We're here to answer all of these questions and, TLDR: yes, you need one!
What Is A Kong?
These days, 'Kong' is a whole company, renowned for producing tougher toys that can stand up to some pretty destructive dogs. But, it all started with the original red rubber toy - which is simply referred to as 'a Kong', or a 'Kong classic'.
It is a sturdy rubber toy, with three tiers, in a sort of egg-ish shape. It is hollow, with a hole at either end. The hole at the top is small, whereas the hole at the bottom is larger - in which you can you can put a variety of foody bits.
How Is It Different From Another Toy?Part of the brilliance of the Kong lies in its versatility: it can be used as a toy in its own right, or as a puzzle feeder, or even as a lick-mat substitute. This makes the Kong the perfect companion for your dog, as you can use it as a reward, something fun to entertain your dog, or as a way to calm them down if they're a bit stressed out or over-excited.
How Do I Use It?
1) Simply give it to your dog, or throw it as it is for your dog to chase or catch. Because of its shape, it'll never bounce in the same direction - keeping your dog on their toes and giving you a more engaging play session
2) Fill it up with your dog's kibble or dry treats. They'll spend ages trying to get them out - either by scooping them out with their tongue or rolling it around the floor. Whichever way they opt for, they're sure to be entertained.
3) Put wet food or a mixture of your choice inside! This will promote licking, which is a great way to help your dog to calm down after an exciting training session, a scary night of fireworks, or help them to drift off to sleep when you're away from the house. if you'd like it to last for longer, or you want to help keep your dogs cool in summer, you can also freeze it to create a Kong-sicle!
What Can I Put Inside It?
As long as the foodstuff is safe for your dog to eat, the only limit is your imagination! Some common ideas are:
- smooshed banana
- peanut butter (dog-friendly)
- cream cheese
- mashed sweet potato
- scrambled egg
Our favourite recipe, though, involves a tablespoon of natural yoghurt, mixed with fresh blueberries and half a banana.
If you want to get really fancy and indulge your pup, try adding the foods in layers to get a trifle effect. Then, sit back and watch as they enjoy a layered surprise!
What Size Should I Get?
Getting the right size is important to keep your dog safe and maximise their enjoyment: too small will pose a choking hazard, and too big will mean your dog struggles to pick it up.
Luckily, Kong (the company) have developed a sizing guide to help you get it right. Remember, if you're in doubt or your dog is in between sizes, always go for the bigger option for safety.
What's your favourite way to use a Kong? Let us know in the comments below!