Top 10 Best Food Puzzles for Dogs
Dogs need enrichment to keep them happy, active, and mentally stimulated. With many pet owners spending most of their time at home this past couple of years, most dogs have grown accustomed to their owners being by their side at all times.
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But now that people have started going back to their old routines and workplaces, many dogs will need a bit of help adjusting to the changes. With this in mind, we have reviewed the best food puzzles for dogs in the market today.
Best Food Puzzles For Dogs
We have selected some of the best food dog toys that you can buy for your pup. The best puzzle for your pet will depend on your dog’s needs, age, intelligence, and preferences.
Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball
Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball is one of the highest-rated treat balls on the market. Made of non-toxic vinyl, this ball is fun to chew on its own or used for fetch to give your dog more exercise.
The soft texture makes it easy to grip and a good teething puzzle toy for puppies. The toy comes in small, medium, and large.
You can put treats or kibble inside the puzzle toy and let your dog have fun rolling it around to get the treats out. Some pet parents even put carrots or blueberries in them. Others use it as a feeder to prolong mealtimes.
If you wish to use fruits, veggies, or moist food, you may need to clean the puzzle toy more often. This interactive dog toy can be cleaned with a bottle brush and warm soapy water. Allow to air dry before reloading with treats.
Compared to some types of treat balls and puzzle feeders, this puzzle toy from Omega Paw does not have too many crevices inside, so it is pretty easy to get the treats out. This interactive toy is ideal for dogs who would otherwise lose interest if the treats take too long to fall out.
Overall, the Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball Dog Toy is a simple, straightforward multi-function ball that is enjoyed by dogs of all ages.
- Not dishwasher-safe
- Not recommended for strong chewers
- Soft texture is great for light chewers and teething pups
- Easy-grip design
- Provides mental stimulation
- Dispenses treats easily
- Great for fetch and exercise
KONG Classic Dog Toy
The KONG Classic Dog Toy is a tried and tested interactive toy beloved by most dogs and pet owners for many generations. It’s a chew toy on its own to help promote healthy gums and teeth in adult dogs. It can also be stuffed with a wide variety of treats for interactive play.
This durable puzzle toy is made of natural rubber. It is BPA-free and is non-toxic. The shape of the KONG Classic gives it an irregular, unpredictable bounce to keep your dogs on their toes. It can also be used for a game of fetch.
This puzzle toy can be stuffed with soft treats your dog likes, such as peanut butter, pate-type dog food, yogurt, or baby food.
KONG also makes mousses in a variety of flavors that you can fill the toy with. For extended play, this toy can also be frozen. It offers a cooling treat for hot summer days or relief for sore gums.
Kibbles or other bite-sized treats can also be loaded into the Kong toy. While some of the smaller treats will spill out of it quite easily, your pup will have to work a little bit harder to get the ones stuck in the toy’s crevices. The brand also makes biscuits for dogs that fit perfectly in the puzzle toy.
For a fun-filled activity that also cleans your dog’s teeth, you can stuff this classic toy with dental sticks or KONG Ziggies. Ziggies will keep your pup busy with more chewing while at the same time freshening his or her breath.
- Sizes seem to run a bit small for some buyers’ liking
- A few buyers find it slightly expensive
- Great chew toy for adult light chewers
- Made of non-toxic natural rubber
- Treat-dispensing dog puzzle toy
- Provides play, helps reduce boredom and relieves separation anxiety
- Compatible with multiple types of treats
- Freezer, dishwasher-safe
- Irregular, unpredictable bounce
- Comes in 6 sizes
Pet Zone IQ Treat Dispenser Ball
Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball Dog Toy is a treat ball that requires a bit more effort on your dog’s part compared to the Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball.
It is designed to keep dogs busy for a longer time – or at least as long as they think the tasty treats are worth working for. This interactive toy is available in 3-inch and 4-inch varieties.
The difficulty level can be adjusted on this IQ treat ball. Start at the easiest level and see how long it would take for your dog to get most of the treats out.
As you increase the difficulty level with your dog’s progress, you can also switch up the treats and load it with treats your dog likes the most once she reaches the higher difficulty levels.
It gives them mental stimulation by helping them focus on the task of moving the ball in certain ways to get the treats out. They can chase it around the home for added exercise. It is a great toy to give to dogs if you need to keep them busy while you work.
Made of hard, durable plastic, this dog toy is not designed to be chewed. It is not recommended for dogs who are aggressive chewers. If your dog has managed to break a piece from the toy, it is advised to remove it from playtime.
