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How much fun can a humble slipper provide on the scale from one to shred-it-to-pieces-and-cover-with-drool? If you don’t know, ask your dog!
If your dog can’t answer the question, it’s probably because she or he already has a few interactive toys. And you, in turn, have a nice and healthy pair of slippers.
But wait, what exactly are interactive toys? Are they something special and different from Fido’s favorite chew toy?
In a dog’s lingo: when you bark at an interactive toy, it barks back at you. In human lingo, an interactive toy is a responsive toy that doesn’t just sit there waiting to get ripped apart. It’s engaging, dynamic, and fun. It offers endless ways of playing. Not everything is about chewing!
A dog toy isn’t just an item you can use to buy a peaceful hour or two for yourself. It can be, and often is, a way for your dog to learn and explore. Great toys can even boost the doggo’s IQ! Nothing beats the fun of problem solving, especially when there’s peanut butter as incentive.
And here’s our selection of some of the top interactive toys that both dogs and dog owners will enjoy. It begins with Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound, one of the best puzzle toys out there. Set the difficulty level, hide some treats inside, and get that party started!
13 Best Interactive Dog Toys in 2021 Reviewed
Basic or electronic interactive dog toys have a wide range of features and qualities. Our shortlist of the interactive dog toys below meets the criteria like size, material, durability, easy maintenance, adjustability, and of course – the level of fun.
Best Interactive Dog Toys Reviews 2021
A bone isn’t always a treat. It can be a plastic dog puzzle toy whose job is to hide a treat!
With Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound puzzle toy, your dog will have to really work for it. Using the paws, nose, or all five of them, she or he needs to figure out where the treat is. With this puzzle toy, dogs are in for some smart detective work!
Best of all, you can make it super easy or super difficult for them. The bones can be level with the board, so reaching them becomes trickier. You may think that your dog won’t be up for the mental challenge of puzzle toys. But wait until she sniffs out the hidden goodies! It’s like playing hide and seek. Only it’s the treats inside that are hiding, and your dog is the seeker.
The Nina Ottosson line by Outward Hound has been wildly popular among dog owners for a reason. Your dog doesn’t need to be a budding Einstein to track the treats down. But she will definitely make you proud when she manages to crack the puzzle.
Spoiler alert: the compartment in the center will give the dog a run for your money!
- An interactive toy that will amuse both the doggo and you
- You can make the dog puzzle toy easy or difficult to solve
- Super easy to clean from drool – you just need warm water and soap
- Made with dogs in mind, but other animals can play with it too – cats, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, etc.
I’ve always loved dogs, but I’ve always dreamed about the day when somebody would invent a remote control toy. Not all dog owners can play fetch all day long!
And here it is. The SKYMEE Owl Robot is a toy, fitness robot, dog monitor, and a treat dispenser at the same time. Such a neat invention to help your dog pass those long hours while you’re away!
Truth be told, dogs are not very fond of robotic toys. Still, they are all too fond of things that move around and lure them with treats. Treats that they poop out, a few at a time. Sorry, but that’s how it looks!
Not that your dog will mind the association. Treats are treats are treats! This pet fitness robot keeps dog busy and plays hide and seek with them.
As far as interactive dog toys go, this one is by far the smartest. Of course, with it comes a hefty price tag. However, it will eliminate the need to call a puppysitter and will pay for itself in a few weeks. It won’t get rid of the angst an average dog suffers from when mom or dad isn’t home. But at least you’ll know that Fido isn’t hungry (or overfed), and that he’s had his share of exercise.
- Safe, non-toxic material
- Slowly dispenses treats
- Full HD camera and night vision
- Up to eight smartphones can access the app
- Mental and physical stimulation to increase IQ
How about getting a stuffable orange dog ball for your furry friend? It has a tube-like hole in the middle. Squeeze some peanut butter there, and insert kibble into the dimples.
But what about dogs who aren’t very keen on balls? This toy comes in many other shapes and varieties. All of them are hollow, floatable, and will be excellent to play fetch.
This Treat Dispenser Interactive Dog Toy by ThinkPet is designed to test your dog’s skill and patience at extracting treats. It is made of a durable, natural rubber that easily stands up to regular and active play.
