The best interactive dog toys will stimulate, engage, and entertain your dog. More than just a chew toy, interactive dog toys are designed to enrich your dog’s life.
These toys come in a variety of shapes, sizes, types, and materials. But it is common to find electronic interactive dog toys, puzzle toys, and interactive treat dispensing toys.
Let’s take a look.
The Five Best Interactive Dog Toys
In this article we have included over 30 great ideas for interactive dog toys.
But just in case you’re short on time, here are our top picks.
|Best Interactive Dog Toys||Key Features||Our Rating|
|Kong Jump N Jack||Chew, Treat|
|Outward Hound Interactive Bowl||Puzzle Bowl|
|Nina Ottosson Dog Twister||Treat Puzzle Disc|
|Kong Wobbler||Treat Dispenser|
|Trixie Dog Flip Board||Treat Puzzle Board|
Interactive Dog Toys Quick Links
- Interactive Ball Toys
- KONG Interactive Toys
- Interactive Treat Dispensing Dog Toys
- Interactive Puppy Toys
- Puzzle Interactive Toys
- Interactive Feeders
- Plush Toys
- Electronic Interactive Dog Toys
The Importance Of Interactive Dog Toys
The latest science of animal intelligence tells us that Labrador Retrievers rank in the top seven of all dog breeds in terms of dogs that have the highest canine I.Q.
Even more amazingly, however, this same science indicates that your pet Labrador Retriever could easily go head-to-head in language, math, social skills, and basic emotional intelligence with a two-year-old human child. Wow!
So if you have ever had the sneaking sensation that your pooch is, well, bored, your intuition is likely telling you the truth.
Luckily, as dog owners learn more about just how smart our canine sidekicks truly are, we are demanding more and better interactive dog toys. And pet toys manufacturers are responding in kind.
Interactive Dog Toys And Intelligent Dogs
As of last year, Labrador Retrievers topped the list of the nation’s most popular dog breeds for the 28th year in a row!
As it turns out, Labs aren’t just popular among civilians seeking a loyal, loving, good-looking and companionable canine “other half.” The military also uses Labs for specialized safety and protective assignments due to their intelligence, stress tolerance, strength, and work ethic.
In one study, working military dogs who were provided with regularly scheduled enrichment sessions that included exercise and interaction with people showed lower stress (cortisol) levels and improved welfare levels over the 7-week study period.
Study results also show that interactive enrichment for large dogs such as Labrador Retrievers is an essential part of their ability to meaningfully engage in their own lives in positive and fulfilling ways.
Fun For All Ages
Puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs can all benefit from today’s wide variety of interactive dog toys. In fact, one recent study discovered that an enriched environment can actually extend your dog’s life!
So your Labrador puppy may still be young and uncoordinated in body. But that doesn’t mean she is too young and uncoordinated in mind to enjoy the puppy interactive toys we share here.
In the same way, even if your senior Labrador has some physical health issues that force him to take more frequent rest, chances are good his mind is still razor-sharp and eager to learn and interact with these great options!
Important Features Of Interactive Dog Toys
As mentioned at the outset, the best interactive dog toys come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. And they can be made from a wide variety of materials, as long as they are safe for dogs to chew on.
Along with that, these types of toys can offer enrichment in a variety of ways. Electronic toys, puzzle toys, and treat dispensing toys are some of the more popular types. We’ll take a look at those further on, along with several other kinds of toys.
Whatever the case, the best interactive dog toys for your pet will encourage her to engage, either with the toy or with you!
Best Interactive Ball Toys
The interactive dog ball toy has become a time-honored staple for all breed dog owners and their pooches. In fact, we would bet that if you ask most dog owners to list the 10 best interactive dog toys for sale today, most would be some type of ball toy!
The truth is, dogs across the board seem to naturally love playing with round ball toys – and these take the traditional ball toys several steps better with their many interactive features.
