Dogs need regular stimulation to make them happy and to improve their well-being. It might not be practically possible to be with your dog all the time because of work schedules and other engagements and more often you will have to leave your dog alone at home. This is where you need to buy an interactive dog toy for your pup.
Unlike regular toys like bones and ropes, interactive dog toys keep your dog mentally stimulated as he engages with them. Your dog will love spending time with these toys because they require participation which also comes with comfort and fulfillment to your pup. When using an interactive dog toy, your pup’s anxiety will reduce significantly hence ensuring that you have a happy and healthy dog all the time.
If your dog is teething, it is common that he chews your stuff in the house which can be a bigger and expensive problem when replacing your torn stuff. By engaging and playing with an interactive toy, your dog will not chew up stuff that looks boring to him like your table, curtains or shoes.
Welcome to this buying guide where we will look at the 25 best interactive dog toys in 2021 that you can buy for your furry friend.
6 Benefits of Getting An Interactive Toy For Your Dog
1. Makes your dog more active.
By getting an interactive toy, your pup will learn to be more active which will also improve his mental and physical health.
2. Reduces anxiety.
An interactive dog toy is a great tool to use that will aid in the reduction of stress and anxiety in your dog. By making him engaged even when you are not there, an interactive dog toy gives your dog more reasons to be happy when lonely.
3. Good for teething puppies.
When puppies are growing and developing teeth, it is normal for them to feel the urge to bite and chew on anything because of the itching jaws. During this stage, you can get an interactive dog toy that your puppy can chew on while playing with it.
4. Enhances learning.
An interactive dog toy will help your pup learn and enhance his natural skills e.g., hunting while exploring the world around him.
5. Can be used to snack your dog.
You can use an interactive dog toy that dispenses treats to give your dog some snacks while you are away during his playtime.
6. Your dog will love you more.
Your furry friend knows that you are the one who gives him the interactive toys that make him feel good every time, as a result, he will love you more and strengthen his bond to you.
6 Broad Types of Interactive Dog Toys
The principle behind all interactive dog toys is how they can make your dog become independent and develop his happiness. You will find many types of these toys in the market and they serve different participatory purposes for your furry friend.
Many of these toys can fall into multiple categories because the manufacturers always include interesting features in their products.
The following are the 6 main types of interactive dog toys that you can consider.
1. Treat dispensing toys
These toys act like mini dog feeders that will dispense treats to your dog whenever he plays with them. This is mostly used to stir up dogs that are motivated by treats to play because he will engage with the toy aiming to get a treat in the process.
2. Electronic toys
Electronic interactive dog toys are mostly used to keep your dog entertained for a long period when he is left alone. They have a lot of features including taking photos of your dog while he is playing with a projected laser in the room. Some also feature a speaker that will be used to pass your message to him virtually.
3. Toys with hidden treasure
These toys are good for sniffer dogs and those that like digging. They feature a system where the toy will hide a treat or another toy that your dog values and makes it difficult for him to find. The hidden treat or toy acts as a price that your dog has to work for in order to get.
4. Tension toys
These interactive toys are best for dogs that love pulling and playing tug of war with their other dogs or owners. It has an interesting toy that is attached to a strong anchor that makes it difficult for your dog to remove or get a complete hold.
Make sure you mount and secure the toy in a strong place and teach your furry friend how to use it properly.
5. Hide and seek toys
These toys are mobile and they are made to move from one place to the other hence making your dog discover the new location of the toy.
Some of these toys are designed with wheels that make locomotion possible and can move freely within the house. Others can be controlled virtually by another device like a computer or smartphone to where and when they move around.
6. Puzzle toys
The category known as puzzle interactive dog toys have buttons, knobs among other elements that are used to input a specific setting that can only open up once your dog interacts with it correctly. It’s like how human beings engage their brains in solving puzzles. These toys improve your dog’s ability to solve basic problems.
You will find many interactive dog toys that can fit in one or more of the categories highlighted above. Before choosing the best interactive dog toys to buy for your furry friend, you need to know his behavior, likes, and dislikes.
