dog puzzle toys

The Best 7 Dog Puzzle Toys for Mental Stimulation 

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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See our advertising disclosure.

Best Dog Puzzle Toys Summary

Outward Hound Dog Brick Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy
  • As one of our most popular intermediate level 2 designs, the Dog Brick interactive puzzle includes additional obstacles and combinations of steps that will keep your dog focused and mentally-stimulated as they search and sniff out the tasty treats!
  • The Nina Ottosson Dog Brick comes with 3 types of treat hiding compartments to test your furry friend's skills! Flip lid compartments open and slide to reveal two separate treat hiding spots while removable brick bones conceal the third hidden compartments in this puzzle dog toy.
  • Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound interactive treat dog puzzles are designed with your pet's health in mind from food safe materials that you can trust with your dog.

Are Puzzle Games Good for Dogs?

Yes, puzzle games and dog puzzle toys are good. Dog puzzle toys and games require dogs to work their way through levers, buttons, drawers, and other features to reach the goal – usually get a reward in the form of a treat (kibble or peanut butter).

Here are some of the reasons dog puzzle toys are beneficial: 

  • Mental Stimulation. Mental stimulation is critical for the dog’s wellbeing. Dog puzzle toys provide excellent mental enrichment and keep the dog’s brain sharp.
  • Better Problem-Solving Skills. Regular mental stimulation by dog puzzle toys results in increased cognition skills and improves the dog’s capacity to solve problems.
  • Reduced Stress & Anxiety. Dog puzzle toys keep the dog occupied, thus preventing stress and anxiety which may lead to destructive and unwanted behaviors.
  • No Boredom Issues. Dogs that play puzzle games do not have time to get bored. This is excellent, considering bored dogs are vocal and destructive.

The Best Dog Puzzle Toys Reviewed

Dog puzzle toys come in different shapes, sizes, and difficulty levels. There are also many pet brands (Trixie, Starmark, West Paw) offering puzzle toys for dogs.

With so many options, it can be hard for dog owners to find the best fit for their pets. That is why we have created a list list of the best dog puzzle toys for your dog’s playtime.

Outward Hound Dog Brick Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy

Outward Hound Dog Brick Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy

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Toy Type: Interactive

Life Stage: Dogs of all sizes

Summary: This outward Hound dog treat puzzle is a great boredom buster. This cute Nina Ottosson dog toy is made from BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free material. The puzzle game dog toy contains 12 small boxes to reveal hidden treats.

The eight red boxes flip open and make it easy for dogs to eat their favorite treats. The four white boxes in the middle make the toy more exciting. The boxes are bone-shaped for added fun and excitement. The boxes open by flipping, lifting, and sliding. 

Pros

  • Mind stimulating dog puzzle
  • Three types of hiding compartments
  • Encourages positive play habits
  • Easy to clean with warm water
  • Comes with easy directions
  • For dogs of all sizes
  • Level 2 game
  • Non-slip base 

Cons

  • Choking hazard if damaged

Review: The product has over 70k reviews, with 67% five-star reviews. The product has gathered all the praises that keep the dog engaged and well-fed. However, stress is also given to choking hazards as the pieces are small.

Dog Food Puzzle Feeder Toy

Dog Food Puzzle Feeder Toy

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Toy Type: Puzzle

Life Stage: Puppy

Summary: This puzzle feeder toy is by Dr. Catch. This toy is a special slide mechanism only to hide food. It’s a slow feeder to prevent obesity amongst pets

It contains 14 holes and eight movable points. The dog puzzle toy feeder is well-known for improving IQ and cognitive ability in dogs. As a seek-a-treat toy, it also improves the eating pleasure and increases the feeding time. 

Pros

  • Suitable for both dogs and cats
  • Develops problem-solving skills
  • Helps reduce boredom, anxiety
  • Made from durable plastic

Cons

  • Easy to slide makes it no fun

Review: The product has 65% five-star reviews. Pet owners found it fun and nice for their cats and doggies. They also mention that it took more time to set it up than allowing their pet to eat it. 

Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball

Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball

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Toy Type: Puzzle

Life Stage: Adults, puppies

Summary: This IQ treat ball by Pet Zone comes in two sizes (3- and 4- inches). The 3-inch ball is suitable for dogs up to 40lbs, whereas a 4-inch is for dogs of up to 90lbs. 

The puzzle ball dog toy is filled with treats and has a small hole opening at one side. The pet owner can fill the ball with different amazing treats. The dogs have to wobble the ball or play with it to get the treats out. 

Pros

  • Mental stimulation and challenging
  • Promotes active, healthy feeding
  • Easy to pull apart ball
  • Easy to clean with warm water
  • Customizable IQ treat ball
  • Slower healthier feeding
  • Dispensing dog toy

Cons

  • Should be used under supervision
  • Not for aggressive chewers

Review: The product has over 22k reviews, with 53% five-star reviews on Amazon. The ball is fun and engaging and can be used for sessions with a dog trainer. It is recommended for very small dogs. 

Outward Hound Hide N’ Slide Treat Puzzle

Outward Hound Hide N’ Slide Treat Puzzle

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Toy Type: Puzzle, interactive

Life Stage: All dog sizes

Summary: This is another treat puzzle by Outward Hound for your pooch. The unique part about the Hide N Slide puzzle is that it is made of durable wood and is environment-friendly.

