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13 Best Nosework Toys for Dogs

Written by: Arlene D.
Arlene A. Divina, a resident of the Philippines, is a devoted fur mom to two adorable dogs: a Shih Tzu and a Beagle. With a passion for animals and storytelling, Arlene has channeled her love for dogs into her career as a content writer at iHeartDogs. Her writing captures the essence of the bond between humans and their furry companions, offering insights, tips, and heartfelt stories to a wide audience of dog enthusiasts. Read more
| Published on July 27, 2023
iHeartDogs is reader supported. Some of the links below may be paid affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on a product at no additional cost to you. 

Nosework toys, with their unique ability to stimulate your dog’s natural foraging instincts and provide an excellent source of mental stimulation, are rapidly gaining popularity among dog owners. These ingenious products, ranging from treat-dispensing puzzles to hide-and-seek play mats, are designed to challenge your pet’s sense of smell, provide interactive fun, and ward off boredom. This article will guide you through some of the top coursework toys available on the market, helping you find the perfect tool to engage and enrich your furry friend’s life.


#1 – iHeartDogs Sniff Diggy Snuffle Mat for Dogs – Fun Dog Games to Promote Mental Stimulation – Interactive Dog Food Puzzle – Confetti Color 12″ x 12″

The iHeartDogs Sniff Diggy Snuffle Mat is an interactive dog toy designed to promote mental stimulation and slow down dogs’ eating speed. By hiding treats in the fabric strips, dogs use their sense of smell to sniff them out, boosting their cognitive development and mental agility. Made from machine-washable material, this 12″ x 12″ snuffle mat is easy to clean, and with each purchase, a portion of the proceeds is donated to help feed shelter dogs across the U.S.


#2 – The Nosey Nose: Nosework Scentwork Training for Dogs Puzzle Brain Games, Anise Scent (Zipper Pouch)

The Nosey Nose is a scent work training kit for dogs that provides mental stimulation and interactive play. It offers three games to engage and focus your dog’s brain, while also building confidence and reducing stress. The kit uses the scent of anise, which excites dogs and is easy for them to detect. Unlike other scent work kits, there is no setup required, making it a convenient option for dog owners.


#3 – Race&Herd Sniff and Seek Dog Scent Training Kit, Dog Nosework Kit – Scent Work Kit for Dogs, Dog Training Kit, Dog Scent Training for Dogs | Nose Work for Dogs Dog Games, Dog Sniffing Toys

The Race&Herd Sniff and Seek Dog Scent Training Kit is a dog nose work kit that allows pet owners to engage their dogs’ brains and build a stronger bond. The kit is beginner-friendly and easy to use, helping to train dogs’ noses to sniff out scents. Made with all-natural anise seed and corn cob, the kit is pet-safe and provides hours of entertainment with its dog-sniffing toys. It is suitable for dogs of all ages and breeds, making it a must-have for all dog owners.


#4 – TOTARK Dog Snuffle Toy, Interactive Puzzle Toy, Squid Treat Dispensing Dog Toys, Crinkly Squeaky Soft Plush Nosework Dog Toys with Treat Pocket Enrichment for Boredom Puppy

The TOTARK Dog Snuffle Toy is an interactive puzzle toy designed to entertain dogs and stimulate their mental and physical health. With its bright colors and squid-like shape, this toy features multiple pockets to hide treats and a squeaker in the head. It helps to keep dogs occupied, relieves separation anxiety, and encourages their natural foraging and sniffing skills. Additionally, the toy is made of soft, durable materials that help to keep the dog’s teeth clean, and it is portable and machine washable for easy cleaning.


#5 – GUKEMLO Pet Snuffle Mat for Dogs, Large Nosework Feeding Snuffle Mat for Dog & Cat Interactive Game Pet Digging Toys Enrichment Puzzles Game for Stress Relief and Encourages Foraging Skills (Orange)

The GUKEMLO Pet Snuffle Mat is an interactive dog training toy designed to engage your dog’s mind and body. The mat encourages foraging skills as dogs search for food, treats, or toys hidden in the mat’s pockets and felt folds. The durable and safe material, made from soft Coral Fleece and Polyester, provides a comfortable experience for dogs and is machine washable. The product also comes with a money-back guarantee and a 3-year warranty.


#6 – IVVIQQ Interactive Dog Toys, Carrot Snuffle Mat for Dogs Plush Puzzle Toys 2 in 1 Non-Slip Nosework Feed Games Pet Stress Relief with 12 Carrots

The IVVIQQ Interactive Dog Toys are a 2-in-1 plush puzzle toy and snuffle mat designed to provide mental stimulation and relieve boredom for dogs. The toy can be used to hide dog food under the carrot, training the dog’s sense of smell and food-seeking skills. Made with durable materials, this toy is suitable for all kinds of pets and can help alleviate anxiety and keep them physically and mentally healthy. It is a great choice for indoor use, particularly on rainy days when walking the dog may not be possible.


