Puzzle toys enhance play and put pets’ brains in gear

Is there anything more fun than watching a pet play? Whether the game is fetching a ball, tugging on a rope toy, “killing” a soft toy, wrestling with a pal or working to solve a puzzle toy, it’s fascinating to see how play mimics key real-life behaviors, such as hunting, exploration and self-defense.


Play is a rehearsal of adult behaviors, including the social signals that allow animals to get along with their peers and their humans. All the cognitive and motor skills a dog or cat needs throughout life are enhanced by play. Toys can help to stimulate a pet’s brain, and toy manufacturers take that into account when creating their designs.

“It’s very important to engage a dog’s brain,” says Elizabeth Fagan, director of marketing for Planet Dog. “When we start the development of a new interactive toy, we want to make sure it delivers on our mission of play, which in itself is critical to health and bonding, but also functions in a manner that makes a dog think.”

When a pet’s brain is working, it can be good…

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