The next time you’re looking for a good toy for your big dog, consider buying him one that stimulates his mind and rewards his creative thinking skills at the same time. We’re talking about treat puzzles, of course. Not only can this type of toy exercise mind and body, but they’re also a great way to slow down a fast eater and keep him entertained for hours.
Where to begin? Whether your big dog is a couch potato, anxious worrywart, or a bit slow on the uptake, these are the best treat puzzles for larger dogs.
Awoof Snuffle Mat for Large Dogs
Your domesticated dog may not realize this, but his ancestors used to be foragers. That’s only one of the reasons this feeding mat is so much fun for your dog. Because he has to use his keen sense of smell to find the food you hide in the fabric petals and grass on this mat, your big pup is exercising his natural instinct to forage. Not only is this fun for your dog, but it also encourages him to eat slower, which is good for his digestion.
The nonslip cloth on the bottom holds the large mat in place, and the durable fabric is washable.
SNiFFiz SmellyUFO Durable Interactive Treat Dispenser
Fill this treat dispenser with your jumbo doggo’s favorite treats and have fun watching him scoot it around the floor to access the food. Made to look like a UFO, the completely washable plastic disc can be adjusted to dispense treats quickly or slowly, depending on how long you want your dog to play.
We like it because the toy is made of non-toxic materials that can be completely disassembled for easy cleaning. And because you can adjust the level of difficulty, the toy grows along with your dog’s ability to problem-solve.
For durability, you can’t beat the Kong brand, and this wobbler is no exception. Simply screw the top off this toy and fill the bottom portion with kibble or treats. The weighted base keeps the toy upright until your dog pushes it around to dispense the food. Thanks to its unusual shape, it moves unpredictably, keeping your fur buddy engaged in the chase.
The toy is made of food-grade, durable polymer and is dishwasher safe. The large size accommodates up to 1 cup of kibble or treats.
Nina Ottosson Puzzle by Outward Hound
Challenge your intelligent pup with this highly interactive toy by Outward Hound. To get to the treats you’ve hidden, he must complete three steps: swivel the flippers, scoot the blocks, and spin the center wheel. (Note: This is a level 3 toy. The manufacturer recommends purchasing for dogs who have completed levels 1 and 2.)
The toy is made of BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free materials and can be easily washed in the sink with mild, soapy water. None of the pieces are removable; however, it’s recommended you supervise your dog during play and store it when not in use.
Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel Plush Dog Toy Puzzle
Big dogs who enjoy a good plush toy will love searching for the squeaky squirrels hiding in this fabric tree trunk. Besides the challenge of removing the squirrels from the tree, your dog is rewarded by exercising his natural instincts to hunt. And the squeaky noise the squirrels make when squeezed is immensely satisfying.
Although it’s not recommended for aggressive chewers, we like this toy because you can purchase replacement animals.
One last thing….
Just in case you need one more reason to invest in a puzzle toy for your dog, know this. Even if you think your dog is already too smart, a puzzle toy can greatly reduce the amount of boredom he experiences when you’re not around. Think of it this way: A bored dog can develop a lot of undesirable behaviors, such as destructive chewing, barking, and separation anxiety. The right puzzle toy can stimulate his brain and satisfy some natural canine behaviors. And that’s a reward both of you can appreciate.
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