#7 – STELLAIRE CHERN Snuffle Mat for Small Large Dogs Nosework Feeding Mat (23.6″ x 39.4″) Easy to Fill and Machine Washable Training Mats Pet Activity/Toy/Play Mat, Great for Stress Release – M

The STELLAIRE CHERN Snuffle Mat is a dog accessory designed to engage your dog’s sense of smell and stimulate their brain. It mimics the hunt for food in nature, encouraging natural foraging skills. The mat is easy to fill with kibble and treats, helping to prevent boredom and destructive behavior in dogs. It is also machine washable and easy to carry, making it convenient for both pets and owners. Additionally, the mat has an anti-slip backing to prevent messes during feeding. The company offers a satisfaction guarantee for customers.


#8 – GREENWISH Snuffle Toy for Dogs, Ramen Cup Sniffing Toys Training Nose Interactive Game, Natural Foraging Feed Skills for Pet Indoor Stress Relief

The GREENWISH Snuffle Toy for Dogs is a unique dog training toy that stimulates your dog’s natural foraging and feed skills. The toy is designed as a ramen cup, allowing your dog to find hidden snacks or small toys inside. Made with environmentally friendly plush cloth, the toy is easy to clean and can be washed in a washing machine. Its lightweight and portable design make it suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, providing interactive play and stress relief for your pet.


#9 – DR CATCH Dog Food Puzzle Feeder Toys for IQ Training & Mental Enrichment,Dog Treat Puzzle(Blue)

The DR CATCH Dog Food Puzzle Feeder Toys are interactive and mentally stimulating toys for cats, puppies, and small dogs. The toy encourages pets to eat at a slower pace, aiding in digestion, and can be used with a variety of healthy snacks. It also acts as an educational game to exercise the dog’s brain and satisfy its instinctual needs. However, it is important to supervise pets while using the toy and replace it if it becomes damaged.


#10 – Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Puppy Hide N’ Slide Green Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy

The Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Puppy Hide N’ Slide Green Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy is an intermediate level puzzle toy for puppies. It challenges your puppy’s mind and reduces boredom and destructive behavior. Made with durable composite wood and non-removable parts, the toy is safe and easy to clean. However, it is important to supervise your pet while playing with the toy and to replace it if it becomes damaged.

#11 – AWOOF Dog Snuffle Toy, Interactive Dog Toys for Boredom, Hermit Crab Shape Squeaky Dog Chew Toys for Small Medium Dogs Release Stress, Snuffle Toys for Puzzle & Natural Foraging Instinct Training

The AWOOF Dog Snuffle Toy is an interactive toy designed to engage dogs and stimulate their natural foraging instincts. The toy features hidden food bags, providing mental and physical exercise for dogs as they search for treats. With a durable and cute hermit crab shape, the toy also includes a squeaker and BB sounder to grab the dog’s attention and promote play. Additionally, the toy’s corduroy fabric surface aids in teeth cleaning and gum massaging, while the multiple ways to play cater to different dog sizes and appetites.


#12 – Alibuy Dogs Snuffle Mat Pet Feeding Mats Puppy Sniffing Pad, Cat Doggies Interactive Puzzle Toys for Multiple Breeds Encourages Natural Foraging Skills, Training and Stress Release (Orange)

The Alibuy Dogs Snuffle Mat is a safe and high-quality pet toy made of eco-friendly polar fleece fabric. It features a non-slip design that prevents the mat from moving, making it easy to store and carry. This interactive puzzle toy encourages dogs to use their natural foraging skills and stimulates their sense of smell. Additionally, it has a slow feeding function that helps prevent digestive problems and corrects bad eating habits.


#13 – Potaroma Dog Puzzle Toy 2 Levels, Slow Feeder for Dogs, Dog Food Treat Feeding Toys for IQ Training, Dog Entertainment Toys, 4.2 Inch Height

The Potaroma Dog Puzzle Toy 2 Levels is a slow feeder and entertainment toy for dogs. With two levels, it offers a beginner and advanced challenge for dogs to obtain treats by nudging lids or pressing the top cover. The toy is designed to prevent tipping over with non-slip rubber mats and a weighted base. Made of food-grade materials, it prioritizes safety and is easy to clean. Additionally, the interactive treat puzzle game helps train dog’s intelligence and reduces boredom and destructive behavior.


What Is Nosework for Dogs?

