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KONG toys are the best dog toys… ever!
They serve double-duty, as a chew toy and as a treat-dispenser.
I think every dog owner should have one (or 4!)
We currently have a total of 16 KONGS which our 2 dogs enjoy on a daily basis.
See why I (and my dogs) think KONGS are the best!…
Come along as I share some little-known facts about KONG dog toys and give you some creative ways to bring hours of joy to your dog… KONG style!
An Introduction To Dog KONG Toys
Most pet owners are familiar with KONG toys.
In fact, the KONG dog chew is known as “The world’s best dog toy!”
Allow me to sing the praises of the KONG dog toy…
- Types Of KONG Dog Toys
- Why KONG Dog Toys Are So Great
- Ways That KONG Toys Are Helpful
- Little-Known Facts About KONG Dog Toys
- All My Best KONG Stories
They actually make hundreds of different varieties of dog Kong toys!
These are the most basic Kong toys for dogs — by color:
- Puppy Kong (pink or blue) is made with a special teething rubber formula
- Red Kong is the classic, durable, long-lasting Kong toy for strong chewers
- Black Kong is extra bouncy and extra hard for power chewers
- Purple Kong is for senior dogs is made for sensitive teeth and gums when your dog is aging
It’s important to learn your dog’s chewing style. There are 3 basic chewing styles when it comes to adult dogs and their toys:
- Gentle chewers – These dogs are easy on toys and prefer plush or fabric toys. They usually like to lick or suck on their toys, but rarely ever destroy their toys.
- Average chewers –These dogs love to play with all kinds of toys and will often carry toys around with them. They can be destructive with plush and fabric toys, but rarely are destructive with rubber toys.
- Power chewers – These dogs are usually strong, determined chewers who require more discretion when it comes to selecting dog toys. Choose durable, interactive play toys along with hard rubber toys. Sizing up is also helpful when picking toys for dogs who love to chew. The black KONG Extreme dog toy is ideal for power chewers.
See how to choose the best size and style of Kong toy for your dog’s breed and size.
Here are some other Kong dog toys with a special purpose:
- Kong Dental Sticks – a fetch and chew toy with unique ridges which hold dog treats, remove debris between teeth, and massage gums.
- Kong Jump ‘N Treat Dispensers – uniquely shaped rubber KONGS that bounce erratically and dispense treats from various ports.
- Air Kong Tennis Toys – have 100% tennis ball covering to make them soar through the air farther and even float in water!
- Plush Kong Toys – their extra durable stuffed toys for dogs which come with a removable/replaceable squeaker and less stuffing are marketed as Dr. Noys.
A list of all the foods you can stuff inside Kong toys!
- Kong toys satisfy a dog’s innate, natural desire to “work” or hunt for food. Stuffed Kongs can keep them busy and content (and out of trouble!) for long periods of time by encouraging them to get the food reward inside.
- For dogs with separation anxiety and other behavioral issues, Kong toys provide a form of therapy/behavior modification. A Kong dog toy serves to distract your pet from whatever the “problem behavior” might be. I (and my friends) have found that this really works!
- A Kong is a unique dog toy that exercises a dog’s mind, at the same time that it gives a dog the satisfaction of a job well done.
- For dogs that remain alone for long periods of time (say, while you’re at work), Kong dog toys provide a form of entertainment and prevent boredom.
- Regular use of Kong chew toys can improve your dog’s oral health. While playing with the Kong, the rubber toy naturally works its way into cracks and crevices between your dog’s teeth, effectively removing plaque and food particles.
- Kongs are quite effective when used as a training device — to stop “bad behaviors” and teach “good behaviors”.
- Since Kong toys can be filled with a wide variety of “goodies”, your dog will always look forward to the opportunity to find what’s inside. As a result, it’s a toy that your dog never gets bored with.
- For dogs that are living a sedentary life, a Kong toy will entice your dog to play more and be more active. The Kong’s unpredictable bounce lures most dogs into a game of chase, catch and chew — especially when it’s filled with food treats!
