat dispenser can take on the task of giving your pup enough action throughout the day.

Different Types of Dog Toys

Different toys serve different purposes. There is a wide selection of toys for different functions.

For Training

Training toys teach your pet what the difference is between destructive chewing and so-called ‘good chewing’. Of course, the teething baby might need a chew toy just for gum stimulation.

For Interaction

Interactive toys are ones that – you guessed it – interact with your dog! The ones that talk/make sounds, dispenses treats or glow are types of interactive toys. These toys are meant to cure loneliness and keep your pooches engaged.

For Comfort/Security

Some of us might have security blankets or a teddy bear we can’t sleep without. Dogs need these psychological comforts at times, too. Such security items can be in the form of a blanket or a plush toy.

For Stimulation

In this category, the toys offer a mental or physical challenge for your dog to overcome. A good example of this type of toy would be the treat dispensers or the sniffer mats that require brainpower to locate the treats.

For Amusement/Venting Stress

Toys in this category need to be made of durable material and tough construction that can stand up to daily wear and tear. These toys should be safe enough to be played within your absence. Rubber ball toys and strong wobblers are great examples of amusement toys.

Inside/Outside Dog Toys

If you won’t be gone for more than a few hours and you have an enclosed space set up outside for your pooch, an outside interactive toy can keep them in shape. Great outdoor dog toys are durable, washable, and of course, FUN! If you do have indoor and outdoor dog toys, remember to keep them separate so germs and dirt won’t be tracked into your house.

Conclusion

It’s always fun when you are introducing a new toy into the mix. Watching your pooch try to figure it out and the confused look on their faces can really put a smile on your own. Leaving your fur baby for the day and constantly have them weighing on your mind can be very tough. Giving them something to occupy their attention for a couple of hours can alleviate stress for both parties. Pick up a toy or two at your local pet store. Try out different types of toys until you find the perfect fit.

Expert Tip:

We cannot stress this enough. Always check your dog’s toy after a period of time. Checking the condition every other week or every month can help ensure the toy will be in tip-top condition before you hand it over to your pet. This will greatly minimize the chances of your dog sustaining an injury from a sharp corner or choking on a loose part.

Did You Know?

Cleaning the dog toy is vital to keeping them intact and in the best condition. If you have outside toys, this is even more crucial. Getting rid of accumulated dirt and excess gunk from the outdoors can also reduce the chances of your dog or family members contracting something, because who knows where those toys have been! Many of the cloth toys are machine washable, which makes your life much easier. The hard dog toys need to be scrubbed, rinsed and dried. We recommend using non-toxic soap or a mild detergent for the job.

Amazon Recommends:

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Jess
Jess' life is never boring and full of loyalty and love from her fur babies. Being able to write about all of these products and being a doggy mom herself, gives Jess insight into what’s important when choosing the right products for our cuddly pals.