25 Best Interactive Dog Toys You Need to Buy In 2021
Treat Dispensing Toys
This treat dispensing dog toy can be used to effectively reward your dog after he responds positively to your training program. It uses a remote control that has two buttons to dispense treats or stop. The remote can be used up to a maximum distance of 100 feet, this product is recommended to dogs of 6 months and above in age and those that do not have any physical challenges to reach the feeder bowl.
This toy measures 16 x 10.5 x 10.25 inches and it has a weight of 6.14 Pounds making it a sturdy product to hold treats for your dog.
You can use this toy to teach your dog good manners to maintain while in the house. You can also use it during stimulating games and exercises that make him focus on you. On consistent use, you can teach your dog more specialized skills like obedience using this toy.
It has many cool features.
The package includes a DVD for visualization.
Great quality training tool.
Might develop dispensing misses after some time of use.
This treat-dispensing toy can stimulate your dog’s interest and appetite to eat his favorite treats. The toy measures 117x100x57mm and weighs 0.71 pounds. The treat bowl has a clear cover that allows you to monitor and see when it is necessary to refill it.
This toy is suitable for use by puppies and small dogs. Large dogs can easily chew off and disassemble the parts of this toy.
By using this toy, your dog needs to do work in order to eat, which also allows for slow feeding hence improving your dog’s digestion. Hard work is rewarded by treats, hence your puppy will slowly learn good behavior as he grows. Your dog can also use this toy as a playing partner and not for dispensing treats alone.
The set-up process is easy and the toy can be cleaned and dried easily before filling up with another batch of treats.
Very easy to fill.
Stimulates your puppy.
Might be large for some puppies.
This is a treat-dispensing toy that weighs 1.35 pounds and it is an important toy to keep your dog busy while he gets rewarded with treats or snacks.
Your dog will be attracted to the nice smelling treats in this toy and he will then chase and turn the toy in an attempt to locate the treats. The funny movement of this toy will also attract your dog’s attention and make him want to play with it longer. You can adjust the dispensing hole sizes in this toy, a small hole will make it difficult for treats to dispense. This gives you more control of how long you would love your dog to play.
The rubber-like material used to make this toy is strong enough to withstand moderate chewing by your dog. Aggressive chewing might destroy this toy. The toy is easy to clean and set up for the next playtime.
The adjustable openings allow for many types of treats and snacks.
The toy makes unpredictable movements hence keeping your dog alert.
Can be destroyed by an aggressive chewer.
This is a treat-dispensing interactive dog toy that keeps bouncing randomly from one place to another dropping treats hence making your dog follow it closely wherever it goes. The toy is made with a rubber material that makes it a safe choice for chewers. The rubber material is durable and cannot be destroyed easily and it can be washed in a dishwasher.
This toy has a treat meter that allows you to customize how often you would want it to dispense treats to your dog. The toy can also contain multiple treats ranging from dry kibbles, peanut butter, spreadable treats to cheese which means that your dog will have limitless fun when engaging with this toy.
To set up this toy, you will simply load the treat chamber with your dog’s favorite snack and set the rate you would like them to dispense on the treat meter.
Made with a strong rubber material that cannot be chewed off.
Fun for your dog.
Some units might have a strong rubber scent.
This dog toy has a large pineapple pattern that can be used to increase the bond and love between you and your furry friend. This toy also helps your dog clean his teeth whenever he chews them and reduces anxiety and stress.
Make sure you choose the right toy size according to your dog’s size. For dogs of 11 to 22 pounds, use the small toy size, 22 to 45 pounds use a large toy size, and for dogs of 45 pounds and above you can use the X large toy size.
This toy is made with a natural rubber material that is safe for your dog to chew without worrying about any dental injuries during playtime. The tough texture of this pineapple toy will massage your dog’s mouth and tongue.
Your dog can chew this interactive toy for a long time because the material is durable, bite and wear-resistant.
