What is a Kong you ask? Well its these weird shaped rubber dog toys that are without doubt the best thing ever invented! These things keep our dogs busy when we need to get stuff done at home, keeps them occupied when we leave the dogs at home and they are great to give dogs when they need to chill out and have some rest time. Over all Kongs are just a bit awesome!
So what are these strange looking things and how do you use them?
We do not have a small Kong, I am not sure I have ever seen a size small, they must be tiny! In the picture is a medium, large and extra large. You can also get puppy, original, extreme and senior types. The different types are different strength plastics. The puppy and senior are softer so that the dogs can squash them and squeeze the food out where as the regular and extremes are tougher for the dogs, the extreme being the toughest and is usually black in colour. The original Kong is red and the senior is purple, the puppy Kongs tend to be either pink or blue. Generally we would recommend you start with an original and see how you get on, size would depend on the size of your dog!
Stuff them! Fill them up with anything you want! The photo here shows some of what I have used and do use to fill Kongs. I forgot to put the banana in the photo though! Ooops! Lily loves her banana!
So what do we have here? We have some off cuts from our dinner the other night, sardines, kibble, basics spam, natural yogurt, pate and peanut butter, oh and not forgetting the banana! You can of course use anything else you have at home, just normal kibble or dog meat or if you feed raw then raw mince is also great for filling Kongs! I like to use a variety of different foods in the Kongs to keep them interested, especially as Dill can get bored. I have also used both raw and scrambled egg, sausage, ham, chicken, anything the dogs can eat you can put in a Kong!
You can fill the Kongs in anyway that you want. I tend to put kibble at the bottom – or other dog treats, sometimes sausage. just to block the hole at the bottom so that I can put other more liquid ingredients in without them just falling out the bottom! Then for these ones, I put sardines in each Kong, then some yoghurt and banana. The bigger Kongs I added some extra bits in and then topped them all off with peanut butter. Now at this point you can give the dogs the Kongs as they are…..
You can put them in the freezer! That’s where these ones are destined to go. The thing about Kongs is that you can put them in the freezer and then get them out whenever you want to give them to a dog. A frozen Kong will take a lot longer to finish then a non-frozen one! Lily can finish a Kong within 5 minutes max, even if its well squished in! She knows how to eat a Kong and its unsurprising being that she has had them since she was a puppy! Dill is the same, they know how to finish a Kong! However, freeze it and if you have put some liquid ingredients in such as yoghurt it gets into all those small spaces and freezes which means it can at times take up to half an hour for Lily to finish the Kong! This is why I tend to add lots of different tasty ingredients because Dill gets bored, he doesn’t always see the point in taking that long to eat a Kong but if he is given the chance (aka Lily doesn’t eat it first…) he will go back to it later!
So why use a Kong?
There are so many reasons why you might want to use one but I will just explain a couple.
Leaving your dog home alone
Does your dog seem to have issues with the moment you leave the house, do they whine or bark? Giving them a Kong, especially a frozen one helps to distract them from you leaving the house and gives them something else to think about.
Settling at home
Have you had a really busy day and the last thing you want to do is have a dog jumping off the walls? Settle them down on a bed or in a crate, fill a Kong with maybe their dinner or something else super yummy and let them mentally tire themselves out whilst trying to empty a Kong! They are also really easy to put in a bag so you can also use them to settle a dog at a cafe or in the car.
The best thing about Kongs is that they can go in the dishwasher – though their colour might fade a bit! If you don’t have a Kong – go get one and be creative! Your dog will love you for it!