It’s another IQ treat ball, even though it’s not its official name! There’s a unique shape to make it bounce irregularly to create that extra degree of fun. The slow nature of extracting the treats means your dog slows their eating and also stays more active.
Your chomper’s teeth will also benefit from this toy. No more nasty breath when they yawn in your face!
This interactive dog toy is suitable for the small to large dog breeds with different sizes available. There’s 2.4 inch (small dogs), 3 inches, (small or medium dogs), 3.8 inches (medium or large dogs), and 4.5 inches (large dogs).
- Natural rubber built; environment-friendly
- Easily increase the difficulty of getting treats
- Variable sizes
- Fun satellite shape
What dog doesn’t like to roll a ball? Especially if it’s filled with treats that fall out. Simply fill the IQ Treat Ball with a favorite kibble or treat and adjust the level of difficulty using the built-in interior disc.
Then, place the ball on the floor and let your dog play and roll the ball across the floor. Eventually, the dispenser will release food, providing your dog a small reward for their effort.
The higher the difficulty level, the slower and more difficult it will be for your dog to extract the food. You can increase the level as your dog gets better and better with the toy.
Use the IQ Treat Ball to promote not only exercise but also active feeding. Is your dog extra greedy? The slow release of dog food significantly slows the food intake. In turn, it aids digestion and combats bloating. Dogs with certain health conditions may also benefit from this slow feeding.
This interactive dog toy will also reduce destructive behavior. When your dog has had its fill of healthy exercise, there’ll be no boredom!
- Encourages active feeding
- Rewards physical activity
- Super easy to clean
- Adjustable difficulty levels
- Two sizes for small to medium size dogs
This interactive dog toy has a hollow center. Fill it with treats, throw it around, and go watch TV or something. You just unleashed the beast. It’ll keep the dog busy for another hour, or at least until it runs out of treats or kibble.
When it does, refill and repeat the process. No worries about overfeeding the pooch! All the running and jumping around will burn each calorie and then some.
The point is simple. Dogs who would fancy a treat will have to work for it. Suppose you’re out of home and the toy is empty with no one there to refill. Your dog will still appreciate its ability to bounce and float. And he will totally forget about separation anxiety!
It can stand up to rough play and is suitable for puppies.
The Zogoflex Tux Tough Dog Chew Toy is also appropriate for canines who like to chew. Use this toy to encourage both physical and mental stimulation. It will keep your dogs from destroying furniture and shoes.
Tux is really easy to clean and maintain. When it needs a quick wash, either use water and soap or toss it into the dishwasher. Plus, the interactive toy is made in an FDA-compliant material to ensure it is fully safe to eat from. You can even get another Zogoflex Qwizl variety to spice up the game!
- Safe and durable, even for heavy chewers
- Dishwasher safe BPA-and-Phthalate-free
- Bounces and floats
- Made in America
How complicated can a simple dog ball be?
Don’t let them fool ya. A ball is a ball is a ball. It won’t sing or play the violin (unless it’s the Babble Ball down below). But it will dance around given the chance!
Kong’s Extreme Balls are among the toughest, best bouncing, and most resilient on the market. They are built for rough play in mind. Even the most headstrong dogs such as Pit Bulls or German Shepherds won’t be able to destroy this ball, even though they ravage tennis balls!
Even though it’s lightweight enough not to pose a threat to your windows, this ball won’t be a good option for indoor play. It just triggers too much running. (And it’s TOO easy to stumble on. Take it from the horse’s mouth.)
So there you have it. By definition, a ball is a great choice for outdoor play. Since this one is built from puncture-resistant rubber, it’s bound to last for a long time.
This fun and bouncy ball will also make a great gift for dogs who like to play fetch. Which essentially means all dogs who have ever wagged a tail.
It’s also a great interactive toy for small dogs.
If your dog makes light work of tennis balls, use the Extreme Ball to give the proper play time that isn’t cut short with an easily destroyed toy.
- Tons of fun to play
- Extreme bounce
- Resistant to punctures
- Great for small to large breeds
- Made in the USA
With this toy, your dog will bob a lot indeed!