A ball is a classic dog toy, and these updates to the old standby make it even more enriching and interactive!
Like many of the toys listed in this article, interactive toys like these balls are designed to promote bonding between dog and owner.
JW Pet Company Tanzanian Mountain Ball Dog Toy
This highly rated ball toy is unique in the powerful “bounce” it delivers even while holding a variety of treats.
Made of natural, biodegradable safe rubber, dog owners say it can easily withstand squishing and squashing between your Lab’s jaws. The design of it is open so your dog can breathe through it, making it safer for longer periods of play.
It also makes for a fun and memorable game of “fetch.”
Hyper Pet K-9 Kannon Mini Tennis Ball Launcher
One dog owner said this popular tennis ball launcher actually brought her senior Lab “back to life” again!
The launcher can send the ball 75 feet away for a rousing game of long distance “fetch.”
Dog owners say the Kannon is very well made and operates with a rubber band, so you don’t have to worry about any batteries. It comes with one mini tennis ball.
OurPets IQ Treat Ball Interactive Food Dispensing Dog Toy
This treat ball is rated highly and comes in two sizes (3-inch and 4-inch).
The interactive feeder toy can be used for both food and treats. Dogs roll it and bat it around to get the food out.
You can also change the difficulty level (there are 4 levels total) to keep your Lab challenged from day to day to work for her treats.
Wobble Wag Giggle Ball Dog Toy
This interactive ball toy is designed to relieve stress by making noises when it is moved, grabbed, or carried.
There are six areas where your Lab can pick it up and carry it, shake it, or toss it.
The material is made of safe vinyl that is free from phthalates. It doesn’t have any batteries. The ball makes sounds using a unique and safe inner series of hollow tubes.
Best KONG Interactive Dog Toys
KONG is a maker of dog toys that is well known for creating interactive products, especially the type that dispenses treats!
KONG products tend to be heavy duty and long lasting, which makes them perfect for larger breeds like Labs.
Here are a few of our favorites.
KONG Jump N Jack Dental Dog Toy
This classic KONG toy can be filled with breath paste to help deodorize and sanitize your Lab’s teeth and gums.
This toy is great for Labs of all ages but may be especially soothing for teething Lab puppies.
It comes in three sizes (small, medium, large).
KONG Wobbler Treat Dispensing Dog Toy
The KONG company scores another hit with this popular large treat toy.
Your Lab will see it wobble, roll or spin when he pushes it with his nose to try to get the treats out.
It is dishwasher-safe and made of durable non-toxic food-grade plastic. The large wobbler holds one cup of food treats or up to two cups of kibble.
KONG Jumbler Ball Dog Toy
Another hit from KONG, this toy is also highly rated.
It comes in two sizes (medium/large and large/X-large). The toy tumbles, squeaks and dispenses treats – what more could a dog want?
There are also two handles your dog can use to pick it up and shake it or toss it.
Best Interactive Treat Dispensing Dog Toys
Every dog likes to get a treat! And sometimes treats taste better when they require a little extra effort. At least, that’s what we humans think!
Regardless of whether your dog agrees, these interactive treat dispensing dog toys definitely encourage action and play in order to get the reward inside.
Interactive treat toys have really moved into the limelight over the last few years. And let’s face it – tasty treats are a great motivator to get your dog to try new things, solve puzzles, learn commands, play games, and even sit still for the dreaded annual vet checkup!
The big challenge pet manufacturers face with designing dog treat toys is to make them sufficiently durable and chew-proof so it is clear which part is the toy and which part is the treat.
West Paw Design Zogoflex Qwizl
This ”Guaranteed Tough Puzzle” has a lot to offer!
Owners of intelligent dogs give this toy a big thumbs up. They say it ranks up there with their pups’ all-time toy favorites.
It comes in two colors (blue and green). Dog owners say the toy has endured where many others have fallen prey to a determined canine chew session. The manufacturer also offers a lifetime guarantee.
