Playtime is essential to a happy, healthy dog as it keeps them stimulated and active, while staving off boredom. An unstimulated dog can resort to unwanted or destructive behavior, which is something, as a pet owner, you really want to avoid.
But we can’t always be around to play with our pooches which is where interactive dog toys come in. From fetch and ball toys to puzzles and treat feeders, interactive dog toys have been specifically designed to stimulate, entertain and challenge your pup for hours at a time, and some can be left with them to play, even if you’re out of the house or at work.
With interactive toys available for each development stage of your canine friend’s life – from new pup to the senior dog – you can be spoilt for choice when it comes to buying a new fun toy for your furry best friend. We take the guesswork out of which plaything is best for your pooch with our review of what we think are currently the best interactive dog toys you can buy.
The Best Interactive Dog Toys
Durable and available in a range of sizes, the Chuckit! is a great-value, all-round play toy for your pooch that will keep him coming back for more. With a textured surface that’s easy on the mouth, this ‘ultra ball’ is made from thick rubber that can stand up to aggressive chewers. And not only do you get an attention-grabbing squeaker, you also get super-high bounces to entertain the most energetic of pups.
As one of the best all-round outdoor dog toys, we think the Chuckit! is ideal for popping in your pocket to liven up your dog’s daily walk, or for mucking about in the back yard. It is also great fun in water as it floats well and is easy to keep clean. The Chuckit! Ultra Ball is a good go-to interactive dog toy for your pet, as soon as he is big enough for walks and will even keep more senior pooches active and on the ball.
Natural, high-bounce rubber
Mouth-friendly textured surface
Floats so great for water games
Available in five sizes
- Weight6.6 ounces
A great value two-ball pack so you will always have a Chuckit! to hand
Awesome bounce and bright colors keep your pooch entertained
Perhaps not suitable for really small pups
As an ‘almost’ indestructible dog toy that is as much fun for his human as it is for your dog, we like the Zogoflex Zisc almost as much as we like its name! Made from BPA-free plastic that is also surprisingly soft, get the angle right and the Zisc flies like a dream, and will quickly have your pet following its every move. It’s also versatile and great fun, as it bounces and can float in water so definitely one for a day at the beach with your pooch. Available in two sizes to suit most dogs, the Zisc dog toy is also dishwasher safe. And, when it does finally come to the end of its frisbee-flying life, the Zisc is recyclable – just sent it back to West Paw and they will do it for you – so good for your pet and the environment too.
Available in two sizes
Soft design that flies like a hard frisbee
Also bounces and floats
Non-toxic, recyclable and dishwasher-safe
- BrandWest Paw Design
- Weight4.2 ounces
Soft on your dog’s mouth but a real high-flying tough frisbee
Fully recyclable – and manufacturer West Paw will do it for you!
Perhaps not quite as indestructible as claimed but still a tough cookie
If your pooch is a big fan of soft, squeaky toys, then give him a cute overload with this puzzle toy from Outward Hound. As one of the best dog puzzle toys, the premise is simple – a soft fabric tree stuffed with squeaky toy squirrels which your pup needs to hunt down. Doubled up as a game of fetch with his human and it will keep you both entertained! Perhaps not ideal for serious chewers or more aggressive-playing pups, this is a calm, fun and engaging toy, nevertheless. And it’s a great way for the pair of you to spend some quality bonding time. Get your pup to bring the toy squirrels to you and hide them again…and again and again. For the inquisitive dog this play toy can be a real boredom buster and is soft enough to be used for training younger pups. However, to avoid a toy squirrel massacre we suggest this interactive dog toy is only used under supervision as the fur fabric isn’t the most robust.
Hide, seek and retrieve puzzle toy
XL tree height – 14 inches
Includes six squeaky squirrels
Extra Squirrels can be purchased
- BrandOutward Hound
- Weight13.6 ounces
A fun toy to build a bond between pooch and their human
Not for unsupervised play if you want to prolong the life of the squirrels!
The Wobble Wag Giggle is an interactive dog toy that will certainly capture your happy hound’s attention! This cleverly designed dog toy is so much more than a dog ball, it actually giggles at your dog when he pushes or moves it around, all without the need for batteries. Inside the soft plastic, colorful ball is an internal tube that makes all the noise when moved or shaken. The aim is for your pup to react to the sounds and play with the ball on the ground. This toy is not designed to be thrown or bounced but rolled and is an effective way to teach your pooch to play fetch and can be used both indoors and out. The surface of the ball has six clutch pockets which enables your pet to easily pick it up, and hopefully return it to you. The ball is not a hard plastic so perhaps not as durable as other outdoor dog toys but as long as it’s used under human supervision should last for quite a while.
Plastic ball with clutch pockets
Giggle sound when shaken or rolled
No need for batteries
Ideal for dogs of all ages
- BrandWobble Wag Giggle
- Weight1.28 ounces
A fun way to teach your pup to play fetch
Loud and bright enough to capture your dog’s attention
Not as robust as some other outdoor dog toys
Do you have a food-loving monster that wolfs down their treats in a blink of an eye, leaving you wondering whether they even tasted what they ate? Then you may well need the Qwizl, a clever interactive dog toy from West Paw. Designed to prolong the eating ‘life’ of a dog treat, it also gives your pooch a mental workout as they try to get to the tasty morsels inside. It can also double up as a throw toy when out on a walk or in the backyard and also for waterplay as it easily floats. Made from bright and easy to spot, dog safe plastic, the Qwizl is also impressively durable and can withstand a high level of chewing and gnawing as your pup tries to get to the treat hidden inside. Use small pieces of kibble, a strip of beef jerky, a dog chew…even slices of carrot and watch your pooch stay focused and occupied! And with all that yucky slobbering, this indestructible dog toy is also easy to clean and is dishwasher safe.
Puzzle toy keeps your pooch’s attention
Made from bright, dog safe plastic
Holds a range of dog treats
Safe for indoor and outdoor use
- BrandWest Paw Design
- Weight5.6 ounces
Helps to extend the eating life of your dog’s favorite treats
Could be a little too heavy for smaller dogs and young pups
A classic in the interactive dog toy world, the Kong is as popular as ever and it’s easy to see why. Simple to use, super-tough but with a dog mouth-friendly design, the Kong also comes in a range of sizes to cater for all breeds and ages.
As a treat dispenser and puzzle toy, the Kong is also effective in stimulating your pooch and can keep him entertained for hours, so a good option to stave off his boredom when you are not at home. Stuff the hollow center with kibble, meat, dog treats and even dog-safe peanut butter and watch him totally zone out and focus on the job at hand. For an added challenge, stuff with his favorite treat, seal with peanut butter then freeze for a few hours. But the Kong is more than a slow treat feeder – use in crate or obedience training or as a throw toy, as boy, can the Kong bounce! As one of the best puppy toys, the rubber is also a good surface for a teething pup to chew and gnaw.
Rubber toy with hollow center
Securely holds a host of dog treats
Also use as a throw and fetch toy
Available in six sizes
- Weight7.2 ounces
Tough and easy to use, this is a puzzle and treat toy that really works
You need to make sure you do get the right size for your pet
While perhaps not suitable for the more destructive or aggressive-play dog, this Doggie Tail dog toy is a cute idea that will entertain smaller or more laid-back pups.
It is basically a furry ball with a tail that wiggles, vibrates and even barks to catch you dog’s attention. And with clever motion activated sensors it will respond to your dog’s own movements to become his own personal playmate. Operated by an on-off switch at the top of the plastic ball, you simply need to shake, roll or throw this interactive dog toy for it to spring into noisy, wiggly action for a short 10-second burst. If you – or your pooch – then moves or pushes the toy, it will burst into action again. It does need batteries – three AAAs – but it will auto stop after a period of inactivity to prolong the battery life and extend your dog’s actual interactive playtime.
Fur and plastic ball and tail
Wiggles, vibrates and barks
Motion-activated – roll, throw or shake
- BrandHyper Pet
- Weight7.2 ounces
A cute idea that will stimulate and intrigue your pooch
Not suitable for chewers or dogs that like more aggressive play
The Bionic Bone is a solid-looking interactive dog toy that can be used in a host of dog-attention capturing ways, making what is a top end toy price-wise good value for money. This pretty much indestructible dog toy has been carefully designed to fit naturally with the shape of the canine mouth and the surface is cleverly ridged to give your hound the sensation of chewing without causing damage. Made from durable rubber it is also lightweight and easy for your pooch to carry and there are no sharp edges to cause him any discomfort. Use as a throw and fetch toy, as an aid to dog training or as a chew toy for his quieter moments, you can also stuff the Bionic Bone with his favorite treats to keep him happy and occupied for hours. And it floats too, so a good option for a day at the beach. Available in three sizes, you can also start your new pup on a Bionic Bone and upgrade as he gets larger. A quality interactive dog toy built to last.
