10 Best Dog Toys for Mental Stimulation in 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks
Choosing a dog toy that will entertain and challenge your pet can be difficult. The pet industry is vast, and new products come out each day. There are so many brands it’s unlikely you can even look at all the various models available.
We review new pet toys every few weeks and believe we can help narrow down your search by choosing and reviewing ten different brands of dog toys for mental stimulation.
We have also included a dog toys for mental stimulation buyer’s guide where we will take an in-depth look at what’s necessary for a dog toy for mental stimulation to have.
Below you will find our reviews of dog toys for mental stimulation, where we compare durability, puzzle difficulty, cleanup, and enjoyment, to help you make a smart choice. Let’s have a look at the 10 models of mentally stimulating dog toys we have chosen to review for you.
A Quick Look at of our Favorites in 2023:
|Best Overall||Nina Ottosson Dog Twister Puzzle Toy||
|Best Value||Vitscan Dog Treat Dispensing Toy||
|Premium Choice||VolacoPets Interactive Dog Toys||
|Totoo Dog Treat Dispenser Toy||
|KONG Classic Dog Toy||
The 10 Best Dog Toys For Mental Stimulation Reviewed:
1. Nina Ottosson Dog Twister Puzzle Toy – Best Overall
The Nina Ottosson 67335 Dog Twister Dog Puzzle Toy is our choice for the best overall mental stimulation dog toy. It features a Level 3 advanced puzzle for your pet to complete and teaches them sequential step problem-solving. It has nine compartments for treats with sliding lids and nine locking handles. It’s easy to clean with a damp cloth.
The Dog Twister puzzle toy kept all of our pets busy for several minutes, and the only real downside we experienced was that the locking white handles take a lot of effort by the dog to open, so they get chewed and look bad pretty quickly.
- Advanced puzzle
- Teaches sequential steps
- Nine compartments
- Easy to clean
- Locking white handles wear out
2. Vitscan Dog Treat Dispensing Toy – Best Value
The Vitscan Dog Treat Dispensing Toy is our pick for the best value. The Vitscan is three toys in one, and we think you will agree that these are the best dog toys for mental stimulation for the money. Three unique balls stimulate your pet’s mind in different ways. One is made from hard plastic and whistles while it rolls and drops treats. One holds treats in soft rubber teeth that work to clean your pet’s teeth as they dig them out. Another ball is soft with stretchy spikes for more teeth cleaning.
We found that all of our pets liked at least one ball and played with it for quite a while. These are meant for smaller dogs, though, and it’s unlikely they will hold up for long with a large dog.
- Three unique balls
- Cleans teeth
- Meant for smaller dogs
3. VolacoPets Interactive Dog Toys – Premium Choice
The VolacoPets 5 Different Functions Interactive Dog Toys is our premium choice mental stimulation dog toy, and it’s for someone willing to spend a few extra dollars for the best toy. The VolacoPets brand features five different balls to stimulate your pet in different situations. A squeaky ball and treat dropping ball help your pet through loneliness and boredom. A natural rubber ball and a rope ball are for outdoor play, while one last ball is designed to clean your pet’s teeth while they play. The balls are durable and should last a long time.
The primary downside to this brand is that it isn’t well suited to larger dogs or excessive chewers. While these balls will likely stimulate your pet, there isn’t much to challenge them; otherwise, we would have ranked this brand higher.
- Dental cleaning
- Not for large dogs
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4. Totoo Dog Treat Dispenser Toy
The Totoo Dog Treat Dispenser Ball Toy features a tumbler design that always stays upright. This dog toy allows you to set how fast you want food to dispense and will help keep your dog entertained as they work to get a treat. This toy is easy to clean and will help slow down your eating if they tend to eat too quickly.
While we used it, we found that it could come apart and larger sized dogs can pick it up and carry it which disables it as a toy.