The toy has a pineapple flavor that attracts your dog to chew it more, the squeaky design is present to make your dog spend more time interacting with this toy.
Good for aggressive chewers.
Made with durable and safe material.
Can easily be destroyed if you get a small-sized toy for your large dog.
This puzzle dog toy has 15 sliding plates that cover a hidden treasure that is placed inside any of the grid openings. The entire product has a measurement of 14 x 14 x 2 inches. This toy is crucial in developing your furry friend’s sense of smell because he will tirelessly work out his brain to find the hidden treat. It also reduces boredom, stress, and destructive behavior in your dog.
You can place treats inside the grid openings and allow your dog to find them slowly. This will encourage an interactive feeding session that gives enough time for digestion.
Whenever your dog discovers the hidden treat, make sure you praise him for the successful thing he has done.
A fun toy that lasts for a long time.
Can be used by multiple dogs.
The board pieces can be tough to open for some dogs.
The pieces can be destroyed by a chewing dog.
This interactive toy has 3 bottles with different size holes supported on a frame. The bottles can swing and pop out the treat when your dog engages with the toy. This type of interaction is good for your dog to develop his brain because he has to figure out how to toss the bottles to pop out the treats.
The different hole sizes in the bottles allow you to put a variety of treats for your dog to pop out. This toy is a slow feeder and it is good for use if your dog has digestion problems because of the controlled time of feeding.
The supporting frame has a stable base and adjustable height supports which makes it a good toy for small to large dogs.
You can use this toy indoors or still, take it alongside you when going out for a camping trip with your dog.
Watch the video below that shows how to set up this toy and get your dog to use it.
It offers hours of entertainment and mental stimulation.
The base is sturdy.
Can be used by multiple dogs.
The plastic bottles are not so durable.
This is another interactive puzzle toy that also has treat-dispensing abilities. This toy is suitable for use by medium to large-sized dogs that can figuratively determine how to get treats to fall from the compartments. The interactive session between your dog and the toy provides a good training ground for your dog to exercise his brain and mental powers.
There are 5 different levels with increasing difficulty. It is advised to move to a higher level when you see your dog managing the lower levels with ease. This will make him grow his brain and cognitive faculties stronger. Once your pup manages to pull apart the toy, treats will drop and he will be encouraged to put more work to receive more treats.
This toy is made with a rubber material that is safe for your dog’s teeth and health. The material is strong enough to withstand simple bites and chews from your furry friend.
Watch the video below and learn how to set up this toy.
Challenging and entertaining toy.
Safe and durable.
Good cure for heavy chewers.
Might be big for some medium-sized dogs.
This puzzle interactive dog toy has a weight of 2.88 pounds and it has a 3-level interactive dog puzzle session. By using this toy, your furry friend will develop his natural hunting skills and mental powers.
You will fill each compartment with treats and cover them according to the level you desire and that which your pup can handle. Your dog will then need to engage his brain and uncover the underlying treats in the compartments for him to eat.
This interactive toy cannot be disassembled hence making it a more durable product to keep your dog entertained and exercising for a long period. The toy is made with a variety of materials including durable plastic, wood, and PVC polymer.
Make sure you show your dog how to use this toy in order to prevent him from chewing off the movable parts.
Perfect for introducing your dog to puzzle toys.
Made with durable materials.
Lightweight and easy to set up.
Needs supervision to prevent your dog from chewing up the movable pieces.
This is another option from Nina Ottosson’s collection. It has 9 compartments where you can place treats and close them with a dog bone toy. Your dog will then have to remove the bone to access and eat the hidden treat. This toy can be used with small, medium, and large dogs. Make sure that your dog can remove the bone to interact with this toy effectively.
The toy is made with a tough plastic material that is durable and safe for use with your dog. The bottom of the toy is made with anti-slip material that secures the toy in place when your dog is playing with it. The product can be washed and dried with a dishwasher.
You can teach your dog not to chew the bones since he can destroy them when chewed excessively.
Good puzzle to stimulate your puppy’s mind.
