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10 Best Food Puzzle Toys for Dogs in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Chris Dinesen Rogers

Last Updated on February 19, 2024 by Dogster Team

Dog playing sniffing puzzle game for intellectual and nosework training

10 Best Food Puzzle Toys for Dogs in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Dog playing sniffing puzzle game for intellectual and nosework training We all know that we must feed our dogs a healthy diet, but something that some pet owners often forget about is the importance of mental stimulation and enrichment. It has become evident that a bored pet is a destructive one, and it also sets the stage for psychological disorders, such as separation anxiety.

You can add enrichment for your pet with walks and trips to the dog park, where they can encounter novel situations, but another effective way is by giving your pup puzzle toys. Food as a reward makes them more engaging, and trying to figure out these puzzles is a great way to keep your dog’s mind sharp. Our guide includes everything you need to know for buying the best one for your pet, with detailed reviews to help you choose the best one for your pet.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound
  • Adjustable difficulty
  • Easy to clean
  • Very engaging
  • Best Value
    Second place
    TRIXIE Activity Flip Board Game Dog Toy TRIXIE Activity Flip Board Game Dog Toy
  • Non-skid feet
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Affordably priced Tips included
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Worker Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Worker
  • Very challenging
  • Advanced level Well-made
  • Easy to clean
  • Best for Puppies
    fouFIT Hide 'n Seek Disc Dog Toys fouFIT Hide 'n Seek Disc Dog Toys
  • Highly engaging
  • Versatile
  • Machine-washable
  • Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Hide N' Slide Puzzle Game Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Hide N' Slide Puzzle Game
  • Adjustable difficulty levels
  • Durable
  • Engaging
  • The 10 Best Food Puzzle Toys for Dogs

    1. Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Tornado Puzzle Game – Best Overall

    NINA OTTOSSON BY OUTWARD HOUND Tornado Puzzle Game Dog Toy

    Materials: Polypropylene, plastic
    Features: Training
    Life stage: Adult

    The Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Tornado Puzzle Game is a small but challenging toy for your pet. Four disk levels have compartments to stow away treats. It might be hard for dogs new to these games to figure out, although we think most will soon catch on to the fun, and it’s our pick for the best overall food puzzle toy for dogs.

    The toy is very engaging, but it’s also versatile. You can use treats, kibble, or wet food in the compartments. Changing the reward keeps your pet interested. Plus, it’s easy to clean, which is always a benefit of any toy.

    Pros
    • Easy to use
    • Adjustable difficulty
    • Easy to clean
    • Very engaging
    Cons
    • Most appropriate for small dogs

    2. TRIXIE Activity Flip Board Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy – Best Value

    TRIXIE Activity Flip Board Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy

    Materials: Plastic
    Features: Training
    Life stage: Adult

    The TRIXIE Activity Flip Board Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy offers several ways to mix up the game with new challenges and activities for your pet. Your pup won’t get bored with this product. It has non-skid feet in case your pooch gets overzealous in their quest for treats. It’s also dishwasher-safe to keep the games going with little fuss. Because of all this and the affordable price, it’s our choice for the best food puzzle toy for dogs for the money.

    The manufacturer includes tips for using the toy, which we appreciate. That makes it an excellent option for pet owners new to using puzzle toys. However, the product has removable pieces, making supervision necessary.

    Pros
    • Non-skid feet
    • Dishwasher-safe
    • Affordably priced
    • Tips included
    Cons
    • Removable pieces mean required supervision

    3. Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Worker Green Interactive Treat Puzzle – Premium Choice

    NINA OTTOSSON BY OUTWARD HOUND Dog Worker Green Interactive Treat Puzzzle

    Materials: Wood, polypropylene, plastic
    Features: Exercise, training, outdoor
    Life stage: Adult

    The Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Worker Green Interactive Treat Puzzle is an advanced toy for dogs that enjoy a challenge. It’s not suitable for novices unless your pet is really good at figuring out challenges. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent move forward if you find your pet solves these puzzles quickly, as your pet has to move several pieces to get their rewards.

    The toy is more expensive than comparable products. However, your money is well-invested with this professionally designed puzzle.

