Top Ten Puzzle Toys To Buy

 

We’re always looking to add new enrichment activities to our pets’ lives but it can be so frustrating to drop $20 or more on a toy only to find out your dog hates it. These are some of our tried and true toys. These can all be found on Amazon, but we encourage you to shop local whenever possible.

When judging toys, these are a few of the things we are looking for:

  • durability

  • ease of cleaning

  • risk of damage

  • supervised activity or unsupervised

  • average time spent playing

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HONORABLE mention:

kong gyro/wobbler/tiltz

This Kong series was a step in the right direction for Kong, but in my opinion they missed the mark on a couple things. The hard plastic design of these toys is very noisy and can easily damage floors and furniture. These toys are best used outside when possible.

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10. Kong Rewards Shell

This is a great new addition to the Kong line. The Shell is made from a firm silicone which cuts down on possible damage to your home. The shell shape makes it move in an unpredictable pattern as your pet pushes it across the floor. The only two downsides to the Rewards Shell is the inability to change difficulty level and it is a pain to clean. The spiral chamber makes more difficult for your pet to get treats out, but also more difficult for you to really get in there and clean it.

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9. trixie pet activity board

The Trixie Pet Board is great for very motivated cats and small dogs. The best way to get your pet started with this is to put in some VERY high value food. Maybe throw kitty a little cat nip before too. 😉

8. jw pets Ho-lee Roller

The JW Pets Ho-Lee Roller is a classic toy that most don’t think of as a food toy. Get and XL biscuit and wedge it in for lots of fun! To make play last longer, you can put a small treat dispensing ball inside. This drives ball motivated dogs nuts! I haven’t found anything to put inside to make one cat friendly yet. If I do, I’ll add an update.

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7. doc & phoebe Indoor hunting feeder

Finally a puzzle toy made specifically for the kitties! You will see on this list that there aren’t many really good kitty food toys and when companies do make food toys for cats, it’s usually just a smaller version of whatever they already make for dogs. 🤦‍♀️Doc & Phoebe have taken up the charge. With their slogan “I’m not a dog, don’t feed me like one.” this company is making it for your kitty to hunt their food in your own house.

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West Paw Toppl

This toy is deceptively simple and dogs really love it. To up the challenge, you can wedge a small Toppl inside a larger one. Or leave the top open and let them go to town!

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Hyper Pet lickiMats

This may not seem like a toy to us, but put some peanut butter or wet food (kitties love this) on a LickiMat and watch your pet go to town. It keeps them busy longer than a lot of other toys and is machine washable. Even better, licking is an incredibly calming activity for your pet.

P.S. You can use most patterned silicone trivets to save some $$$.

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nina ottoson puzzle toys

I grouped these together because Nina Ottoson makes many toys with the same concepts. They are labeled with difficulty on them so its best to start with an easy one and work your way up. My favorites are the ones with few removable pieces. Removable pieces are more likely to get lost.

kong classic

There is a reason the classic Kong is sold in every pet store. The original puzzle toy, the Kong is a great option to give your pet their regular meals or a treat. Many of our clients fill a few with PB, yogurt, fruits and more, then throw them in the freezer to keep on hand. It’s easy to toss one to your pup when you are on the way out the door to give them something to do when you leave.

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Petsafe SlimCat

The SlimCat is a great toy for kitties and small dogs. I can attest that its actually great for rabbits too! You probably want to start with some high value kitty treats like freeze dried chicken and if they eat kibble add in a bit of that too. This is a great way to add in some activity for a typically sedentary kitty.

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Planet dog snoop & lil snoop

The Snoop is my all time favorite dog toy. I think its because pretty much every dog loves it. Unlike the Kong Tiltz/Wobbler/Gyro series, Planet Dog makes the Snoop out of a strong silicone type material. This means that when your dog picks it up and hurdles it across the room, its not going to scratch up your floors or furniture. It makes a very satisfying blop sound as it hits the floor too.

The Snoop is also easy to make more difficult too. Using larger treats like a piece of jerky or dental chew and keep some dogs entertained for over an hour.
After the lovey snoop is covered in slobber and crumbs, just open it up and throw it in the dishwasher on the top rack.

 

That wraps up our top ten list. We will be sure to keep you updated with new goodies we find. If you want to see these toys and more in action, follow us on social media. (Links below.)

Diane OKeefe