You can put a variety of treats and kibbles in this ball. To clean, simply disassemble the ball and hand wash it in soapy water after use.
- Not recommended for aggressive chewers
- Not recommended for toy breeds
- Not dishwasher-safe
- Great for keeping dogs busy and preventing boredom, destructive behavior
- Requires dogs to roll, chase, maneuver the toy in different ways to get the rewards out
- Treat-dispensing puzzle ball
- Adjustable difficulty levels
- Compatible with a variety of treats
- Promotes physical, mental stimulation
TRIXIE Mad Scientist Turn Around Activity Strategy Game
TRIXIE Mad Scientist Turn Around Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy is a food puzzle that is great for training dogs to focus on a task. This particular puzzle toy requires patience on the dog’s part more than it requires problem-solving skills.
This Level 2 Trixie dog puzzle has 3 beakers that hold the treats. The beakers attached to a bar come with 2 sets of lids each to enable you to adjust the puzzle’s difficulty level according to your dog’s abilities.
The dog has to flip the beakers upside down to release treats. Some of the lids have smaller holes and will require dogs to figure out a way to hold them upside down long enough to get the treats out or keep flipping them until more treats fall out.
To encourage dogs to play with this toy, use really tasty or high-value treats. Start with the lids off to help them figure out that the beakers just need to be flipped with their paws or muzzles to release the treats.
Once they’ve got the game rules, you can start using lids with bigger holes. Mix and match the lids with the beakers to make it a more challenging toy.
This TRIXIE puzzle includes a base with non-slip rubber feet to keep it in place, a frame, three beakers, two sets of patterned lids for a total of 6, and instructions with some game tips.
- Can be knocked over easily by very large dogs
- Some dogs have bitten the plastic caps off
- Not meant to be chewed
- Offers a fun challenge that can train dogs to be patient
- Adjustable difficulty levels
- Provides mental stimulation
- Can hold a variety of treats (except wet treats)
- Keeps dogs preoccupied
- Non-slip rubber feet
- Dishwasher-safe beakers
Nina Ottosson By Outward Hound Dog Interactive Brick
The Nina Ottosson By Outward Hound Dog Brick Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy is one of the best puzzle dog feeders you can buy for food-lovin’ fur babies. It has a lot of hidden compartments that can hold a fairly large amount of treats, making it ideal for dogs of all sizes.
If you have a little dog and don’t want to over-treat, you can put just one or two small pieces of treats in the compartments, or leave some of them empty to keep your pup hunting for more.
This particular dog puzzle toy from Outward Hound is great if you don’t want your pet chasing a ball all over the house. Just fill the compartments with treats, put the puzzle in front of your pup and you’re all set.
The puzzle feeder has red compartments with little trapdoors that need to be flipped to reveal treats hidden inside. The same red compartments also slide to gain access to the compartments underneath.
Unlike the red ones, the white bone-shaped lids on this puzzle board don’t have hinges, so dogs will need to lift them with their mouths.
They can also be dislodged when a dog pushes it with a paw or muzzle. The white lids also prevent the red compartments from sliding, so your dog will need to take them out first to get to more hidden treats.
If you have an adult pup or a pretty smart puppy but are unsure which dog puzzle toy to get, the Nina Ottosson Dog Brick is a good introductory puzzle to get.
Introducing your pup to new puzzle dog feeders and showing them that there are treats inside, or even giving them a few clues on how to work the puzzle can be a great bond-building exercise for both owner and pet.
- The compartment lids are not durable and are not meant to be chewed
- Not dishwasher-safe
- Highly engaging and provides mental stimulation
- Multiple compartments and hidden ones for treats
- Great for toy, small, medium, and large dogs
- Requires dogs to employ different strategies to get to all treats
- Compatible with many types of treats
- Can be used as a slow-feeder
Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug Treat Dispenser
Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug Treat Dispenser is a versatile toy that can be used for dog enrichment in many ways. You can participate in playtime with pup by playing a game of tug.
You can also stuff it with treats to keep her busy and entertained. The neck of the bottle is wrapped in textured rubber that is great for chewing and helps clean dogs’ teeth.
Tug-A-Jug comes in three sizes: X-small, small, and medium/ large. The plastic bottle is clear which allows dogs to not only smell and hear the treats, but also see them. It can hold a good amount of treats or kibble, which makes it a good slow-feeder for dogs.
