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Best Treat-Dispensing Balls

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Toys By Meg Marrs 11 min read January 22, 2020

treat-dispensing-balls

Best Treat Dispensing Dog Balls: Quick Picks

  • Starmark Treat Dispensing Chew Ball [Best All Around]. This green treat ball is made of flexible yet durable see-through plastic. It can hold up to 1.5 cups of kibble and the difficulty can be adjusted by cutting off tabs over the ball’s hole openings. My personal favorite!
  • Sodapup Cupcake Treat Ball [Most Unique Shape]. This adorably-shaped treat ball’s unique cupcake shape means that it’ll bounce and roll in all kinds of unpredictable directions! Holds up to 1/2 cup of kibble.
  • Sodapup Dice Cube [Most Durable]. This ultra-tough dice cube from Sodapup is made from all-natural, super-tough, non-toxic plastic and holds 1/2 cup of kibble. It’s made in the USA too!

My dog Remy loves treat balls – I almost always use one to feed Remy his meals.

Treat balls are a really popular type of dog puzzle toy. Here’s how they work:

  1. Fill the ball with treats or kibble
  2. Your dog rolls, knocks, or taps the ball
  3. Delicious food comes out, hurrah!

Yup, it’s that simple.

What to Consider When Shopping For a Treat Ball

  • Durability. All the treat balls we’re listing here have solid durability rankings, but if you have a super rough dog, you may want to stick with Sodapup – a company that specialized in toys for ultra-tough chewers.
  • Kibble Cup Size. Consider how much kibble each ball can hold. If you plan on feeding your large dog his entire dinner with a treat ball, you’ll probably want a ball that can hold 1-2 cups of kibble. For smaller dogs or for one-off occasions, smaller balls will do just fine.
  • Difficulty. Only one ball (the Starmark) can have the difficulty adjusted via removable tabs. If this if your dog’s first treat ball, you may want to opt for an easier ball.
  • Shape. Treat balls come in a variety of shapes – round, square, and other crazy shapes. The round balls tend to be the easiest, while the square and odd-shaped balls are more erratically, making them more challenging.
  • Washing. Some owners may prefer to only go for toys that can be washed in the dishwasher. Some balls are definitely tougher to clean than others.
  • Ease of Kibble Filling. It’s also important to keep in mind your own commitment to the treat ball. If it’s a pain to fill each day, will you keep using it? If you know you get a bit lazy around feeding time, opt for a ball that’s easy to fill and won’t be a pain for you to use.

Why Dog Treat Balls Rock

Treat balls are great because they help your dog get the mental and physical exercise he craves.

Studies have shown that dogs actually enjoy working for their food more than just being handed a bowl of kibble. Dogs love a fun challenge, and treat balls are a great, easy way to make your dog’s mealtime exciting.

Today we’re looking at several different types of treat balls. These treat balls are functionally very similar, but there are a few differences that might make one ball more suitable for your dog over others.

Best Treat Dispensing Balls

See our in-depth reviews of the best treat-dispensing balls for dogs below, or watch our video!

1. Starmark Treat Dispensing Chew Ball

About: The Starmark Treat Dispensing Chew Ball (available on Amazon or Chewy) is my favorite puzzle toy that I give Remy. He goes crazy for it!

This ball is made of super-strong rubber that’s soft enough to have some flexibility but is still tough enough to withstand your dog’s teeth. It rolls bounces, and even floats! 

starmark treat ball

This ball comes in two sizes – a medium and a large. The medium is has a diameter of 2.75 inches while the large size has a diameter of 4 inches.

Owners have noted that the smaller ball doesn’t seem to hold up as well to chewers, so opt for the large size if you have a chompy dog!

What I really love about this ball is the ability to adjust the difficulty. This is a unique feature for this product – I haven’t seen this option for any other treat balls I’ve used.

The way it works is that there are four little tabs on the top and bottom of the ball. When you cut a tab, the treats will fall out just a bit more easily.

ball tabs

If your dog is having trouble getting treats out initially, you can just cut one tab at a time until your dog has more success accessing the treats. 

Keep in mind that once your dog gets the hang of the toy, he might be able to get treats out much more easily than on his first go.

