Dog Enrichment Winner:
Wooly, Paw 5, $39.95
The Wooly is a handmade machine-washable mat that encourages dogs to use their super-strength scenting abilities to hunt for kibble and treats hidden inside it. The mat fulfills the dog’s natural tendency to forage for food, creating a fresh take on the food puzzle.
Runners Up (in no particular order):
Jolly Tuff Range (Treader Design), Jolly Pet,$15 to $20
The Jolly Tuff™ Range Treader doubles as a food puzzle and toy for games of fetch. Cooler still, the inner pouch holds a standard tennis ball, creating an extra challenge for fetch fiends. (Bonus: you can avoid slobber by using the handle to toss it.) We tried out this bad boy on the super-strength jaws of a Boxer mix who gnawed through all the toys at his local pet supply store in search of one that could withstand his powerhouse jaws and shredding action. To the shock of his family, the Range Treader withstood his chewing and is still his go-to toy months later.
Lawn Games, Kurgo, $8-13.00
If you relish childhood memories of backyard games, you’ll love Kurgo’s new line of Lawn Games with canine-inspired takes on Wapple Ball, Skipping Stones, Badminton, Horseshoes, Target Jack, and Doggie Darts. The toys don’t just look awesome and feel fun for humans to play alongside their dogs, they also deliver brain benefits, including brushing up on training skills, encourage physical activity, and provide plenty of bonding moments.
Holobal Football, Pet Projeckt, $8 (small)-$14 (large)
This fun toy comes in bright, eye-catching colors with a design that flexes between a treat-containing dispenser and fetch toy. The ball is made from 100-percent natural rubber with floating properties for water play.
Frenzy, iFetch, $39.95
For those dogs who simply can’t get enough games of fetch to feel satisfied, iFetch is designed for solo games of fetch when humans are otherwise occupied. Sure, there’s no replacement for interactive play between human and dog, but when that’s not possible, it keeps fetch-obsessed dogs occupied. The iFetch Frenzy is for small to medium-size dogs (and for those people whose arms feel like jelly after tossing ball after ball). Versions that toss standard-size tennis balls are available for larger canine fetch enthusiasts.
JW Hol-ee Gourmet, Petmate, $10.99 – 14.99
Doggy dine-and-dashers will be encouraged to play with their food (and have fun doing it) with the JW Hol-ee Gourmet. The chew toy design features outer casing rims and inner grooves to hold treats, chews, and soft spreads to lengthen the amount of time pets spend eating and increase the mental challenge of treat time.
Tether Tug, Tether Tug, $49.99 (under 30-pound dog) indoor/outdoor tether tugs ($49.99-$65.00 for 100+ pound dog)
The Tether Tug offers dogs the possibility of an independent game of tug by providing natural resistance and 360-degree rotation. Active, playful dogs will relish the opportunity to expend excess energy on their own after their human’s arm gets tired.
Zinger, PetLogix (associated with HyperPet), $14 (Zinger Junior for small dogs and puppies and regular Zinger for medium to large dogs) – $17 (medium and large dogs)
The PetLogix Zinger adds spice to the game of fetch with interchangeable toys that fit onto an adjustable handle that allows throws up to 100 feet. The launch system has a comfort-design handle and hands-free pick-up design for slobber-free throws. Bonus: the toy meets child toy and safety standards.
Lure Stick, Petmate, $9.99, not yet available
The Lure Stick is an adjustable-length training tool that holds a treat inside to draw your pet’s attention. The device is one you’ll want in your training toolbox with applications ranging from encouraging a pet to move willingly moving onto a scale during a Fear Free veterinary visit to gaining a dog’s attention during leash training.
HandsOn Glove, $29.99
This ingenious product helps to reduce shedding and offers a great massage. The glove, which is appropriate for dogs, cats, horses, and even humans, has textured nodules that detangle and remove dead hair. It can be used on wet and dry coats and allows for a closer, more hands-on touch than is offered with a brush. Dogs sensitive to being brushed but who enjoy petting may find that this brush rubs them just the right way.