The dogs can enjoy rolling the bottle around and tugging on the rope. When the dog pushes the rope into the bottle and then tugs on it, more treats come out of the bottle.
While the principle of how to get to the treats is quite simple, it can take a lot of patience and determination to release the treats because the opening is small and the rope takes up much of it. Some dogs may require
On its own, Tug-A-Jug makes a great chew toy. Aside from the textured rubber on the neck of the bottle, chewing on the rope also helps clean the teeth and exercises dogs’ jaw muscles.
- Can be a bit frustrating for some pups as the treats don’t come out easily
- The bottle can be easily washed, but the rope may require extra cleaning and probably some soaking
- Can be used for interactive tug play with the owner
- Prolongs mealtimes
- Durable chew/ rope toy
- Encourages exercise when rolled and chased
- Holds a good amount of treats
- Challenging; provides mental stimulation
Nina Ottosson By Outward Hound Level 3 Dog Twister
The Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Level 3 Dog Twister Puzzle is highly recommended for smart pups who have dominated a puzzle or two. This level 3 puzzle is a lot more challenging than the brand’s level 2 Dog Brick.
Unlike the Outward Hound Dog Brick and the Mad Scientist, the Outward Hound Dog Twister does not have any removable parts.
It has 9 treat compartments that you can fill with various types of treats. However, the parts cannot be disassembled for cleaning, we recommend that you use kibble, dry, freeze-dried, or air-dried treats.
The compartments of this Outward Hound dog puzzle are covered by triangular blocks that slide open. The blocks are locked in place by pushing the white handles in.
It is your dog’s job to pull the white handles and slide the blocks to reveal the treats underneath. One handle pulled will only unlock a block at a time, so your dog will need to have the patience and determination to pull all 8 handles and push the slides open to release all of the treats.
The non-removable parts make it more challenging compared to other toys and puzzle feeders, as dogs can’t simply push or roll the puzzle around to release the rewards.
This Outward Hound puzzle will require a good amount of problem-solving skills and determination to get to those delicious treats.
The Outward Hound Dog Twister is BPA, PVC, and Phthalate-free. It is made from food-safe materials and is easy to clean with warm water and soap.
- Some dogs are able to detach the sliding blocks which are not meant to be removed
- A bit too difficult for some pups
- Highly engaging and mentally-stimulating
- Encourages problem-solving
- Prevents boredom, destructive behavior
- No removable parts to chew on
- Highly recommended for dogs who have mastered intermediate and advanced level puzzle feeders
KONG Tiltz Interactive Toy
The KONG Tiltz Interactive Dog Toy is a fun way to prolong mealtimes for dogs who inhale their food. Instead of snuffling through a mat or a maze like with most slow-feeders, Tiltz requires the dogs to nudge and spin the wobbly toy to get the kibbles or treats out. This puzzle feeder comes in Small for small dogs and Large for larger breeds.
Compared to treat ball types of puzzle feeders, puzzle bowls such as this will not roll under couches and other hard-to-reach places inside the home.
It is also pretty easy for dogs to work. They just need to be determined to keep pawing at it and spinning it to get the kibbles or treats to move to the center of the bowl.
Once in the center, the pup can easily eat the treats directly as the bowl stops wobbling as soon as the dog stops moving it.
The brand recommends loading the Tiltz with a handful of treats for playtime/ snack time, and up to 2 cups of kibbles for mealtime feeding.
The toy is easy to clean. Simply unscrew the green top part and wash with soap and water.
- Not meant to be chewed; will break
- Helps prolong a dog’s eating time
- Encourages fun play/ snack time
- Can hold a good amount of kibbles, treats
- Does not roll away like treat balls
- Keeps pups busy
- Easy to wash
GREEN Interactive Feeder
GREEN Interactive Feeder is highly recommended for dogs who forget to chew and inhale their food from their food bowl. Aside from helping prevent obesity and bloat, this slow-feeder also makes mealtimes fun and enriching for the dogs.
Slow-feeders or interactive feeders come in many shapes and forms. Designed to emulate the appearance of blades of grass, this puzzle feeder is made of hard phthalate-free plastic that is suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
It comes in two sizes: mini and large. The mini version can hold up to 1 cup of food, while the large can hold up to 1.5 cups of food. It can be used with wet, dry, or raw dog food.
The blades of “grass” hide treats and kibbles and encourage dogs to forage for their meal. By prolonging eating, this puzzle feeder reduces the risk of vomiting, gagging, gas, and belching.
