Keep your pets active and engaged with our selection of mentally stimulating, interactive dog toys and pounce-worthy cat enrichment toys
Happy pets need stimulation, especially when bored or stressed. That’s why enrichment is so important. According to Ohio State University, pet enrichment refers to creating an environment to "increase physical activity and normal species typical behavior that satisfies an animal’s physical and psychological needs.” Typically, those needs are bucketed into five categories: physical, social, nutritional, occupational, and sensory.
While physical, social, and nutritional needs are typically covered by pet parents, occupational and sensory needs are often overlooked.
Sensory: An example within the sensory category might be introducing your dog to a new smell or new funny sound via a mentally stimulating dog toy. Smells are especially important in cats and dogs. This is one reason why cat toys like catnip toys are important. Indoor pets especially need new sensations, and “naughty” behaviors like shredding toilet paper can simply be a search for more stimulation via scavenging.
Occupational: An example of an occupational category need, on the other hand, might be the overwhelming need to dig for some small dogs. Cats and dogs often love having a “job,” which encourages mental work. For example, a puzzle game, a game of fetch, or learning new tricks are all occupational games. Addressing this need can also be accomplished with interactive dog toys, which innately create an objective within a puzzle, such as getting a treat hiding in the center.
Puppy enrichment of all kinds is especially vital as it can help the pup in a lifelong way. For all pets young and old, though, these kinds of activities are key to avoiding stress and anxiety, not to mention boredom.
Because stimulating a pet’s mind can be so important, the team at P.L.A.Y. has crafted these cat and dog enrichment toys. Let’s discuss what makes them great!
What are interactive dog toys?
Interactive dog toys are toys designed to stimulate on a mental as well as physical level. They are created to fulfill often-overlooked enrichment needs, such as occupational or sensory needs. They typically have a gaming element that keeps the dog entertained.
What are the best enrichment toys for dogs?
The best dog enrichment toys
- Slow-feeder style dog toys: These toys are designed to entice treat-motivated, anxious dogs to get a treat out of a very simple puzzle. Our examples can be used during fetch games: the ZoomieRex ball.
- Puzzle style dog toys: These are slightly more difficult dog toys to solve and may or may not include treats. They’re especially good for inquisitive and persistent pups. Our example is the beloved Wobble Ball 2.0.
- Activity/training challenge toys: Training is key for occupational dogs. A play tunnel is a great example for keeping a dog who likes to run engaged.
- Tear-apart plush toys: For dogs who like to shake their toys and get them apart, toys with detachable elements are very stimulating, such as the plush eggs benedict in our Barking Brunch collection.
- Snuffle matts and beds: Dogs love to sniff and inspect snuffle boards. For dogs who love the natural behavior of digging into cushions, we recommend the snuggle bed, which can flip and move with reversible sides.
What are some examples of interactive toys for cats?
Interactive cat enrichment toys can include food puzzles, imitation mice, roller balls, and chasing toys.
What are the best interactive cat toys?
This most enriching cat toys are ones that imitate a cat’s behaviors in the wild in a fun way and addresses several physical and mental needs at once. That’s why some of the best toys in this category use plush mice. See our full list of fun cat toys!
Here are a few of our favorites: