Are Dog Puzzle Toys Worth Spending Money On?

Jul 23, 2021

Many parents of newborns and young children find puzzle toys super helpful. They often reduce the parents’ guilt of having less time for the dogs and keep the dogs busy, a win-win situation.  I recommend using them to feed dogs their meals, make snacks, during grooming sessions, or when working on alone time training.

General rules:

  • ️Make it initially easy and yummy.
  • To start with, use a lot of loosely packed food so it falls out easily.
  • ️Slowly make it more difficult: pack it more densely, add layers, freeze the toy.
  • ️Choose a puzzle toy that matches your dog’s personality, size, and breed.
  • Many puzzle toys come in 2 or 3 sizes. To choose the right kong, check out the Kong size guide on their website.

There are many puzzle toys on the market and your dog certainly doesn't need all of them. Over the years, I’ve tested many puzzle toys on various dogs. Here are some of my favorites.

If you have a herding breed dog or one that likes to play with toys, a ball-like Snoop or Tetraflex would be perfect. You can fill it with dog food or treats and watch your dog nudge, nose, nibble, paw and pounce to get the food.

If your dog is into chewing and licking for extended periods, make your dog a Kong.

️If you need something your dog won’t destroy right away, try the Bob-A-Lot Food Dispensing Toy. It holds up to three cups of food and has adjustable openings to make it more or less difficult.

️A Snuffle Mat is perfect for dogs who spend a lot of time on walks sniffing everything. You can check them out here too!

️Lick Mats are another favorite product of mine. I love them for baths and grooming sessions, they are perfect for dogs who love to lick. Here's another place to find Lick Mats!

Safety first:

When it comes to food puzzle toys proceed with caution for both baby and dog. This needs to be a carefully managed scenario:

  • Give your dog a puzzle toy only in a baby-free zone, or when the baby is asleep or not home.
  • Make sure to check for any leftovers (food and chewed-up puzzle toys!), and put them away before the baby is present.
  • Do not leave stray puzzle toys around, even if your dog is showing no interest.
  • Many dogs will protect and guard their resources from children, even if they have not guarded them from adults.
  • Beware that dog food and dog treats can be a serious choking hazard for young children!⁠
  • There are no indestructible toys for a determined dog, and choking can be a hazard if the toy is too small! Choose a puzzle toy accordingly and use caution.

⁠Check out the Dog Meets Baby Amazon Store for more products. 

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