The best opportunity for working your dog’s brain and keeping them busy is at their mealtime. You can coordinate their meals with your departure for the day to keep them occupied while you’re gone, or at times when you need your dog to be busy (ie: while you’re cooking dinner).
There have been many advances in food dispensing toys for dogs, from fancy electronic ones to the basics. Here’s a list for a variety of budgets:
- Foobler – at around $35 this is a very cool option for dogs who need to be kept busy
over a longer duration of time. It has 6 different pods to fill up with food, each pod can be released at a specific time with a bell indicating to your dog that food is available. For more information watch their youtube video
- Kong Wobbler – ranging from $20 to
$30 (depending on size) this widely available toy will slow your dog down if they tend to inhale their meals as well as keep them busy knocking the food out. Some dogs will finish food in the wobbler quickly, it won’t keep smart dogs busy long.
Wobble Ball by P.L.A.Y – around $24 this is not only an adorable food dispensing toy, but they also offer a guarantee that if the top is damaged by your dog they will replace it at no charge.
- West Paw’s Toppl – under $25 (depending on size) you can stuff these toys with food and freeze them as well as use them as kibble dispensers. Make sure you watch their video for some neat things you can do including combining two together for more of a challenge!
- Kongs toys – ranging from $15 to $30 depending on size/type and available at all pet supply stores, these are toys that can be stuffed with peanut butter, wet food, kibble, etc. The options are endless and there are great videos showing how to stuff them to keep your dog busy for as long as possible For best results freeze overnight!
- Nina Ottosson Toys – some of the original advanced enrichment toys for dogs, Nina Ottosson toys are found for a variety of prices and length of time they keep a dog busy will vary. There are puzzles that are fun for the occasional game, as once some dogs figure it out they can finish it quite quickly, versus toys that can be used for every meal. They are found more & more in pet shops, but you may have better luck finding them in dog boutiques or online versus box stores.
- Safemade makes toys for stuffing that you also can bake! They have some great recipes for what to do with their products.
- Planet Dog has a variety of durable toys that can be stuffed with food from $20 and up and they donate part of their profits to non-profit animal groups.
SAFETY NOTE: Never leave your dog alone with a food toy that is untested in case they chew a piece off. If you have a heavy chewer it’s ideal to only leave them alone with hard plastic food dispensing toys that they can’t fit in their mouth.