The best dog puzzles of 2024

The next time your dog is pestering you for a belly rub, or just seems plain ol’ bored, pass him one of the best dog puzzles below—Fido will be entertained in no time!

Best for puppies

blue and pink kong puppy toys

KONG Puppy Toy

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Best for seniors

blue dental rope dog toy

Playology Silver Dental Rope 

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Best with treats

orange treat ball in packaging

Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball 

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Sometimes you just don’t have enough time in the day to give your pooch that 24/7 attention he so desires, and that’s where a dog puzzle can help. When your dog is jonesin’ for some play and you’re not around, he may engage in some troubling recreation (think: chewing up the couch pillow or your favorite pair of socks) to combat boredom. The best dog puzzles are a great source of mental stimulation that not only will solve this potential behavioral issue, but will also train him to have some independent fun while you focus on your own daily tasks.  

The best dog puzzles: Reviews & Recommendations

If you’re a dog lover, chances are you already know that, like humans, dogs are intelligent creatures. They want to be challenged. The best dog puzzles provide a healthy opportunity for your pet to exert their physical and mental energies on a safe and fun toy. Plus, these interactive dog toys can help decrease anxiety and improve problem-solving skills. Here are our recommendations of dog toys for a variety of canines.

Best for puppies: KONG Puppy Toy

A Gentle Classic

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Specs

  • Type: Fetch toy 
  • Age: Puppies
  • Sizes: Extra small, small, medium, large

Pros

  • Fun design
  • Inexpensive
  • Recommended by vets
  • Good for your dog’s teeth

Cons

  • Not made from sustainable materials
  • Not a puzzle in the classic sense

You can’t go wrong with this classic puzzle toy from Kong. Stuff it, freeze it, and hand it over to your food-motivated pup for hours of mental fun. Plus, it’s good for your dog’s gums and teeth. These puppy toys come recommended by both dog trainers and veterinarians. And these Kong dog toys are available in four sizes to suit a range of canines: extra small, small, medium, and large.

Best feeder: Fable Pets’ The Game 

Sleek u0026 Unique

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Specs

  • Type: Treat dispenser
  • Age: All ages
  • Sizes: One that’s available in five colors

Pros

  • Fun for a range of dogs
  • Controls the pace of treat dispensing
  • Can adjust size of hole for added challenge

Cons

  • Some users says dogs can destroy the plastic
  • May not be easy to clean

Created to add some challenge to your pup’s mealtime, this puzzle will keep pets entertained for approximately 30 minutes. Instead of the routine bowl of food, this is an excellent alternative that will allow for safer and slower feeding. Plus, this dog training treat toy has multiple complexities—once your dog masters dry food, level up by adding in some peanut butter!

Best for adolescents: Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel 

Plush Squeaker

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Specs

  • Type: Hide-and-seek toy
  • Age: Puppies and small dogs
  • Sizes: Small, medium, large, extra large

Pros

  • Engages your dog’s hunting instincts
  • Interactive
  • Easy on the gums and teeth
  • Also plays fetch

Cons

  • Some users say it was easy for dogs to pull apart

The versatility of this puzzle is great for your adolescent dog. Stuff the toy with the squeaky squirrels, and let them have at it. Once they retrieve the animals from the trunk, you can either restuff it, or use them to play a nice ol’ game of fetch to truly tire them out! 

Best for seniors: Playology Silver Dental Rope 

Scented and Sturdy

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Specs

  • Type: Chew toy
  • Age: Senior dogs
  • Sizes: Medium, large

Pros

  • Specifically designed for older dogs
  • Comes in peanut butter and sausage scents
  • Meet safety standards for pets

Cons

  • Some users say dogs shredded the toy
  • Some dogs may not be interested in the scents

This toy’s embedded scent is designed to grab your senior pal’s attention, even if he may not be able to see so well anymore. As your dog chews, the scent is released for greater engagement. Plus, the soft yet durable material is extra gentle on aging teeth. 

Best easy puzzle: PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat 

Sustainably Made

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Specs

  • Type: Self-amusement
  • Age: All dogs
  • Sizes: One

Pros

  • Searching for treats provides mental stimulation
  • Helps relieve anxiety
  • Machine-washable
  • Materials ethically sourced

Cons

  • Can be hard to clean
  • Dogs may chew off sections

The idea is simple: spaghetti-like strands stand up and move around like a shag rug. The result is an interactive sniffing extravaganza that mimics a field or forest. Toss some food in and your dog will forage like he was born to do! 

