Buying Guide for Dog Treat Dispensers
Why buy a dog treat dispenser?
Dog treat or food dispensers can be an invaluable tool for dog owners. Depending on the model, your dog may have to solve a sort of puzzle to reach their treats, or you can dispense one or several at the touch of a button. Since you either choose how many treats are inserted into the dispensing toy at a time or press a button, you have direct control over how many extra snacks your dog gets in one sitting. It allows you to treat or reward your pooch without the risk of them eating too fast or overindulging. It can also encourage play, help you check on your pet while you’re at work, or even help with training.
What should you look for in a dog treat dispenser?
- Function: There are many different types of treat dispensers, so it’s important to know what you want its primary function to be. There are models for simple play or to keep your pet occupied, while others are meant to be used for training. Some are electric, others are dog balls or similar toys. Electric models tend to be the better option for training, while toy models are better optimized for play.
- Features: Different dispensers have different features. A remote dispenser may include a camera or two-way audio capabilities (or both), or a training dispenser may have a remote control that allows you to dispense treats at the touch of a button. Some non-electric models make good toys or balls even when they’re not full of treats.
- Cost: Not all dog treat dispensers are priced equally. The price can vary considerably depending on their size, intricacy, and features. Ball-like treat dispensers usually cost less, while electric models run higher depending on the model and its capabilities.
Can you use a dog treat dispenser for kibble or other food?
You can, as long as the kibble or food in question fits inside the dispenser and won’t get stuck on its way out. Some dog owners do put kibble in their dispensers instead of treats. You’ll want to be careful about how you manage this, however. If your dog receives extra servings of their usual food daily or regularly, it can lead to them becoming overweight or developing irregular eating habits. That’s not to say you can’t ever put kibble in your dog treat dispenser but that you should be careful about doing so. Talk to your vet or dog trainer for tips to be safe.
Our Picks for the Best Dog Treat Dispensers
Furbo Treat Tossing Dog Camera
This handy-dandy treat dispenser allows you to monitor, talk to, and reward your pup, whether you're at home or not.
Pros: This treat dispenser goes above and beyond the usual models in terms of features and functions. Using Wi-Fi and the company smartphone app, you can check in on your pet while at work, on a night out, or running errands. With the touch of a button, you can throw your dog a treat or play a game of catch, even when you’re not home. The two-way audio lets you talk to your pet and alerts you when your dog is barking. The dispenser is also Alexa-compatible to boot.
Cons: This is a more expensive option, and you must have Wi-Fi at home and either an iPhone or Android smartphone to download the compatible app.
Bottom Line: This smart pet treat dispenser is ideal if you spend extended periods away from home. It features both a camera and two-way audio capabilities to always ensure your pet’s wellbeing. Thanks to the wide angles of the camera and its night vision feature, you’ll never have to wonder what your pet is up to.
StarMark Interactive Dog Toy
Capable of holding full meals and large kibble, this treat dispenser also doubles well as a slow-feeding dispenser.
Pros: Some dog treat dispensers have small openings that aren’t big enough for kibble, but not this toy; it makes for a great slowing-feeding dispenser as well as for treats. It’s got two doors for two chambers, and the doors are adjustable for different-sized treats and kibble. The weighted bottom makes it harder to tip over and provides a fun rocking motion your pup will find stimulating. Large and small sizes are both available, depending on the breed and size of your dog.
Cons: Due to the double compartments and doors and its shape, this treat dispenser is tricky to clean thoroughly, especially the interior.
Bottom Line: This interactive treat-dispensing toy is suitable for treats, kibble, and even full meals, so it’s great for slow feeding as well as playing. If you have a dog with an endless appetite or a too-fast eater on your hands, this is a great option.
KONG Wobbler Treat Dispensing Dog Toy
A new, treat-dispensing take on a classic dog toy that can last for years and is easy to clean to boot.
Pros: If your pet is a big chewer who has destroyed multiple toys and dispensers in the past, this incredibly durable will be a great solution. It’s heavier and sturdier than most, in large and small sizes. In particular, the larger model is a lot less likely to get stuck under the furniture than a lot of similar toy-style dispensers. The bottom unscrews smoothly for easy access and filling, and the dispenser is dishwasher-safe for easy and thorough cleaning.
Cons: This may be heavy for small dogs.
Bottom Line: If you’ve got a dog who is a heavy chewer or likes to play a bit rough, they’ll love this treat dispenser. It’s heavy, sturdy, and durable.
PetSafe Busy Buddy Twist 'n Treat
A versatile and customizable frisbee-like dispenser that can hold a wide variety of treats.
Pros: When you think of dog treat dispensers, you likely imagine toys or devices that only dispense solid treats or kibble. While this particular toy model works great for these, it’s also compatible with soft, smearable treats like peanut butter or pumpkin puree. Since this toy is dishwasher-safe (top rack only), it’s easy to clean out any debris or smears left behind by those types of treats. The dispensing slots are also adjustable to better fit different varieties of treats and kibble. This is also a treat dispenser in multiple sizes, from an extra small to large.
Cons: It’s a great fetch or interactive toy treat dispenser, but it won’t hold up very well to hard, constant gnawing.
Bottom Line: This is an optimal treat dispenser for dogs who love to play fetch. Its frisbee-like design is excellent for tossing or rolling around. This toy works equally well for less solid treats if your pup prefers those.
PetSafe Treat & Train Remote Treat Dispensing System
This treat dispenser helps you train even the most headstrong pups by utilizing positive reinforcement.
Pros: This is a dog treat dispenser that was specifically designed to help train your dog, from simple commands to discouraging naughty behavior. If you’re unsure where to begin with, the training, this dispenser comes with an instruction guide and instructional DVD ideal for dogs of any age or breed. The small, easy-grip handheld remote control also has a signal range of up to 100 feet, which allows outdoor use.
Cons: The kibble dispenser tends to jam at times, so you’ll have to be careful about the size of the treats or kibble you put inside it.
Bottom Line: This treat dispenser is great for training those unruly and headstrong pups. By utilizing positive reinforcement, this device will have your dog obeying commands, whether you want to teach them to sit, lie down, shake, or unlearn behavior.
Whether you want to work on training your dog or want to make sure they’re occupied while you’re in the middle of an important work call or stepping out for a few hours, there are excellent dog treat dispensers available for both of these and other scenarios. When appropriately used and matched to you and your pup’s needs, a dog treat dispenser will be handy to have.