    Pros
    • Very challenging
    • Advanced level
    • Well-made
    • Easy to clean
    Cons
    • Pricey
    • Not ideal for beginners

    4. fouFIT Hide ‘n Seek Disc Dog Toy – Best for Puppies

    fouFIT Hide 'n Seek Disc Dog Toys

    Materials: Polyester
    Features: Crinkle
    Life stage: All

    The fouFIT Hide ‘n Seek Disc Dog Toy offers a different way to engage your pet. The pockets provide many hiding places for treats. You can make it a different game every time you give it to your dog. That improves the engagement it offers. It also has a crinkle component to add a sound factor to increase interest. It’s even suitable for pets of all ages, including puppies.

    Another point in this product’s favor is that it’s machine washable. We prefer that option versus hand-washable toys. We can feel assured the toy is clean the next time we give it to our dog.

    Pros
    • Highly engaging
    • Versatile
    • Machine-washable
    Cons
    • Pricey

    5. Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Hide N’ Slide Puzzle Game

    Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Hide N' Slide Puzzle Game Dog Toy

    Materials: Polypropylene, plastic
    Features: Training
    Life stage: Adult

    The Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Hide N’ Slide Puzzle Game is a different riff on the typical toy. This one is adjustable to make it easier or harder as needed. It comes in two sizes to get the best one for your dog. Plus, because there are so many treat spots, it can double as a kibble bowl, making them work for their meal. It’s another outstanding offering from this manufacturer, a leader in the industry.

    The product is hand-washable only, which is a bummer with all the small parts to clean. Nevertheless, we must admit it’s entertaining to watch our pets figure it out and get their rewards.

    Pros
    • Adjustable difficulty levels
    • Durable
    • Engaging
    Cons
    • Hand-washable only

    6. Pet Parents Forager Snuffle Mat & Slow Feeder Dog Bowl

    Pet Parents Forager Snuffle Mat & Slow Feeder Dog Bowl

    Materials: Synthetic fabric
    Features: Non-skid
    Life stage: Adult

    The Pet Parents Forager Snuffle Mat & Slow Feeder Dog Bowl makes mealtime a game. The puzzle is in finding the food hidden in the meadow, trees, or pond. It provides enrichment by challenging your pup. The difficulty varies with your choices. It also slows eating, which is a godsend for breeds susceptible to bloat. The concept is clever, and it works.

    The product is durable. The fact that it’s machine-washable attests to this fact. On the downside, it comes in only one size that can hold up to 3 cups of dry kibble. Supervision is also necessary to prevent your pet from chewing the bowl.

    Pros
    • Holds 3 cups of kibble
    • Suitable for pups of all sizes
    • Machine-washable
    Cons
    • Only one size

    7. Brightkins Touchdown Time! Treat Puzzle

    Brightkins Touchdown Time! Treat Puzzle Dog Toy

    Materials: Thermoplastic rubber
    Features: Training
    Life stage: All

    We love themed toys, and the Brightkins Touchdown Time! Treat Puzzle is a hit on this score. Of course, your pup won’t understand the connection, but we think it adds a fun touch to engage you! It’s a riff on the common theme of hidden treats. We liked the unique design that adds angles to the mix. It’s also suitable for dogs of all life stages and sizes.

    Intelligent canines will figure out the trick behind the toy. Therefore, we recommend swapping out this one occasionally with other food puzzles.

    Pros
    • Cute design
    • Angled layers
    • Suitable for all life stages
    Cons
    • Pricey

    8. TRIXIE Windmill Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy

    TRIXIE Windmill Strategy Game

    Materials: Plastic
    Features: Training
    Life stage: Adult

    You may shake your head when you first see the TRIXIE Windmill Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy. You may wonder how your dog could possibly figure out how to get to the treats, but never underestimate a food-motivated pet, and it holds quite a bit of kibble. The toy succeeds with its unique design, although you may have to give your pooch a hint about its use. Unfortunately, it can easily get knocked over, as it’s not the most durable.

    Pros
    • Challenging
    • Non-skid feet
    • Holds lots of kibble
    Cons
    • Not very durable

    9. Brightkins Surprise Party

    Materials: Thermoplastic rubber
    Features: Training
    Life stage: All

    The Brightkins Surprise Party is an excellent way to introduce your dog to food puzzles. The design is straightforward and encourages your dog to use their sniffer to find the treats. You can add rewards of various sizes because of the relatively large size of the compartments. However, the product might be too easy for some pets. There isn’t a way to make it more challenging to increase its usefulness.

    On the positive side, the toy is easy to clean. It’s versatile with its simple design. Plus, it has different opening mechanisms that may keep smarter dogs engaged.