Best medium puzzle: Nina Ottosson Dog Brick Interactive Puzzle 

An Innovative Challenge

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Specs

  • Type: Self-amusement
  • Age: Intermediate level
  • Sizes: One

Pros

  • Comes with three ways to hide treats
  • Helps relieve anxiety
  • Made without PVC and phthalates

Cons

  • Some users found components broke off

This dog enrichment toy will test your pooch’s olfactory and coordination skills while also building up confidence. With multiple hiding spots for dry dog food or frozen treats, your dog will be kept busy for quite a long time. As an added plus, the puzzle is super easy to clean—some warm water and soap is all you need in between uses.  

Best hard puzzle: Nina Ottosson MultiPuzzle Toy for Experts 

Designed for Puzzle Masters

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Specs

  • Type: Self-amusement
  • Age: Expert level
  • Sizes: One

Pros

  • Allows you to customize challenges
  • Provides four puzzles in one
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Dogs may cause plastic to break off

The hardest of Nina Ottosson’s puzzle products, expert dogs must methodically complete a series of steps in the correct order to win treats from the puzzle feeder for dogs. With 28 hidden treat compartments, it’s ideal for dogs who have already mastered easier versions and are ready to be stumped. Your dog will thank you for getting those mental wheels spinning!

Best with treats: Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball 

Straightforward Dispenser

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Specs

  • Type: Training
  • Age: All ages
  • Sizes: Small, medium, and large

Pros

  • Good for a range of dogs
  • Affordable
  • Interactive

Cons

  • Some users say dogs chewed through it
  • Small is very small

Pop some treats in the slots of this dog puzzle feeder, and let your dog have at it. As the ball rolls around, treats will inevitably dispense from the different-sized holes, encouraging your dog to use its nose and paws. You can also use it as an alternative to regular meals to foster slower eating habits.

Things to consider when choosing the best dog puzzles

All dogs are unique, and not all dogs will appreciate the same type of toy. That’s why it’s vital to contemplate your dog’s age, temperament, and curiosity level when considering which dog toys are most appropriate for him or her. There are tons of dog games to choose from, so check out this factors to help you find the best dog puzzle toys that will keep your pooch challenged, stimulated, and entertained.

Age-appropriateness

The best dog puzzles for a senior Chow Chow may not be appropriate for an energetic Dachshund. For instance, materials matter a lot when considering differences in dogs’ mouths: teething puppies will need something soft and gentle in order to keep their gums and teeth safe, whereas older, more aggressive chewers will require something that is super durable so that the toy doesn’t fall apart after a few quick chomps.

The following puzzles for dogs reflect some favorite finds based on age. Keep this in mind for your growing pooch—as they grow, their dog puzzles should too!   

Difficulty

Next up, it’s important to consider the difficulty level when buying a dog puzzle for your furry friend. It’s always a good idea to start off easy and work your way up as their tolerance levels build organically. Patience is key—once your dog has mastered an easier game and no longer finds it challenging or fun, you’ll know it’s time to level up. The puzzles on our list include easy, medium, hard, and adaptable difficulty levels.  

Price

It’s no secret that dogs (and dog supplies) can be expensive. If you love your pet but don’t want to dig deep in your wallet after that annual veterinarian visit, rest assured that plenty of the best dog puzzles ring in at a fairly low price point. For an awesome puzzle toy that won’t break the bank, look no further than the Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball, coming in at under six dollars. 

FAQs

Q: Do dog puzzles work?

The short answer to if dog puzzles work is yes. They serve different purposes, from providing entertainment and reducing boredom to encouraging better eating habits and improving behavioral issues like separation anxiety or destruction. While one design might not be able to guarantee a 180-degree behavior change, it certainly will aid the process along by providing great mental stimulation for your dog. Make sure you choose durable, well-made products like those listed above in order to maximize the toy’s use. 

Q: What are the best puzzle toys for dogs?

When looking for puzzle toys for dogs, you want to keep a number of things in mind. The best puzzle toys will be made of safe materials that won’t harm your pet, will be specified for age and size, and will clearly state the level of difficulty required. The goal is for your dog to gain confidence and have fun!

Q: Are food puzzles good for dogs?

Absolutely! While some dogs are motivated by play or cuddles, most (if not all) dogs will have varying degrees of food motivation. By placing kibble or frozen treats (think: peanut butter with mashed banana) in a food-friendly puzzle, your pup will not only be putting his mind to great use, but will be immediately rewarded by eating a delicious snack. 

Our final thoughts on picking the best dog puzzles

The best dog puzzles are the ones that make your pooch feel safely challenged, cheerful, and amused. While you may not be able to cuddle and play with your pet all hours of the day, you now have the knowledge of the tools needed to provide your dog with puzzle toys that will keep boredom and poor behaviors at bay. Toss your pup a new puzzle and let the entertainment begin!

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