These Kibble Puzzle Games Are the Ultimate Mental Exercise for Your Pup

published Dec 1, 2021
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You may be returning to the office, leaving your quarantine pup at home, and worrying how they’ll possibly fare without you. Or perhaps you’ve got a friend who’s pooch-obsessed, and you’re looking for the perfect gift — or (as in my case) your parents have a puppy with insatiable energy and the only thing that tires her out is a mental challenge. No matter what’s brought you here, finding a unique toy for your four-legged friend can be a challenge.

That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of mentally stimulating, challenging, and fun puzzle-style dog toys that will keep any pup entertained with a reward system that requires some work to access the kibble you’ve stored within the toy. Each of the puppy puzzles listed below is free of BPA plastics and made with non-toxic components, so your doggo can safely chew away.

1 / 8
was $18.99

As your pup toys with this twisty and tricky dispenser, kibble is released in increments to reward your furry friend for their efforts! This Busy Buddy is dishwasher-safe, which is a huge plus for those of us who know just how slobbery dog toys can get. There is a special and unique factor within this puppy puzzle, since you can adjust the difficulty of the toy. So whether your dog is a beginner or veteran puzzle player, they will be adequately challenged.

2 / 8
Fable Pets

Sleek and stylish pet-forward small business Fable makes great games for pups, too. Fable's The Game is designed to replicate the experience of hunting prey, making it the ultimate kibble-dispensing game. With a bowling-pin like bob, the egg shaped toy wobbles back and forth as it is prodded, batted, and rolled by your furry friend in order to release bits of kibble or treats. With mulitple complexity settings, The Game is endlessly versatile and will keep any doggo occupied.

3 / 8
was $12.99

The Kong is the quintessential food-focused dog puzzle for good reason. The toy encourages mental developement for your four-legged friend by forcing them to find a way to access the delicious prize waiting for them inside the Kong's cavity. Perfect for stuffing with kibble and cementing with peanut butter, the Kong also functions as a fetch toy and chews like a ball. It's perfect for the high-energy pup, the food-obsessed doggy, or any furry friend who's ready to challenge and reward themselves.

4 / 8
was $49.98

Nina Ottosson toys are known to be some of the most mentally stimulating (aka tiring in a good way) and complex puzzles for your pet. The self-acclaimed "boredom busters" have many flaps, buttons, doors, and levers, and this duo might even be mistaken as a children's toy. Because the toys take ample focus, they offer an even greater reward for any pooch, encouraging positive play habits. The first puzzle is a table comprised of flips and switches that must be slid to the side by your pup's nose to expose the underlying treat. The second is made up of three twisting bones and 12 hidden compartments that keep take a furry friend excited and engaged. Between the two of them, your pup will be endlessly entertained.

5 / 8
was $17.45

This pick is for the ball-loving dogs, because let's be honest: For pups who yearn to chase balls, its really more of an obsession. This rotund and crater filled puzzle comes in three sizes, so any pooch will stay entertained for hours. Rolling, toying with, and tossing this bright ball will dispense bits of goodness from what one reviewer astutely calls the "cookie ball." Once all the bits have been released from inside, the soft ball makes a great chewy toy. Watch out, your dog may have found a new best friend.

6 / 8
Fable Pets

Another streamlined and chic puzzle from Fable, the Falcon Toy has multiple deep and hidden pockets to stick treats (or bits of kibble) or peanut butter. The toy works well for tug of war, fetch, and, of course, as a independent puzzle for your pup, making it stylish and functional. A smart and unique aspect of this toy is it's ability to link into other Falcon toys, creating a more complex puzzle for any sized pooch.

7 / 8

The Tug-A-Jug is truly one of a kind. The toy is made up of a rope attached to a bottle with a textured and round knob. The three elements make the toy a multi-textured sensory stimulator. It doles out kibble or treats when your four-legged friend pushes the rope into the bottle or uses the textured knob to shake the bottle. The toy is clearly a crowd favorite with reviwers lamenting they wish they had found the Tug-A-Jug sooner and others exclaiming it has withstood "years of heavy use" from happy dogs!

8 / 8

Appropriately named, this IQ toy is another choice perfect for ball-lovers. Just like a tennis ball, this throwable treat-concealer is perfect for catch but with the added benefit of being a mental challenge for your pup's alone time. The little grooves guarded with small pliable teeth make the perfect hiding spots for hard to reach kibble and the balls top crater-shaped groove can be filled with peanut butter (pro tip: stick in in the freezer so it takes your pooch even longer to lick it away).