Can be used as a food dish for your dog.
Provides fun and controlled feeding.
Smarter dogs can easily figure out the puzzle.
Smart Interactive Dog Toys
This treat-dispensing toy can be used to feed both dogs and cats. This toy is powered by batteries and it has multiple sensors that aids in its movement around the house as it pops out treats to your dog.
By popping out the treats, your dog will actively follow this toy as he collects and eats the treats with fun and entertainment. This keeps your dog both mentally and physically engaged hence boosting his IQ and killing boredom. This toy works automatically and it will still entertain your dog even when you are at work or school.
The toy is made with durable and safe materials that can hold treats and it is easy to fill up and disassemble the toy. The toy can be cleaned with ease after you have disassembled it.
Fun and entertaining for your dog.
Can be used by multiple pets.
The toy’s movement might scare off an anxious dog.
This smart interactive dog toy resembles a bone and it moves around the house while your dog follows it diligently. By following it, your dog’s agile behavior is strengthened and it is also a good toy to use if you want your furry friend to lose weight.
Since your dog can bite and chew this bone, the materials used to make this dog toy are safe and can last longer. The material is both wear and bite-resistant and when bitten, it does not affect your pup’s teeth.
The toy has an ON/OFF button that is used to activate the motion. When you press the button once, the power indicator will light in green color then you pat on it to activate.
Have a look at the video below that shows how to set up and use this toy.
Very entertaining and fun toy
Durable and safe for your dog
It can easily be destroyed by a strong dog
It can scare nervous dogs.
This smart interactive dog toy resembles a bone and it is good for dogs that love chewing and biting. The toy can be connected to your smartphone via the smart bone App which is available for both Android and iOS users. You can use the App to control how the bone moves and make interactive sessions with your furry friend. You can move the toy back and forth in the house and as your dog follows it, he builds on his hunting skills and spends his excess energy.
This interactive toy is an effective training tool for dogs that love chewing and are causing damage to your furniture or other things in the house.
If you are not at home, you can switch the bone toy to an automatic mode which will make all the moves by itself hence engaging your dog and killing boredom. There are a total of 9 action modes and further 3 emotion conditions in this interactive toy that keeps your dog entertained.
The exterior part of this toy can easily be removed and hence facilitates the cleaning and charging of the battery.
Fun and entertaining toy for your dog.
It has good battery life.
Might not work well on some surfaces e.g., grass.
Outdoor Interactive Dog Toys
This spring rope toy is ideal for assisting your dog to build muscles and teeth strength. The package comes with 2 springs, one is small and it is suitable for puppies and small dogs, the other spring is large and suitable for medium, large and strong dogs. The package also includes a free tug toy which will be attached to the spring and form the base where your dog will bite and stretch.
You will closely supervise your dog as he chews on the rope and swings because he might destruct the rope by excessive chewing.
The spring pole is made with a strong stainless-steel material that can manage a pull of 600 pounds. This makes it a convenient and durable toy your dog can use to pull, stretch, swing, and build his muscles.
To install this toy, all you have to do is hang the spring pole on a tree branch or wooden beam then tie the end of the spring with the rope and let it hang at a distance that is easily reachable by your dog.
Perfect toy for jumpers and swingers.
The spring pole is of high quality.
Perfect for large and strong dogs with lots of energy.
Requires close supervision to prevent the destruction of the rope.
Another option of rope toys is this outdoor interactive dog toy that is good for exercising your furry friend who loves hanging, swinging, and engaging in a tug of war. This toy can support a pull force of up to 260 pounds and it has adjustable height meaning you can set up this toy to match the desired height you would wish. The packaging includes a free tug toy ball that can be attached at the end of the main rope.
This toy can be set up in many ways including wrapping it around a tree trunk or hanging it from a tree branch. You will just need to ensure that you let the ball hang from a height that your dog can reach with ease.
The rope and ball are made of strong materials that can withstand chewing. The ball is bite resistant meaning that you can leave your dog without close supervision because he will not tear it up. Pay close attention if you have a strong dog that loves chewing.
