Enrich your dog’s treat or meal time with a KONG! Here’s everything you need to know, from how they work and material varieties to how to stuff a KONG.
What Is A KONG
KONG toys are a classic in the pup world and for good reason. Pups love em! They are red, cone-shaped rubber toys with a hollow opening on the larger end that’s perfect for stuffing with treats.
The tiered shape of the toy allows food to really get inside, thus requiring more work from your dog. This is especially the case with something like peanut butter — pups can sit and work out every last drop for upwards of an hour!
KONGs come in four sizes from small to extra large with various material options. This makes them a toy that is perfect for any dog, from puppy age to full grown.
Why Are KONGs Beneficial?
Like many involved treat-dispensing dog toys, KONGs provide an involved action-and-reward system that’s both entertaining and mentally stimulating for your dog.
Slow down eating: Many dogs like to chow down their food at lightning speed, and a KONG works to slow things down. This can help with bloating and other side effects of fast eating.
Provides mental stimulation: KONGs require work from you dog which results in mental stimulation. This can prevent destructive behaviors like chewing furniture!
Build confidence: Like humans, dogs build confidence as they successfully complete tasks. A KONG can help your dog build confidence by learning something new and enjoying the reward of their hard work!
Benefits jaws and teeth: Finally, KONGs’ hard rubber texture is great for your dog’s teeth, helping to clean them while strengthening the jaw.
How Does A KONG Work?
This toy works by filling it with treats or kibble. Foods like peanut butter are great options because their texture makes them more involved, and it takes longer to get everything out.
Stuff it with whatever dog-friendly treats your pup enjoys, and optionally freeze it for a more difficult and involved treat (see our KONG recipe ideas below)!
An empty KONG can be used as a toy or a ball to throw. Just as much as dogs love devouring the treats tucked inside, they love playing fetch with the empty toy! Its shape makes it useful in this area and prevents it from being a choking hazard for larger dogs. They also bounce!
KONG Chew Toy
Enrich your pup’s treat time with their very own KONG Chew Toy!
Type Of KONGs
In addition to KONGs size variety, they also offer texture variety! This means there are options for dogs of all stages, whether they’re teething, have aging teeth, or anything in between.
Each variety comes in a different color with a different level of rubber hardness. You can check out the benefits of all four varieties here.
KONG toys are made by The Kong Company, a Colorado-based company!
The classic rubberized KONG toys are made in the USA. The Kong Company does have other toys that are made in China.
How To Fill A KONG
KONGs can be filled with many different treats and ingredient combos. No matter what recipe you choose, here are the basics:
- Fill the KONG: Check out the recipes below!
- Keep the holes open: Depending on the ingredients being used, keep the holes at the top and bottom of the toy open by threading a plastic or metal straw through. Many recipes will tell you to plug the holes, but those holes are actually there for a reason! They prevent your dog’s tongue from becoming suctioned into the KONG, which can be dangerous.
- Freeze it: KONG treats are best when frozen as it provides longer fun!
- De-straw: Pour hot water through the straw to loosen it, and then remove the straw and give the toy to your dog! Always supervise your dog and don’t leave them unattended with a KONG (or any toy, for that matter).
1. KONG Recipe: Beginner Mode
To teach your dog to use their tongue and learn how the KONG works, start by simply filling the KONG with kibble or treats!
2. KONG Recipe: Classic KONG
There are two classics that pups always love in a KONG: peanut butter or low fat yogurt*. If the filling blocks the holes, add a straw to clear them as described above. Optionally freeze to extend the fun!
*Be sure that the peanut butter or yogurt used does not contain xylitol, an ingredient that is harmful to pups.
3. KONG Recipe: Put A Stick In It
Double layer the KONG fun by including an ingredient of your choice followed by an edible stick! Celery, carrots, or bully sticks make great options. You could even use a yak milk chew or dog-friendly chicken jerky!
4. KONG Recipe: Kibble Stew
Fill the toy with kibble, add a straw to keep the hole plugged, and then pour low sodium broth inside. From here, freeze! Be sure to freeze it standing upright in a glass to catch any drainage. This makes the kibble mushy and delicious to your pup.
5. KONG Recipe: Feast Mode
Arguably any dog’s favorite filling, load the KONG parfait style with everything they love! You can use anything that’s safe for dogs. Ideas include:
- Fruit: blueberries, diced apples cantaloupe, mashed banana
- Dairy: low-fat yogurt, cubed cheese, kefir
- Vegetables: pureed pumpkin, pureed zucchini, sliced radish, mashed sweet potato, mashed avocado
- Protein: unseasoned chicken, a small amount of canned tuna, or organ meats
- Dog-Favorites: dried sprat, peanut butter, tuna, dog treats, kibble
How To Clean A KONG
KONGs can be cleaned simply by rinsing with warm, soapy water. Give the soapy water a good shake to release any residue. If needed, allow the toy to soak for a bit before giving it another good rinse. You can also use a KONG-designated cleaning brush to scrape out any stuck on food. Wash after every use to prevent bacteria from growing.
Though KONGs are dishwasher safe (top rack), dishwashers aren’t always able to completely clean the insides. Hand washing is your best bet!
Other Treat Dispenser Toys For Your Dog
Treat dispenser and puzzle toys make great options for most dogs. For some more ideas, try one of these!
- KONG Wobbler: These are interactive “pawable” toys that require your dog to knock it around in order to release treats!
- Bob-A-Lot: Similar to the KONG Wobbler, but with an adjustable difficulty level.
- Busy Buddy Treat Ring: These keep pups busy while cleaning their teeth at the same time! Rhubarb is a big fan of this one.
- IQ Treat Balls: Dispenser balls are a great option that reward your dog for playing! As the ball is rolled around, treats fall out.
- West Paw Toppl: These are similar to KONGs, but with a wider opening that make them perfect for mealtime!
Or for the dog who always seems to eat too fast, try out a snuffle mat!