treat dispenser toys

There are a lot of toys on the market that claim to be the best for dogs, but not all of them are created equal. When it comes to finding the perfect toy for your pup, you want something that will keep them entertained and engaged for hours on end, as well as give them a mental workout. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best treat dispenser toys for canine enrichment, so you can find the perfect one for your furry friend. They are all available on Amazon

These toys are designed to dispense treats or food, which is a great way to keep your dog occupied and mentally stimulated. Our resident toy tester Radish graciously agreed to try each of these toys. Radish is a medium sized pup, weighing in at 40 pounds, and moderate chewer, and never not interested in treats, which makes her the perfect candidate to sniff out the best treat toys on Amazon. As filler, we used Purina Beneful Salmon and Sweet Potato kibble, to ensure that her interest wasn’t swayed by the particular treats used for testing.

What makes the best treat dispenser toy?

We are looking at these main features:

Durability

Can it stand up to tough chewers?

Easy to fill

A toy won’t get used if you’re annoyed every time you have to fill it up.

Treat volume that the toy holds

The more treats inside, the longer your pup will stay occupied

Learning curve

On a scale of 1 – 5, with 1 being Treat Toys For Dummies, and 5 being the most difficult to figure out. The ideal toy is challenging enough to be interesting, but not so hard that your dog gets frustrated or loses interest.

The treat dispensing toys we tested:

Starmark Bob-a-lot

Durability

Made out of hard plastic, we found the Starmark Bob-a-Lot to be pretty durable. The dog has to knock the toy around on it’s side to dispense the treats, but the knob you unscrew to fill the toy could look like a fun spot for mouthy pups to chew. But even so, the material is generally durable enough to withstand those pearly whites.

Easy to fill

The Bob-a-lot was one of the easier toys to fill. The knob at the top unscrews, and you pour the treats in that way.

Treat volume

1/2 cup

Learning curve

3/5 – Radish needed a little help getting started. She could smell the treats but couldn’t figure out at first to use her paws to lay to toy down side ways to let the treats shake out. Once we demonstrated how to knock the toy around, she got the hang of it and was happily occupied for several minutes until she shook all the treats out. There’s also an adjustable opening, so you can make the activity more challenging as your pup gets used to the game.

Overall Rating

4/5 – happy dog, happy human. Hardcore chewers may find chewing on the knob more satisfying than actually bobbing the toy around for treats, but for Radish this toy was spot on.

Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Treat Tumble

Durability

The Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Treat Tumble ball is another hard plastic toy and it has a good, solid feel to it. It’s perfectly round, and pretty big, so it’s less likely to get chewed on, simply because there isn’t a great spot for your pup to grab hold of it.

Easy to fill

This aspect of the toy was disappointing. The Nina Ottosson Treat Tumble looks like it should unscrew at the middle – but it doesn’t. You load the toy one treat at a time, which is time consuming and kind of annoying. Also worth noting, when the Treat Tumble arrived, it had cardboard packaging around it, with the toy held in place with cardboard tabs pushed into the holes where the treats are inserted and dispensed. While taking the cardboard packaging off, one of the tabs ripped and fell inside the toy, with no way to get it out. A minor annoyance, but ultimately this feels like a design flaw.

Treat volume

1/2 cup. I’ll also note here that a few of the larger pieces of kibble got stuck inside, destined to live forever with the small piece of cardboard packaging. Stick with small treats that slide into the opening easily.

Learning curve

2/5 – Radish wasn’t sure at first what to do, but she caught on quickly.

Overall Rating

3/5 – There were several things we found annoying about this toy, but Radish was quite happy with it, and it kept her entertained for nearly 20 minutes.

Our Pets IQ Treat Tug

Durability

Another hard plastic toy, the Our Pets IQ Treat Tug is a durable upgrade to a popular DIY toy made from a plastic water bottle.

Easy to fill

Of all the treat dispenser toys we tested, the Treat Tug from Our Pets IQ was the easiest to fill.

Treat volume

For our test, we filled with 1/2 cup, but it could have easily held more.

