Friday, April 25, 2014

Puzzle Toy: TreatStik

The TreatStik is a hard plastic toy that dispenses food when rolled across the ground. It is incredibly durable, easy to clean, and fast to load. The kibble is dispenses via a hole near the bottom of the toy.
Photo by Erin Koski
For most of his life, Brisbane has not eaten meals out of bowls. I prefer he spend a bit more time and use his brain in order to get food. Briz also used to have separation anxiety issues as a puppy. The TreatStik is one of the toys I used to help him get over this. I would put some kibble in the toy and hand it to him before I left the house, and Brisbane learned that my leaving also meant dinner time. The TreatStik forced him to spend several minutes working for each piece of kibble.
Photo by Erin Koski

My favorite feature of this puzzle toy is that the entire end of it opens up. I can dump a cup and a half of kibble in there with zero effort. Of course, Brisbane doesn't eat more than a quarter cup of kibble per day right now. I need to think about switching him to a lower-calorie food.

Puzzle Toy Rating
Photo by Erin Koski

Capacity: 5/5 
At 1.5 cups of kibble, this thing not only holds an entire meal for Brisbane, it could hold nearly an entire meal for Josie. This is probably our highest-capacity puzzle toy.

Loading Speed: 5/5
Unscrew lid, dump in a scoop of kibble, screw lid back on. This is the paragon of easy-to-fill toys by which I judge all other toys.

Unloading Speed (standard dog): 5/5
Josie could spend all day long getting her kibble out of this toy. I would fill it to capacity and she would work on it for an hour and need a nap before she emptied it.

Unloading Speed (superdog): 4/5
Brisbane can get his daily 1/4 cup of kibble out of this in less than 5 minutes, but more kibble takes more time. The TreatStik website suggests putting chunks of carrot in there to liven things up, I'm gonna try that next. I should also have a look at the smaller one and see if it has a smaller hole to drop kibble slower.

Durability: 5/5
My TreatStik is nearly nine years old, Brisbane has had it his entire life and it has been rolled, bashed, and lost countless times. It's a bit beat up on the outside, but still completely functional.

Size: 4/5
The large TreatStik is big enough for the biggest dogs, as long as they are supervised with it. However, the smaller size is too big for toy breeds. This isn't a huge issue for us because Ru doesn't care about food, but it does make the appeal of the TreatStik slightly less than universal. This toy is too big for any dog who's jaw can fit through the hole.

Noise: 2/5
This is the second noisiest puzzle toy in our house. It would be fine if we had carpets and the kibble just rattled around, but on hardwood the Treatstik sounds like a herd of elephants.

Locatability: 3/5
The relatively large size makes this toy difficult to lose for very long, but it the round shape and low profile mean that it very easily rolls under furniture. It's usually under the kitchen cabinets, otherwise it can take a very long time to locate.

Washability: 5/5
Dishwasher safe, awesome if you have a dishwasher, otherwise it scrubs clean nicely with soap and hot water. Vinegar, bleach, and boiling water should eliminate any leftover nasties if necessary.

Hoardability: 1/5
Brisbane doesn't like to carry the TreatStik in his mouth, so he rolls it around until it's empty and then abandons it.

Total: 39/50
This is definitely one of our favorite puzzle toys, and probably the one that gets the most use because I can just dump in kibble and then run out the door.

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