This is our original Starmark ball. When I first used this ball with Remy, I cut off two tabs because he couldn’t get the treats out. But within a few days he mastered how to squeeze and push the ball around, and now I kind of wish I could add the tabs back to make it more challenging. 

https://gph.is/g/ZPJQoeV

I’ve been using this ball daily with Remy for over three months and it still looks pretty solid.

It has developed some wear and tear, and some cracks are starting to appear near the hole openings, but considering Remy is a pibble mix who destroys most dog toys within minutes, I’m really impressed this ball has held up so well.

For our time trial, it took Remy 12 minutes to completely get all the 1.5 cups of kibble out the ball. Keep in mind this was with the new Starkmark ball I purchased, so none of the tabs were removed.

This forced Remy to squeeze the ball with his mouth to dislodge food. On the ball where tabs are removed, Remy will instead just roll the ball around with his nose and let the kibble fall out on the ground as the ball rolls across the ground.

When Remy is using the ball with the tabs removed, it takes him around 5 minutes or less to empty out the kibble.

As an added bonus, this ball is very affordable at under $10, so it’s easy enough to just buy another one if your first one gets worn out or if you want to start fresh with a more difficult ball that doesn’t have any tabs removed.

This ball holds more food than most other treat balls I’ve seen, with about 1.5 cups of standard-sized kibble.

starmark kibble

I also appreciate that the plastic is a clear-ish see-through material, so you can see how much kibble is left and can see when it’s starting to get really filthy. It’s dishwasher safe too, so you can just toss it on the top rack when it needs a cleaning!

When it comes to filling up the Starkmark ball, you can make a DIY funnel quite easily by cutting the bottom off of a lotion bottle. Then just nudge the bottle top into the whole opening and start adding kibble!

I’ve found that if you slowly pour in the kibble a little bit at a time, and shake the funnel a bit as you go, the kibble will feed into the ball smoothly and easily.

treat funnel

I find the funnel design works best for the Starkmark ball due to the more flexible, pliable material. Most other treat-dispensing balls are made of very hard materials that don’t have much give, making it a lot harder to nudge a funnel into the hole.

Key Features:

  • No latex, vinyl, or phthalates
  • Uses see-through material so you can assess how much kibble is left in the ball
  • Rolls, bounces & floats in water
  • Holds 1.5 cups of kibble (roughly)
  • Sturdy plastic that’s also flexible with a bit of give
  • Difficulty can be adjusted by removing tabs positioned over the treat holes
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Can be used in conjunction with a makeshift DIY funnel for easy kibble insertion

Starkmark Treat Ball

A one-of-a-kind treat – this cupcake-shaped treat dispenser can be filled with 1/2 cup of kibble and moves in crazy directions when nosed around!

PROS

This highly-rated treat ball can hold tons of kibble, can have the difficulty adjusted, and is dishwasher safe! Since the material is tough but pliable, your dog has the option to roll, smack, or squeeze treats out of the ball.

CONS

Some owners note that the medium-sized ball isn’t as durable as the larger one. A few owners also complained that the difficulty tabs just came off on their own during use, but I haven’t found this to be the case.

2. Top Paw NitroFlex Buddy Cube 

About: The Top Paw NitroFlex Buddy Cube (grab on Amazon or at PetSmart) is really more of a cube than a ball, but it works the same way – fill the cube and watch your dog roll it around for treats!

Top Paw Nitro Flex

I picked this one up from PetSmart and haven’t used it quite as much as some of the others, so I can’t personally account for its durability. Some people say it is tough enough for chewers, others say it’s not.

It’s quite large and is able to hold over a cup of kibble – I’d estimate it has about a 1.5 cup capacity.

toppaw kibble

The square shape makes this ball bounce and move more erratically than a standard ball, which may be pretty fun for your dog. It also had ridges and crevices inside the cube that helps the kibble rattle and move around towards the openings.

For our time trial, it took Remy 6 minutes and 30 seconds to completely empty the 1.5 cups of kibble in the Nitro Flex. The last few pieces gave him an especially tough time.

The only thing I don’t love about the Nitro Flex Buddy Cube is that you can’t see inside and can’t take the cube apart to clean it, so it’s hard to know when it’s dirty and needs to be washed.

