Anyone who has a dog or has owned a dog at some point in their life, has heard of Kong dog toys. They have truly been around for what seems like forever. I wanted to share with you my Kong Dog Toy Review on the original Kong Classic toy.
Throughout my life as a dog parent, I have bought many toys for my dogs. Some toys last longer than others, but one toy seems to with stand the harshest of conditions. That is the Classic Kong, a must have for ever dog.
This is the toy that got everything going for Kong. Truly the toy that put them on the map in the pet industry.
Let’s first start at the beginning. How did Kong get started and what inspired the 1st toy.
Joe Markham is the founder of the Kong company. In 1970 Joe had a dog named Fritz. Like some dogs, Fritz was a destructive chewer. He was so bad, that he would chew crazy things like rocks and sticks. These items of course were taking its toll on his teeth. Even to the point of wearing them down.
While, doing some vehicle repairs on his VW bus Joe threw out a suspension part shaped like a snowman that was made of a very hard rubber. The rubber part would bounce and Fritz was fascinated. Joe like all good dog parents kept taking the part away and Fritz kept bringing it back to him. That is how the Classic Kong came to be.
In the 1980s Joes started out by taking his new dog toy to trade shows and small retail stores. For effect at the shows, Joe had a mechanical dog jaw named “Chomps”. By putting the Kong in Chomps mouth, he could show exactly how strong the toy really is. People started to take notice.
The red Classic Kong went from one size to being offered in 4 different sizes. Not long after that Kong rolled out they introduced an even stronger toy called Kong Extreme that came in black in 2 sizes.
Along with a new headquarters, they started developing other dog toys to add to the Kong brand. The expanded line of toys included dental and grooming toys like Kong ZoomGroom and Dental. These toys are still popular today.
In the 2000 Kong Company did a brand expansion, bringing in John Decker and Kathy Decker. They quickly realized that their was a real need to help bring the brand globally. Of course the expansion meant that Kong was also going to expand the toy line they produced. Creating toys that fit each separate age group was also something they also expanded to.
As the Kong Classic became more popular, so did the realization that you could stuff the toy with edible items. Kong’s goal was to produce toys that engage, entertain and help minimize a dog’s bad behavior.
Kong didn’t stop there, in 2015 they expanded to China. They are now sold in over 80 countries and is still growing. Truly a leader in the pet industry.
The first toy in the Kong empire, referred to as the Gold Standard in dog toys. Every dog parent has heard of the Kong toy and more than likely has bought one for their dog. If you have not got one for your dog, now is the time.
Made in the USA from an ultra-durable red natural rubber that has a great bounce ability to it. Shaped in a snowman like design that is hollow inside, makes this amazing for allowing us the ability to stuff the toy with edible items.
What makes this toy even better is the durability of the rubber. Your dog can chew and chew without even a scratch on the Kong. Your dog will also get some much needed pain relief if they are teething.
So the toy is fun, good for fetching, awesome for chewing, and works amazing to promote keeping your dog calm. This also provides us parents with the much-needed break we need from time to time. I like to call it a time out moment.
There are literally 7 things that the Kong toy can be helpful with for your dog.
- Chewing – outlet for their natural chewing instincts
- Teething – chewing on the soft rubber can help with teething pain
- Separation anxiety – give to your dog when you leave the house to associate being left alone as good
- Crate training – help use as a positive reinforcement when training a dog in the crate
- Boredom – keeps your dog out of trouble by keeping them busy
- Digging and barking – whether its fear, boredom or promoting good behavior this distracts them from digging
- Weight management – by filling the Kong with healthy goodies, you are able to still give a dog that is a bit heavy treats.
The Classic comes in red and in 6 different sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL. Literally a size for every dog.
Stuffing the Kong
I talked about why stuffing the Kong is great for your dog, but how do you go about doing that. What do you stuff it with and how much do I put in?