Learning curve

5/5 – Radish couldn’t quite figure this one out. The knot at the end of the rope blocks the treats from spilling out unless you jiggle it around. While this is probably a great option for dogs who have already mastered the easier treat dispenser toys, she couldn’t get any of the kibble to come out and lost interest after a minute or so.

Overall Rating

2/5 – We’ll stick to the DIY version for now, and try this one again in the future. It’s a solid, well-made toy for missed the mark for us.

Starmark Treat Dispensing Chew Ball

Durability

The jelly-like Starmark Treat Dispensing Chew Ball exceeded our expectation. Radish can put the whole thing in her mouth and we fully expected that little pieces of the ball would get bitten off and she chomped to get to the treats, but it’s still fully in tact after lots of use.

Easy to fill

This toy is easier to fill than the Nina Ottosson ball, but because there is an opening on either side, it’s also easy for some of the treats to slip out from the bottom as you’re filling the top.

Treat volume

1/4 cup

Learning curve

1/5 – consider this an introduction to treat dispenser toys.

Overall Rating

3.5/5 – Radish LOVES this toy. We’d have rated it higher, except for the relatively small volume of treats it can hold, and it is a lot messier than the other toys. Because the ball is designed to get chewed on with the treats inside, the treats will get crunched up into crumbs that will end up on your floors. Be prepared to vacuum!

Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball

Durability

The Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball is another hard plastic toy, but the plastic is thinner and felt more brittle than the others tested.

Easy to fill

This toy was tricky for the humans to figure out. It comes with changeable discs so you can adjust the difficult level. However, when the toy is shipped, all 3 discs are included inside the ball. Unlike the Outward Hound Nina Ottosson ball, this toy does unscrew in the middle. But once you unscrew it, you’ll see that the outer ball isn’t the just two pieces that you separated, it’s 4. If the pieces that make up the bottom half get out of alignment, it’s hard to get them back into place.

Now, back to the optional discs to adjust the difficulty. It’s not really clear from the instructions how to fill the ball – but you have to take out the discs, fill half the ball with treats, and then replace one of the discs (or don’t, your call) before you screw the ball back together. I think better packaging and clearer instructions could make the process much easier, especially the first time around.

Treat volume

1/4 cup

Learning curve

5/5 – even with no disc, it’s hard to shake a treat out from the ball. Given some time, Radish may have been able to figure this one out. She didn’t lose interest – in fact she was a little too interested in solving this tasty puzzle. Like the Starmark Treat Dispensing Chew Ball, the Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball was the perfect size to fit entirely in her mouth. After batting it around for a minute, she picked it up in her mouth and was moments away from attempting to chomp through the hard plastic to get to the treats. Wanting to avoid an emergency vet bill from plastic shards in her belly, we told Radish “drop it!” and quickly swapped the Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball with another toy.

Overall Rating

1/5 for ease of use and likelihood of getting eaten. However, we donated the toy to Radish’s feline friends who live down the street, and they have been enjoying it, so not all is lost.

Suction Cup Dog Toy

Durability

Marketed as ‘indestructible’ and for ‘aggressive chewers,’ the ball part of the suction cup treat dispensing ball toy  was well made. However, Amazon reviewers were less than impressed with the suction cup and the tether.

Easy to fill

This toy falls squarely in the middle. It’s not as easy to fill as the Our Pets IQ Treat Tug or the Starmark Bob-a-Lot, but easier than the Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Ball. About on par with the Starmark Chew Ball.

Treat volume

1/4 cup

Learning curve

4/5 – it was challenging for the humans to get the suction cup to stick, and once we did Radish didn’t seem to know what do with it. The ball is not as ‘chewy’ as the Starmark Chew Ball, and it’s bigger. Like it’s description suggests, the ball may have worked better for a more aggressive chewer, or even just a bigger dog.

Overall Rating

2/5 – inconsistent quality and durability, and lack of interest from Radish led to a low rating on this toy.

In conclusion:

After our testing, we recommend the Starmark Bob-a-Lot and the Starmark Treat Dispensing Chew Ball as great toys for dogs who need a little extra enrichment in their lives. They are durable, easy to use, and can be filled with a variety of treats to keep your dog entertained. They are our top pics from the toys we tried, and Radish gives them both 4 paws up.