    Pros
    • Excellent for pups new to puzzles
    • Versatile
    • Easy to clean
    Cons
    • Too easy for some pets

    10. Brightkins Brain Teaser Treat Puzzle Dog Toy

    BRIGHTKINS Brain Teaser Treat Puzzle Dog Toy

    Materials: Thermoplastic rubber
    Features: Training
    Life stage: All

    The Brightkins Brain Teaser Treat Puzzle Dog Toy isn’t your typical slide toy. It differs in the various shapes of the sliders. That adds to the challenge. Even turning the product in different ways can ramp up the difficulty. It’s a simple change with big results. The item’s name is appropriate for what it offers pets and their caregivers. The design resembles a Tetris game, which may appeal to owners because of its familiarity.

    The compartments vary in size to add additional variety to the game, and the company includes a manual with different challenge levels to keep things interesting for your dog. However, keep in mind that the small parts could be a choking hazard.

    Pros
    • Highly engaging
    • Unique design
    • Easy to clean
    Cons
    • Small parts could be choking hazard

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    Buyer’s Guide: Selecting Best Food Puzzle Toys For Dogs

    This branch of the toy market has expanded in recent years as the humanization of the pet industry increased. Many see their animal companions as members of the family and even their children or fur babies. It only makes sense to buy them toys, but puzzle toys add another layer to the fun. They challenge your dog mentally, which can go a long way toward keeping them occupied and less likely to be destructive.

    Corgi dog bent over interactive educational puzzle toy
    Image Credit: Masarik, Shutterstock

    Canines are often food-motivated. Adding some treats to a puzzle is an instant hit. However, no toy is indestructible, especially when food is part of the mix. The other factor is the challenge. They must toe the line between engagement and boredom. Other things to consider include:

    • Materials
    • Features
    • Life stage
    • Engagement

    Materials

    Puzzle toys will likely get a lot of use and abuse. Therefore, the materials are crucial to the value you’ll get from various products. Common choices include synthetic materials, such as polyester, plastic, and nylon. They combine affordability with durability. However, you’ll notice that many manufacturers put a disclaimer regarding this trait on their product descriptions. We recommend inspecting your pup’s toys frequently for wear.

    Many products contain small parts. You should also check them for loose pieces your dog may inadvertently swallow. After all, they probably still smell like food. We recommend picking up the puzzle toy after your dog has found all the treats. We also suggest supervising playtime.

    Features

    If there’s one certainty about dog toys it is that they’re constantly evolving. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something new hits the shelves. Action is often part of the mix. Your pup has to do something to get rewarded. Some may add sound effects to get your pet’s attention. The challenge adds enrichment, and they use positive reinforcement to encourage them. The dog’s effort pays off with a treat, which makes them engaging.

    But while features add interest, some pets will get bored with their puzzle toys. We recommend swapping out different ones to keep your pet excited to play with them. Pay attention to the ones your dog enjoys the most to keep them engaged during playtime or mealtime.

    labrador dog licking kong treat dispensing toy
    Image Credit: Michar Peppenster, Shutterstock

    Life Stage

    Puzzle toys vary in difficulty and, thus, suitability for different life stages. Sometimes, it’s a matter of whether a puppy’s brain can figure out the point of some of these products. Sometimes, it goes back to durability. We suggest getting puzzle toys that are appropriate for their age. We suspect concern over pets destroying the product also plays a role in how manufacturers label their toys. Still, consider whether your dog is a beginner or not and go from there.

    Engagement

    Some manufacturers have engagement categories to gauge how difficult it may be for a dog to figure out a toy. Nina Otttosson uses various levels. The higher the number, the greater the challenge. Others use generic terms, like low or high. They don’t always translate across product lines. However, they provide a reasonable comparison of a company’s offerings.

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    Conclusion

    After completing our reviews, a few winners stood out from the pack. The Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Tornado Puzzle Game is an excellent example of the innovative products manufactured by this company. It is mentally stimulating and easy to use, making it the best overall food puzzle toy. The TRIXIE Activity Flip Board Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy offers several ways to mix up the fun, making it an excellent value for the price. Regardless of which toy you go with though, make sure it is appropriate for your dog’s intelligence level. And don’t let them give up if it takes a minute for them to figure it out!


    Featured Image Credit: Alexei_tm, Shutterstock

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