Our Favorite: PetSafe Ricochet Interactive Sound Game Dog ToyFRESHEST PRICE →
Why We Choose It:
- Encourages exercise for dogs.
- Automatically turns off when not in use.
- Made of plastic.
- Battery powered.
- Dimensions of 4.27 x 6.83 x 3.42 inches.
Getting immersed in busy lives can sometimes mean that our dogs end up spending good chunks of time home alone. As you might have experienced, when a pup feels lonely, bored, or has separation anxiety, that’s when the shenanigans start to happen.
Your canine pal will find ways to keep himself busy, and that could include chewing and other destructive activities that damage furniture, your clothing, and possibly your pet himself.
For the sake of your canine’s physical and mental well-being, you can provide him with some interactive toys to stimulate your pup’s “little grey cells” and get his circulation revved up. Interactive toys can keep your dog focused and busy for a pretty long time, which calms anxiety, uses up energy, treats depression, and gives your dog the stimulation he needs.
The Best Interactive Dog Toys in 2022
It’s hard even to know where to start with the huge variety of the best dog toys on the market. Don’t worry; we did some homework for you and have our top picks for the best interactive dog toys in 2022 that can get your canine friend out of a doggy funk in a hurry. After testing out a bunch, we picked 10 of our favorites.
The interactive toy that stood out for us and came out on top as the best interactive dog toy for all-around, good-time pet fun is the PetSafe Ricochet Interactive Sound Game Dog Toy. Check out the whole list and see which toys will do the best job at providing your furry friend with tons of interactive play and exciting stimulation.
|PetSafe Ricochet Interactive Sound||FRESHEST PRICE →|
|iDogmate Smart Automatic Dog Ball Launcher||FRESHEST PRICE →|
|Outward Hound Multipuzzle Dog Toy||FRESHEST PRICE →|
|Hyper Pet GoDogGo Fetch Machine||FRESHEST PRICE →|
|Tether Tug Indoor Dog Toy||FRESHEST PRICE →|
Our Favorite: PetSafe Ricochet Interactive Sound Game Dog Toy
- Pet Business Industry Recognition Award Winner
- A fun, high-tech toy for independent play
- No messy fabric or stuffing
- Rubber and hard plastic for durability
- Requires batteries (has auto-shutoff)
The PetSafe Ricochet two-piece interactive dog toy is exciting, functional, and versatile. It works well for just about any size dog, with any playing style. The battery-operated interactive squeaking between the two parts keeps your pup guessing and focused. While your pup is busy playing with one of the rolling pieces, the other randomly emits a squeak.
Due to the unpredictable squeak noises and the irregular rolling pattern of the oval-shaped toys, your dog will keep busy and entertained while reaping the benefits of a bit of exercise and some good mental stimulation .
The two toys can work as far as 30 feet away from each other. As the squeaks bounce back and forth between the two parts, your pup gets to have fun grabbing and chasing the noisy piece, thinking he’s caught the prize and will go crazy when the squeak moves to the other unit.
The toys bounce and roll when dropped and can withstand chewing with no problem. Your pup can play independently with this fun toy, or you can play along and change up the game by hiding one half and letting your dog seek out the squeak!
Each half of the toy takes three AAA batteries, which should last up to one month of use. The toys also have an auto-shutoff feature that triggers after 60 minutes to save battery life.
Best for Retrievers & Fetch-Lovers: iDogmate Smart Automatic Dog Ball Launcher Toy
- Great for independent play
- Comes in different sizes to accommodate balls for small, medium, and large dogs
- Unit can launch balls up to 10, 20, 30, or 35 feet
- Works for both indoor and outdoor play
- May require some dog training on how to return balls into the machine
Not all dogs will keep busy with chew toys or puzzles. If your pup loves to play fetch and retrieve balls, the iDogmate ball launcher game can provide hours of fun and exercise for your furry friend.
This ball-launching machine has a wide-mouth area shaped so that your dog can easily drop the balls inside. The device then launches the balls for your pup to chase and bring back.
The iDogmate ball launcher comes in three sizes to accommodate balls for smaller dogs, medium-sized, and larger pups. The machine comes with a set of three balls, and you can use your own as well, as long as they are sized appropriately for the machine. You can program different speed settings to mix things up for your pet.