It also seems like it’s probably pretty difficult to wash since there are ridges inside the cube that you can’t access.

top paw nitro flex

Nitro Flex Buddy Cube

A square-shaped treat dispenser that can be filled with 1.5 cups of kibble. Had ridges and crevices for extra an extra challenge!

PROS

Holds 1.5 cups of kibble, so most owners could feed their dog’s entire dinner with it.

CONS

Can’t see inside and has inner ridges and edges that make it difficult to clean.

3. Mutts Kick Butt Dice from Sodapup

About: The Mutts Kick Butt (MKB) Dice Toy (available from Amazon or Chewy) is made of Sodapup’s ultra-tough rubber, so it’s insanely durable and ranks highly on Sodapup’s toughness chart.

mkb dice toy

Sodapup specializes in ultra-tough toys, so this is definitely a great choice for strong chewers.

The cube is styled like a dice, featuring a square shape with rounded corners that allow the ball to bounce and roll across the floor in various directions.

The dice’s opening is cleverly large enough that it’s easy to add kibble, but the edging stops the kibble from popping out without a bit of tussling.

Sodapup toys are made in the USA and are non-toxic as well as biodegragdable. The material is also sustainably harvested, so it’s a great toy for those who are trying to stay more eco-friendly.

This dice measures in at 3 inches tall and 3 inches wide, and it’s designed for dogs who weight 30 – 60 pounds. It also holds about 1/2 cup of standard-sized kibble.

For the time trial, it took Remy 4 minutes to completely empty the 1/2 cup of kibble.

dice kibble amount

Features:

  • 3″ tall x 3″ wide for dogs 30-60 lbs.
  • Made in the USA, reducing greenhouse gases from shipping from China and saving energy.
  • Material is all-natural rubber that’s FDA compliant, non-toxic, biodegradable, and sustainably harvested to reduce carbon footprint. 
  • Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
  • Sodapup complies with USA environmental standards (among the highest in the world) and complies with USA labor standards, paying workers a fair wage.

MKB Dice Cube

A dice-shaped treat dispenser that can be filled with 1/2 cup of kibble. Made with ultra-tough non-toxic rubber for super chewers!

PROS

Ultra-durable and all-natural, this toy ranks among Sodapup’s toughest!

CONS

Slightly more difficult to fill with food since the rubber is too hard to wedge in a funnel.

4. Mutts Kick Butt Cupcake Treat Dispenser

About: The Mutts Kick Butt Cupcake Treat Dispenser (available from Amazon or Chewy) from Sodapup is pretty similar to the Dice toy above.

sodapup cupcake toy

It has a slightly lower durability rating according to Sodapup, but it’s still made of Sodapup’s famous super strong rubber and should be plenty tough for most dogs.

The unusual shape of this treat-dispenser ball means it moves more erratically, bouncing in all kinds of unpredictable directions to throw your pup off the trail!

Like with the Dice, the Cupcake holds about 1/2 cup of standard kibble. For our time trial, it took Remy 3 minutes to finish off all the kibble inside.

cupcake kibble amount

The Sodapup Cupcake comes in two sizes – a medium and a large. The medium is good for dogs 15 – 30 pounds, while the large is for dogs 30 – 60 pounds.

Features:

  • 2 sizes (medium: 2.5″ x 3″ for 15-30 lbs and large: 3″ x 3.25″ for dogs 30 – 60 lbs)
  • Cupcake shape makes toy move and bounce in unpredictable ways
  • Made in the USA, reducing greenhouse gases from shipping from China and saving energy
  • Material is all-natural rubber that’s FDA compliant, non-toxic, biodegradable, and sustainably harvested
  • Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
  • Same Sodapup compliance and policies as noted in the Dice features section
sodapup cupcake

MKB Cupcake Toy

A one-of-a-kind treat – this cupcake-shaped treat dispenser can be filled with 1/2 cup of kibble and moves in crazy directions when nosed around!

PROS

Fun, unique shape that’s made of ultra-durable rubber designed for power chewers.

CONS

Only holds a 1/2 cup of kibble, which is a bit smaller than some others.

Have you ever used a treat-dispensing ball before to amuse your pup? How did it go? Any great treat balls we failed to mention? Tell us your experience in the comments!

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Written by

Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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