The Best Dog Treat Toys Australia - Dispensing Fun Snacks To Your Pup
Our #1 Pick
The Best Value for Money
Dog treat toys are a great way to keep your canine companion entertained. These toys are not just a fun way to give treats to your dog, they carry multiple benefits for canines too.
Today, we’ll cover everything you need to know in order to choose the right treat toy for your dog.
What to Look for in a Treat Dispensing Dog Toy
From puppy days until old age, mental stimulation is very important for dogs (1). Getting an interactive toy that dispenses treats is not only a great boredom buster but can help keep your dog’s mind and instincts healthy.
Now, not all treat dispensers are made the same. You can find lots of different types - from simple fillable balls to extremely complex puzzles and everything in between. The search for the right one will depend on what you are trying to achieve with the toy. Are you just trying to keep the dog occupied while indoors? Some dogs will be occupied with almost anything, while others need an extra challenging toy to keep them interested.
Related: Best Dog Toys Australia.
On the other hand, treat dispensers can be a great way to get your dog to slow down when eating if they keep eating too fast (3). You still want your dog to get enough food, so in that case, for example, you’ll want a toy that has a large enough capacity that you don’t have to fill it 10 times per day.
In any case, here is what to consider before buying a treat dispenser for dogs:
Material & Safety Concerns
Just like with any dog toy, you should always check what info you can find about the material it was made from. This is especially true with toys that get in contact with a dog’s mouth which is pretty much always the case with treat dispensing toys.
You might or might not be surprised to learn that there isn’t much regulation regarding the safety of dog toys (in Australia and elsewhere) (4). The safety issues you should look for concerning the material relates, first of all, to the structure of the toy. You don’t want anything that can be easily broken and with small parts that your dog can swallow. Additionally, there are some concerns considering additives like bisphenol A that are often added to plastic toys (5)
Size and Filling Capacity
When it comes to treat dispensing toys, choosing the right size is especially important. If the toy is too big or too small it might fail to keep your canine companion interested. The sizing will depend on the toy in question, but, in general, you don’t want anything that’s so small that your dog could swallow it easily.
Moreover, some treat dispensers will only hide a bit or two, while others can hold a whole cup of food. The choice is entirely up to you, just make sure you are aware of what you're buying before you choose the new toy.
When you stuff your dog’s toys with food, you’ll want to be able to clean them well after that - especially in cases when your dog can’t get to every tiny hole and lick it clean. Dishwasher-safe treat toys make life easier. At the very least, you’ll want a toy where the openings are easily accessible for cleaning.
Best Treat Dispenser for Dogs 2021: Our Top Picks
What sets this product apart from the rest?
KONG is a big name in the world of dog treat toys - and there is a good reason for this. Their original toy became globally popular quickly, and they soon started developing more creative solutions for dogs. Truth be told, not all of their toys are perfect, but we’ve found the Wobbler to work great if you are looking for a dog food dispenser toy.
Shaped somewhat like the original KONG, the Wobbler works on an entirely different principle. This toy is not chewable. Rather, it stands upright and ‘wobbles’ as the dog tries to get the treats inside, always returning to the upright position. With one small hole on the side, this toy will slowly dispense kibble and keep the dog interested in a long time.
Our favourite thing about this toy is how easy it is to fill. All you need to do is unscrew the top, add as much food as you want, and screw it back on. With most food dispensing toys, inserting the treats can be quite fiddly and slow, but not with the Wobbler.
This system also makes the toy very easy to clean. Considering it’s dishwasher-safe too, it doesn’t get any better than that.
Verified Review - 2/11/2021
Perfect for fast eaters
"My puppy inhales his food but this has helped a lot. I made the hole half the size because I found too much was falling out at once. He loves it - tail always wagging while he uses it. Absolutely recommend."
The Bob-A-Lot is another popular favourite among treat dispensing toys. Many pet parents with hyperactive dogs have found that this is the only toy that can keep their canine companions interested in extended periods.
This toy is shaped somewhat like a round bottle. Due to the weight distribution, it always returns into the upright position, while your dog tries constantly to roll it over and get the food out. The Bob-A-Lot opens at the top so you can fill it with kibble with ease.
There are multiple openings on the sides of the toy that allow the treats or kibbles to fall out intermittently. Each opening is adjustable, so you can adjust the level of difficulty and adapt the toy to the size of the treats you are putting inside.
Related: Best Interactive Dog Toy.
The main downside of this toy is that it tends to create quite a bit of noise. As your dog plays with the toy, it will inevitably bump into pretty much every object around. If you don’t mind the noise, though, the toy is great!
The Bob-A-Lot used to be available in only one size. It was great for larger dogs, but owners of small dogs found out the toy was too big for their pooches to handle. StarMark heard the complaints, though, so they offer the Bob-A-Lot in mini-size too.
Verified Review - 23/05/2021
Little dogs love this.
"My dog loves it. She is super fussy to feed and prefers to hunt. She loves hitting it and getting her kibble."
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Most treat-dispensing balls for dogs will have one large opening in the middle. For some dogs, this challenge is too easy (or even sometimes too frustrating - it all depends on the personality).
This ball from Zenify, on the other hand, offers a challenge that can feel more relaxing to the dog although it lasts a long time. This is because the Zenify ball has lots of small openings all along the surface of the ball closed-off by rubber teeth. This design can be soothing for dogs since it satisfies the natural chewing instinct while allowing them to constantly reach small amounts of food to keep them interested.
Related: Best Dog Treat Ball.