The unit is compact and works on either a plugged-in adapter or a Li-ion battery that provides about 250 launches on one charge. You can load the machine at first while training your dog on how to fetch the ball and drop it into the hopper. Once your dog understands how to return the balls into the machine for more launches, he can enjoy hours of fetch play on his own. The ball launcher also uses a patented inner mechanism that prevents wet balls from getting stuck in the machine, to ensure hours of fun for your pup.
Best for Expert Puzzle Solvers: Outward Hound Multipuzzle Dog Toy, Level 4 (Expert), designed by Nina Ottoson
- Expert-level challenge (Level 4 for Outward Hound games)
- Award-winning design
- Doubles as a feeding tool for dogs that eat too fast
- Keeps dogs occupied longer
- May frustrate dogs that don’t like puzzle toys
The Pet Age Icon award-winning Outward Bound multi-puzzle is an interactive toy that will keep your pup challenged for a good amount of time and has different ways to play so your dog can enjoy the puzzle over and over.
This puzzle toy has sliding tiles covering several treat compartments for your pup to sniff out. Hide up to one cup of dry kibble or treats in the center and edge compartments, and watch your dog keep busy for hours trying to work them out.
The puzzle features 28 separate compartments for hiding treats and kibble. It is constructed of BPA, phthalate, and PVC-free plastic in bright, appealing colors and is easy to clean.
Designed by award-winning Nina Ottoson, this toy has a few different ways to play with a center compartment containing round sliders and edge compartments with square sliders.
Start your pup off with the edge parts of the game first, and then use the center compartments or alternate for more fun. This game is challenging and engaging enough to keep your dog’s attention focused, even during high-anxiety times such as when you are leaving the house. Works great to keep your dog from reacting anxiously during fireworks, thunderstorms, or other stressful situations.
Best for High Prey Drive/Chasers: Hyper Pet GoDogGo Fetch Machine
- Wide mouth return bucket with handles
- Remote-control operation
- Shoots in a safe arc pattern
- Battery or plug-in operation
- The launcher makes a noise that can scare sensitive dogs
If you have a dog with a seemingly insatiable drive to chase and fetch, this is the ball launcher for you! A fetch toy keeps your pup happy and entertained for hours chasing and returning balls.
The Hyper Pet GoDogGo Fetch Machine has a bucket that accommodates as many balls as can fit inside.
This amount shakes out to about 17 regular tennis balls, or 23 mini-tennis balls (30” balls won’t fit in the launcher). The machine launches the balls in an arc pattern for your dog to chase down and return. You or your pup can drop the balls back into the basket for continued launching and fun.
The unit comes with three tennis ball-sized balls, but you can use any of your dog’s favorite balls that measure under 30” in size. Lighter balls launch farther, which provides one way for you to vary the distance. The ball machine also has multiple distance settings for even more variation. Try whiffle balls, lacrosse balls, and other ball types and weights to mix things up for your canine friend!
The machine also accommodates wet balls, whether from your dog’s mouth or because they’ve been launching into the swimming pool or sprinklers. The device is designed to throw in an upwards arc pattern, so your dog doesn’t get hit as the ball comes out of the machine. You can also set the launcher to shoot balls out at 4, 7, or 15-second intervals.
The ball launcher is small, compact, and gets power from an AC adapter or rechargeable batteries.
Best for Tug-of-War: Tether Tug Indoor Dog Toy
- Great tugging toy for smaller dogs under 35 lbs.
- Has brackets for indoor or outdoor use
- Soft braided fleece pull toy is gentle on small mouths
- Durable and flexible fiberglass pole construction
- May not stand up to rough play from larger dogs
Sometimes Fido has to stay home alone while you’re at the office, and the chew toy isn’t keeping him entertained anymore. The Tether Tug adds a new dimension to independent play because the toy hangs from a flexible pole and allows your dog to pull and tug it to his heart’s content.
When he lets go of the toy, the flexible rod snaps it back in an unpredictable way that will keep your furry friend entertained for hours. The Tether Tug is designed to give your dog an indoor/outdoor self-play option that lets him run 360 degrees around the pole, chasing the tug attachment for hours. Trying to catch and pull the toy provides lots of physical exercises and fun mental stimulation.
This toy has a base unit that you can anchor under a chair leg or other furniture inside or put into the ground outside. The Tether Tug is designed for puppies and dogs weighing up to 35 pounds, and the unit has a soft, stretchy fleece toy for them to grab and pull. The Tether pole is wrapped in a durable, firehose-mesh material and has a ton of flexibility and strength so your pup can tug and pull the toy repeatedly.
