Dogs are very much like young children in that they easily become bored with their toys. Using a variety of interactive toys will keep them happy and engaged. But, which toys, especially interactive toys, are the best for small-breed dogs? From snuffle mats to treat puzzles, we have you covered.
What Are Interactive Toys?
For a toy to be considered interactive, it must reward your dog as your dog plays with it, such as a treat coming out, a fun sound, or an attention-grabbing movement. Interactive toys keep your dog coming back for more fun and keep them engaged for a time. Dogs, even little dogs, need stimulation and brain teasers to keep them on their toes and their brains working, not just chew toys.
Types of interactive toys include:
- Puzzle toys: Dogs must solve the puzzle before getting their reward.
- Treat dispensers: As the dog plays with the toy, treats are released which keeps them wanting to keep playing.
- Hide-and-seek toys: Toys have a larger toy with smaller toys hidden inside that your dog must figure out how to get out.
- Slow feeders: There is some type of obstacle that keeps dogs from devouring their food quickly. Snuffle mats can also be used as slow feeders.
- Responsive toys: When a dog moves or pushes the toy, the toy makes a sound or moves to keep their attention.
It is easy to find interactive dog toys, they can be found at PetSmart, PetCo, local Wal-Mart stores, and even online at Chewy or Amazon. Take your time when looking for the right interactive toys for your small-breed dog. It is probably even a good idea to have two or three different interactive toys to switch out and keep your dog from getting bored.
Interactive Puzzle Dog Toys
There are a lot of choices when it comes to puzzle toys for dogs. But which one is best for a small-breed dog?
Outward Houd Nina Ottoson Dog Worker has two puzzle toys that are wonderful for smaller dogs. The tan interactive treat puzzle dog toy does require more concentration and skill from the dog, but it is great for dogs that have conquered beginner puzzle dog toys.
For dogs not used to working interactive treat puzzles, the Outward Hound Nina Ottoson Dog Brick interactive treat puzzle is the way to go. It is made to be easier for small dogs to just their nose or their feet to move the slides and find their treat.
Most people have probably heard of KONG toys before, especially if they have had dogs in their lives for a while. This iconic brand offers fun and virtually indestructible toys of all shapes and sizes.
The KONG Classic toy comes in different sizes so you can pick the one that is best for your dog. Small-breed dogs do best with the small or medium KONG classic toy. You can stuff the middle of the toy with treats or even peanut butter or another yummy treat and watch your dog enjoy rolling the toy around to get to the treats inside. On hot days fill the KONG classic with Greek yogurt or peanut butter and freeze for a refreshing treat.
Another great option when looking at KONG toys is the KONG Wobbler Dog Toy that stands upright and as the dog pushes it around, it jumps and rolls all over and then pops back up. This will keep your dog engaged for a while.
If you cannot find a KONG toy that your dog likes, try the West Paw Zogoflex Tux Treat Dispensing Toy. The fun design and durable materials will keep your dog entertained and concentrating on how to get the treats out. They must move the toy just right to be rewarded.
Hide and Seek Toys
You can set up a hide and seek game without buying cute or fancy interactive dog toys. Your small-breed dog may even prefer playing hide and seek with you. However, when you are busy but your teeny companion still wants to play, getting a hide-and-seek interactive dog toy is the next best thing.
Outward Hound has a Hide A Squirrel Plush Dog Toy that is adorable and fun for your small dog. The plush log has openings where small squirrel squeaky toys can be pulled out. Your small-breed dog can go on their very own hunt without having to even go outside.
Many people with small dogs use a snuffle mat as a slow feeder rather than purchase a typical slow feeder bowl. The snuffle mat will provide plenty of enrichment while they search for their kibble. Dogs use their nose as a way to learn about their environment and snuffle mats help them strengthen their sense of smell.
There are a lot of snuffle mats available and it can be a little daunting trying to find the right one. You may even want to purchase two or three different styles to switch up feeding times and playtimes.
The PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat is a little more expensive than other mats, but it is one of the best on the market when being used as a slow feeder. The long fabric pieces easily hide the kibble and encourage your dog to forage for their food.
AWOOF Snuffle Mats are vibrant and filled with different textures for dogs to sniff and dig through to find special treats or kibble. These mats are easy to wash, easy to store, and durable. Dogs, especially small dogs, will hone their foraging skills with this snuffle mat.
Responsive Interactive Toys
Some people may find the As Seen on TV Wobble Wag Giggle Ball annoying with its jarring sounds when it is rolled. But dogs seem to love this loud, bright ball and will spend so much time rolling it around the house or yard.
The KONG Jumbler Ball is not loud like the Wobble Wag Giggle Ball. It is essentially a tennis ball that jiggles when moved. Dogs love to pick it up and carry it, dropping it from time to time to hear the sound it makes.
While you know your small-breed dog needs exercise for their body, they also need to exercise their mind to keep them happy and healthy. Interactive toys are some of the best tools to have when you are trying to keep your small-breed dog from boredom. Have a few different interactive toys on hand and switch things up so your dog does not get tired of the same old toys. This is a way to keep them out of trouble, keep their mind engaged, and enjoy watching them tackle challenges.