Puzzle feeders and enrichment toys to keep your dog sharp

The best ways to prevent puppy boredom.

cute puppy
Keep your best friend's brain active.Mia Anderson via Unsplash

Pets need both physical and mental stimulation—and while a walk around the neighborhood may not tucker out a high-energy dog, a short, intense session of mental stimulation probably will. Enrichment toys keep your dog engaged, excited, and working hard for treats—and are great helpers for lazy or bad weather days. They’re also good for dogs recovering from injuries or adding a little extra stimulation for a particularly restless pup.

Kong Classic Dog Toy
An iconic, long-lasting enrichment toy you can stuff with treats.Amazon

Aside from the tennis ball and chew bone, the Kong might just be the next most iconic dog toy. It’s also a fantastic enrichment toy. It’s a deceptively simple, durable rubber toy that can be stuffed with peanut butter, canned pumpkin, kibble soaked in chicken broth, and loads more. A frozen stuffed Kong can keep your pup quietly licking and chewing away for half an hour, and get them ready for a nap after. They come in sizes from XS to XXL. You might want a small stock of these ready in the freezer to always keep your pup occupied.

Paw5 Wooly Snuffle Mat
Makes your pup forage and sniff out his kibble.Amazon

Dogs have natural foraging and hunting instincts, which is why engaging their nose in a game of find-the-kibble is a great way to tire out your doggie. A snuffle mat will let them really rummage and work for his dinner. It’s a peaceful, easy activity for you to set up, one that your dog will love and get lost in. This sustainably produced one is machine washable for easy cleaning, made with non-toxic materials, and suitable for any sized hound.

Nina Ottosson Dog Smart Beginner Dog Puzzle Toy
Get your pup working for treats.Amazon

Really want to work on your dog’s problem-solving skills? Try a puzzle toy, like this one, designed to be beginner friendly. The plastic puzzle has nine removable compartments that your dog will have to manipulate to get the treat underneath. It’s made out of durable plastic that can be hand washed.

StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy
Your pup will work for her dinner.Amazon

This toy will wobble and bobble as your dog paws at it, picks it up, and rolls it around the living room. It fits up to three cups of kibble, which means you can feed entire meals in it—breakfast AND interactive enrichment. All you have to do is to fill it up, and decide how big to make the dispensing hole. Up the challenge level for a nimble dog, or let them have it easy. This one comes in two sizes.