The Best Dog Puzzles for 2022 – Reviewed and Ranked

Written by Kirstin Opal
Updated: August 14, 2022

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Key Points:
  • To keep your dog entertained, find a fun dog puzzle. These are great curing boredom and can help your dog feel at ease.
  • Durability is an important factor when purchasing a dog puzzle. You want to find something made to withstand hours of play.
  • Dog puzzles range anywhere from $5 to over $50, so there is something that fits your budget.
  • Your dog puzzle will need a good washing. Some must be taken apart and hand washed, while others can simply be thrown in the washing machine.

Who doesn’t love a fun game or puzzle? Believe it or not, man’s best friend enjoys playing with puzzles, especially if they include hidden treats! Many dog owners use puzzles to help dogs stay relaxed and to keep boredom at bay. Dog puzzles can provide oodles of entertainment for your doggo, engaging his sense of smell, taste, and touch.

There are so many entertaining options available. How do you know which one you should buy? Not all dogs will like all the puzzles on the market. Some are better for smaller dogs, like terriers. Others are better for larger canines, such as huskies or Dobermans.  Puppies do better with soft puzzles made of pliable vinyl or plush toys, while older pups love a challenge with durable plastic with hidden compartments.

We’ve done the work for you and found the top four dog puzzles. We include our personal preferences from experience and honest pros and cons to give you the best idea of which one your pup will like the most! 

A-Z-Animals Top Picks for Dog Puzzles

  1. Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Treat Puzzle
  2. Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Treat Puzzle
    • Helps teach man’s best friend three unique foraging skills
    • An intermediate toy that will bring a challenge to dogs of all sizes
    • Everything is removable for easy cleaning
    • Provides mental stimulation to keep your dog alert
    Check Amazon
  3. Outward Hound Hide A Squirrel Puzzle Dog Toy
  4. Outward Hound Hide A Squirrel Puzzle Dog Toy
    • Machine-washable tree trunk
    • Suitable for dogs of all breeds
    • Squeaky squirrels in a tree trunk
    • Replacement pack of squirrels available
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. Shy Coyote Pets - Snuffle Mat for Dogs
  6. Shy Coyote Pets - Snuffle Mat for Dogs
    • Nonslip base
    • The puzzle is nearly 29x29 inches big
    • Water-repellant
    • Machine-washable
    Check Amazon
  7. Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball Dog Toy
  8. Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball Dog Toy
    • Made out of pliable vinyl
    • Very durable
    • Quiet on tile and hardwood floors
    • Challenges the dog's perception
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

Choosing the Best: What to Look For

What makes one dog puzzle better than another? There are certain features and aspects you can keep your eyes peeled for when you’re comparing dog puzzles. Let’s take a look at some of the most important information to keep in mind. 

Durability

Knowing what the puzzle is made out of will help you know how durable it is. No matter what breed of dog you have, it can likely easily tear up a toy. Be sure to get something that can handle their claws and teeth. 

Price

Like anything else we buy, the cost plays a big role in which item we choose. With the best dog puzzles on the market, you won’t need to break the bank. There are some that are under $5, While others will cost you over $50.

Washable

Another thing you want to consider is how easy the dog puzzle is to wash. There are options in our list that come apart and can be hand washed with mild soap and water. Other options you can simply put in your washer and dryer. When dog treats are involved, it’s always good to make sure you can easily wash the puzzle. 

The Different Types of Dog Puzzles: Pros and Cons Compared

With so many options on the market today, it’s important to compare the benefits and downfalls of every puzzle. Below you’ll find the most common types of dog puzzles and what we love and believe could be improved upon each one. 

  • Puzzle Boards: Puzzle boards are great because they usually come with a lot of tricks for your dog to figure out. This type of puzzle tends to be quite durable and canines can’t get enough of them. Some pet parents may not like how bulky they are and they can cost more than other options. 
  • Plush Puzzles: If you have a smaller puppy, an older dog, or one with dental issues, a plush puzzle may be best for them. These are usually washable and come in several styles. One downfall that can happen is that plush toys can be torn apart.
  • Puzzle Mats: Puzzle mats can help your furry friend with their cognition and teach hunting skills. They’re great for dogs of all ages and capabilities. 
  • Treat Puzzles: Puzzles that allow your dog to get a treat are incredibly rewarding. Your dog will feel like they earned the treat they found. One disadvantage is that they have to be washed more often. 

Our Criteria: How We Chose The Best

It doesn’t always take a treat to get a dog’s attention. For the Nina Ottosson puzzle mentioned above, we have found that even after our dogs find the treats, they enjoyed playing with the puzzle long after. We love that this product is BPA free and easy to breakdown, clean, and reassemble.

We know that a typical concern for owners is overfeeding their pups with too many treats. For toys that roll treats out, you won’t have to worry about them being overfed. We feel it’s important that you are in control of how many treats your dog consumes while playing with her puzzle.

Be careful if you pick a plush dog puzzle with squeaky sounds. While your pup will love to make a ruckus, the incessant squeaking can be obnoxious! On the flipside, our squeaky choice, Outward Hound Hide a Squirrel Dog Puzzle, we love that it’s machine washable. The company even sells replacement squirrels!

We chose Shy Coyote Pets Snuffle Mat for the dog owner who wants all the bells and whistles. Our pups loved the sound effects. We loved the non-slip bottom and waterproof material. Another bonus-it’s machine washable.