- Tumbler design
- Easy to clean
- Slows down feeding
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5. KONG 41938 Classic Dog Toy
The KONG 41938 Classic Dog Toy is a favorite for dogs that like to fetch and chew. These Kongs come in many sizes for any size pet, and they feature an extremely durable design. These toys feature a hole in one side for loading it with treats and peanut butter. You can even freeze it for a great summer treat, and it’s dishwasher safe, so there are no worries about keeping it clean. It features a unique design that bounces unpredictably and helps keep your dog entertained.
The downside to Kong toys is that it can be challenging to get the right size at first since they have so many sizes available. Getting one that is too large or too small will limit its durability and fun level. It’s also relatively expensive for what amounts to be a piece of rubber.
- For any size dog
- Dishwasher safe
- Unpredictable bounce
- Hard to get the right size
6. West Paw Tux Interactive Dog Chew Toy
The West Paw 566 Zogoflex Tux Interactive Dog Chew Toy is an extremely tough and durable dog toy. It’s designed to stand up to the toughest chewers and uses safe, non-toxic, BPA free rubber. It floats, so it makes a perfect fetch toy for playing around water. It’s also dishwasher safe, so it’s easy to clean after you’ve stuffed it with treats.
We found the West Paw is a great fetch toy, it’s easy to throw and goes a reasonable distance. It lacks in the interactive treat stuffing department, though. There’s not any room in the toy to tuff treats, and anything that does fit falls out way too quickly. There’s no puzzle for the dog to solve or anything to keep your pet interested if it isn’t just chewing it or bringing it back after you’ve thrown it.
- BPA free
- Dishwasher safe
- Shallow treat compartment
- Not very challenging
- Related Read: 11 Ways to Give Your Dog More Mental Stimulation
7. Outward Hound Puzzle Brick Dog Toy
The Outward Hound 67333 Puzzle Brick Dog Toy is a toy designed to entertain your dog while also training it. This puzzle features red boxes your dog must open as well as white bones they must remove, the red boxes also slide to reveal hidden treats below. These work together to provide a challenging puzzle for your pet to solve. There are 20 treat compartments to hide treats in, so the puzzles are different every time with nearly endless combinations possible. It’s a lightweight toy that wipes clean when you’re finished using it.
The downside is that you need to supervise your dog at all times. It features small pieces. The white bones are removed from the game by your pet to get at the treats below. These pieces don’t fit in very well and can be hard for your dog to grab. These bones can also be lost or chewed up. Some dogs may overturn the lightweight gameboard to get at the treats spoiling the challenge.
- Wipes clean
- Different every time
- 20 treat compartments
- Bones are hard to grab
- Must use supervision
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8. StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy
The StarMark SMBAL Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy features an extra-large food compartment and can hold up to 3 cups of food or treats. This large compartment allows you to use it as a dinner dispenser that will stimulate the mind of your pet and slow down their eating. This toy is an excellent solution for pets with a fast eating disorder. Adjustable openings help regulate the flow of food, and it has a durable plastic housing. A weighted anti-slip bottom causes the toy to wobble unpredictably, providing plenty of fun for your pet and entertainment for you.
While we reviewed this toy, we noticed that even though it holds a lot of food, it’s not a great toy for big dogs, and they tend to carry it instead of playing. Filling this toy with food is a slow and tedious project. You need to feed the food through a tiny opening only large enough for a few pieces of food, and we found it can take over five minutes to fill. Cleaning is not much easier because you can’t get into the food compartment to wipe it down. The housing is durable, but if your dog is a chewer, this toy may not last long.
- Holds up to 3 cups of food
- Adjustable openings regulate the flow of food
- Weighted anti-slip bottom
- Not for big dogs
- Not for chewing dogs
- Hard to fill
- Hard to Clean
9. SPOT Flip ‘N Slide Treat Dispenser Toy
The SPOT 5779 Seek-a-Treat Flip ‘N Slide Treat Dispenser Toy is a fun treat dispenser for your pet. It features a very durable design that can withstand abuse from even larger sized dogs. It has multiple compartments to hide treats in and features two kinds of puzzles, pieces that slide and pieces that lift.
