How to Pick the Best Interactive Dog Toys For Your Pup

What Are Interactive Dog Toys?

Looking to challenge your dog’s problem-solving skills and enhance mental stimulation through play? Interactive dog toys like Outward Hound’s Nina Ottosson puzzles and games are designed to keep dogs’ minds engaged and your energetic pup occupied and having fun!

Not enough time to tire your pup out on a long walk? While nothing can quite replace daily exercise, these fun puzzles can tire out a dog mentally if physical exercise isn’t an option.

A busy dog who’s engaged in play is less likely to have destructive behaviors. Dog puzzles focus your pup’s excess energy on something positive, playful, and rewarding. Plus, they’re a safer alternative to chew toys that can damage dog teeth.

Puzzle toys are also great for older dogs and dogs recovering from injury or surgery. If you have a dog with limited physical abilities, interactive dog toys provide healthy mental enrichment that requires minimal maneuvering.

dog playing with dog puzzle

Dogs benefit from both mental and physical exercise

Did you know? 15 minutes of mental exercise is the equivalent of 30 minutes of physical exercise.

Amazing, right? Interactive dog toys both keep your dog’s attention and burns off pent-up energy as your dog plays. Physical stimulation + mental stimulation = the best of both worlds.

If your dogs are chewers, for example, an interactive puzzle toy is a great way to redirect destructive chewing. Plus, if your dog has already mastered their first puzzle, they can level up with more challenging dog puzzle toys.

Picking the Best Interactive Dog Toys: Plush Dog Toys

plush interactive dog toys

Our soft puzzle dog toy doubles as an interactive game that you can play with your dog. Stuff the Outward Hound Hide A Squirrel trunk with squirrels and place it on the floor for your dog to sniff and scrounge.

Hunting for the squeaky squirrels hidden inside the plush truck gives dogs extra mental exercise beyond regular plush toys. The fun doesn’t stop after puzzling out the squirrels from the stump. The little squeaky squirrels are perfect for toss and fetch. Your dog might even be interested in using the trunk for a game of tug-of-war!

This fun interactive squeaker dog toy comes in four sizes so dog breeds of every size can enjoy the fun. Plus, the plush is gentle on your dog’s teeth and gums so a teething puppy can get in on the fun, too.

If your dog’s not so into squirrels, this hide and seek toy is also available with different characters like Hide A Raccoon, Hide A Taco Truck, Hide a Surf Van, Hide A Bee, Hide A Hedgie, and Hide A Rainbow. One of them is bound to be your furry friend’s new favorite toy.

Hide A Hedgie

interactive plush toys

Does your smarty-pants pup need more of a challenge? Similar to Hide A Squirrel, our Hide A Hedgie has two squeakin’ hedgiez stuffed inside a super-plush tree trunk for endless games of hide-and-seek.

An attached top to the trunk challenges your doggie to discover new ways to remove these squeaky toys from their home. Watch as your playful pup learns to nuzzle their way in and play with the squeaky fun hidden inside. Just remember these are not dog chew toys and are not suitable for heavy chewers.

Tip: Some dogs love using the trunk as a tug toy.

Is Your Dog Bonkers For Balls? Try Interactive Ball Dog Toys.

puzzle dog toys

Hide and seek meets squeaking tennis ball fun with the Tennis Maze Craze and Puzzle Cube! Curious canines can retrieve the tennis balls from the durable synthetic rubber for a fun and interactive game indoors and out. It’s a great indoor alternative when it’s too rainy out for a fetch toy ball launcher.

Not only does the Outward Hound Puzzle Cube challenge your dog to release tennis balls, after the balls have been released, the squeaking dog balls in different sizes are also fun to fetch!

The uniquely shaped holes and passage points keep playful pups interested and engaged until they free the balls. Once the balls are free, play a game of fetch or pop them back inside the maze for another round of puzzling!

Is Your Dog Motivated By Food? Try Treat-Dispensing Games.

dog enrichment

Interactive treat dispensing games, kongs, and slow feeders can make great long-lasting playtime toys.

Pet owners can add kibble, your dog’s favorite treat, peanut butter, or wet dog food to food-dispensing toys for irresistible incentives. Hide them within a treat dispensing dog toy to spark interest and keep pups engaged in play as they work to free the tasty treats and goodies.

Treat dispenser toys like treat balls can also be used during mealtime to slow down speedy eaters.

Pet safety tip: When it comes to plastic or natural rubber toys, look for ones that are BPA and phthalate-free.

For more ways to slow down speedy eaters, check out our Activity Matz snuffle mats, dishwasher-safe slow feeders, and puzzle feeders like the Nina Ottosson Wobble Bowl.

Level up with puzzle games

Nina Ottosson dog games come in four levels of difficulty. There are even puppy toy puzzle game versions available! If you have the type of dog showing signs of separation anxiety, starting at Level 1 treat toy can help keep your dog active, and engaged, and build confidence with independence.

Continue your pup’s learning and fun by challenging them with more difficult Level 2 and Level 3 games as they outsmart introduction puzzles. Expert pups can test their true brain power with Level 4.

Keep in mind that there is no such thing as an indestructible dog toy or puzzle. Keep your pet safe. Dog owners should always supervise them with new toys, especially if your pooch is an aggressive chewer (for tough chewers, check out the Dogwood Wood Alternative chew toy).

All of our pets from large dogs to small dogs can benefit from interactive play. Interested in a treat-dispensing toy for your pup? Find out more about selecting the right one here: A Guide To Nina Ottosson Dog Treat Games.

These interactive dog toys and more can be found on our website, Chewy, Amazon, and your local pet store.

Have questions about our interactive dog toys & games? We’re happy to lend a paw! 

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