Importance of Good Dog Toy
The best interactive dog toys work by employing any of a few different functions. They should engage your dog’s natural instincts to bite, chase, sniff, chew, and/or lick. Thankfully, we have created an all-inclusive guide to the best interactive dog toys and assessed different types of toys for different purposes.
Dog toys manufactured using poor materials can potentially pose a serious danger to your dog. Heavy chewers in particular (looking at you Labrador Retrievers) can get themselves into trouble if they chew off pieces and swallow them.
The best interactive dog toys contain high-quality, durable materials. Dogs are not one-size-fits-all, and neither are their toys. All of these toys work to satisfy and engage in different ways to best fit your pet’s individuals needs.
Five Best Interactive Dog Toys
As a certified dog trainer, I have explored a wide variety of different toys with clients, my pets, and even exotic animals. I’ve used this experience to provide you with an all-inclusive list of the best interactive dog toys available.
Each of these toys has a certain scenario or feature that makes it shine: durability, all-around use, value, etc. It is difficult to provide an all-encompassing choice of which dog toy is best, but we have ranked them in terms of quality, price, versatility, and more.
Here is our unbiased review of the top 5 best dog interactive toys available!
All-Around Best Interactive Dog Toy
“… We have pit bull and this is the first toy that has EVER stood a chance! No object prevails once she has decided to destroy it! Except for the XL Kong! …”
“… Great toy, it really holds up to strong chewing. It keeps my dogs entertained for a long time when it is stuffed and frozen …”
“… these are the best dog chew toys I have ever seen… these are not only durable in strength but also soft at the same time. Best decision I made when I purchased this …”
This one is a classic, but don’t buy the classic! The KONG Extreme is the all-around best choice even if your pet isn’t a heavy chewer because it will last you forever. Dirty, slimy, and covered in hair? Simply toss it in the dishwasher and all is well again! The KONG classic begins to take on a sticky texture after too many runs through the dishwasher.
- Made with incredibly durable rubber material.
- Rubber construction means you can play fetch with this bouncy product as well.
- Safe to use in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
The absolute best way to use this toy is to stuff it with something mushy and toss it in the freezer for a few hours. I always recommend my clients purchase 3 – 4 for each dog and fill them all at the same time. That way, when you’re heading out the door you can simply grab a pre-frozen toy for your dog to enjoy.
The durability of this toy is a huge draw. Many pet owners with heavy chewers cannot leave their pets alone with any toys for fear that they will simply chew them to pieces. Only the most Olympic-level chewers can make a dent in these. Recommended for: Pitbulls, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, French Bulldogs, and more.
Best Toy for Playing with Your Dog
“… Our [dog] is an enthusiastic chewer and tugger, and a strong one at that. Despite his best efforts, this rope is still going strong over a year after purchase. I’d absolutely recommend it …”
“… [My dog] proudly drags it around the yard and plays ‘tug of war’ with me… when we are actively playing – it’s his new favorite. I have a feeling he’ll continue to enjoy this toy even as he grows …”
“… My [dog] loved this! It’s long and has large knots. Thinks he’s so tough playing tug of war. Great indoor amusement …”
Many interactive toys work well for pet owners because the owner doesn’t have to be involved. However, if you want to interact and play with your pet in a constructive fashion, this toy is for you! It allows you to play games with your dog in a mentally stimulating way.
- Comes in several different sizes for different breeds.
- Woven texture works to clean teeth.
- Made with durable material for long life.
This rope toy is not simply another toy to toss into your dog’s toy box, and you should not leave your dog unattended with it. Instead, the toy comes out when you want to play a structured game of tug with your dog. Teach them a “drop” command, and then you can ask for a behavior before you give the rope back or toss it across the room.
Concerned about the length? You should still purchase a size or two larger than recommended for your breed, that way you have plenty of room between the dog’s teeth and your hands! Recommended for: Labrador Retrievers, Pitbulls, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Golden Doodles, and more.
