Let’s face it, keeping your dog content and happy all day (especially when his best bud….you! are gone eight hours a day) can be a challenging task. We came up with a list of toys that can fight boredom – with or without you.
Food Dispensing Toys
Food dispensing toys are the best toys to hold a dog’s attention. For most dogs, the way to their heart is through their tummy. A toy that dispenses food will keep him entertained for long durations, more so than a boring plastic bone. And, in the last few years technology has made a big difference in the sophistication of dog toys. Boring plastic bones are “so yesterday”.
To help you understand the food dispensing toy category we broke it down into two categories: puzzles and chew toys.
1. Puzzle Type Toys. Puzzles type toys tend to make the dog have to work to get the food out. They are great for not only physical exertion, but challenge your dog’s brain as well. These toys dispense food in a variety of ways, but mostly involve the dog pushing, rolling, or batting the toy around for treats or kibble to be released. Examples of the puzzle type include:
• Kyjen Kibble Drop Plastic Treat Puzzle Dog Toy (www.onlynaturalpet.com)
• TreatStik™ (www.treatstik.com)
• Buster Cube™ (www.dog.com)
• Tug-A- Jug (www.dog.com)
• Tricky Treats Ball™ (www.drsfostersmith.com)
• Talk To Me Treatball™ (www.amazon.com)
These toys are great for feeding your dog’s entire meal through. Gone are the days of simply laying a bowl of food down to feed your dog! Make him work for his food! These toys are not designed to be chew toys.
2. Interactive Dog Puzzle Toys. Interactive Dog Puzzle toys truly challenge your dog’s mind. They are meant to be played with during human interaction and observation. They are not meant to give to your dog during the hours that you are away from home. These Swedish-designed dog food toy games are a fun challenge and a great cure for boredom.
• Dog Brick™ utilizes sliding blocks that, when slid by nose or paw, reveal small cavities where treats are placed. (www.onlynaturalpet.com)
• Dog Tornado™ features four layers with rotating discs, which conceal treats. (www.onlynaturalpet.com)
• Dog Turbo™ is a more advanced puzzle whereby your dog slides blocks in order to remove treats. (www.onlynaturalpet.com)
• Seek-A-Treat Flip N Flap Dog Puzzle Toy (www.dog.com)
• Kyjen Star Spinner Puzzle Dog Toy (www.dog.com)
• Kyjen Jigsaw Glider Dog Game Puzzle Toy (www.dog.com)
3. Chew Toys. Chew Toys that also dispense food are great for dogs that are really mouthy and need to really chew to release their energy. Examples of Chew Toys that are designed to be stuffed with treats is:
• the Kong ™ (www.kongcompany.com)
• The Kong Genius Leo Toy (www.kongcompany.com)
• Twist ‘n Treat™ (www.dog.com)
• Busy Buddy Barnacle Treat Dispensing Dog Toy™ (www.dog.com)
• TUX™ (www.petproductadvisor.com)
• Treatstik (www.treatstik.com)
• Kibble Nibble Treat Ball (www.dog.com)
• Hugs Chew Core(www.petproductadvisor.com)
• Everlasting Fun Ball™ (www.petproductadvisor.com)
• StarMark Everlasting Treat Ball (www.dog.com)
• Atomic Treat Ball Dog Toy (www.dog.com)
The idea is for the dog to lick or chew on the toy to get at the food.
These toys need to be stuffed with the dog’s own kibble or mix the kibble with a bit of cream cheese, soft cheese, or peanut butter to hold the kibble together. You can freeze it to make it extra challenging to get the contents out; this is especially great during the summer! Some people will even put a bit of cheese in the toy, microwave for a few seconds to melt it a little, then swish around the inside of the toy. All the toys can be easily cleaned by running through the dishwasher or thrown in with a bunch of old towels in the washing machine.
Do you have a dog with lots of energy? Lots of physical exercise is the answer. In addition to your daily exercise routine try playing with your dog with the Flirt Pole (www.petexpertise.com). A 10 minute workout with The Flirt Pole is comparable exercise to a one hour walk for your dog!
A great toy that will entertain active dogs or dogs with a high prey (hunting) drive for hours is the Varisty Ball. Dogs love these! The Varsity Ball (www.vasitypetsonline.com) is the original, highly addictive play companion and toy for large, athletic and high energy dogs. Plus, it’s guaranteed to be indestructible. Come in 3 sizes, Basketball, baseball or tennis ball size.
Another new toy is the X-Tire Animal Sounds Ball (www.petproductadvisor.com). The X-Tire Animal Sounds Ball makes over 20 realistic animal sounds and comes ruggedly molded in a pair of two tires that makes it easy for your dog to grab. The new X-Tire Animal Sounds Ball will delight your dog with motion-activated sounds from lions, frogs, coyotes, dogs, pigs, horses, roosters, elephants, cows, goats, cats, and a variety of birds. And they’re now more realistic than ever! Dogs especially love toys that have certain high-pitched sounds – most likely from the instinctive prey drive of wild dogs hunting their prey. And dogs love balls.
WILEY (www.petproductadvisor.com) is the super fun interactive toy from Hugglehounds that gives your dog so many different ways to play. WILEY is a durable toy that is great for chewing, tossing, bouncing, fetching, munching (Wiley’s head is also a treat dispenser).
The Pet Buddies Pooch Super Bouncer Ball (www.petproductadvisor.com) is the perfect ball to teach your dog how to fetch. Just fill the ball with your dog’s favorite treat and as he retrieves the ball he will be instantly rewarded.
Too dark outside and at your wits end with a high-energy dog ready to climb the walls? Get out the Indoor Chuck It! FUN Launcher (www.petproductadvisor.com) and start tossing those balls to give your furry friend an inside run! The Indoor Chuck It! FUN launcher creates exciting, active play without wrecking your walls and furniture. Launch the soft bouncy “donut” roller or ball from the comfort of your couch as your pet chases it safely in the family room or down the hall. No more picking up drool-soaked balls! The Indoor Chuck It! FUN Launcher picks up the roller or the ball so no more holding a soggy dog toy in your bare hands
Chew toys are just that – toys that the dog can simply chew on. Many dogs love to chew on plastic bottles. But, giving your dog a plain plastic bottle can be a safety hazard. With a new product called Bottle Crunchers (www.petproductadvisor.com), safety is no longer an issue. Your dog’s mouth is protected from the sharp edges of those cracked water bottles, which are safely contained inside the toy’s heavy canvas “sleeve.” Several layers of Velcro hold the bottle snuggly inside the toy. The result? Hours and hours of safe crunching fun for your dog. Simply replace a worn out, used plastic bottle with a new, empty water bottle by placing it in the sleeve.
Does your dog love to chew on soft plush toys, only to have them completely destroyed in thirty seconds? The Go Dog™ Lamb with Chew Guard™ (www.petproductadvisor.com) is the answer! He’s made with Chew Guard™ Technology, for extra tough protection against your dog’s teeth. Heavy-duty thread, double seaming and a super-tough liner will keep even tough chewers from tearing this toy apart. Plus the toy makes a lot of really cute, fun noises that your dog will love.
A happy, content dog needs lots of exercise and mental stimulation. Not to mention…..a happy, content dog is a GOOD dog!
Hopefully, you and your dog will enjoy these toys!