Once you fill the small or large chamber with snacks and nibbles, place it on the floor for your dog to play with. This interactive toy is fully adjustable to lower or higher difficulty. The dog will have a blast as they try to shake out more kibble with their head. And you’ll have so much fun watching it all!
First-time users may need a little encouragement. But after one or two minutes of play, your dog will soon know what to do to extract the treats.
The Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy is one of the best interactive dog toys for promoting both mental and physical stimulation. It is great to avoid issues like separation anxiety during the day when your dog may be home alone.
Plus, it removes the need to depend entirely on the big dog crates.
How much bobbing does it take to get all the snacks? Bob a lot!
- Fully adjustable openings
- Weighted bottom to wobble
- Multiple Sizes
- Anti-slip bottom
Lobeve Variety Pet Dogs Toy Set is not a toy. It’s an assortment of toys including balls, Frisbee, chew, ropes, spinose loop, a racoon, a rabbit, and a lion.
Fret not about having to vacuum the house three times a day to clean up all the fuzz. The three animals are plush squeakers, but they have no stuffing.
Use this toy set by Lobeve to meet different exercise requirements and play styles. The dog chew toy is not only fun but will help control tartar and plaque buildup for clean teeth.
Interactive dog toys are great for strengthening the bond between you and your dog. And all of us dog parents know that there can be no greater bond than the one between the dog and the person they’re tugging with!
Whether it is tugging and pulling or playing with a rope ball or squeaky toy, there is plenty here to keep the most active and lively dogs entertained.
- Great for small or medium breeds
- Strong and durable
- Varied set of dog toys for activity levels
- Colorful and fun
- Very portable and lightweight
The Wobbler Treat Dispensing Dog Toy is a perfect alternative to feeding with a traditional bowl. So in case your dog isn’t a traditionalist, this toy will bring so much more enjoyment to mealtime.
Plus, it stops some potentially harmful behaviors like gulping. Super important for greedy dogs! This interactive dog toy is a practical choice for breeds up to 25 lbs. But there’s also a smaller version so that mini dogs don’t feel excluded.
The concept couldn’t be simpler. Unscrew. Fill. Screw. Throw and let the party begin as your dog uses paws or nose to get the treats.
This can give hours of engaging fun. With the unpredictable shape and movement of this toy, it will always be a challenge to retrieve the food. Use this fun toy to give your dog their daily fix of physical activity and mental challenge.
It’s a simple interactive toy for dogs, but it still allows for some tricks. After a while, it helps dogs learn how to play soccer. Check out the video below for some action!
- Great wobbling action
- Easy to use and fill
- Twist off dispenser
- Size 7 x 6 x 10.5-inches
- Made in the USA
The Zogoflex Bumi Tug-o-War Dog Play Toy has a fun and innovative “S” design that really stretches for tug-o-war fun. Use this toy for supervised play and combine tugging and fetching.
Safe and durable? Sure, but not too durable if your dog has a habit of chomping a toy until it’s torn to pieces. Keep in mind that this interactive dog toy is for gentle chewers only. However, it can and will withstand some heavy-duty tugging!
Also, it is a brightly colored toy (aqua, granny smith, tangerine) so you can find it easily when playing fetch.
- Highly stretchable (nearly twice its original length)
- Great shape for human and dog play
- 100% guarantee against dog damage
- Easy-to-spot colors
- Dishwasher safe
- Made in America
The Pet Qwerks Blinky Babble Ball really seems to satisfy any pet quirks your dog might have. When it’s touched (or pawed in this case), it will flash and make 28 different sounds. Most dog toys will just squeak. Well, this one also barks, whistles, talks, plays banjo, even praises the doggo. (Not sure it can tell whether he earned the praise, though.)
Once the dog gets enough and stops kicking it around, it will automatically turn off to save some juice.
Speaking about juice, you don’t need to worry about having to buy tons of batteries. With as many as 100 sounds a day, the batteries will last around five months.
But will your dog get to like his new babble ball? At first, most dogs are confused and hesitant to even touch this weird ball. But once they figure out how fun it is, they will run in circles.