- If you are crate training, or your dog remains in a crate long hours while you’re away, Kong toys can help your dog feel more comfortable while being crated. It’s as if your dog receives immediate gratification — a positive reward — inside the crate.
- Kongs grow with your pet. There are many different sizes and styles of Kong toys to accommodate the youngest puppies, full-grown dogs, and senior dogs of all breeds and sizes.
- Kong toys are made in the USA and recommended by veterinarians, dog trainers, dog behaviorists, and dog enthusiasts across the globe.
5 Unique Ways To Use Classic KONG Dog Toys
KONG dog toys are fun for dogs to play with at any time — but they are extremely helpful in these 5 ways:
#1 – Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety typically occurs in the first 20 minutes after you leave your dog alone. The best solution is to help your dog develop a positive association between being left alone and receiving good things — like a treat-stuffed KONG toy. Stuffing a KONG dog toy with a mix of wet and dry ingredients creates a challenge that typically lasts 20 minutes — so you’re able to keep your dog busy during the time when anxiety is at its peak. If you freeze the KONG toy before giving it to your dog, then it takes even longer to get all the food out — for the ultimate challenge and distraction for your dog!
#2- Barking and Digging
Dogs bark to communicate. They dig when they’re bored or afraid. If you want your dog to bark less and/or dig less, then it’s important to create good behaviors for your dog to do instead. This starts with productive play — a way for your dog to burn off excess energy. Every time you throw a KONG toy, the unpredictable bounce ensures that no 2 games are ever the same — so your dog is engaged and excited for even more playtime. A stuffed KONG is also helpful for the times when your dog is left outside to play. By directing your dog’s energy toward something positive (like working for the food inside the toy), you are helping to diminish bad behaviors and prevent boredom.
#3 – Crate Training
Crate training is a safe and effective way to potty train a puppy or new dog. It’s also a good way to get your dog comfortable with their new home environment. One way to help your dog relax inside their crate is by giving them a treat-stuffed KONG. This creates a positive association for your dog and the crate. Start your dog’s crate training by stuffing a KONG toy with a tasty and aromatic dog treat that will get their attention. Let your dog see and smell the stuffed toy while they are outside of the crate. Then, place the stuffed KONG in the back of their crate — leaving the door open. As your dog chews on the KONG inside the crate, they begin to feel more comfortable and they will start to create a positive association with the crate. Repeat this process several times, several days in a row, until your dog is happy to settle in the crate on their own.
#4 – Playing
For dogs, physical and mental development, emotions, and behavior are all influenced by healthy play. Playing with toys helps your dog burn energy — which is important for appropriate good dog behavior. KONG dog toys encourage play while satisfying your dog’s instinctual needs to forage for food. At the same time, you are strengthening the bond between you and your dog because they learn to trust you for the things that make them feel good… and safe.
#5 – Dog Chewing
Chewing is nature’s way of keeping your dog’s jaws strong and the teeth clean. Chewing also combats boredom and can help relieve your dog’s anxiety or frustration. Without an acceptable outlet for the natural instinct to chew, many dogs will turn to destructive chewing in your home. However, when you teach your dog acceptable chewing behaviors from the start, the destructive chewing can be kept to a minimum or alleviated altogether. Since KONG toys are available in various sizes (from puppy to adult to senior), they grow with your dog — you can satisfy your dog’s urge to chew all throughout their life.
Kong Toys Help With Puppy Teething & Puppy Chewing
One of the biggest reasons to introduce KONG Puppy toys to your new dog is to reduce unwanted chewing.
Since puppies love to chew, it’s important to teach your dog which items are acceptable to chew on — and which ones are not. You can teach this lesson in a positive and fun way by introducing a KONG Puppy toy stuffed with dog treats while your dog is still young.
For best results, use a variety of KONG toys and treats to keep these puppy chewing lessons fun and interesting.