Durable rubber that is splinter-free
Designed to fit the curves of your dog’s mouth
Open center can be filled with treats
- Weight10.4 ounces
Well-built, long-lasting and designed for your dog’s comfort
At the top end of our Best Interactive Dog Toys review budget
If you have ever had a puppy, then you know all too well the damage they can cause to shoes and household items when they are going through that teething stage. So, to help them ease the urge to chew and bring them some relief as well as fun, check out these teething toy balls from Bojafa. The ideal puppy toy, these cute and colorful natural rubber balls are durable and non-toxic and are kind on young, inquisitive mouths. The outer ‘teeth’ design also means you can load the ball up with your pup’s favorite treats to give them a focus and a reward. We also like the fact that the teething ball has a light minty scent and the design helps to clean your pup’s teeth and helps to reduce any plaque build-up. As well as a reward toy, these lightweight balls are good for throwing and playing fetch, helping in any of your pup’s training and playtime sessions too. Larger versions of the balls are also available for adult and larger dogs.
Made from non-toxic rubber
Designed to be stuffed with treats
Helps with teething and canine oral hygiene
Can be used as throw/fetch and training toy
- Weight9.6 ounces
Comes in a good value two-ball pack
Effective way to manage teething and chewing in young pups
Not all dogs will like the minty smell
As a straight-up durable chew toy, you can’t really go wrong with the Hurley bone. One of West Paw’s bestsellers, this is a floating, bouncing dog bone that can be used to great effect out in the backyard or in open spaces as a throw and fetch or tug-o-war toy with your active hound, giving you both some quality fun time together. But for when your pooch simply wants to sit and chew, then the Hurley comes into its own. Made from dog-safe, durable rubber, this is safer and gentler on their mouths than a rawhide bone and will last longer. This rubber bone is particularly good for small to mid-sized dogs who like a good old chew and it can stand up to a significant amount of canine chew abuse! And, as this almost indestructible dog toy is dishwasher safe, it is also super-easy to keep clean too. Makers West Paw will also recycle your Hurley once it does eventually reach the end of its chew toy life.
Made from durable, recyclable rubber
A chew toy that stands up to gnawing
Can be also used as a fetch toy
- BrandWest Paw Design
- Weight6.4 ounces
A good interactive dog toy option for more aggressive chewers
Can be recycled so good for the environment too
Could be a little heavy in the mouth for small dogs
Keep a smart pup entertained with this treat ball that rewards him for working out how to release its yummy contents. Cleverly designed, the IQ treat ball will release a treat if it is rolled on the ground in the right way. And as your pooch gets smarter, the IQ does too, thanks to its adjustable difficulty level. Not only can this interactive dog toy be used to amuse and mentally stimulate your furry friend, it can also be used as part of a slower feeding routine. You can also adjust the ball, so it limits the amount of treats it dispenses, effectively prolonging your pooch’s playtime. Made from durable plastic, this dog treat toy is easy to fill and there is sufficient inner space to hold his favorite small treats. Available in two sizes – for smaller and larger dogs – it can also be disassembled for easy and effective cleaning. For ease of use, clever design and a good price, the IQ treat ball scoops our Best Value title.
Adjustable dispensing treat toy
Made from easy-clean durable plastic
Manage the dispensing rate
Good for healthy treat feeding
- BrandOur Pets
- Weight2.4 ounces
Can up its game when you dog gets wiser to releasing the treats
It’s made from hard plastic so not suitable for very young pups
Up the ante for your soft toy-loving hound with these interactive giggle balls from Neilden. With a squeaky ball inner, the plush furry outer is designed as a googly-eyed creature that will also make you smile. Easy for your pooch to find and retrieve, these soft toys are also surprisingly tough, and the inner squeaker makes a variety of sounds to capture your pet’s interest. Battery-operated, to activate the ball, press the button under the soft cover and shake to bring the toy to life. Available as a two- cover pack and with a good bounce, you clean giggle ball for your canine friend to play with. These fun soft toys are not suitable for larger or more aggressive dogs but are a great addition to a small dog or older pup’s toy box. And as they are likely to get grubby with play, the covers are removable for easy cleaning.
