Our top 5 Dog Toys for Easing Canine Separation Anxiety
We’ve been asked countless times what toys we recommend for keeping dogs entertained and distracted when they are left home alone. So we decided to find out for ourselves, and put together an independent, unbiased test. We’ve received no compensation in any form from any of the brands mentioned in this article. For our experiment, we decided to include a variety of textures, shapes, styles and colors. We tested 25 toys including puzzles, foraging toys, treat balls and cuddle toys. Our top 5 toys were picked based on the following metrics: How long the toy held the dogs’ attention, if the dogs’ played with the toy, and if it seemed to distract the dogs from being alone. We tested each toy with 7 different dogs to compensate for different dogs having different play styles and preferences.
Keep reading to see which toys came out on top, as well as our thoughts and comments on the winning toys.
Outward Hound Treat Tumble Ball
Outward Hound’s Treat Puzzle is a great toy for distraction, entertainment and mental stimulation for your dog when being left alone or during stressful situations. What we like is that it comes in two sizes, most companies only offer one size, and usually small. The toy holds a decent quantity of kibble or treats, and they don’t easily fall out of the toy. It is made of a plastic so the only downside is you can hear it banging into things as your dog has fun. Some might hear annoying noise, we just heard one happy dog. Priced at $14.99 for the large. 67% of reviewers gave it 5 stars. Something to be aware of - The 69,000 reviews are a little misleading because the company combined the reviews for all their products (over 100), not just this one item.
TRIXIE Dog Activity Puzzle
If your dog is one of those smarty ones who needs more of a challenge, the TRIXIE dog activity puzzle is a great choice. It kind of looks like something a Mad Scientist would be using; it has what looks like blue laboratory cylinders that spin and flip. There are different size caps depending on how challenging you want to make the game. There are instructions, but what we found is that each of our dogs played with it in their own unique way. The end reward was happy dogs who had some great and captivating challenges. This toy was different than the treat ball as they had to use trial and error and basically “learn” what works. Plus, it kept them occupied for a longer period than the treat ball. Side note: Cats love this too. Only downside is it can be knocked over, so you need to figure out how best to keep it stabilized. Retails around $18.49. 65% of customers who reviewed this gave the toy 5 stars.
MIDOG STRAWBERRY Activity Puzzle
71% of the reviews for the Midog Strawberry Dog Toy were 5 stars, with lots of reviewers praising it for helping their dogs with boredom. Made of a very sturdy rubber, this toy seems to last longer and is good for dogs who are more aggressive with their toys. If your dog is tough on toys and needs help with distractions for anxiety, then this would be a good toy to try out. Put either kibble or treats inside the toy and let your dog enjoy. Retails around $15.00
KONG Classic Rubber Dog Toy
We will always tip our hat to Kong. This classic has been used for generations to provide a long lasting toy to occupied bored dogs. Something for you to consider trying that is a little different, would be making a healthy blend of treats, let them soak briefly in water so they are easily stuffed inside the Kong, and then you freeze it! This will make your dog feel rewarded, keep them entertained for hours, and is a nice change of pace from countless scoops of peanut butter you’ve probably put in there. Retails around $13.00
Indoor Ball, Roller, Shaker Dog Toys
ChuckIt! Indoor Ball. Here is why this is our champion:
The ball is lightweight and plush, making it easy for your dog to play with while being lightweight so it won’t damage your home while you are away. If you’re someone who’s dogs have banged up some walls or made messes with heavy ball toys, this is a perfect fit. Secondly, because it is made from plush it is ideal for spraying K9 Comfort Spray Calm Tranquility or our unscented Peace of Mind, (both have 100% of Amazon customers rating them 5 stars). As your dog plays, they will also be comforted with the scent of their human which is proven to calm and bring happiness to your dog. The toy is easy to carry, toss and cuddle while keeping your dog entertained and comforted. If it gets dirty, throw it in the wash, and replenish it with a few sprays of K9 Comfort Spray. With dog toys getting more expensive, the $7.00 price is fantastic. 71% of reviews are 5 stars. Also comes in Rollers, Squirrel, and other shapes and sizes.