This interactive puzzle/ feeder has grips on its feet that prevent it from sliding on the floor. Its oval shape prevents tipping.
- Not suitable for toy breeds
- Has no sides, so kibble will spill if the feeder is picked up by the dog
- Prolongs mealtimes
- Effective slow-feeder
- Suitable for wet, dry, or raw food
- Makes mealtimes fun and enriching
- Easy to clean, dishwasher-safe
- Helps prevent obesity and bloat
- Prevents gagging, belching, vomiting
- Sturdy, has non-slip grips
Paw 5 Wooly Snuffle Mat
Snuffle mats have been one of the most popular pet products in the last couple of years. One of the highest-rated is the PAW 5 Wooly Snuffle Dog Feeding Mat. It provides an enriching activity for dogs and allows them to use their natural instinct to sniff and forage for food.
Made of sustainable materials, this snuffle mat is handmade from soft organic cotton fibers, making them suitable even for sensitive dogs. It is also easy to clean and is completely machine-washable. Small dogs can even use it as a fluffy bed to take naps on.
This snuffle mat encourages dogs to use their incredible sense of smell to find treats. It is suitable for dogs of all breeds, sizes, and life stages.
Hiding treats and using the snuffle mat as a slow-feeder helps prevent gagging, vomiting, and belching. It also helps prevent obesity and bloat in dogs.
- “Grass blades” lay flat
- Does not have anything to help it stick to the floor
- Helps prolong a dog’s eating time
- Works as a foraging activity toy
- Suitable for toy, small, medium, and large breed dogs
- Provide mental stimulation
- Made of soft organic cotton fibers
- Helps prevent obesity, bloat, gagging, vomiting
- Can be used by smaller dogs as a fluffy bed
Benefits Of Dog Puzzle Toys
Being social obligates, dogs love getting their human’s attention and spending time with them. Playtime builds the bond between the pets and their owners.
It is a great opportunity for the pups to learn and have fun. Dogs thrive on mental and physical enrichment, which has a huge impact on their emotional balance as well as their behavior.
Keeps Them Busy When You Are
- For food-motivated pups, food puzzle toys are a highly recommended way to keep them busy and away from trouble. A bored dog may resort to furniture chewing, trash-raiding, or even attempting to escape. They typically develop bad behaviors such as nuisance barking, food aggression, and picking fights with other dogs.
- Dog puzzles vary in difficulty and features. If you load them up with tasty treats, your food-driven pup will surely work hard to get them out. He or she will be too preoccupied to hatch an escape plan or raid the food bin.
- Most dog puzzle toys don’t require the owner’s participation after they are filled with treats. So if you are looking to keep your dog busy while you work, there are lots of different types to choose from.
- There are lots of toys out there designed to enhance playtime or keep dogs preoccupied. Puzzle feeders are one of the best ways to help your pup reach her full potential. They help dogs learn how to focus and greatly enhance their problem-solving skills.
- The dog puzzle toys can teach them that they can move certain parts of the toys by using their muzzle or paws to get to the treats.
- There are many dog toys that encourage a more active lifestyle. Some treat-dispensing toys need to be pushed, rolled, or chased to give up the rewards they hold.
- Others double as a chew toy, which helps exercise dogs’ jaws and improve teeth and gum health. Not to mention, they are great for teething young puppies.
- As one of dogs’ natural behaviors, chewing on toys such as squeaky toys, plush toy, and teething toys gives them mental stimulation and discourages them from chewing on furniture or other objects that may be harmful to them. It also helps relieve anxiety in nervous dogs.
Pets need enrichment in their daily lives to keep your dog’s brain function healthy and to keep them happy. It is beneficial for puppies’ brain development and in maintaining a healthy cognitive function in senior dogs. Giving them activities to look forward to is great for their overall wellbeing and emotional health.
Puzzle feeders are one of the best ways you can enhance playtime and mealtimes with your dog. Whether the dog is a food inhaler, senior dogs need exercise, or you just need to keep your doggy genius entertained at home, there is surely a puzzle out there for each of them.
Keep in mind that while we want them preoccupied while we work or do chores, it is highly recommended that they are supervised especially when given a new toy or puzzle.
A dog that gets frustrated with treats that he or she can’t unlock may resort to chewing and destructive behavior. If you suspect that a piece of plastic was ingested, it is best to seek veterinary advice.
If your pup does not get how to work a new puzzle right away, you can leave some treats exposed or give them clues on how to work the toy. Your participation in the puzzle-solving activity is a great bond-building experience for you and your dog.