Rubber ball with removable plush cover
Squeaks and auto-bounces
- Weight10 ounces
Cute and squeaky, this is a fun throw toy for smaller dogs and puppies
The covers have a few easily chewable pieces so best used under supervision
Your dog should have a lot of fun with the Bob-A-Lot and it will be entertaining for you too as you watch your pet work out what to do! The premise is simple but really effective – this is a treat dispensing toy that, thanks to a weighted bottom, wobbles and moves as your dog tries to get out a treat.
It is easy to fill – screw off the yellow top and fill the bottom chamber with kibble or other small dog treats, then adjust the side opening to customize how difficult it will be for your dog to tip the treats out. The wobbling will get your pooch moving and the more he pushes the Bob-a-Lot around the more it will move. If your pooch gets the movement and angle just right, he will be rewarded for his cleverness…and then gets to play with it all over again. The Bob-A-Lot is available in two sizes – small and large – and is a good toy to leave with your pup to stave off boredom if you are out of the house
Treat dispensing toy
Adjustable to increase difficulty
Large chamber to store his favorite treats
Weighted bottom for a fun wobble
- Weight1.15 pounds
Pretty robust, the Bob-A-Lot can cope with the rough and tough of a determined dog
The treats need to be on the smaller side to fit into the bottom well
Perfect for the puppy in your life, this pack of good value soft chew squeaky balls is going to help you keep that little imp happy and entertained. These puppy toys are a good way to start the little one’s obedience training too, as they are perfect for throwing and retrieving. And the fun squeaky noise is going to keep him engaged and ready for more. Made from latex, which is toxin, lead and chemical free, the balls are small dog and young pup-safe and are soft enough for their baby mouths and teeth. The six-ball set also comes in bright, fun colors so are less likely to go AWOL when out on that puppy walk. And what we like it that although soft, the balls and their inner squeakers are pretty robust, even against those sharp and inquisitive puppy teeth.
Good value six ball pack
Made from puppy-safe natural latex
Squeeze for a squeaker sound
Ideal for puppy training and playtime
- Weight4.7 ounces
The squeakers are impressively long-lasting
Robust but soft so perfect for young pups and small dogs
Soft latex means they are not suitable for larger or more aggressive dogs
Best Interactive Dog Toys Buying Guide & FAQ
Factors to Consider When Buying Interactive Dog Toys
When buying a new interactive dog toy, there are some key things to consider so that you can be sure you’re getting the right plaything for your pooch’s needs:
- Why you want it
Yes, all dogs benefit from some regular playtime but it’s also important to consider why your dog needs a toy so you can pick the right type. There’s a good variety of interactive dog toys out there – including ones designed to soothe an anxious dog, to stimulate a bored or easily distracted pup, to help their teeth health, to get them moving or to reward them with a tasty treat so make sure you choose the right one.
- Your dog’s age
The type of dog toy you choose should also depend on your pet’s age as an age-appropriate toy is essential for their enjoyment and safety. Puppies need softer toys to prevent harming their developing teeth while older dogs need a more durable toy that can cope with rough and tumble.
As well as age, you’ll need to match the size of the toy to the size and build of your hound and most toys are labelled with the dog size they are suitable for. You want to prevent your pup accidently swallowing a toy if it is too small or physical injury if it is too large.
- Their temperament
Every dog has their ‘quirks’ which can be breed-related, individual personality-related…or both! Your dog’s personality must always be considered when looking to buy them a new, hopefully indestructible dog toy. A boisterous, chew-happy dog, for example will not be kind to a soft, cuddly toy while a nervous pooch may not appreciate a loud, squeaky toy.
- Strength and durability
All dogs can play rough so whatever toy you buy them needs to be sufficiently robust to stand up to canine playtime abuse. However, just be aware of buying a toy that is too hard, as this can damage their teeth.
- What it’s made from
You want to choose a dog toy that’s going to last the distance, or at least not going to need replacing after a week! Long-lasting, dog-friendly materials such as nylon or rubber are ideal, while softer toys made from vinyl or latex are suitable for young puppies. Always read the product label to see what the toy is made of and avoid any materials which could be harmful or poisonous to your precious pooch.