Being a dad to a 12-year-old dog with impaired vision, I especially appreciate the flashing aspect of this babble ball. My dog is not young anymore, but he still loves a bit of play!
- Speaks 28 languages… That is, makes 28 sounds!
- Non toxic and non-chewable
- Three sizes for different breeds
- Excellent toy for blind or vision impaired dogs
- Automatic turn-off when inactive
Hide and seek is alright, but hide a squirrel is even better! The Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel interactive puzzle toy has an almost cult-like following. Almost like the Nina Ottosson line of toys for dogs!
All of these interactive dog puzzle toys have one thing in common. They require the dog to stop and think a little before they dig in. This particular toy doesn’t even use treats as an incentive. Instead, it taps into the dog’s hunting instinct. In other words, if you hide three squeaky squirrels into a plush tree trunk, your dog will naturally want to pull them out!
There’s room to improvise too. When your dog manages to solve the puzzle, take the squirrel she pulled out and play a game of fetch with it. When she fetches the squirrel, shove it back into the trunk and have another go.
- A squeaky toy that allows for some problem solving too
- Excellent for the game of fetch
- No treats involved
- Equally suitable for indoors and outdoors
Say hello to another treat dispensing toy, Pet Safe Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug! This one comes with a twist – multisensory stimulation. First off, there’s a smooth jug to place the treats. Second, there’s a textured rubber ball at the bottleneck. Not only is it pleasant to chew, but it also helps clean the teeth.
Finally, there’s a rope to tug a jug! To retrieve the treats, the dog needs to hold the jug and tug on the rope and the rubbery part.
I bought this for my friend’s Labradoodle, and he was delighted! My friend, not the dog, that is. (The dog took some time to synchronize his jaws and paws, and then made ruckus all over the house.)
- Treat dispensing toy
- Interactive puzzle – requires tugging in order to feed the pooch
- Dishwasher safe
- Comes in three sizes
- Excellent for meal training
Things to Consider When Buying the Best Interactive Dog Toys
Encouraging play time as a dog owner isn’t just about entertaining and learning.
It’s also about preventing destructive behavior! Dogs have a way of getting back at you if you fail to exhaust them.
Worse yet, they may decide to get back at your shoe or couch. It certainly makes more sense to get them a bunch of pet safe, non toxic items to play with. Whether you are watching him roll around or playing a game of tug-o-war, a great toy is well-worth buying to promote your dog’s all-round well-being.
Toy Size, Quality, and Materials
One of the first steps is to carefully look at the toy size, quality, and material. Any interactive toys for small dogs must match the size of your dog breed.
For instance, a giant toy designed for a German Shepherd would be wasted on your Yorkshire Terrier. Not to mention the vice versa scenario! A Great Dane won’t even notice a tiny ball made for a Dachshund’s little mouth.
A further key point is the build quality and construction of the toy. If you are looking for a rope or a Frisbee toy for a large breed, make sure to avoid the cheap or low-quality options that will be ripped to shreds in a matter of minutes.
This also applies to other pet supplies like the cheap dog collars. Buying a more expensive toy is more cost-effective than buying lots of cheap toys that aren’t worth anything.
Even our furry friends seem to have a way of telling good from bad quality in toys for dogs. You know how excited they are when you offer them a durable chew toy? It’s as if they feel they can go as wild as they like with it. It won’t show!
Similar rules apply to buying toys for a young dog or a small breed dog. Go with the toys that are small and soft, therefore easier for the little dogs to chew on.
Also, try to avoid interactive dog toys for large dogs with pieces that can be chewed off or come loose from play. It could lead to choking hazards.
If planning to buy interactive dog toys for the young pup, be sure to either upgrade the small toys to the next size as they grow or completely replace with a different toy. Even if a toy for dogs lives to tell the tale, it won’t be adequate for the dog any longer.
Ultimately, you want to match the type of toy to your dog.
The Dog’s Age
The best interactive toys should always match the age of your pet.
- A puppy at 3 or 4 weeks still has baby teeth, so their toys are made in snuggly, plush fabrics or softer rubber.
- From 3 to 6 months, your puppy will be rapidly growing but still likely teething. So, make sure to stay away from rugged rubber-like toys. However, at this early age, your puppy toys should help to distract from chewing furniture, shoes, and other items that were not made for chewing.
- At 6+ months, once the teething stage has passed, you will likely have a dog with endless energy and a strong jaw. This is a great time to introduce the rope pulls, balls, and hard rubber toys.
- Upon reaching an age of 7 or more, your adult dog no longer has the tooth or chewing habits they once had as an active and excitable young dog. But, it is still practical to invest in the right toys to encourage play. At this age, the toys should revert back to the softer toys that are easier to chew on.
Luckily, there is also an endless array of types and sizes of toys to match your dog’s life stage and personality. Simply match your dog’s personal chewing habits to the toy for a fun and entertaining experience.
Even with the basic-est requirements, it can be difficult to navigate the aisles in the local pet store for high-quality toys and tough dog collars. Dog toys come in all sizes and shapes, but the most fun and engaging ones are interactive dog toys.
A common toy is the tug-of-war rope. Dog cotton rope toys are perfect for the young puppies. With gums that are sore and teeth still growing, the cotton rope is a good choice because it prevents teeth being accidentally pulled.
Flying toys that soar through the air are practical for the highly active dogs that are constantly running and jumping. This type of toy also commonly floats in the water, which creates unique playing experiences.
Other options include the sensory dog toys that help to promote your dog’s senses. Squeaking bones and other noisy toys are extremely attractive to some dogs. However, other dogs might be somewhat unsure about toys that make noise, so remember to keep your dog in mind.
Outdoor Interactive Dog Toys
In addition to the dog toys played inside the home, don’t forget the fun and games that can be enjoyed with the outdoor interactive dog toys.
A great interactive dog toy for some outdoor fun is the Frisbee. This is a fun game to play with your dog and certain to give plenty of useful exercise time. Dogs are always into the catch and return games.
Also, it is useful to try to keep the indoor and outdoor Golden Retriever toys separately. Play outside often means muddy and dirty toys that are best kept away from the clean floors in the home.
Also, soft or plastic toys like some of the interactive food toys aren’t built for outdoor use.
With a good dog collar and plenty of toys, there are many places to visit to engage in fun play outside.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best interactive dog toy?
The best dog toy depends on your specific dogs. Some breeds are smarter than others and require more mentally challenging toys. Others can benefit from fairly simple toys.
Some dogs are heavy chewers, while others hardly chew at all. Know your dog well and look through our reviews to find the perfect toy.
What is an interactive dog toy?
An interactive dog toy is one that reacts to your canine. This often involves releasing food when you dog rolls or moves the toy around. However, other interactive toys might make noise. Some are even programmable from your phone.
What toys will keep my dog busy?
Interactive dog toys are the best for keeping your dog entertained because they actively react to your dog’s actions. Any dog is going to be more entertained when they get food for rolling a ball around.
Choosing the Best Interactive Toy For Your Dog
No matter the type of interactive toys you have, there is plenty of puzzle and fun games to help improve mental sharpness and give all-round exercise.
Start slowly with the basic toys. Once your dog knows how to work the simple toys, start to upgrade until your dog is properly challenged. You also may need to check other dog supply reviews for other toys your dog might enjoy. Keeping a wide range of toys will keep your dog entertained for longer.
Remember that the chosen toys should be based on criteria like the intensity of chewing habits, size, and age. Also, make sure to provide your dog with toys that match their age and change them as he ages from puppy to adult dog. While safety is a critical factor in buying the best interactive dog toys, you also want to make sure that fun shortly follows.
Dog toys aren’t just to prevent your canines from getting bored. They are also useful for channelling instinctual behaviors, such as tugging, chewing and chasing, as well as giving you the opportunity to bond with your dog. The type of toy you should purchase your dog depends on their personality and breed. Some breeds will be happy to play tug-of-war with you, while others are more content to chew on a bone for hours.
Interactive dog toys have become more popular over the last few years. The best interactive dog toys benefit your four-legged friend in a variety of ways, including improved behavior, challenges their boredom, and helps mentally stimulate them.
Last update on 2021-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API