It’s dinner time for your dog.
You put the bowl down and before you stand up again, your dog is done. Done! In a matter of seconds! Don’t you wish you could stretch your dog’s dinner time a little?
Wouldn’t it be nice if it took your dog 15 – 20 minutes to actually eat his meal?
There’s a way to do it — food dispensing toys. Basically, instead of putting the food in a bowl, where it’s inhaled in 30 seconds, you instead put the food into one of these food dispensing toys. There are a multitude of toys on the market, here are three that I use in my household.
This toy has four different openings where your dog’s kibble can escape. The dog needs to bat the toy around quite a bit to get all the pieces out. I like this toy for it’s toughness — it’s made of tough, translucent material. Your dog can see, hear, and smell the food inside and with a few bats of his paw or nudges with his nose, he can coax a few pieces of food out of the toy each time.
Kong Quest Wishbone
This toy is made of lightweight, colorful material for light to moderate chewers. This flexible toy dispenses your dog’s favorite treats or kibble. You can even slather it with peanut butter (and freeze for added difficulty) for a longer lasting adventure. The Wishbone comes in two sizes, small or large, and multiple colors. This is a great toy for a dog who is new to puzzle toys or for a puppy who needs a relatively easy first experience with food dispensing toys.
Busy Buddy Barnacle
The multi-chambered Barnacle features three spots where treats can fall out (called Treat Meters®) to randomly dispense treats while your dog plays. You can trim the Treat Meter prongs with scissors to increase the rate at which treats come out. The bone-shaped grooves can be smeared with treats like cheese or peanut butter for even more playtime options.
You may have to help your dog figure out that the toys contain food, and maybe even help them get the food out the first time, but once they know that the toys contain food, you’ll just need to fill the toy, then sit back and enjoy the show!
There are lots of other uses for food toys, too. Here are other ways I use the food toys…
Teach Your Dog to Love It’s Crate
Another way to use these toys is to teach your dog that his crate is great. In our house, the only place these food toys show up are in the crate! All terrific things appear in the crate. Putting these toys in the crate for your dog can help contain the toy (and the food) which makes it easier for the dog — and you. In the crate, the toy can’t get stuck under the sofa. The food can’t go under the tv. The crate helps contain both the toy and the food that comes out, making it easy for your dog to collect the food while also making the crate a great place to be!
Keep ’em Busy
If you’ve got visitors, or a project that has to get done right now, and you don’t have time to watch or manage your dog, these food dispensing toys are a great way to occupy your dog while the other stuff is going on. After you teach your dog how to use the toys, just pop them into the dog’s crate and let the dog have a great time emptying the toy while you get your chores done or entertain your guests.