Best Toy for Everyday Use
“… Our two dogs LOVE playing with it. Not only does it keeps them occupied, but it helps them get great mental exercise as well… we like to feed them their dinner via the toy instead of a regular bowl …”
“… This Kong Wobbler is fantastic. This wobbler actually kept my dog busy to retrieve all his kibble. This is a great dog toy. I was very impressed …”
“… THIS. IS. GENIUS. Overall – a GREAT, GREAT product. Kong never disappoints! …”
If you’re looking for an interactive toy that you can give your dog every single day, or even multiple times per day, this is the toy for you. The KONG Wobbler might be able to hold treats or other small bits of goodness, but take it from us, you should use it to feed your dog their daily meals.
- Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
- Screw on top lets you easily fill the KONG.
- Size small fits 1/2 cup of food and size Large fits 1 cup.
This really is a fantastic choice because it allows you to take part of your dog’s daily nutrition and use it to add more mental stimulation to their day. You don’t need to buy extra treats or worry about your dog getting too much “junk food” because it is all part of their normal daily meal.
If your dog has trouble figuring it out, make sure that you fill the toy entirely with food. You can also dab a little peanut butter at the opening to entice your dog to interact with the toy, or tip it a few times to help them get the hang of it. Recommended for: Beagles, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and more.
Best Interactive Dog Toy that Dispenses Treats
“… I just adopted a puppy and she is absolutely obsessed with this… this keeps her busy for a long time… [she] gets so excited every time she knocks out a piece of kibble …”
“… he loves it. he cant get enough of it… he just has a blast with it. Its great to see him engaged …”
“… It’s easy to fill and easy to clean. They LOVE IT! They play with it all the time! … [My dogs] both prefer to work at getting the food out of the ball instead …”
Now that you know to use the KONG Wobbler for dog food, we can pick an interactive dog toy that you can use with dog treats. This treat-dispensing ball works wonders. You can use it without the divider if your dog has difficulty, or with the divider to make the game a little harder for faster learners.
- Hard plastic is easier to clean and difficult to destroy.
- Keeps your dog mentally and physically active.
- Slows your dog’s eating to aid in digestion.
The premise is incredibly simple, the treats go in, your dog rolls the ball, and the treats come out. However, this process will really get your dog’s brain working and engage their foraging behaviors. All in all, it provides for a great exercise in mental stimulation.
You should only use this ball while supervising your pet until you know your dog will not break the plastic. It might not be a suitable choice for heavy chewers. Make sure to choose a size appropriate for your breed of dog. Recommended for: Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Shetland Sheepdogs, Border Collies, and more.
Most Unique Interactive Toy
“… This mat is great, easy to figure out how to best use and keeps my pup involved and entertained for awhile. I like the felt material and its easy and soft enough to move around that a puppy can do it… its held up well …”
“… We just bought this toy and my [dog] it. It kept him busy for 20 minutes rooting around and sniffing for the treats. Well worth the money. I highly recommend this product …”
“… This thing is awesome! [my dog] is a 6 month old cocker spaniel and we’ve been struggling with ways to keep her busy and occupied …”
This toy is great fun, and not like any of the other interactive toys on our list. It provides your pet with a variety of different surfaces and textures to explore. You simply drop some treats in the mat, shuffle it around so they fall in, and let your dog use their nose to find and remove the treats.
- Mentally stimulating activity helps relieve stress.
- Anti-slip bottom keeps your dog from sliding across the floor.
- Handmade and machine washable for easy cleaning.
Like all toys, you should supervise your pet during use to ensure they do not chew or rip apart pieces. This isn’t an everyday toy to leave out for your pet to gnaw on. You want to remove it when the treats are gone so that your pet doesn’t damage it and so that when you take it back out again it keeps your pet interested.
This toy is particularly great for hounds and other “sniffing” breeds of dogs. It lets them get that natural “sniff and find” behavior out, and as a whole they absolutely love being able to use those behaviors. Recommended for: Dachshunds, Beagles, Chihuahuas, Spaniels, and more.