- Easy to clean
Yup, dogs are mucky, but hygiene is still important when it comes to their playthings. Check how easy their new interactive dog toy will be to clean - fabric toys should ideally be machine washable while many squeaky-type toys now come with a removable squeaker for easy cleaning.
Benefits Of Interactive Toys For Dog
Dogs love to play but the benefits of an interactive dog toy goes beyond simply having fun. They also:
- Encourage play and exercise – adding an interactive toy to your dog’s basket will help to boost their activity levels and bring more fun into their daily lives. A toy will also encourage your pooch away from their bed in-between walks, keeping them healthy and mentally sharp.
- Alleviate boredom – a bored dog is not a good thing to have and can lead to negative or unwanted behavior. But our lives are busy, and it is impossible to play with your pooch all day which is where an interactive dog toy comes in, helping to keep them stimulated and out of mischief!
- Reduce anxiety – a focused and engaged dog is less likely to get anxious so if your dog is susceptible to stress or separation anxiety, an interactive toy will help to keep them occupied and happily distracted.
- Help with weight management – if your pooch is starting to pack on the pounds or has a tendency to over-eat, a food puzzle toy means they will need to eat slowly and mindfully, allowing their tum time to feel fuller on less food.
- Support a pup’s development – with those tiny, sharp teeth and inquisitive nature, there’s a lot of mischief a growing pup can get into and while it is adorable most of the time, you want to keep that energy – and chewing – contained. An appropriate dog toy can take the strain of a developing puppy, boosting their cognitive function while giving them something safe to chew on as they teethe.
- Strengthen the both between a dog and their human – interactive toys often need two to play, meaning you get some quality playtime with your canine best friend. And the more time you spend together, the stronger your relationship will be.
How To Use Dog Interactive Toys For Training
Whether it’s for a pup or an older hound, interactive toys can be used to great effect when it comes to training your dog.
Problem-solving toys are good for focusing the mind and can be used for positive reinforcement in any puppy or dog training program. They can be incorporated into your dog’s daily routine to help you nip any negative behavior such as chewing or over-eating in the bud. Interactive toys can also be used for specific skills training such as fetch or return and add a whole new fun dimension to his daily walk or exercise routine. Use an interactive feeder as a reward following good behavior or a training session to positively reinforce your pup’s success and achievements or as a distraction from any negative behavior. In short, adding interactive toys to his training will not only stimulate and reinforce his achievements, soothe him after exercise and distract him from potential destructive behavior, but will also make everything fun and leave him wanting to do more.
Best Interactive Dog Toys FAQ:
Q: What are interactive dog toys?
A: Interactive dog toys are designed to stimulate your pooch and provide longer periods of fun, even when you are not there to play with them. From chew and fetch toys, to puzzles, treat feeders and activity toys, interactive toys up the fun level while getting your pup to think and react. Many are also multi-functional so great value and a good way to alleviate boredom and prevent negative behavior such as chewing, especially if your dog is on its own for periods of a time.
Q: How do I get my dog to play with toys?
A: Some dogs may indifferent to play or be wary of an interactive dog toy. Play is an important part of your pooch’s wellbeing as it provides stimulation and activity as well as fun time, especially with their favorite human! Not all dogs are interested in playing with toys, especially if their early socialization has been a bit lacking, but you can encourage a reluctant or seemingly uninterested dog to have a go.
The key is patience and working with your pooch on their terms as not all dogs like every type of toy or game. You could start by piquing their interest by playing with the toy yourself or starting with a treat toy to get them to take notice. Take a fetch or ball toy out on your daily walk and introduce it to them on familiar ground then slowly add more toys into the mix. Reward them for their interaction and they will come to associate their new interactive toy with positive vibes and enjoy them more and more.
Our Top Pick
For its sheer energy, bounce and durability, the Chuckit! Ultra Ball scoops our top pick and will give you and your pooch hours of silly, high-octane outdoor fun. Available in a range of sizes and made from durable rubber, the outer has a softer texture that is no less robust but is also kinder to your pup’s mouth. We also love the bright colors and they float too, so perfect for summer water games. A doggone winner!
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