Our pets enjoyed this toy, but they did not find it challenging. Three of our dogs could get at the treats with no introduction beforehand. You also need to watch the rubber feet if your pet likes to push the game board because they will fall off, and your pet might mistake it for a treat.
- Multiple compartments
- Two kinds of puzzles
- Rubber feet come off
- Not very challenging
10. Corspet Hachi Dog Toy Treat Dispenser
The Corspet Hachi Dog Toy Treat Dispenser is the final toy for mental stimulation on our list. Though this model isn’t as good as the first three dog toys, there may still be a few things about this toy that interests you. The Hachi sog toy features a unique design that incorporates moving rubber discs or gears into the toy. These disks have rubber spikes and nodules on them designed to hold the treats in place and gently clean your pet’s teeth and massage their gums while they chew to remove them.
The downside to this toy is that it’s only for tiny dogs and puppies. Any dog that loves to chew or weighs over 20 pounds will quickly destroy this toy. If they do chew it apart, there are some mall parts inside that your pet might swallow. It also doesn’t hold the treats very well, and most of ours fell out as we were still filling it.
- Cleans teeth
- Massages gums
- Only for small dogs
- Falls apart
- Won’t hold treats
- Contains small pieces
- You could also tire your pup out with a totally innovative: Automatic Dog Ball Launcher
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Dog Toys for Mental Stimulation
Let’s consider what’s important when purchasing a dog toy for mental stimulation.
To understand these toys a little better, we should go over what a dog toy for mental stimulation is. Many people might consider mental stimulation toys to be puzzle toys, and while many of them are, they are not exclusively puzzles. Some stimulation toys are designed to entertain bored dogs or to cheer up depressed dogs. These toys can also help with weight loss by slowing down their eating pace. Sometimes it’s not about educating them as much as it is about getting them to do something else.
The many reasons to mentally stimulate a pet is why some brands might offer a puzzle while another brand might offer a squeaky toy.
Sharpen the Mind
If your goal is to sharpen the mind of your dog and increase your pet’s intelligence, then puzzles are the best way to go. In many cases, there are three levels of puzzle difficulty.
Level One Puzzles
Level One puzzles are the easiest for your pet to solve and often only have one challenge. Rolling a ball to dispense treats is an excellent example of a Level One puzzle
Level Two Puzzles
Level Two puzzles are a little more complicated and usually require picking up cups, pressing levers, and sliding doors.
Level 3 Puzzles
Level 3 puzzles are the most difficult for your pet to master and usually require your pet to complete two distinct steps to unlock a reward.
Puzzles can be a great way to slow down your pet’s eating habits. Many dogs can eat too quickly, and this causes them to swallow air along with the food, which can lead to discomfort.
The durability of your dog toy is a critical issue. Dogs like to chew, and they can rip apart many toys in seconds. If your dog is a chewer, we recommend that you always check to see if any toys you might purchase up to the task. Many brands will say in the description if it is for a heavy chewer, and many brands make toys especially for them.
Cleanup is naturally going to be a significant concern, and many brands will take steps to simplify the process. We recommend looking for brands that are dishwasher safe and don’t have a lot of closed-off compartments that make it hard to clean or remove water.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading over our reviews of dog toys for mental stimulation and are closer to deciding on one for your pet. If you’re not quite sure, we recommend our choice for the best overall. The Nina Ottosson 67335 Dog Twister Dog Puzzle Toy features advanced puzzles that teach sequential problem-solving. It’s durable and easy to clean. The Vitscan Dog Treat Dispensing Toy is our choice for the best value, and it features three separate balls that are sure to entertain any small to a medium-sized dog, and it cleans their teeth while they play.
If you have learned something new about mentally stimulating dog toys from our buyer’s guide and feel more confident about shopping around, please share these dog toy reviews on Facebook and Twitter.