Best for Food-Motivated Dogs: PetSafe Kibble Chase Roaming Treat Dropper Dog Toy
- Encourages engagement by dropping treats while rolling
- Great for dogs that eat too fast
- Automatic shut-off after 10 minutes
- Tough, plastic shell with quiet rubber wheels
- Needs batteries to make it roll (although still usable without them)
Some food-motivated dogs, especially puppies, can eat their food so fast that it causes digestive issues, coughing, burping, and other problems. The Kibble Chase Roaming treat Dropper solves these problems and gives your pet an entertaining and exciting way to have his meal, entertainment, and exercise, all at once.
Fill the toy up with your dog’s kibble or some treats, turn on and set it down on the ground. For interactive self-play, the toy is safe to leave with your pet unattended. The ball rolls around on its own, and kibbles fall out of it at random times for your pup to snap up.
The unit holds up to one-half cup of kibble or dry treats. It also has a window opening for the treat dispenser that you can keep partially closed to slow down the rate of treat drops, and the toy can handle kibble or dry treats under 1/2-inch wide.
The rubber wheels roll quietly, so this toy works even for noise-sensitive pups. The tough plastic outer shell withstands chewing and rough play. The toy shuts off after 10 minutes but wakes up as soon as your dog nudges it. The toy requires 3 AA batteries for operation.
Best for Soothing/Comfort: Hyper Pet IQ Treat Lick Mat for Dogs
- Mats encourage licking, which studies show decreases dog anxiety
- Spread peanut butter, pumpkin, yogurt, or other treats on the mat
- The nubby texture takes longer for dogs to lick
- Dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning
- Must use under supervision, so dogs don’t chew/tear up the mat
The Hyper Pet IQ Treat Lick Mat is perfect for days when your canine needs a little downtime and a relaxing, long-lasting treat. Licking has been shown to relieve anxiety in dogs, and you can use the mats with your pup’s favorite treats.
The lick mat has different textures so that you can smear peanut butter, mashed banana, pumpkin, or any other lickable treat onto the mat and serve it up to your pet. The textured surface makes it harder for your pet to devour the treat all at once and keeps Fido busy for a good amount of time.
The mats measure approximately 8 inches square and have a flat, textured surface designed with plenty of nooks and crannies to hold onto food and take more time for your pet to lick up. The durable material is freezer-friendly, which makes it perfect for preparing as a treat ahead of time and giving your dog to enjoy on hot days.
The mats are dishwasher-safe, and the various textures on the surface also provide some teeth-cleaning and tongue-scraping benefits to help your pup have a fresher, cleaner mouth.
Best for Sniffers and Diggers: TRIXIE Flower Tower Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy
- Advanced (Level 3) puzzle toy
- Easy to use for all dog breeds
- Holds various amounts of kibble in each compartment
- Disassembles fully for easy cleaning
- Might take longer to solve for dogs not used to puzzles
If your pup loves to discover hidden treats, digging and sniffing his way through a game to get to the prize, the TRIXIE Flower Tower game offers tons of fun and exploration. Three layers of treat compartments spin around, and the game has additional plastic cones to make it harder for your pup to rotate the trays.
Load up your dog’s favorite treats into the spinning trays. Align them all together so that the trays are closed, then let your dog have at it. You can leave the trays partially uncovered to make the game easier at first. As your pup gets the hang of it, close all of the layers and let Fido nudge, chew, and dig his way into the treat compartments.
The tower also comes with plastic cones that cover smaller treat compartments, plus you can place the cones to block the spinning layers and make the game a notch more difficult for your pup. The Flower Tower is made of durable plastic and comes with non-skid rubber feet to keep the toy in place during play.
The multiple levels and plastic cones allow you to change up the configuration every time your pet plays with the toy. This ability keeps your dog guessing and provides excellent mental stimulation. You can also use the toy as a feeder for dogs that eat too fast. The company provides an instruction booklet with helpful tips and tricks for training.