Overall, we love the Zenify treat ball, but we have to conclude it won’t work for larger dogs. The ball comes in only one size which measures 5 cm in diameter. Large dogs could easily swallow a ball of this size which makes it a choking hazard. For smaller dogs, on the other hand, this ball is the perfect challenge.
Verified Review - 5/07/2021
"This was slightly smaller than I expected. But, the boys have had fun with it. It is a little difficult to put any treats in the teeth as it is small. Good quality though. Will make a good throw ball anyway."
Aussie Dog never ceases to amaze us with their simple but clever toys. Their toys are always durable and functional, and this is the case with the Tucker Ball too.
The Aussie Dog Tucker Ball was designed to be ‘oversized’. That is, your dog should never be able to fit the ball in their mouth. Luckily, the ball is available in 3 sizes, so you just need to choose the right one, no matter how large your dog is.
When the ball is sized appropriately, your dog will not be able to chew on it but will instead roll it around trying to get the treats. This eliminates the problem with many other treat-dispensing toys - your dog canine companion cannot chew it apart in case of frustration.
The Tucker Ball has another cool feature, inside the large ball, there is another small ball, which creates a stimulating rattling sound. This will make the ball interesting to your dog even when empty, but it has another function too. The smaller ball inside will prevent too many treats from dropping out of the Tucker Ball, thus keeping the game going for longer.
Verified Review - 4/01/2019
"My dog who doesn't usually play with toys enjoys having his breakfast served in his tucker ball. It was recommended by our vet."
The original KONG toy is an all-time best seller. What’s special about KONG rubber toys is that they make different versions to suit every dog. The difference is in the texture of the rubber, and this version is created to be especially soft and gentle. Still, the rubber is sufficiently elastic and strong that puppies can enjoy gnawing at the toy without tearing it apart. This is especially great for teething puppies!
The KONG toy is hollow through the middle with openings on both sides. This space can be filled with treats of your choice. Small treats, kibble, peanut butter, your own homemade filling or a store-bought one, the options are potentially endless.
Related: Best Puppy Toys.
When you fill the KONG with kibble, the challenge will be easy due to the size of the opening. However, it is still enough to entertain most puppies in the beginning. Over time, you might want to create a more difficult challenge. Filing the kong and then freezing it is one option in this case that works great (if you are using dry snacks add a bit of water).
Verified Review - 27/07/2021
Big for puppies
"This is still slightly bigger for my border collie puppy and the hole is quiet big so the treat fall out easily, nevertheless my puppy likes it!"
The Nina Ottoson collection from Outward Hound offers a wide range of seriously challenging treat toys. They are not called toys, but puzzles and the name fit quite well. To get to the treat, the dog needs to play with the movable pieces and figure out how to find the treat. These toys are great for mental stimulation, and they can show how smart most dogs are.
We like the Tornado puzzle because it’s simple enough to be interesting to almost every dog, but still not too easy. Additionally, it doesn’t contain any small parts that can easily be broken off, unlike some other puzzles from the Nina Ottoson collection.
Verified Review - 26/05/2021
Level of complexity
"The hide and slide game is made of good quality material and is sturdy. Unfortunately it's a bit too easy for my 5 month old puppy. It took him less than a minute to figure it out and got onto all the treats. Even my 15 year old dog worked it our in 1 minute."
If you don’t know where to start with treat dispensing toys and are looking for a quick recommendation, we recommend one of the ‘wobbling’ toys like the KONG Wobbler or Bob-A-Lot from StarMark. These toys are easy to handle, fill, and clean, and will keep almost any dog entertained.
The perfect toy will depend on your dog, though. If your dog needs a more difficult challenge or perhaps prefers chewable toys take a look through other picks on our list.
While it somewhat depends on the toy in question, there are many options when it comes to fillings. Almost any treat-dispensing toy can be filled with dry food such as kibble, small treats, or larger treats broken into small pieces. Some toys, like most balls or the KONG, can also be filled with mushy foods like peanut butter or pate. The options are endless.
Yes, treat dispensing toys can be great for dogs. They stimulate their minds by making them work for the treats, keep them entertained and teach them to deal with frustration. However, you shouldn’t use these toys excessively and make a hungry dog fight for food all the time.
Most of the time, dogs don’t need special training to use treat toys. However, it might be a good idea to show the dog how the toy works, especially if the toy is a more complex one.
- Helmer, Jodi. “Brain Games: Mental Stimulation Keeps Dogs’ Minds Sharp”. FETCH by WebMD. Retrieved November 8, 2021. https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/features/mental-stimulation-sharpens-dogs-minds
- Watson, Emily. July 19, 2018 “Why interactive toys are good for your dog”. Animal Wellness Magazine. Retrieved November 9, 2021. https://animalwellnessmagazine.com/interactive-toys-2/
- Coates, Jennifer. August 14, 2015. “How to Get Dogs to Eat Slower”. PetMD. Retrieved November 9, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/dr-coates/2015/august/how-get-dogs-eat-slower-33018
- RSPCA Australia. February 20, 2019. “Making playtime a good time for you and your pet”. Retrieved November 9, 2021. https://www.rspca.org.au/blog/2019/making-playtime-good-time-you-and-your-pet
- Bratskeir, Kate. April 9, 2019. “Are Plastic Dog Toys Harming Your Pet?”. HuffPost. Retrieved March 20th, 2021. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/no-plastic-dog-cat-toys_n_5d6a808ee4b0cdfe0570dbb3