Nerf Dog 4″ Tire Treat Feeder Dog Toy
Who doesn’t love Nerf? Now there is a Nerf feeder toy for dogs that the whole family can enjoy.
Rated highly by dog owners, this Nerf large tire feeder can be used for treats or meals or both.
It is made of safe, durable rubber and is chew-resistant.
Up Dog Toys The Odin Dog Treat Puzzle Toy
This one-of-a-kind dog toy offers the kind of multi-functionality that can keep your Lab entertained for hours.
And it also won’t raise any eyebrows if it stays out while you entertain guests. It actually looks more like a tech gizmo than a dog toy, which is part of its appeal.
On top of that, you can connect more than one Odin together for additional challenges.
Wisedom IQ Treat Ball
This treat dispenser toy offers unpredictable play, which will keep your dog guessing and therefore engaged.
Best Interactive Puppy Toys
Even as our knowledge of canine intelligence grows, so too we get better at recognizing and stimulating our dogs’ natural intelligence at ever-younger ages.
The earlier you begin offering interactive play to your puppy, the stronger your bond will be and the more appreciative you will be of your puppy’s many strengths and talents.
These toys are some of the best interactive puppy toys available today and we hope your Lab puppy will enjoy them!
TRIXIE Pet Products Dog Activity Gambling Tower
This toy is well rated by dog owners. It can be used for dogs of all ages.
However, many reviewers say it is great for puppies in particular as it prevents boredom and distracts puppies who are getting into trouble.
This is a level 1 gambling toy, so it is suitable for beginner dogs. The toy will hold a small amount of treats in the base cones. Dog owners suggest it is best used with your supervision during interactive playtime.
KONG Puppy Tire
This popular puppy chew toy becomes interactive when you fill it with soft nut butter or KONG puppy treats.
The puppy tire comes in small and large and is made of natural rubber teething material. It helps your puppy to ease her teething pains while maximizing the chances for healthy adult gums and teeth.
Best Interactive Puzzle Dog Toys
Many of the interactive dog games, puzzles, and toys sold today would challenge a tiny human (or even an adult human). In other words, these are not your ordinary dog games!
They will really stimulate your dog’s untapped creativity and mental acuity as she plays.
There are so many great interactive dog puzzles available to dogs today, it’s hard to remember the decades when a Frisbee and a tennis ball were the staples for dog playtime!
Whether your Labrador is a puppy, an adult or a senior dog, she is sure to love these highly rated interactive puzzle dog toys.
Nina Ottosson DogTwister Interactive Game
When it comes to puzzle dog toys, Nina Ottosson is one of the biggest names in pet toys today.
This popular toy is designed to help you train your dog to recognize and obey common commands (which makes it great for puppies as well).
Even better, the toy is said to be “slobber proof” as well as being dishwasher safe.
If you like this toy, Nina Ottosson has many more creative toys you can introduce to your Lab, too.
AB AttaBoy Premium Quality Interactive Puzzle Dog Toys Snuffle Mat
This snuffle mat is a great way to put your dog’s nose and brain to work!
Hide food or treats within the compartments of the mat, and let your pup’s instincts take over.
This mat can be combined with others to make a large or extra large sized mat, giving your dog plenty of room to play with.
PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat Feeding Mat For Dogs
This innovative foraging mat rates highly on multiple levels.
It is made from all non-toxic recycled materials and is machine wash-friendly. It’s also easy to fill and set up.
Suitable for puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs, it is very adaptable and can be used throughout your dog’s lifetime. And the manufacturer offers a 100 percent money-back guarantee!
TRIXIE Pet Products Dog Flip Board
This popular puzzle toy encourages your Lab to perform a variety of tasks to recover treats using discs, knobs, and cones.
Treat placement can vary the level of difficulty as your Lab masters different tasks.
It is dishwasher-safe and comes with a one-year warranty.
