One of the main concerns of most dog owners is the well-being of our pup when they are home alone. Luckily, there is a wide variety of toys perfect to keep our dog entertained, busy, and mentally stimulated for some time when we have to leave him alone while we are at work.
These toys are a great option that allows us to reduce boredom, lack of mental stimulation, and behavioral problems of our dog.
From my experience, I consider the Kong Classic to be the best option for many people. Although, recently I discovered the Nina Ottosson Dog Puzzles Games and they are very creative, high-quality toys that offer a great variety of challenges for a dog.
Without more detours, here is a selection of some of the best toys to keep your dog busy while you’re at work.
Kong Classic Dog Toy
One of the most popular dog toys out there. The Kong is a toy that helps to mentally stimulate, keep entertained, and occupied dogs of any size and breed for an extended period.
Although it seems a fairly simple toy, it has several characteristics that makes it very attractive for dogs.
On the one hand, it is made of a durable natural rubber ideal to meet the needs of average chewers dogs. In fact, it has the reputation to resist the chewing of most dogs, which makes it one of the best dog chew toys.
Actually, for very strong and powerful chewers, there is the Kong Extreme. This is similar to the Kong Classic dog toy but made with an extra resistant rubber.
On the other hand, the characteristic irregular cone shape of the Kong, causes it to have an unpredictable rebound, which makes it very attractive for dogs to play and chase it around the house.
But its main characteristic is that it is hollow inside. The hole in the center allows you to fill the Kong with treats and dog food that he enjoys. He can spend a long time trying to figure out how to get the treats from inside.
If you want to keep your dog busy longer while you’re at work, a good tip is to stuff the Kong toy with dog treats and peanut butter and freeze it.
Make sure to give your dog the Kong before going to work and he will spend some time quite busy and entertain while you are at work.
Kong Wobbler Dog Toy
The Wobbler is a food-dispensing toy that has the purpose of keeping dogs busy, mentally stimulated and entertained at the same time.
Filled with treats or croquettes, when the pet moves it with his nose or paw, it starts to spin and roll letting the food out through a small hole.
In addition to the challenge of getting the treats out, its unpredictable movement keeps dogs interested and engaged for long periods of time.
It’s also used to slow down the eating pace of dogs. Although some dog owners consider that the treats fall out easily of the Wobbler and it is not a real challenge for some dogs.
In my experience, it works very well with puppies. During the first months of age of my Labrador Retriever, we left it to her to play before going to work and she was really entertained for a long time.
There are two sizes:
- Small. For ½ cup of food and is recommended for small dogs.
- Large. For 1 cup of food and is recommended for medium to large dogs.
It is a reasonably durable toy and is made of BPA-free plastic polymer. Easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
Nina Ottosson Dog Puzzles Games and Toys
Nina Ottosson is a Swedish dog trainer recognized for her dog toys and games designs. Since 1990 he has developed a wide variety of interactive games designed to provide mental stimulation for dogs.
Her toys help to exercise your dog’s mind, prevent boredom and reduce behavior problems.
The Nina Ottosson interactive dog toys and games are designed for dogs to solve problems in order to find hidden treats. The different games have 3 levels of difficulty (Easy, Intermediate, and Advanced) to be able to adapt to the abilities and needs of each dog.
For puppies, it is recommended to start using them from 10 weeks of age. It’s important to start with simple games and keep the game sessions short.
It is also recommended for old dogs. Because of age, they can not do a lot of exercise, these puzzle toys help keep them mentally occupied and entertained.
The toys are made of wood or plastic. Those made with wood are eco-friendly and have a more resistant and heavy design, perfect for dogs that tend to play rough. On the other hand, plastic toys are easy to clean and can be used with either dry or wet food.
Dog Smart Beginner Dog Puzzle Toy
This toy has an easy difficulty level. It’s good to introduce your dog to puzzle toys and problem-solving games, as well as to prepare him for intermediate and advanced level games later.
Dog Tornado – Puzzle Game Dog Toys
It’s of intermediate difficulty, although it allows you to start at a comfortable level and gradually increase its complexity.
Dog Twister Advanced Puzzle Dog Toy
This is a dog toy of advanced difficulty level. This means that your pet has to complete a series of steps to get the dog treats.
Useful for smart dogs that can be 30 minutes up to an hour or more trying to solve the challenge.
Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball
It may seem like a relatively simple treat-dispensing toy. But in spite of its simplicity, it can keep your dog entertained and occupied for a long period of time.
Its use is quite easy. You just have to fill the ball with treats and, while your dog plays and rolls the Tricky Treat Ball, it will dispense the treats. This will keep your dog quite entertained and focused trying to pull out and find his favorite treats throughout your home.
An additional feature is that it helps dogs that eat fast to slow down the speed at which they take their food.
You have to consider that if your dog is an aggressive chewer, this can not be the right toy for him. Although, comparing the experience of some dog owners, it is more resistant than other similar toys.
To be able to adapt to different types of dogs, there are three sizes: small, medium and large.
Our Pets IQ Treat Ball Interactive Food Dispensing Dog Toy
The IQ Treat Ball is another treat-dispensing ball toy but with some unique features.
Its operation is the same as other ball dispensing toys. That is, while the dog plays and rolls the ball, the treats will fall as a reward for the effort.
But the IQ Treat Ball has the ability to adjust to several levels of difficulty to gradually increase the challenge of the game.
Recommended for small to medium size dog breeds, the IQ Treat Ball is made of non-toxic plastic and resistant to the rough play of some dogs.