We all know that the Classic Kong’s design is made up of 3 round levels that get bigger towards the bottom. Did you know that each level of the Kong is actually considered a stuffing user level. Well what does that mean?
The smallest one, is the Novice user level, the 2nd is for the average Kong user and the final one which is the biggest is for the Pro user.
OK so now that we know what we fill the Kong up as far based on the age and user level of the dog. Well now let’s talk about stuffing the toy.
A few of the most popular at home fillers are:
- Peanut butter
- Canned pumpkin
- Dog kibble
- Cottage cheese
Kong also sells some excellent stuffing options that you can buy to make it even easier. They actually make their own spray products called Kong Stuff’N Easy Treat that you can put inside. They come in a couple of different flavors like peanut butter or bacon and cheese. To make it even more challenging, you could freeze the Kong stuffed. Layering the Kong is a great idea before you freeze it. Pull it out after 4-6 hours and give it to your dog. It will keep him occupied for up to 40 minutes.
If you are looking for a less messy option, they sell Stuff’n Ziggies which are a healthy treat option. They fit perfectly inside the Kong. and are less messy . Your dog will love them. You could also do a combination of the harder treat and say peanut butter. Put the kibble or hard treat inside, then stuff it with whatever you want.
There is also a much fancier way to go about stuffing your Kong for parents that want to make a specific recipe for the stuffing. This way you know exactly what ingredients you are putting in the Kong.
Kong’s website actually has a list of 14 recipes to choose from. Most of them have only a handful of ingredients that can be easily mixed together to make a great filler. Here’s an example of a few of them:
- Sweet n’ Savory
- Cube Chillers
- Summer Picnic
- Chicken Pot Pie
You can literally put anything food that is dog friendly into the Kong. To keep it even healthier, you could put things like blueberries, bananas, or apricots. Then layer them with Cheerios, cheese, dried fruit and carrots. You get the idea. By layering healthy ingredients inside the Kong you can be assured your dog is only getting exactly what you want them to eat.
No matter what you decide to fill your Kong with, the end result is your dog is going to love you.
Keep it clean
Filling the Kong with wet ingredients can obviously leave the inside of the Kong very dirty. You dog may lick the inside pretty good, but it still needs to be cleaned properly.
The easiest way to clean it is to first soak it in hot water with some soap. This will loosen up all the left over bits of food that may be lingering inside. Once you have soaked it for a while, than take an old toothbrush and use it to get right inside to all the crevices. Scrub inside until get it totally clean. Bacteria can easily build up inside the Kong if we don’t keep it cleans.
One other amazing fact about the Kong…….it is completely dishwasher safe. Just put it in the top rack of your dishwasher for cleaning.
Pros and Cons
If the Classic Kong isn’t right fit for your dog, you can also look at the other Kong’s that they make. They have a specific one for puppies that is a little softer rubber for their young mouths. Even if your dog is a super chewer, then they have one for that. No matter what age, size, breed or chewing dog you have, there is a Kong on the market for you.
Let’s go over the Pros and Cons:
|Inexpensive||Can be hard to clean|
|Variety of sizes||Should buy more than one for ease|
|Can calm your dog down|
To be honest, I absolutely love this product. I have currently 2 different Kong’s in my house. Because our dog FERGUS is only 4 months old, we have the puppy Kong that is pink and we also have a black Super Chewer Kong from our previous dog FINN. Although the black Kong may too big for FERGUS right now, we know that it won’t be long before he graduates to using it.
Already FERGUS absolutely loves his Kong and patiently waits for you to give it to him. The funny part about him, is even once it is completely empty, he still rolls around and plays with it for a long time.
It has quickly become one of his favourite toys. Like I always say, its best to supervise your dog with any new toy. Never hurts to be safe.
I hope that you enjoyed reading my Kong Dog Toy Reviews post. I would love to hear from you if you have any comments or questions below.
Remember that sometimes buying just that 1 specific dog toy can help make you and your dog’s life more joyful.