If you want your pup to stay sharp and engaged, a mental stimulation toy is a perfect choice. Mental stimulation toys provide an interactive way of keeping your dog entertained, promoting problem-solving skills, boosting their confidence, and helping them become more independent thinkers.
With so many options now available on the market, it can be difficult to choose which is best for your pup. To make it easier, we’ve compiled a list of the eight best mental stimulation toys for dogs in 2022. Keep reading to find out which will be the perfect fit for your furry friend.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
The 8 Best Mental Stimulation Toys for Dogs
1. Frisco Volcano Hide & Seek Puzzle Plush Squeaky Dog Toy – Best Overall
Our choice for the best overall mental stimulation toy for your dog is Frisco’s Volcano Hide & Seek Puzzle Plush Squeaky Dog Toy. Hide-n-sneak is a fantastic way to get your dog excited and use its memory to find things. This volcano toy has several plush dinosaurs that squeak when gently chewed, encouraging play. And since the toys are made with soft material, they are easy on your dog’s teeth, whether puppies or seniors.
If your dog is a heavy chewer, this toy might not be the best thing for them. You can buy plush replacements, but if your dog just destroys them, it will cost a lot overall.
2. fouFIT Mini Bumper Treat Dispensing Ball Dog Toy – Best Value
If your dog responds best to the treat-reward system, fouFIT Mini Bumper Treat Dispensing Ball Dog Toy is sure to be a hit. This interactive puzzle toy is designed to promote mental stimulation in your pup while they seek out treats or kibble inside. The durable material is designed to withstand rough play from the most active of dogs.
fouFIT Mini Bumper Treat Dispensing Ball Dog Toy also doubles as an ordinary chew toy for those times when your pup just needs some good ol’ fashioned distraction.
3. iFetch iDig Stay Dog Toy – Premium Choice
Does your dog like digging? Most dogs do! However, we really do not want them digging in our yards or gardens. If you want your dog to get out some energy by digging, we recommend the iFetch iDig Stay Dog Toy as our premium choice. This fabric toy has layers and pockets where you can hide some toys or treats and let your dog go nuts by digging around to find them. This encourages a healthy digging habit that will not destroy your property and provide a good time for your canine.
Something to keep in mind, though, is if your dog gets a bit overexcited and is a heavy chewer, this toy might not last very long. Some people pointed out that it got ripped a bit easily when their dogs played roughly with it.
4. Pet Zone Treat Dispenser – Best for Puppies
The Pet Zone IQ Treat Dispenser Ball is a great choice for dogs of all sizes. This interactive treat dispenser will keep your pup engaged and mentally stimulated as they paw and push the ball to get a treat reward from inside.
The adjustable difficulty allows you to customize the level of challenge depending on your pup’s intelligence and skill levels while satisfying their natural instinct to hunt and forage.
Constructed with a durable plastic material that is designed to withstand rough play, this toy will keep your pup entertained for hours. The treat dispenser ball comes apart easily, so you can wash it in the sink.
5. Potaroma Flopping Fish
It moves. It chews. And it’s perfect for keeping your pup entertained with a variety of activities. Potaroma’s Flopping Fish is an interactive toy that charges via micro-USB. It comes with catnip and silvervine, so you might be misled to think this toy is solely for cats. While it’s certainly geared toward felines, the Flopping Fish does a really fine job of keeping Fido entertained, as well.
The toy is soft and durable, and the material is warm and comfortable, so your pup can chew on it or wait for its flopping movement to surprise them. The Flopping Fish is a great choice if you’re looking for an interactive toy that will keep your pup engaged and active. And if you happen to have any cats, the catnip and silvervine are sure to attract them. Just be ready to referee some disputes! Just avoid giving this toy to heavy chewers.
6. KONG Stuffed Ball Toy
Most dog owners know that KONG ball toys are some of the most iconic and popular dog toys on the market. They’re strong, tough, durable, long-lasting, and perfect for dogs that like to chew and destroy things.
In short, KONG’s toys are virtually indestructible. So it only made sense that the company would create another version of its beloved ball toy, this time designed for canines that respond to treat-rewarding activities.
Simply fill the ball with dog paste and let your pup do the rest. They’ll lick, chew, and gnaw away at the tasty treat until it’s all gone. Not only is this toy a great way to keep your pup mentally stimulated, but it helps keep their teeth clean, thanks to the Denta-Ridges design.
7. Outward Hound Hide N Slide
Let’s be honest; most dogs find interest in things that involve food. Outward Hound’s Hide N Slide fulfills the latter, offering an interactive toy that gives out treats for dogs that can figure out the clever design.
The pet-safe construction works via a simple button press—when your dog places its paw on it, a door slides open to reveal a treat.
It’s a great way to keep your pooch mentally stimulated and occupy its time. Plus, the Hide N Slide is nicely sized, measuring just under 12 x 12 inches. So there’s plenty of surface area for your dog to interact with.
8. TRIXIE Mad Scientist
This fun, interactive game is perfect for keeping your pup engaged and mentally stimulated. The TRIXIE Mad Scientist features three pet-safe vials with treats hidden inside them.
Your pup needs to figure out how to turn each vial in order to reveal the treat inside. The challenging Level 2 game requires your pup to use their problem-solving skills to turn the vials in order to get their rewards.
We like that the vials are blue, as that’s the color dogs see most clearly. This one’s a breeze to set up, so your pup can be playing in no time.
Buyer’s Guide for the Best Mental Stimulation Toys for Dogs
Mental stimulation toys for dogs can help keep your pup entertained and engaged while providing much-needed mental exercise. But it’s crucial to know what to look for in these toys. So before buying a mental stimulation toy for your canine companion, consider the following factors:
Editor’s Note: All toys featured in this guide are non-toxic and pet-safe.
Now that you know what to look for in a mental stimulation toy, you can be sure to invest in the most suitable one for your beloved pup.
We hope our top picks for 2022 helped you determine which mental stimulation toy you want to get for your dog.
Our top choice is Frisco’s Volcano Hide & Seek Puzzle Plush Squeaky Dog Toy. It is great for all dogs and helps encourage play. The fouFIT Mini Bumper Treat Dispensing Ball Dog Toy is a top budget-friendly choice for your pooch. And if you have a bit more money to spend, think about getting the iFetch iDig Stay Dog Toy. For the puppy-owners, we recommend Pet Zone IQ Treat Dispenser Ball because your pooch will love a toy that gives treats.
All these toys are designed for safety and provide plenty of mental stimulation—so there’s something for every budget!
Featured Image Credit: alexei_tm, Shutterstock