Best for a Variety of Dogs: Starmark Everlasting Treat Ball
- Great for all dogs
- Long-lasting treat provides hours of licking
- Very durable outer rubber jacket helps pets hold onto the treat
- Comes with a dental chew
- May not be entertaining enough for dogs that don’t care for lick-type treats
The Starmark Everlasting Treat Ball offers your pet hours of challenges and soothing, relaxing pleasure with a long-lasting, chicken-flavored treat in a harder-than-rubber casing. The Everlasting Treat Ball comes loaded with one treat that fills up the toy. The treat features a unique shape and chews like a bone. Dogs love the flavors and scent, and aggressive chewers may finish the treat in hours while some dogs enjoy licking the treat for weeks. Give this treat under supervision.
Once your dog has finished eating the treat, you can put your own treats in or purchase other Everlasting treat ball refills. The outer toy casing is made for your dog to hold onto easily while licking the ridged surface of the treat. The textured tread surface provides a dental, teeth-cleaning benefit and the holding and licking reduce your pup’s boredom or anxiety. You can purchase refill treat balls in chicken, hickory, liver, and other flavors. The company offers refill treat balls in wheat-free flavors. It also offers wheat/corn/soy-free refill treat balls.
Like the best indestructible dog toys, Starmark’s treat holder is made of a nearly indestructible material free of vinyl, latex, or phthalates. The rounded outer shell is dishwasher-safe, and the toy comes in multiple sizes for various breeds of dogs. The treat also rolls, which provides your dog with an additional fun challenge of learning how to hold on to the treatment as it tries to roll away while licking it.
Best for Chasers: Pet Qwerks Blinky Babble Ball Interactive Dog Toy
- Makes 18 different sounds to keep your dog interested
- Motion-activated actions
- Durable, long-lasting construction
- Great non-food toy to keep dogs active
- May not work for noise-sensitive dogs
Get your dog’s curiosity going with the Pet Qwerks Blinky Babble Ball interactive toy. The ball is motion-activated and emits 18 different, random sounds to keep your dog occupied and excited about playing and chasing the ball.
When your dog moves the ball, it activates flashing lights and randomized sounds. The textured surface encourages your dog to chew, and the ball is available in larger sizes for bigger dogs. As a bonus, some dog owners have found that the flashing lights and the sounds help dogs with poor vision or hearing find the ball more easily.
The ball is made of ABS plastic to stand up to lots of playing and chewing. It’s not designed for throwing but is made for lots and lots of rolling. The Babble Ball comes with an automatic shutoff to preserve battery life when your dog finishes playing.
The toy requires a very light touch to activate, making it come to life even if your dog brushes by it. The ABS plastic shell is also tough enough that your pet can take the ball outside to play.
What Are Interactive Dog Toys?
Interactive dog toys are any toy that is designed to provide your canine with a fun and engaging play experience. A good interactive dog toy should give your pet intellectual stimulation and hold their interest. Ideally, when your pup plays with an interactive toy, he will gain not only mental stimulation and engagement but physical exercise as well.
Boredom, anxiety, depression, and destructive behaviors become more common in dogs that don’t get enough exercise or have enough to do inside the house all day. Dogs that stay in the yard outside with minimal contact also suffer from the same issues, and many interactive toys offer a way for your pet to entertain himself even when you are not available.
Some interactive toys hold your dog’s interest by providing a randomized play experience, which keeps your pup guessing what’s going to happen next. Other interactive toys include small plastic doors, levers, or sliders with spaces for you to conceal kibble or treats.
Your dog will have to figure out how to operate the sliders or plastic covers to get the food reward inside. You can also find ball launchers, poles with tug-of-war toys attached, and much other fun and creative toys for your canine buddy to enjoy.
Some interactive toys are more calming and involve long-lasting treats that your dog can lick for hours. This long-lasting type of treat gives pups something to focus on and occupy them while they await your return home, for example.
Types of Interactive Dog Toys
Interactive toys come in several different types and categories. Before making your choice, consider what kind of experience you want to provide for your pet. Consider your dog’s size, activity level, and breed characteristics while reviewing the vast array of interactive dog toy options.
Think about your pet’s favorite activities, such as chasing, digging, herding, or eating. Believe it or not, not every dog is food-driven enough to work through some of the expert-level dog puzzles on the market, at least not at first.
Your dog might have a learning curve for some interactive toys, but that’s part of the fun! Try some more accessible toys and puzzles first and see if your pup is interested and how quickly he picks up on the toy’s intended play action.
