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Top 5 Food Dispensing Dog Toys
Dogs love to have a job to do. And mental stimulation is important for them for a myriad of reasons. Mealtime can be a great time for some added 'work.' It will make your dog feel a sense of achievement to earn his meal, it will slow down his eating, and it will help his brain stay strong throughout his life. Treat/meal dispensing toys are a great way to let your dog work for his meals, and have some fun in the process. My dog, Rusty, wags his tail anytime he sees one of his many treat dispensing toys. And he eats his breakfast out of one every day. They're also great stuffed with treats, a little peanut butter (we use low sodium and low sugar peanut butter to make it healthier for Rusty) or other such fun tidbits as something to occupy your dog when you have to leave him home alone. I ofter give Rusty a treat or two stuffed into one of his treat dispensing toys before I leave for work in the morning. We have many, which we alternate though to keep it more interesting for him.
Top 5 Food Dispensing Dog Toys
5. Kong Wobbler: This was one of the first food dispensing toys I bought for Rusty after adopting him. It's Kong brand, which is a brand well-known for their high quality dog toys which was part of what led me to pick it. It's fairly durable (ours has collected a few teeth marks in the plastic over the years, but it's still going strong) and large enough to fit the full kibble breakfast for my 70 lb. dog. The only downside to this, which has mostly stopped us from using it unfortunately, is it has been scratching our hardwood floors, due to the hard plastic of the toy hitting the floor when Rusty swats it with his paws. As long as you have another floor surface besides hardwood for your dog to use this toy on so you don't need to worry about that issue I would highly recommend this toy!
4. Kong Classic/Extreme Probably the most well know food dispensing toy on the market, and with good reason. I've never tried the classic as Rusty is a German Shepherd mix (i.e. powerful chewer) though if you have a dog who is more of an average chewer the classic is the extreme equivalent for you. It's the same style and design, the extreme, which we use, is just ulta-strong and ultra-durable. And I can vouch for that. We got ours shortly after adopting Rusty almost 4 years ago and there's not a tooth mark on it. The material is gentle on my hardwood floors, and it bounces unpredictably, which keeps Rusty entertained.
Don't forget the healthy treats to fill your food dispensing toy!
3. PetSafe Busy Buddy Barnacle I really like the different sized spheres of this treat as they serve two purposes: the large sphere is great for filling with kibble when serving Rusty his breakfast, and the smaller ones are wonderful for stuffing with treats when I leave Rusty alone to go to work. Sometimes I even add a little (reduced sodium and sugar) peanut butter to the outer grooves of the toy for a change of pace. And I like that what the makers call the 'treat meter' on this toy makes it harder to get the treats/kibble out of this one than a lot of other treat dispensing toys. Rusty (like many dog when it comes to tasty food) is a very quick thinker and learner, and I like any extra challenge I can give him.
2. Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball Rusty loves to play with balls, so we have tried a number of the treat dispensing balls on the market. Rusty's enjoyment of balls (something he shares with many dogs) is why my number 2 and number 1 choices are both ball shaped. This one is a great size - big enough to hold a good amount of kibble (though not quite as much as my #1 pick below) but still small and pliable enough for Rusty to pick up and carry around the house in his mouth. He loves to do that both when this ball is full of kibble and when it's not. The vinyl material is great too - very durable, yet soft enough not to leave any scratches on our floor. It's also available in 3 different sizes, so you can choose the best fit for your dog's size. We have the size large.
1. PetSafe Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble Meal Dispensing Dog Toy I chose this ball because of its large capacity - it holds much more food than most other toys on the market - up to two cups - a large part of why it's my #1 choice. This makes it great for feeding Rusty his breakfast, as many similar products don't hold quite enough food for this purpose. It has proven itself not just in it's food holding capacity, but in its quality of materials - ours doesn't have a bite mark on it, despite regular use. It's also easy to fill and clean as it unscrews at its middle - one of the other main reason's it's my #1 choice - a surprising number of similar toys are just as challenging for the owner to fill as they are for the dog to get his food/treats and I like how quick and easy this one is for me…while not being quick and easy for Rusty. And bonus - it also doubles as a ball for play time!