The treat puzzle contains no removable parts. Instead, it has seven swiveling flippers that hide the treats. The dogs can just slide the flips to retreat the treats, or they have to scoot and slide the track to reveal it. This is a difficulty level 2 puzzle. 

Pros

  • Good for all dog sizes
  • Made from safe material
  • Challenges dog mind 
  • Non-removable parts
  • Works best for small treats
  • 14 treat compartments

Cons

  • Chewable puzzle material

Review: The product has over 73k reviews, with 67% 5-star reviews. The toy does very well for most dogs. Some dogs figure out the treats within a few minutes, but still, it is great for fun and entertainment.  

Dog Puzzle Toys Interactive Dog Toy

Dog Puzzle Toys Interactive Dog Toy

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Toy Type: Interactive

Life Stage: Puppy

Summary: This interactive dog feeder by Yoboeew is a dog puzzle toy with a difficulty level above 2. As an advanced-level puzzle, it is recommended for skilled doggies.

The puzzle contains 15 holes and 14 pieces slider. There are no removable parts, and the dog has to slide the parts to get to the treat. The puzzle holds up to 1 cup of dog treats and goodies. In the middle, it has a 360-degree slider with an added twist. 

Pros

  • Strengthens and tests dog skills
  • Eliminates boredom, negative behavior
  • Eliminates obesity in dogs
  • Non-slip puzzle surface
  • Adjusts difficulties with tightening screws
  • Improves IQ in dogs

Cons

  • Not for dogs with excessive chewing habits
  • Not anti-skid

Review: The puzzle toy has 70% five-star reviews. It worked well for many users. However, it is concluded that it is more suitable for small and medium-sized dogs. Dogs with excessive chewing habits can easily tear it apart.

HIPPIH Interactive Dog Toys for Puppies

HIPPIH Interactive Dog Toys for Puppies

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Toy Type: Interactive, chew toy

Life Stage: Puppy, small breeds

Summary: This ball puzzle dog toy by HIPPIH comes with two colored balls, blue and green, with different grooves. The balls can be stuffed with chewables and dog treats.

The green ball has two holes on either side, i.e., an outlet and inlet for the treats. The blue ball has an interweave teeth design. There is no choking hazard as they are made of extra-tough rubber material. These chewy toys are good for keeping the dog’s gum healthy and strong. 

Pros

  • Double holes for dog safety
  • Solution for teeth grinding
  • Keeps the dog engaged and happy
  • Secondary holes prevent suction
  • Improves intelligence

Cons

  • The plastic may smell funny

Review: The product has 63% five-star reviews. The users found the green ball more helpful and true to the advertisement. However, it should be used for small dogs as large dogs can easily chew it and tear it apart.  

Dogs Food Puzzle Spinning Bottle Treat Dispenser

Dogs Food Puzzle Spinning Bottle Treat Dispenser

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Toy Type: Treat dispenser

Life Stage: Puppies, senior dogs

Summary: This fun dog puzzle toy by Lohani Store includes two bottle treat dispensers with holes made to spin over a stand/base. The base is made of natural bamboo that will not trip over.

The base is adjustable in height, making it fit for both large and small dogs. There are three bottles with different sizes of holes on the cap. It cans tore a lot of food. The dog just has to spin it around to get the treats out. When it’s dispersed, it acts as a slow feeder. 

Pros

  • Mental stimulation exercise and fun
  • Facilitates IQ training 
  • Slow feeder to avoid vomiting, obesity
  • Relieves anxiety
  • Adjustable height 

Cons

  • Plastic caps are not durable

Review: The product has 58% five-star reviews. It’s a good puzzle for days when your dog is disciplined and trained. The plastic cap of the canister is chewable. That’s when things start going wrong. There is no replacement cap available. 

What Should I Look for in Dog Puzzle Toys?

When buying dog puzzle toys, there are several things that need to be considered. Here is what to look for in a dog interactive puzzle toy:

  • Durability. The durability of a toy, whether it is a tug-of-war toy, a squeaky toy, a snuffle mat, a plush dog toy, or a Kong, is the key factor. If the dog puzzle toy is easily chewable and made of poor-quality material, it can be a choking hazard.
  • Difficulty Level. Look at the level of the dog puzzle toy. If the dog puzzle toy is too easy to solve, it will lose its purpose. The dog should be involved in it for at least 10 minutes or preferably even more.
  • Maintenance. Since dog puzzle toys will be handled by the dog’s mouth, you need to keep them clean. Always check if the toy is dishwasher-safe. If not easily washable, it will be hard to keep it clean.
  • Price and Brand. Dog puzzle toys are disposable, meaning at some point they will have to be replaced with new ones. Therefore, please pay attention to their prices. Also, you need to check the brand – a reputable brand will feature reviews from previous customers.

How Long Should a Dog Puzzle Take?

Ideally, when playing with dog puzzle toys, pets should need about 10 to 20 minutes to solve. The more time the dog takes, the better it is.

If your dog solves the puzzle toy in less than 10 minutes, you should increase the difficulty level of the game. Alternatively, you may have to get new, more challenging dog puzzle toys.