Got cabin fever? Interactive toys are the cure! These toys are terrific for keeping your dog entertained during holiday festivities and for providing physical and mental exercise, which leads to a happier and calmer dog.
TipTopTails instructor Holly O’Brien, CPDT-KA, CDBC talked about the benefits of interactive toys with Alexis Berdine from WWMT Newschannel 3. Watch here.
When choosing an interactive toy, consider your dog’s toy preferences, chewing style, and whether the toy is intended for supervised or unsupervised use.
These are some of our very favorite toys:
- Toppl toys are shaped like a cup, so their open shape makes them perfect for pups just learning about food-stuffable toys. They also work well for feeding part of your dog’s meal.
- Kong toys are gentle on teeth but very durable. The classic Kong toy is shaped like a beehive and there are various other shapes, all with openings that can be stuffed with kibble, treats, and canned dog food or spray cheese. The black Kong is the most durable for extra powerful chewers. There is also a floatable Kong with a rope for water retrieves (not a chew toy). Get some creative ideas on stuffing a Kong here.
- Kong Genius and Kong Wobbler toys can also be stuffed with kibble or treats, and have smaller, more complicated openings to provide a greater challenge.
- The Omega Tricky Treat ball dispenses treats or kibble and also works as a fetch toy. We especially love that this toy is made of a durable but soft material that is not noisy on hard surfaces.
- Puzzle toys are a fun way for your dog to search for kibble or treats (with a little help from you). You’ll find plenty of challenges with the puzzles from Outward Hound by Nina Ottoson and Ethical Pet’s Seek-A-Treat line.
- Snuffle mats are another option for making the most out of your dog’s mealtime. Supervise during use in case your dog gets a little too enthusiastic and tries to chew on the mat. You can find snuffle mats online or get crafty and make your own!
- The Chuckit! launcher helps you pick up a slobbery tennis ball without touching it and launch it a loooong way.
- The Jolly Pets Tug-n-Toss ball has a handle for tossing and is made of a puncture-resistant material that is surprisingly durable, yet soft enough for your dog to pick it up. Dogs enjoy wrestling with them, too.
- JWPet Cuz toys are very durable rubber ball-shaped toys with squeakers inside. My dog is a strong chewer and this is his favorite fetch toy, so we cut off the toy’s “feet” to prevent him from chewing them off and everyone is happy!
- Busy Buddy toys include toys that dispense kibble or treats, and toys with replaceable treat “rings” that can be chewed and eaten slowly over time.
- Outward Hound hide-a-toys have smaller soft and squeaky toys stuffed inside them, so they are perfect for dogs who like to take their toys apart.
- If our list isn’t quite exhaustive enough for you, check out Whole Dog Journal’s review of their top food-dispensing toys.
Does your dog have a favorite toy? Share it with us!