If every dog in the world could be given one toy, I think the Kong would be the way to go. A Kong toy is shaped somewhat like a rounded rubber pyramid with a hollow center. Kongs have three chewing “levels”:
- Red: For beginners
- Black: For tough chewers
- Blue: The toughest level and only available through veterinarians because they are radio opaque (which means they will show up on an x-ray if the dog swallows them).
There are also special, softer Kongs made for puppies or senior dogs. These Kong toys come in pink, blue, or purple colors.
How durable is a Kong toy?
Kong toys are extremely durable! They can go from the microwave to the freezer to the dishwasher and back again without breaking down. They stand up well to almost every dog, as long as you choose the right size and hardness level for your dog’s tenacity of chewing. Kong toys bounce erratically when thrown and provide a great chew toy.
What makes a Kong toy better than other dog chew toys?
The thing that puts a Kong toy above the competition is their hollow center. Kong toys can be stuffed with an amazing variety of food items. This is a great source for mental exercise! For dogs who are left home alone all day, consider throwing out your dog’s food bowl and feeding solely from Kong toys.
Are there any toys similar to the Kong that you would recommend?
There are certainly other brands of toys that resemble Kongs available, but the Kong is the “original” toy and is the one that seems to work best for most dogs. There is one Kong knock-off on the market which may be of interest to some people though, and that is the “Squirrel Dude” toy manufactured by PetSafe. This tough purple toy (yes, it resembles a squirrel) improves on the Kong design by adding four small rubber prongs which line the inside of the toy’s hole. These prongs make it much harder to get food back out of a Squirrel Dude toy once you’ve stuffed it in. A Squirrel Dude toy is not for a beginner to puzzle stuffing, but can provide a nice challenge to dogs for whom a Kong toy no longer gives any challenge. The Squirrel Dude toys can be further customized by lopping off one or more of the rubber prongs with a sharp pair of scissors, so that you can adjust the toy’s level of difficulty.
How do I clean a Kong toy?
To clean your dog’s Kongs out, use the cleaning brushes that can be used for baby bottles, or just scrub around inside the opening with your fingers. Kongs are dishwasher safe, but be warned that tightly lodged food can easily sneak through an entire dishwashing cycle. Make sure your dog’s Kongs are cleaned regularly to prevent food from spoiling.
Do you use Kong toys for your dog? Please share your favorite Kong stuffing recipes, games, or other tips and tricks in the comment section!
Modified from content by Sara Reusche, as previously published on https://paws4udogs.wordpress.com. Sara is a professional dog trainer at Paws Abilities Dog Training in Rochester, MN. To learn more about dog training, check out their website here: www.paws4u.com.
Filled Kongs and Squirrel Dude images from Paws Abilities Dog Training.