Nosework, also known as scent work, is a type of training or game for dogs that are designed to engage their powerful sense of smell and love of hunting. It’s modeled after the task of working detection dogs and involves the dog finding a specific scent or odor. This could be anything from a certain type of food, an object like a toy, or even a particular person.

This type of training not only provides physical exercise but also mental stimulation. It’s an excellent way for dogs to use their natural instincts in a productive way, and it can be especially beneficial for dogs that need extra mental stimulation, have physical limitations, or exhibit certain behavioral issues.

Nosework can be done indoors or outdoors and doesn’t require a lot of space or special equipment, making it accessible to all dog owners. It’s fun for dogs of all breeds and ages, and because it’s scent-based, even dogs with sight or hearing impairments can participate.


What’s Important When Choosing a Nosework Toy for My Dog?

Choosing a nose work toy for your dog involves several considerations to ensure it’s both engaging and safe.

  1. Material: The toy should be made from non-toxic, durable material that can withstand your dog’s chewing and play style.
  2. Size: Choose a toy that is appropriate for your dog’s size. It should not be small enough for your dog to swallow, nor too large for them to handle.
  3. Complexity: The difficulty level should be appropriate for your dog’s experience and ability. Beginners may need simpler toys, while more advanced dogs might enjoy a more complex challenge.
  4. Cleanability: Toys that can be easily cleaned are preferable, as they’ll often be used with food or scents.
  5. Safety: The toy should not have any small parts that can be chewed off and swallowed or any sharp edges that could harm your dog.

Remember, it’s essential to supervise your dog while they’re using a nose work toy to ensure they’re using it safely and correctly. Always introduce new toys gradually and make sure they’re having fun!


Frequently Asked Questions About Nosework Toys for Dogs

  1. What is a nose work toy for dogs? Nosework toys are designed to stimulate a dog’s sense of smell and foraging instincts. They are often filled with treats or food, and the dog must figure out how to extract the rewards using their nose, stimulating their mind and providing physical activity.
  2. How does a nose work toy benefit my dog? Nosework toys provide both mental and physical stimulation for your dog. They can help improve a dog’s problem-solving skills and can also reduce boredom and associated behavioral issues. These toys are great for active dogs or those who need to reduce weight, as they make the dog work for their food.
  3. What type of dogs are best suited to nose work toys? Almost any breed can benefit from nose work toys. They’re especially beneficial for breeds with a strong sense of smell or those bred for hunting or tracking. However, even breeds not typically associated with these skills can enjoy and benefit from the mental stimulation and activity nose work toys provide.
  4. What should I look for in a nose work toy? When choosing a nose work toy, consider its durability, size, complexity level, and cleanability. It should be made from non-toxic material that can withstand your dog’s chewing, appropriate for your dog’s size and skill level, and be easy to clean.
  5. Can I leave my dog alone with a nose work toy? While coursework toys can keep your dog occupied, it’s crucial to supervise their play to ensure they don’t accidentally swallow parts of the toy or any stuffing, which could cause choking or digestive blockages.
  6. How often should I let my dog play with a nose work toy? There’s no strict rule, but nose work toys can be great for daily stimulation. The frequency can depend on your dog’s interest, the toy’s durability, and whether you’re using the toy for feeding or just play.
  7. Can nose work toys help with my dog’s anxiety? Yes, nose work toys can help reduce anxiety in dogs. The mental stimulation can divert your dog’s attention away from their anxieties and reduce behaviors like excessive barking or chewing.
  8. Are there any risks associated with nose work toys? While generally safe, ensure the toy is appropriate for your dog’s size to prevent choking. Always supervise your dog while they’re using the toy and replace it if it starts to show signs of excessive wear.
  9. How do I introduce my dog to a nose work toy? Start by placing treats or food in the toy and encouraging your dog to interact with it. Make it easier at first to maintain their interest, then gradually increase the toy’s complexity as your dog gets more proficient.
  10. How can I clean a nose work toy? Cleaning instructions vary between toys. Some can be washed in a dishwasher or soaked in hot soapy water. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions regarding cleaning and maintenance.


Conclusion: Best Nosework Toys for Dogs

Choosing the perfect nosework toy for your dog can not only add a new dimension to playtime but can also contribute significantly to their mental and physical well-being. We’ve explored an array of options in this article, each offering unique features and benefits. Whichever toy you choose, keep in mind that the goal is to enhance your dog’s natural scent-tracking abilities, keep them mentally stimulated, and above all, make sure they are having fun. Remember, a busy dog is a happy dog, and these nose work toys are a fantastic way to keep them engaged and content.

iHeartDogs is reader supported. Some of the links below may be paid affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on a product at no additional cost to you. 

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