For the budget option listed, we noted that the smaller sized treat puzzle fit our dogs’ mouths better than some of the others. The soft plastic is more pliable for a puppy. If your dog is a chewer, we recommend picking a dog puzzle with a harder surface that makes the hunt for treats more challenging.

#1 Overall Best Dog Puzzle: Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Brick Puzzle Game

The Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Brick Puzzle Game earns the overall best spot. Nina Ottosson has plenty of amazing dog toys, games, and puzzles on the market. This one is great for many reasons, including the fact that it helps teach man’s best friend three unique foraging skills. 

This BPA-free dog puzzle is considered intermediate and will bring a challenge to dogs of all sizes. Whether you just adopted a labrador puppy or you have a senior dog, they’ll enjoy trying to figure out how to play with this toy. 

It’s relatively small and measures 13×9 inches. There are multiple ways this puzzle conceals treats and your furry friend has to figure out how to get a tasty morsel. One of the tricks is lifting and taking one of the bricks that are shaped like dog bones

Another involves flipping a lid open and the other will require your dog to slide blocks onto designated tracks. It’s easy to clean and everything is removable to be hand washed. 

Overall Best
Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Treat Puzzle
  • Helps teach man’s best friend three unique foraging skills
  • An intermediate toy that will bring a challenge to dogs of all sizes
  • Everything is removable for easy cleaning
  • Provides mental stimulation to keep your dog alert
Check Amazon

#2 Best Plush Dog Puzzle: Outward Hound Hide-a-Squirrel Plush Puzzle Toy

While we try not to be biased, the Outward Hound Hide-a-Squirrel Plush Puzzle Toy has got to be the cutest option out of the four we’ve reviewed. Who knew plush squirrels in a tree could be so precious?

Your pup will get the opportunity to find the six squirrels that he can extract from the tree, toss around, and of course, they squeak! It’s essentially two toys for the price of one! If you’re looking for a dog puzzle to sharpen your pup’s hunting instincts, this is a great option. 

The machine-washable tree trunk has five openings where your dog can find the soft, squeaking squirrels. There is a replacement pack of squirrels for sale as well if your dog decides to go to town and rip them apart. Dogs of all breeds will love this toy, as it’s available in four sizes. 

Best Plush Toy
Outward Hound Hide A Squirrel Puzzle Dog Toy
  • Machine-washable tree trunk
  • Suitable for dogs of all breeds
  • Squeaky squirrels in a tree trunk
  • Replacement pack of squirrels available
Check Chewy Check Amazon

#3 Best Puzzle Mat for Dogs: Shy Coyote Pets Snuffle Mat 

Are you looking for a dog puzzle that you can quickly roll up and bring with you wherever you go? The Shy Coyote Pets Snuffle Mat is a fantastic way to keep your dog entertained, no matter where you are. 

This dog puzzle made the cut because it helps dogs build confidence and improves foraging skills. With soft ridges and plenty of pockets to hide treats, pups with declining vision, mobility, and cognition can get joy when playing with this mat. 

There’s a nonslip base under the nearly 29×29 inch puzzle. The bright colors, crinkle material, squeaker, and bell make this every dog’s dream toy! You won’t have to worry about accidents, as it’s water-repellant and can be thrown in the washer when it’s dirty. 

Best Puzzle Mat
Shy Coyote Pets - Snuffle Mat for Dogs
  • Nonslip base
  • The puzzle is nearly 29x29 inches big
  • Water-repellant
  • Machine-washable
Check Amazon

#4 Best Budget Dog Puzzle: Omega Paw Tricky Treat Puzzle Ball

Do you have a budget of around $10 and want to find your furry friend a fun and entertaining puzzle? The Omega Paw Tricky Treat Puzzle just might be their new favorite toy! 

This treat ball is made out of pliable vinyl and is incredibly durable. While man’s best friend can simply roll the ball around and pick up treats as they fall out, they can also play with it the same way they do a tennis ball. 

It’s easy for dogs to pick up and can withstand their sharp teeth and aggressive bites. Pet owners love that it’s quiet on their tile and hardwood floors. It challenges their perception and teaches them a thing or two about being patient until you get a treat.  

Best Budget
Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball Dog Toy
  • Made out of pliable vinyl
  • Very durable
  • Quiet on tile and hardwood floors
  • Challenges the dog's perception
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Summary of the Best Dog Puzzles

RankBest ForProduct
1OverallNina Ottosson by Outward Hound Brick Puzzle Game
2Plush MatOutward Hound Hide-a-Squirrel Plush Puzzle Toy
3Puzzle MatShy Coyote Pets Snuffle Mat 
4BudgetOmega Paw Tricky Treat Puzzle Ball

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About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs, her 14-year-old dog, or her cat Finlay Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.

The Best Dog Puzzles for 2022 – Reviewed and Ranked FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are puzzles good for dogs?

Dog puzzle games give your dog mental and physical activity while also relieving stress and restlessness, improving problem-solving abilities, and letting off pent-up energy. Incorporate high-value, limited-ingredient snacks into your dog’s routine, as well as additional supplementary nutrients!

Will a puzzle tire my dog out?

Puzzle toys need mental energy, and the enticing fragrance of treats stimulates the brain, exhausting your dog faster than a long walk in the park!