Kong Dog Toys – Review And Recipes.


Kong dog toys have become one of the most popular dog products in the world. They are invaluable for a dog’s mental and physical health, by providing enrichment and entertainment – particularly when you have to leave your dog for short periods. Read our Holidays4Dogs article for a review and recipes.

History and development of the Kong toy.

The Kong dog toy product was invented by Joe Markham in the 1970’s and has quite an interesting background.

While working on a vehicle in his yard, Joe noticed that his German Shepherd dog, Fritz, began chewing on a hard rubber suspension device. Since it bothered him that Fritz spent a lot of time chewing on hard items like rocks, he decided to see if he could develop the suspension device into a dedicated dog toy.

He spent nearly six years experimenting with various compounds which would re-produce the vehicle part. The toy allegedly got its name because a friend of Joe’s remarked one day that it looked like an ear plug for King Kong.

Today, the Kong remains one of the most popular and well-known interactive dog toys. However, there are many other companies now who make similar food dispensing toys and puzzles for dogs.

What makes them different from other dog toys?

The Kong dog toy comes in three different sizes to suit all breeds of dogs. It can be stuffed with food which keeps dogs busy. They are particularly useful for dogs with mild separation anxiety. The treat toy provides stimulation and helps the dog to remain calm.

Because it takes a bit of effort for dogs to extract the food from the toy, it reduces destructive behaviour and helps dogs feel less anxious when left alone. Chewing is, in fact, a natural stress buster for dogs. Chewing releases calming hormones. However, this often means dogs will chew things you’d rather they didn’t!

On first introducing one of our Holidays4Dogs office dogs – Floss – to the Kong dog toy, we stuffed it with raw mince and grated carrot. Floss, suffers from mild to moderate separation anxiety. We set up a video to see how having the toy would affect her behaviour when she was left for an hour.

The result was quite dramatic. Floss took the Kong with great enthusiasm. She went off to settle with it and barely gave any attention to us leaving the room.

Watching the camera, we saw that she spent all of her time, chewing and rolling the Kong. She didn’t pace, whine or seem worried.

The only disappointing element was that she managed to lose the toy underneath a cupboard. She was unable to reach it, so went back to whining and sitting at the door.

We began to think about what to stuff the Kong dog toy with. A Kong and its contents can be frozen – making it last much longer.  You could even stuff more than one Kong if you intend to be out of the house a little longer.

What to stuff in a Kong dog toy?

There are lots of things you could stuff the Kong with, many of them really healthy additions to your dog’s diet too. Here are few ideas to get you going.

  • Mashed sweet potato; either on its own, or mixed with small pieces of cooked liver, peas, grated, or raw carrot.

  • Peanut butter is another popular choice and dogs love it. BUT, it is high in calories and it is also important to check the label carefully. Avoid products containing artificial sweeteners, such as Xylitol, as this is toxic to dogs.

  • Any wet, or dry dog food, that your dog usually eats.

  • Scrambled egg. On its own, or mixed with a small amount of soaked whole meal bread to bind it together.

  • Tuna.

  • Cottage cheese. On its own, or mixed with tuna.

  • Raw mince. (Good for freezing).

Freezing a Kong is a good way to make them last longer. A frozen Kong is great as a refreshing treat in hot weather too.  Use onion and salt free stock and you have a fantastic tasting doggy lollipop that your dog will relish.

For dogs with mild separation anxiety, Kong toys can be really helpful. They are also great for helping dogs to settle when visitors come round, or for keeping puppies occupied for a while.

Final thoughts.  

Floss now associates us leaving the office/ house with being handed a tasty stuffed toy treat. If she could talk, I think she would even be asking when we are next going out – so she can settle down with her Kong!

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