Best Interactive Dog Feeders
Dogs, like people, sure do love to eat. And dinner can taste even better when your dog has to do a little work to get to it! So if your Lab tends to rush through “chow time,” these are the feeder toys to try!
Each feeder toy is made of non-toxic material (incredibly important when your dog will be chewing on a toy and mouthing it regularly!) and is affirmed as easy to clean.
Kyjen Outward Hound Fun Feeder Slow Feed
This ”Interactive Bloat Stop Dog Bowl” is a highly rated interactive dog feeder toy. It comes in two sizes (small and large) and three colors (orange, pink and green).
It holds up to 4 cups of dog food. On top of all that, it also comes in three different foraging designs and is made of food-grade, BPA and phthalate-free plastic.
If your Lab tends to inhale his dinner, this is definitely the feeder toy you want to try!
Super Design Anti Gulping Dog Bowl
In a similar way, this dog bowl is also designed to prevent your dog from gulping her food down so quickly that she gets indigestion, or worse, bloat.
In fact, this bowl is intended to make feeding time last up to five times longer!
Best Interactive Plush Toys
There’s really nothing quite as adorable as a dog with a plush toy. Whether they’re playing with it, chasing it, hiding it, or curled up sleeping with it, it’s always sure to elicit an “Awwww!”
These plush toys are also designed to stimulate interactivity.
Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel And Puzzle Plush Squeaking Toys For Dogs
This highly rated toy brings the squirrels to your dog by means of soft plush “retrievable” squirrel toys. Dogs seem near-universally attracted to squirrels as the tiny, furry rodents race across fence tops and up and down trees.
There are four sizes (junior, jumbo, ginormous, and large).
If desired, you can opt for birds, hedgehogs, or bees instead of squirrels!
Zippy Paws Interactive Squeaky Unicorns Plush
Ramping up the adorability factor, these squeaky unicorn toys also offer some interactive hide and seek fun to your pup.
Best Electronic Interactive Dog Toys
Electronic dog toys can stimulate interactivity through eye-catching movements and noises.
The caution with using electronic interactive dog toys is that they are generally not designed to withstand a lot of chewing. So it’s best to supervise playtime with these toys.
But that actually increases the interactivity between your dog and you!
NEILDEN Interactive Dog Toy
This electronic plush from NEILDEN is pretty adorable.
It also makes for some great entertainment, as it jumps, shakes, and moves around on the floor!
PetBobi Upgrade Monster Plush Electronic Dog Toy
This option is similar to the first. It makes dog noises for about twelve seconds when first turned on, and then will respond as the dog plays with it.
The plush cover is also washable.
Best Interactive Dog Toys
We hope you and your Lab have enjoyed this investigation into the best interactive toys for dogs!
There are plenty of options, including our top five at the beginning of the article. But don’t feel overwhelmed by all the choices!
You might just pick one toy out of each category to start with and see what your dog seems to like most. If your dog is still a puppy and teething, he may especially appreciate toys that are designed to ease the temporary aches and pains of the teething process.
Whatever you choose, you can count on one fact: your dog will like it much more if you play with the new toy together. After all, this is what dogs love most – their daily “people time.”
Which interactive toys have you chosen for your dog? How did she like them? Let us know about your experiences with a comment below!
References And Resources
- Bryner, J., “Dogs as Smart as 2-year-old Kids,” Live Science, 2009.
- Range, F., et al, “Tracking the evolutionary origins of dog-human cooperation: the “Canine Cooperation Hypothesis”,” Frontiers in Psychology, 2015.
- Fahnestock, M., et al, “BDNF increases with behavioral enrichment and an antioxidant diet in the aged dog,” Neurobiology of Aging, 2010.
- Peltz, J., “New list reveals most popular dog breeds in US: Labradors, German Shepherds, Bulldogs all top list,” KSAT ABC Channel 12, 2017.
- Lefebvre, D., et al, “Cortisol and behavioral responses to enrichment in military working dogs, Journal of Ethology, 2008.