When it comes to pet toys, we often think of tennis balls and plush toys, but did you know that puzzles can be a great addition to your pet’s toy collection? Interactive puzzles are games designed to help keep your pets busy, stimulate natural curiosity, and prevent boredom that can lead to problematic behaviors. Most toys involve treats and pets must figure out where they are and how to get them. They offer many benefits for dogs and cats of all ages and skill sets.
Interactive puzzles activate and exercise your pet’s mind and body. Especially on your busier than normal days where you may not be able to give your dog an extra walk or play with your cat as much. Did you know that mental stimulation can be just as tiring for animals as physical exercise? A puzzle exercises the brain which helps them to stay sharp and tires them out. Senior dogs can benefit greatly because these toys keep them problem solving as they age.
Alleviates boredom and anxiety
Puzzles are an excellent distraction from a worried dog or cat’s mind. It reduces stress and anxiety and satisfies the natural curiosity that animals have, encouraging their instincts to explore, sniff, and retrieve! For dogs especially, it gives them a “job” to focus on and redirects energy into a safe and healthy activity.
Dogs love a good challenge. Cognitive toys offer plenty of benefits, but what is most important to your dog is that they are fun! They come in a variety of sizes, styles and levels of difficulty.
(Photo from Outward Hound)
We’re big fans of the Outward Hound brand and recommend their interactive puzzles for dogs and cats. 15 minutes of mental activity is equal to about 30 minutes of physical activity, so we’d recommend 15 – 30 minutes of puzzle time daily. Find the one that’s best for your dog and let us know how it goes!