The 4 Most Popular Puzzle Toys for Bored or Energetic Dogs

Dogs may be man's best friend, but it can be hard for some dog owners to provide their pups with all the attention they need. After all, humans need to spend time working — which can leave some dogs looking for ways to relieve pent-up energy or enjoy some much-needed mental stimulation. Fortunately, dog toys have come a long way over the past few years. It's now possible for self-directed toys to give dogs all the playtime they need, even if they don't have a companion. Read on to learn all about the top four most popular types of puzzle toys for bored, anxious, or energetic dogs, and see which one might be right for your best friend!

Snuffle Mats

Snuffle mats aren't just cute and cozy mats for dogs — they're designed to help challenge dogs by forcing them to mimic what it's like to hunt for food in nature. All you need to do is sprinkle treats or food over the mat, and your dog gets to spend plenty of time engaging their mind in a challenging but skill-based quest for food. It's an easy way to keep your pup occupied, well-fed, and mentally stimulated, all at the same time.

Snuffle mats range from the basic to the complex, with most being machine-washable and all providing different levels of challenge to your furry friend. For example, the PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat offers dogs a shaggy, overgrown mass that encourages them to enhance their natural foraging skills, and it's sustainably made and easy to clean. If you're looking for a simple way to keep your dog excited and engaged, a snuffle mat is a classic choice.

Complex Puzzle Toys

Recent developments have made puzzle toys increasingly elaborate and beautiful — to the point that many of them look like they were made for humans! These puzzle toys offer dogs challenges that span a wide range of levels of difficulty, with most offering dogs plenty of chances to exercise their brains and even more opportunities to win treats.

It's now possible for self-directed toys to give dogs all the playtime they need

The Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Hide N' Slide Puzzle Game Dog Toy is one example of a complex game that dogs can enjoy on their own. In this game, dogs work to slide treat blocks along a track, while swiveling flippers hide treats underneath them. Owners can customize the difficulty of the game for their dogs to make it harder or easier, depending on how well they do at first. The game is designed for and can be used by dogs of any size, shape, or height. It's a beautifully designed game that is guaranteed to keep your dog engaged for hours at a time over and over again.

Similarly, the SPOT Seek-a-Treat Flip ‘N Slide Treat Dispenser for Dogs also offers dogs the opportunity to open closed containers, slide larger components, and use their brain to find treats inside a puzzle toy that can be modified to be easier or more challenging based on the given dog. It's yet another example of a thoughtfully designed puzzle game that's great for not only keeping dogs occupied but also allowing themselves to receive a tasty reward for a job well done.

Treat Dispensers

We've all seen dogs play with a ball and quickly tire of it. But it takes a lot for a dog to get tired of a ball that dispenses treats — especially when it does so at seemingly random intervals! That's the premise of most treat dispenser balls, which release food or treats in a manner that requires careful thought and study to figure out. These treat dispensers are not only fun for dogs to play with and to try to understand, but they can also be made increasingly more easy or more difficult for your pooch.

The Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball is easy to assemble and clean, and it's also easy to control the difficulty level of the treat ball. Your pup will spend hours trying to figure out how to get every single piece of food out of the ball, making it easier for you to do the work you need while still helping your dog enjoy a mentally stimulating playtime. If your dog is strongly food-motivated and in need of some mental stimulation, a treat dispenser might just be the perfect puzzle game for your canine companion.

Hide and Seek Games

Hide-and-seek games are just as fun and adorable as they sound. A hide-and-seek game will typically contain a large plush figure that contains several much smaller plush figures that your dog must figure out how to remove on their own. Adding a treat or two at the bottom can provide your dog with a great incentive to keep trying to win the game, and some hide-and-seek games use squeaky toys that are perfect for capturing dogs' attention.

The Outward Hound Hide A Squirrel Squeaky Puzzle Plush Dog Toy is a great example of a fun and captivating hide-and-seek game for dogs. Dogs have to figure out how to remove all the squeaky squirrels from the plush log, which requires plenty of mental stimulation with or without the incentive of a treat or two. Once your dog has cracked the case, all you need to do is stuff the plush squirrels back into the log, making it the perfect game for pups who need some mental stimulation on their own time. If your dog loves a challenge but prefers a soft chew toy to hard plastic, a hide-and-seek game may be the perfect choice for them.

Key Takeaway

From slide puzzle toys to snuffle mats, there are plenty of dog toys on the market that are perfect for dogs who need to let off some steam or enjoy a little mental stimulation. Whether your dog is bored, anxious, or energetic, any one of these games should be able to hold their interest and keep them coming back for more — all without you needing to take time out of your busy day. For more great pet supplies and toys, along with amazing deals and discounts, don't forget to check out ProductIQ!

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