It can be set up in multiple ways.
Made with strong material.
It helps your dog build muscles and develop his hunting skills.
The stretch might not last for long.
This is the world’s original automatic dog ball launcher and it is made by GoDogGoInc. Having a body measurement of 14.02 x 15 x 17.99 inches, this interactive dog toy has a weight of 10.5 pounds and it can be powered by both AC and battery.
The product has a remote control that is used to set timings or launch the ball. The remote can be used up to a maximum distance of 50 feet from the toy. The ball compartment can accommodate various tennis balls sizes ranging from 1.75 – 25 inches and it is big enough to accommodate many balls at a go.
There are a total of 3 settings for time and 3 settings for the distance that can be altered to match your space and size. This toy is best used outdoors and it can be used to train your dog or in routine exercises.
It has a huge compartment that can accommodate many balls of varying sizes.
Can be used with multiple dogs.
It has a loud sound when launching the ball that can scare an anxious dog.
This outdoor interactive dog toy comes with 3 tennis balls included in the packaging. The toy measures 11.4 x 11 x 9 inches and it has a weight of 4.79 pounds.
This toy launches a tennis ball to a set distance which then your dog will run for the ball to pick it and bring it back. You can teach your dog how to fetch and drop the ball back to the toy compartment and he will do the interactive session with the toy alone.
It is therefore a good toy to keep your dog energetic and engaged as he improves his physique and physical strength.
You can select a choice of three launch distances (10ft / 20ft / 30ft) by simply pressing a button on the toy. There are indicative lights that will tell you the distance selected for launching the ball.
The toy is very easy to operate and it is powered with 6 pieces of C batteries which are not included in the packaging. You can also use the AC mains to power it.
It teaches your dog how to focus.
It can also be used indoors in a spacious room.
The tennis ball might hit your pet when launched from the toy.
This snuffle mat has a treat-dispensing ball and also functions as a puzzle feeder that will pop out treats to your dog once he figures out how to do so. It encourages slow feeding habits which are good for digestion. This interactive dog toy features a mat, treat ball, and a snuffle ball that releases treats when tossed.
The clear treat ball allows you to easily monitor the treat level and refill it when needed.
This toy gives your dog both physical and mental exercise that is needed to keep his health at an optimum level. By engaging with this toy, your dog releases a lot of energy that could have otherwise been spent on destroying other items in your house.
Gives your dog a natural practice of his hunting skills.
Promotes mental wellness.
Advances your dog’s sense of adventure.
Aggressive chewers can destroy the clear ball.
This snuffle mat interactive toy is meant to improve your dog’s sense of smell by allowing him to search for food as he would have done when outside. You will take your dog’s favorite treats and kibbles then fill them up in the holders and hide them in the mat.
The treats’ smell will arouse your dog’s interest and make him search continuously for what to eat. This develops your dog’s natural foraging skills and keeps him engaged for a long time as well. The slow feeding will make for better digestion hence improving your dog’s health.
The snuffle mat can be used by all dogs and it is made with an anti slip bottom that makes it sturdy in one location despite your dog’s interactions. The mat is made with a material that is easy to clean and can easily be rolled up and carried from one place to the other.
It will keep your dog engaged for a long time.
Fun and rewarding
Easy to clean.
Not appropriate for chewers and pullers.
This is an interactive tug toy that can be used to keep your dog actively engaged for a long time. The tugger weighs 0.7 pounds and features a rope and a ball. The toy can be used for dogs of all ages and sizes.
When setting up the rope on a tree branch, be sure to adjust the height according to your dog’s size. This tugger encourages solo playing and it is perfect for people who have one dog that gets bored when alone.
The hanging ball can withstand moderate chewers but if your dog is an aggressive chewer, be sure to hang the toy at a height such that your dog will not sit down and constantly chew the ball.
You can also use this toy indoors by hanging the tugger from your ceiling. Ensure you hang it in a place where your dog will not cause any destruction when tugging.
