July 28, 2021
While traditional dog toys are fun, it’s always good to spread your wings a bit and try interactive smart dog toys. They tend to be a better option for your dog’s learning experience, and they are fun for you as well. Many come with an app that allows you to adjust the toy settings for your dog’s needs, giving hours of playtime. These are some of the coolest interactive dog toys on the market that we found:
1. Wickedbone is an interactive “smart” dog bone toy that connects to your phone via Bluetooth. Within the Wickedbone app, users can choose between Autoplay -- the toy will move on its own in a random pattern -- or Drive mode, which is essentially a virtual joystick where you have full control of the bone’s movements. It can respond to your dog’s moods and actions and there are nine motions available making it easy for you to play with your dog. It’s made from FDA food-grade polycarbonate, which means it’s safe for biting and chewing. It’s rechargeable via USB and the price can range from about $70-$100-plus.
2. The VARRAM Pet Fitness Robot is an interactive treat dispenser and companion for your dog. Using the VARRAM app, you can schedule play time to keep your pet moving and has a feature that allows you to monitor and track your dog’s daily activities.This interactive toy can also be programmed to reward your pup’s interaction by dispensing treats automatically. It has 16 different play modes, is easy to clean, is made of materials that are safe and indestructible, and the price is around $100.
3. For a soft toy option, the Hyper Pet Interactive Plush Toy is a wiggly, vibrating and barking toy that gets and keeps your dog’s attention. This battery-operated plush has motion activated sensors that encourage your pup to keep playing, which keeps them mentally and physically stimulated for longer periods. It’s good for dogs of any size or age, but pets should be supervised when playing with this toy, as it is not indestructible. With an average price around $15, this toy is easy to find at most online stores.
4. If you’ve got a curious canine on your hands, the Trixie Mad Scientist for Dogs is an interactive treat-dispensing toy that will challenge your pup’s intellect. The game is designed like a puzzle and once solved, your dog is rewarded with a treat. Easily adjust the level of difficulty as your pup starts to learn the puzzle patterns, which will keep your dog entertained for hours and will continually help improve their motor skills. The price is about $15-$20 and is available at most retailers.
5. The Pet Zone IQ Treat Dispenser is an interactive ball toy that engages your pet both physically and mentally. With adjustable levels, your pup with stay happy, healthy and entertained trying to figure out how to get the treats inside. Being engaged and active will help avoid boredom, anxiety and destructive behavior.The ball dispenses a few treats at a time, so it keeps your dog entertained longer and the three-inch size works great for smaller dogs and puppies. It costs about $10-$15 and is available online and in some pet stores.
Though it’s not actually a toy, we thought we would include the PetWell Therapeutic Handheld Massager on this list because it will definitely make your pup happy. It has four vibration levels and is great for a full-body muscle loosening massage. It helps alleviate anxiety, increases circulation, and aids in digestion. There are a few variations of this massager, but they all tend to fall around $15 and can be found in most pet stores or online.
Keep in mind, many of these need batteries and/or an outlet where you can plugin a USB charger. If you buy a toy with an app, be sure and block out enough time so you can set up the app (usually about 20 minutes). It’s also important to remember that not all dogs -- or toys -- are created equal. Supervised play will not only keep your pet safe but will likely extend the life of the toys, too.