It is usually used as an interactive medium to feed a dog slowly. You could say that it is a great way for a dog to work and make an effort for hos food, both physically and mentally.
Besides helping to slow feed a dog, it helps keep dogs busy, mentally stimulated and physically active for a long time. Even some pet owners comment that their dogs end up completely exhausted after using it.
PetSafe Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug Meal-Dispensing Dog Toy
The Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug is used as a food-dispensing toy that encourages dogs to eat slower, while keeping them entertained and mentally stimulated.
The Tug-A-Jug presents a different challenge than other food-dispensing toys. It does not work just by biting it or shake it. The dog needs to move the rope in and out to get the food or treats little by little.
This toy will give your dog a great mental workout.
Actually, it is not a simple toy to solve. For dogs that are not used to solving problems, it can become quite frustrating. But it’s an intecactive toy that works very well with very food motivated dogs.
It is manufactured with resistant, durable, and non-toxic materials.
There are three different sizes:
- X-Small. For dogs under 10 lb.
- Small. For dogs between 10 to 40 lb.
- Medium/Large. For dogs over 40 lb.
The Tug-A-Jug is an excellent interactive toy to make your dog have fun while working for his food. Some dog owners comment that their dog can be up to 30 minutes busy and entertained trying to take out the food.
Pupper Pamper Interactive Dog Puzzle Toy
An interactive toy that helps stimulate and keep dogs busy and entertained when he is left alone.
Although it is made of durable, non-toxic, and high-quality materials, it is recommended to train your pet not to bite it before leaving him alone with it. But if your dog is a hard chewer, this toy may not be the right one for him.
The way these dog toy works is a little different from most puzzle toys. The goal is that your pet has to paw the dispensers to make them turn and make the food or treats come out.
The Pupper Pamper is easy to assemble and there are three available sizes. Each one can be adjusted to two different heights to suit the needs and size of your dog.
It’s a toy that is recommended for dogs that get bored easily and need to keep entertained and mentally stimulated. Also, to several dog owners, this toy has allowed them to help their pet with separation anxiety problems.
It’s not a simple toy for a dog to understand how to use it. Is necessary to help him at first so that he understands what the challenge is all about and doesn’t get frustrated when trying to use it.
Sniffiz SmellyMatty Snuffle Mat for Dogs – Interactive Treats IQ Enrichment Toys
The SmellyMatty is made to keep dogs busy, engaged and mentally stimulated through the use of their smell.
Suitable for small to large dog breeds. It’s a large snuffle mat that comes with 5 treat puzzle toys attachments:
- Ball Pocket with Treat Ball
- Puzzle board
These five toys can be placed in different parts of the mat and each one offers a particular challenge to the dog and can be adjusted to several levels of complexity.
In addition to the 5 toys, the mat has many places to hide treats or dog food. It’s a great hide and seek game that dogs love, providing them with some mental stimulation.
These characteristics allow to keep dogs busy, smelling and looking for ways to solve different challenges to get their food for a long time.
StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy
The Bob-A-Lot is a great toy to keep your dog entertained and mentally engaged. The dog has to move it and wobble it to throw treats or croquettes. It tends to wobble in an unpredictable manner which turns out to be very attractive and tempting for a dog to play with.
Its openings can be adjusted to customize the difficulty and adapt the level of the challenge to the needs of your dog.
Dog owners commonly use it to feed their fast eaters while keeping their dogs busy, entertained and occupied for an extended period.
You can fit up to 3 cups of food, which means that you can provide a complete meal to your dog.
Many dog owners have excellent results with the Bob-a-Lot, mainly with small or medium dogs that are not hard chewers.
Kruuse Buster Food Cube Feeder
The Buster Cube provides your dog with physical activity and mental stimulation while allowing him to work for his food.
It has several compartments that when your dog rolls it with his nose or paws causes the food or treats to fall. It has a mechanism that allows you to adjust the level of difficulty to keep the game interesting.
The Buster Cube is made of durable and safe thermoplastic rubber and is very easy to clean, even in a dishwasher.
It is a dog toy that has a reputation among dog owners to be one of the toughest there is, even with natural hard chewers.
There are two different sizes:
Dogs love chewing and if you have a hard chewer and food-driven dog, this is one of those toys to keep your dog occupied for a long time while you are at work or you have to leave him home alone for some other reason.
West Paw Zogoflex-Tux Treat Toys
A treat dispensing dog toy with a unique and durable design, besides being resistant to tough chewers.
Similar to the use of the Kong Classic, the West Paw Zogoflex-Tux can be stuffed with peanut butter or with one of the treats that your pet likes the most. You can also freeze it to make it more challenging and entertaining for your dog.
Even when it is empty, it is a tough chew toy that bounces capriciously and floats in the water. It’s a good way to keep dogs busy and entertained for long periods.
It’s easy to clean, dishwasher safe, and made of recyclable material, BPA-and-phthalate-free, non-toxic, and FDA-compliant.
Along with daily exercise, keeping our dogs busy and mentally stimulated is one of the things that has direct benefits on the behavior and general well-being of our dogs.
Puzzle toys are an excellent option to stimulate and keep dogs busy and entertained, either when he is left alone while you’re at work or when you are with him at home.
It is recommended to vary and rotate the toys so that he doesn’t get bored easily from them and keep him engaged.
Also, you need to choose toys that are safe. Make sure the toys are made of safe non-toxic materials.
It must be taken into account that each pet has its own toy preferences. What works for a dog doesn’t mean that it will work for another dog in the same way.
That’s why you should not be discouraged if a toy doesn’t work for your dog. It’s worth trying several types of toys until you find the perfect one for your dog.