Offers good value for money.
It can be used indoors.
The rope is not so durable
This interactive tug toy is best used by small to medium-sized dogs weighing up to 70 pounds. This toy can be used both indoors and outdoors. For outdoor use, you will simply hit the base on soft ground and put the tug pole in place attached to the knotted rope toy attachment.
This toy keeps your dog actively engaged by tugging the knotted rope and spinning the tug pole up to 360 degrees. This makes the tug game enjoyable and it keeps your dog out of destructive behavior when he has a lot of energy.
This toy is a great deal for dogs that love tugging and pulling. You need to supervise your dog to prevent him from aggressively chewing the rope toy, however, it can withstand moderate chewing.
A good toy for dogs who love pulling.
It keeps your dog engaged and it’s fun for him.
The base pole is not very firm on all grounds.
Plush Interactive Dog Toys
This interactive dog toy can be used for tugging, tossing and fetching with a weight of 1.8 pounds. It resembles a young dinosaur and it is made with a soft material with 4 layers of fabric. The toy is therefore strong enough to withstand moderate chewers. Be careful because aggressive chewers can tear this toy apart. The toy is only meant for interactive sessions with your dog.
This toy can float on water and it is, therefore, a good companion when you go out swimming with your dog. The toy can also be washed with ease, and it is recommended to wash it regularly to remove the accumulation of dirt particles.
It’s easy to wash.
Not suitable for aggressive chewers.
This interactive toy from iFetch comes in blue and white color, is circular, and weighs 4.8 pounds. If your furry friend likes digging up in places, this is the perfect toy to buy for him.
You will load the flaps that come shipped together with this product with your dog’s favorite treat or enticing toys. You will then hide it and let your furry friend dig his way to find the treasure. Physical digging and mental exercise are good for your dog’s health and interactive skills.
If your dog has the habit of digging in the garden, flowerpots, and other areas not meant for him, this is a perfect toy to get for him to correct the behavior.
The flaps can be washed by a machine easily, regular washing will guarantee your dog a clean environment to play on.
Numerous layers and pockets for hiding the treasure.
It has good size for multiple dogs.
Not so sturdy.
This is a chew ball toy that is made with a very strong material that is virtually indestructible and it weighs 0.26 pounds. You can use this toy to toss your dog, throw it at a distance then he will bring it back to you.
This chew ball can float in water meaning that you can extend your dog’s fun even in the swimming pool. The ball can also bounce when tossed on the concrete ground.
The ball is tied with a short rope that makes it easier for you to throw it and also for tugging with your furry friend.
Durable chew ball that survives an excessive chewer.
Good toy for training your dog.
The rope is not as durable as the ball.
This is a chew toy that has portions where you can put treats that will motivate your dog to extensively engage with the toy. This chew toy weighs 1.74 pounds and is made with a rubber material that is safe for your dog to chew.
You can choose the toy sizes based on your dog’s size. The small toy can be used with dogs of up to 20 pounds, the medium toy can be used with dogs of between 15 to 35 pounds. If you have a dog of between 30 to 65 pounds, then you can get the large size for him.
The toy has a unique bone shape that motivates your dog to chew even more and rewards him with a treat once he dislodges it. This toy supports good chewing habits and it is good for dogs that like chewing so much.
By chewing this toy, your dog’s dental hygiene is improved because the rubber material aids in removing any debris from the teeth and gums.
Watch the video below from KONG company and see how this chew toy is portrayed.
The material is durable.
Gives your dog an extended engagement time.
A larger and smart dog can find the treats very easily.
Getting the best interactive dog toys requires a lot of research on what your dog likes and how he behaves when left alone. If your dog is an aggressive chewer, I would recommend getting a toy that cannot be torn apart easily and requires minimum supervision.
Have a look at the video below by Brian from Chewy where he talks about choosing an interactive toy that suits you.
Thank you for reading through my buying guide and it is my hope that you found the toys that work for you. If you have any concerns or questions, please leave them in the comment section below.