The following list can give you an idea of just some of the interactive toys that are waiting to come home and entertain your dog with hours of fun and play:
- Toys that randomly dispense treats as your dog plays with them
- Hide & seek toys that hide treats for your dog to sniff out
- Toys that automatically launch balls for your pup to chase and return
- Battery-operated toys that make squeaks and other noises in response to your dog’s play movements
- Hard treats made to provide your dog with hours of licking enjoyment
What to Look For in Interactive Dog Toys
Some, but not all, interactive dog toys are made so that your pup can safely play with them unsupervised. Be careful and consider your dog’s particular habits when choosing toys.
Some claim that they’re very durable, but your dog might be the one pup with ‘gator jaws who chews the toy apart. Always supervise your dog’s play with a new toy until you feel sure that it’s safe for unsupervised play.
A good number of interactive toys are meant to be thrown, chewed, rolled, and otherwise abused, so it’s essential to look for quality construction that can withstand your dog’s repeated play sessions.
The following list has some of the important factors to consider when buying interactive toys:
- Durability and chew-resistant (unless it’s edible)
- Pet-safe materials such as plastics with no latex, vinyl, BPA, or phthalates
- A difficulty level that is appropriate for your pet’s interest level so that he doesn’t get frustrated or discouraged
- A type of toy designed to appeal to your dog’s inherent likes or traits, such as retrieving, chasing prey, or food-driven behavior
You can consider many other factors, but the list above should get you started. If you have a special-needs pet, don’t despair; some interactive toys have blinking lights for dogs that don’t hear or emit sounds o help blind dogs find them.
Dogs with mobility issues might appreciate flat, stationary food licking mats. You can slather them with peanut butter and let your dog spend hours licking it out of all the mat’s nooks and crannies.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Do interactive toys work?
The quick answer is yes, they do work, especially if you match the type of interactive activity to your dog’s preferences. Interactive toys offer your canine various ways to get physical and mental stimulation while having some fun and a little exercise.
Providing interactive toys such as food puzzles and ball fetch machines can cause a dramatic reduction in your dog’s anxiety level, boredom, or destructive behaviors.
2. How do I keep my dog entertained while at work?
While no one answer works for every dog, plenty of good options exists for you and Fido to try. If you don’t have any toys on hand, try turning on the television to a show like Animal Planet. Stop by the nearest pet store and pick up some interactive toys for your pup.
These types of toys are designed to offer your pet mental and physical stimulation and a way to play with them independently. This feature means that even if you aren’t around to play at the moment, your dog can still have fun. Try puzzles that you can fill with kibble or treats or a licking treat designed to last for a very long time, for starters.
3. What is the best toy to keep a dog busy?
Choosing the best toy to keep your pet busy might involve some trial and error, and it depends to a degree on your pet’s personality and plays behaviors.
We have assembled this list of our top picks, and it contains something for pretty much any type of doggy play preferences.
- Our Favorite: PetSafe Ricochet Interactive Sound Game Dog Toy
- Best for Retrievers & Fetch-Lovers: iDogmate Smart Automatic Dog Ball Launcher Toy
- Best for Expert Puzzle Solvers: Outward Hound Multipuzzle Dog Toy, Level 4 (Expert), designed by Nina Ottoson
- Best for High Prey Drive/Chasers: Hyper Pet GoDogGo Fetch Machine
- Best for Tug-of-War: Tether Tug Indoor Dog Toy
- Best for Food-Motivated Dogs: PetSafe Kibble Chase Roaming Treat Dropper Dog Toy
- Best for Soothing/Comfort: Hyper Pet IQ Treat Lick Mat for Dogs
- Best for Sniffers and Diggers: TRIXIE Flower Tower Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy
- Best for a Variety of Dogs: Starmark Everlasting Treat Ball
- Best for Chasers: Pet Qwerks Blinky Babble Ball Interactive Dog Toy
4. How do you keep a dog entertained when bored?
If you are home with your pet and they need a bit more than your loving presence to keep them from being bored, you can always try playing some games with your pup or providing toys that enable you to have fun interactions with your dog.
For starters, you could bring home a new interactive dog toy since pups like novelty just as much as humans do. These toys are a great addition to a dog room. You can also try rotating their existing toys. Put a few away for several weeks, and when you bring them out again, your dog will be more excited to play with them. Use a tug-of-war toy to play with your pup, play fetch with balls or fill a puzzle toy with enticing treats.