Always be consistent by saying NO when your dog chews on the wrong things, and giving praise when your dog chews on the appropriate puppy toys.
Here are some interesting facts about puppies and teething:
- Like humans, dogs have 2 sets of teeth in their lives.
- The 28 baby teeth erupt through the gums between the 3rd and 6th weeks of age.
- Puppies don’t have to grind much food, so they don’t have molars.
- Puppy teeth begin to shed and be replaced by permanent adult teeth at about 4 to 5 months of age.
The teething period can be frustrating and painful for your puppy.
A teething puppy will clamp their mouth on just about everything they can reach — from body parts to expensive shoes — in an attempt to relieve the discomfort.
KONG puppy toys one way to help your dog relieve the pain and get their mind off their frustration. Puppy KONGS are gentle — they’re specially designed for growing teeth and jaws. Not only do they help to promote entry of incoming teeth, they also help to establish healthy chewing habits for your dog.
- The Kong toy was created after Joe Markham was working on his VW van one day, while his German Shepherd (Fritz) was chewing on rocks nearby. In an attempt to break Fritz of his rock chewing habit, Joe tossed spare car parts — like radiator hoses — near Fritz to see if he could be coaxed away from this destructive behavior. The only thing that worked was a spare suspension part… which ultimately led to the invention of the Kong dog toy!
- The key to the Kong’s success is its hollow center — which can be filled with dog treats, then washed out and reused. For the record, I’ve never seen a dog find much enjoyment from a Kong toy that wasn’t filled with treats. The ability to place dog treats inside is what makes this toy so effective, and so well worth the money.
- The extra little hole on the opposite end is to prevent negative suction from taking place when your dog’s tongue is inside. Without that tiny air hole, a dog’s tongue could accidentally get stuck inside.
- Dogs like to hunt for food. They are born this way. Not only is it physically and intellectually challenging for the dog, the act of hunting effectively becomes their primary form of “work”. And the reward for a job well done is your dog receiving some food at the end. You could even add more than one stuffed Kong toy into your dog’s daily routine to increase their “work time”.
- Make sure you have a separate Kong toy for each dog in the household. Early on, we made it clear with our 2 dogs which “treat toy” belonged to which dog, and it seems to have made sense with them. For the most part, neither attempts to play with the other dog’s Kong toy — and on the rare occasion that one does, a simple “no” does the trick. (TIP: This works best when their Kongs are a different shape, size, and/or color.)
- Kongs require very little maintenance or care. They are incredibly durable… virtually indestructible! And they can be washed on the top shelf of your dishwasher — although I don’t recommend it. Here’s why.
- While Kongs are built super-tough to withstand years of chewing, certain large-breed dogs have been known to destroy some Kong toys — including Mastiffs, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Labrador Retrievers. (In our home, our Labs haven’t even made a dent in their KONGs.)
Good advice from the Kong Company:
NO DOG TOY IS INDESTRUCTIBLE. Supervise your dog’s use of Kongs until you are confident they can be used safely without supervision.
- All my best Kong stories
- How to wash Kongs with food stuck inside
- How to motivate your dog to play with a toy
I like to help Dog Parents find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about "outside the box" Dog Tips and Dog Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I’m a lifelong dog owner — currently have 2 mixed breed Golden Aussies that we found abandoned on the side of the road as puppies. I've always trained my own dogs and help friends train theirs, as well. Professionally, I worked at a vet and have several friends who are veterinarians — whom I consult with regularly. (And just because I love animals so much, I also worked at a Zoo for awhile!) I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). My daily motivation is to help first-time dog owners be better prepared from the first day your new puppy enters your home. I like to help dog owners understand what's 'normal' and what you can expect in terms of living with and training your dog — how to get through the ups & downs of potty training, chewing, teaching commands, getting your dog to listen, and everything else that takes place during that hectic first year! When I'm not training, walking, grooming, or making homemade treats for my dogs, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I've written over 500 articles for dog owners on this site!