Food Puzzles: Why and How?

Food Puzzles: Why and How?

Reasons to use food puzzle feeders:

  1. Slow the eating of your pet
  2. Offer less food
  3. Provide mental stimulation

Usual questions asked:

  1. Do they really work?
  2. Do they make any difference?
  3. Will may pet reject them?

Some work better than others.  Many times it is trial and error to see which is best.  Most pet stores will let you return the ones your pet doesn’t like.  I did this with the potty grass stuff.  My dog wouldn’t use it and they said no problem.  My daughter just started using a very simple one for her dog because she ate so fast she vomited her food up.  this feeder slowed her down.  All you have to do is put the food in it; easy peasy!

Puzzle feeders can be used intermittently if its for stimulation.  When I have potty duty for my daughter’s dog when she is out of town, I take a puzzle treat toy as a treat to get her running around and moving it to get the itty bitty treats out.  When no one is home, she simply sleeps all day.  This gets her 15-30 minutes  of exercise each day, she otherwise wouldn’t get.  She looks forward to these times and knows this is the only time she gets to play with this toy.

The puzzle feeder should challenge your pet, but not frustrate them.  When I used this toy for exercise on Stella, we had to roll it with her watching to see treats drop out and then she understood what to do.  It may take several attempts.

Puzzle feeders can be a great boredom buster. Dogs love jobs. Many breeds are working dogs. A working dog is a happy content dog. Hence a puzzle toy.

These toys provide mental and physical stimulation. This can prevent destructive behavior when pets are home alone as well as keep you from having to kennel or crate your pets.

There are balls that drop treats as they are moved around (these are great to get your pet moving). I use tiny treats so the calories are key to a minimum.

Kongs were one of the first on the market. Not all dogs will like these. Some can still manage to chew these apart. Be aware this may not work for your pet. Sometimes freezing the kong can add a new dimension to this toy.

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Some puzzle toys are using compartments and levers that take more thinking with your pet. These provide extra stimulation. It may take a bit more time and effort but the mental rewards are huge with these.

Ball launchers are a great excuser for high energy dogs. Just make sure your dog doesn’t run to a road to get the ball. Safety first.


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