If you asked dog owners what ONE toy they would recommend for their canine companion, the general consensus will most likely be a KONG interactive dog toy. In fact, Kongs often serve double-duty as both an engaging treat-dispenser and as a highly durable chew toy. For any pet parent dealing with the challenges of a destructive chewer, anxious puppy, or high-energy dogs; the popular snowman-shaped KONG toy may be the solution you are looking for to provide your pup with a long-lasting and self-soothing chewing experience!
An introduction to KONG Toys
While the Kong company now manufactures several lines of dog toys including dental chews, pull toys, frisbees, squeakers, and balls; it is best known by pet owners and enthusiastic dogs for the original KONG toys that resembles a snowman-like structure of three balls pushed together.
Types of Kong Chew Toy Rubber
Red = Known as KONG Classic, the original red rubber made for the average chewers
Baby Blue/Pink = Known as KONG Puppy, a special formula made for teething puppies and help soothe gums
Purple = Known as KONG Senior, it is made of a gentle but durable rubber formulated for aging teeth and jaws
Black = Known as KONG Extreme, made of the most durable and toughest rubber compound recommended for the strongest chewers
Blue = Known as Kong BLUE, a variation of the KONG Extreme usually available only through veterinarians made of radiopaque rubber that will show up in x-rays
Reasons why KONGs are the best dog toys
- Besides providing long-lasting enjoyment, stuffed KONGs fulfills your dog’s natural desire to “work” and encourages positive chewing habits. In addition to keep your dog busy and content for extended periods of time, it can increase confidence in anxious dogs by making them feel more accomplished after successful ‘hunts’ of the stuffed toys over time.
- Regular use of KONG chew toys may improve your dog’s oral health and wellness. While playing with the toy, the natural rubber helps promote clean teeth, help control plaque, and remove food particles.
- Unlike many toys, KONG chew toys also stimulates mental exercise for your dog’s mind which is vital to overall health and minimize destructive behavior due to boredom.
- Sedentary dogs can often be enticed to become more active and play more with the use of interactive toys. Due to its unique shape, dogs can be lured with its unpredictable bounce into games of catch, chase, and fetch — especially if it’s filled with rewarding treats!
- KONG dog toys can be effective in preventing boredom and entertaining dogs that are alone for long periods of time (such as during work or running an errand).
- Dogs with separation anxiety and other behavioral issues can benefit from KONG toys. By distracting your dog from the “bad behavior”, your canine companion can focus on the rewarding experience of the stuffed KONG. This form of therapy/behavior modification can also be helpful for crate training puppies and skittish dogs. By diverting their attention onto the gratifying toy, your dog will become more comfortable being crated and less anxious.
- The list of things a KONG can be filled with is practically endless. With the wide variety of ‘goodies’ and treats available, your dog will always look forward to discover what you have stuffed inside. As a result, it is a toy that your dog will never get bored with!
- KONGs can be used with dogs of all ages, sizes, breeds, and chewing levels. There are several styles and sizes of KONG chew toys to accommodate young puppies to older senior dogs comfortably.
Tips to Get the Best out of your Kong Toy
- The key to the success of KONGs is the hollow center which can be used to fill it with dog treats. Without being stuffed or filled with treats, there is not much to keep your dog’s interest with the toy. The ability to fill the toy with treats is what makes it so effective and functional.
- Nearly all dogs love to have a ‘job’ and hunt for their food. KONGs are a great way to physically and mentally challenge your dog and allow them an opportunity to “work” for rewarding treats. Over time, you can add more (than one) stuffed KONG toys into your dog’s daily routine to increase their work time that serves as both a reward and exercise tool.
- For diversity, you can prepare several KONGs with different recipes consisting of different flavors, textures, and smells ahead of time to readily enrich your dog’s toy chewing experience. A great way to accomplish this is to use layers and freeze it until it is KONG time!
- Having more than one KONG toy per dog is highly recommended. I personally keep about 3-4 different types of different sizes, material, and color for each dog. This allows me to prepare a few to have on hand (some frozen) and also have one available while others are being cleaned.
- KONGs require minimal maintenance and care. In addition to being virtually indestructible with dogs, it can also be washed on the top shelf of your dishwasher! For some suggestions on deep cleaning of those extra sticky treats, here are some of the other best ways to clean your KONG chew toys.