Have you heard of interactive dog toys? Know what it is and how it can help you?
Do you have a dog that appears to bounce off the walls? Always wants to play, wants to be doing something? Do you feed them from a dog bowl? Well, this might help…
Interactive dog toys have been created to give dogs food but allow them to work at the same time! You can buy them in most pet shops and online but you can also make your own with minimal effort!
So why use them? Well, it makes your dogs work hard! They have to use their brains to work out where their breakfast is! So why is that useful? It is useful because dogs don’t always need to run around to use up energy. Have you ever had to sit and use your brain for a period of time, then afterwards feel like all you want to do is go to sleep? Well its the same with dogs! Get them using their brains and they will also feel a little tired.
So whats the best way? Well there are the toys you can buy in shops and on amazon. There are loads of them now and more coming out all the time! So here are five of the ones we like!
If you want interactive dog toys that can come in various levels of difficulty, these are the ones for you! You can get these in most stores and online at various prices so we would advise you shop around a little! These toys come with ratings to tell you how difficult they are. They also come with instructions and a disc to tell you how to use the toys effectively. They start off very easy and build up to a puzzle that the dog has to remove bits and push bits around. We would recommend that you start with the easy ones if they have never used them before because dogs have to learn how to use these toys. You can’t just give one to the dog and expect them to know how to use it, however you will see the dogs tend to learn how to use these quite quickly!
Again you can buy these almost anywhere now! They are great because you can stuff them with almost anything! These are probably one of the best for those that raw feed because you can stuff them full of raw minces where as most of the interactive food toys you need something a little harder! If you do a quick google you can find hundreds of different options on how best to fill a kong, you can fill it and warm them, freeze them, put honey, yoghurt, banana, dog kibble/meat, peanut butter, anything your dog finds yummy in them! The dog then has to lick all the yummy foods out of the kong. These can take dogs quite a while to empty and even longer if you freeze them! Though when you are introducing them we would suggest that you make it easy so the dog gets the idea of them. Once a dog is hooked though kongs can become your best friend especially if you need to keep your dog calm because its had an operation or something like that!
The wobbler is a weighed kong that is made for dogs to push and knock around. It’s not like the normal kong as stuffing it with peanut butter would stop the food coming out. It is best used with kibble but can be used with other treats like dried out liver that are harder and won’t stick to the inside. They can then push this around with this paws and nose till all their food comes out. It is a brilliant way to feed the dogs their meals but you do have to be aware that some dogs can really get into pushing the wobbler around so its worth making sure that the room the dogs are in is safe, with no loose wires that they can get the toy stuck in. Also make sure you only give them the amount of food they need and don’t over feed them, it is very easy to do with these!
This feeder is a bit maze like with how the food ends up in it. It was designed for kibble like food but you could probably stick raw food in it though you would need to be careful how you used it. The idea is that you put the kibble in the middle and the dogs use their tongues to push it around to the lower sections where they can then get the food out the feeder. It is quite difficult and some dogs can give up with this one quite quickly so make sure that when you first present it to your dog that you only put food where the lower “spikes” are so that they can get to the food. Then once the dogs have got the hang of it you can start moving the food further towards the middle to make it more difficult. If your dogs are raw fed then its possibly worth just sticking to the outer areas where they can get to the food. It is still usable but you have to be a little more creative!
Snuffle mats I have placed here because you need to buy the bits but you make them yourself. This means they can be any colour you can get hold of! The idea is that these are made out of lots of bits of material and you hide the food between them. This could get rather messy with raw minces but again you can use dried treats in this quite successfully! So you have your snuffle mat, hide the food within it and then show your dog that its there, make sure some of the food is easier to find so that the dogs understand what you are asking but then just let them have a play!
Of course there are other ways to feed your dogs and get them to use their brains at the same time, without spending money on interactive dog toys. You can scatter feed them, find somewhere in the house or even in the garden and scatter their food about. Then they have to find all the food! Or you can make your own interactive dog toys! Egg boxes or other cardboard boxes are great, you can hide food in them, put peanut butter/cheese/honey in them. You can also use newspaper to hide food in, then put them in boxes. The possibilities are endless and though it might not be as quick as putting food in a dog bowl, it will keep them occupied for longer and get them using their brains!
If you are in or around Lincoln and want some advice on what toys or how best to introduce them, then please get in touch!