Even though it may be every fur parent’s dream, sadly you can’t take your dog everywhere you go. To help keep your pet entertained while you’re out and about, we compiled a list of the best toys and gadgets for dogs home alone that are durable, safe, and challenging.
Robotic Gadgets to Entertain Your Dog
This interactive, automated toy launches tennis balls allowing your dog to play fetch all day long. Once your pooch drops a ball in the chute, the iFetch will launch a new one, up to 30 feet. It can even launch at a random distance, challenging your dog to guess how far it goes.
The iFetch is available in several sizes, so it’s ideal for both small and big dogs. There is also an option that launches balls a shorter distance than the standard 10 to 30 feet, so you can use it indoors as well as outside.
The product is backed by a one-year warranty.
Called the most advanced interactive toy for dogs ever, the PupPod is a great way to keep your dog busy and fed when you’re not home. It comes in two parts:
- The integrative toy—shaped like the classic Kong, it utilizes sounds and lights providing your doggo with a puzzle to solve.
- The treat dispenser—once the puzzle is solved, the dispenser automatically provides a reward.
The PupPod also has a mobile app that lets you watch your doggo as he plays and set up or stop the game. This can come in really handy if you have a small puppy—while older dogs can stay alone for 8 hours, puppies need more frequent checkups, say basic dog care guidelines.
3. PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Dog and Cat Feeder
While this device may not keep your dog busy, it will ensure he is fed if you’re a bit late getting home or stuck in traffic. With PetSafe’s Smart Feeder, you can control your dog’s diet from your smartphone, scheduling feeding time (up to 12 meals a day) and adjusting the size of portions based on breed and weight.
The feeder itself is safe, durable (battery backups available), and easy to clean (dishwasher safe), while the mobile app works with both Android and iOS devices.
Finally, PetSafe is one of the most trusted pet brands in the US—it has been in business for over 30 years so you know you are getting quality.
4. iCalmDog 5.0 Portable Speaker
iCalmDog sells portable Bluetooth speakers along with soothing music to keep your dog relaxed and stress-free. Recommended by vets and pet owners alike, the iCalmDog can run for 3, 5, or even 21 hours (depending on the package you choose).
There is a wide selection of music to choose from with sounds specifically chosen to calm an aggressive pet, a dog scared of fireworks or thunderstorms, or a pup driving in the car. You can even find Dog Reggae among the auditory programs.
Dog Toys to Keep Them Busy for Hours
5. Dog Hide N’ Slide by Outward Hound Dog
This is an inactive puzzle that will not only reduce boredom but will also challenge your dog and contribute to his physical development and mental health.
Made of a plastic and wood composite, the Dog Hide N’ Slide is safe and durable. Plus it’s super easy to clean and maintain, although make sure to take it away once the treats have been removed to discourage your pooch from chewing on it.
The toy is available in several difficulty levels, with each posing a bigger challenge for your pup, so once your pet gets bored of one level, you can move on to the next one.
6. Hyper Pet IQ Treat Mat
Rather than using a conventional bowl filled with treats or a slow feeder for your dog, you can try this one-of-a-kind product to keep your dog busy and anxiety-free.
The Hyper Pet IQ Treat Mat slows down your dog’s eating time, encouraging them to keep licking. This way the mat acts as a boredom buster, keeping your pup entertained for hours. What’s more, licking is said to release endorphins which helps calm pets down.
The product has a simple design and it’s very easy to clean as well. That said, it might not be the best for big dogs as they can easily move the mat around.
7. Nylabone Power Chew
Made of long-lasting nylon, the Nylabone Power Chew is designed to challenge extreme chewers and provide long-lasting entertainment. The toy also promotes healthy chewing habits and can improve dental health by stopping plaque and tartar buildup.
The Nylabone has many other benefits, which is why it’s one of pet owner’s all-time favorite dog toys.
The classic Nylabone is available in a variety of flavors (from the original chicken to yummy bacon), toughness options, textures, and sizes to suit any doggo.
8. Kong classic dog toy
All fur parents know the classic Kong red rubber toy. Proven to satisfy a dog’s chewing urges and offer mental stimulation, this vet-recommended chew toy can help with bored, anxious, or obese pets (currently a third of dogs in the US are overweight).
Simply stuff the hollow toy with pet-friendly treats, from peanut butter to yummy chicken-flavored snacks, and let your dog stay busy trying to get the snacks out. For an added challenge, freeze the toy overnight.
The Kong chew toy is safe, fun, and extra durable—it’s made of long-lasting rubber that can take tear and wear from the most aggressive chewers.
9. Snuggle Puppy
This soft cuddle toy is designed to reduce anxiety and loneliness, especially among puppies who usually need more TLC at night and during the day. The Snuggle Puppy comes with a disposable Heat Pack, that is inserted into the toy to keep your pup warm. A heart pack that produces a “real-feel” heartbeat is also included—you can turn the heart off and on or set it to beat for 8 hours.
The Snuggle Puppy is machine-washable and durable, so it should continue to comfort your dog even when he grows out of the puppy stage. What’s more, it is made by a reputable company that has offered solace to over one million dogs around the country.
Gadgets to Monitor Your Dog While Home Alone
10. Furbo 360° Dog Camera
This is a bit pricier than the other solutions on the list, but it is definitely worth the extra cost.
The Furbo dog camera allows you to keep track of your dog at all times thanks to its 360 degrees rotating view, auto-rotation feature, and color night vision.
It also features barking alters and 2-way audio allowing you to talk to your dog and soothe them when they need attention. Last but not least, the Furbo 360° dispenses treats to keep your dog feeling happy and loved. The camera can hold up to 100 treats of adjustable sizes, depending on the breed of dog you have.
Petcube is an interactive camera that lets you play, see, and talk to your dog. The difference between this one and other dog monitoring cameras is that with Petcube your pet can call you. The device comes with a motion-activated sensor that records your dog when he steps in front of the camera. Owners will get a notification and can watch the video, call the dog, and talk to him.
Petcube is a great training aid and boredom buster. What’s more, it can help reduce anxiety in nervous dogs, especially ones that have not been left alone at home before.
Ways to Keep Your Dog From Getting Lonely
Sometimes even the most advanced gadgets cannot do the trick and your dog still feels lonely in the house. To help them out you can
- Leave the TV on when you leave the house—this will help your dog focus less on outside noises;
- Try some CBD treats—CBD oil can help reduce anxiety, but it can be a bit bitter. Luckily, there are several delicious CBD oil treats that mask the taste;
- Hire a house sitter or dog walker—sometimes a little human company can go a long way, especially with dogs suffering from separation anxiety;
- Buy a cozy dog bed—the right bed can help your dog sleep longer and thus miss you less;
You can try different methods depending on your pet’s personality, age, and size and see which one works best.
Before You Leave the House
Pets can easily develop separation anxiety which can lead to excessive barking, aggressive behavior, and accidents around the house, even with well-trained dogs. To avoid this, provide your four-legged friend with entertainment, whether it’s an interactive puzzle, a treat-dispensing camera, or any other gadget designed for dogs at home alone. Also, cover the basics before you leave the house—make sure your dog is comfortable and has plenty of food and water.