Dogs and Kong Toys – Serious Fun!

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“You can discover more about a person in an hour of playing than a year of conversation.” I wonder if Plato would agree that his profound statement also applies to animals.

As technology hasn’t yet made it possible to chat with your dog, communicating through play is a great way to bond with your pet. To make the most out of your life and theirs, it’s essential to have fun!

It’s likely that all mammals enjoy playing. Some birds, reptiles, insects, and even octopuses have shown that they know how to have a good time. Until recently, thinking that captive fish could frolic or a raven might use a hill as a slide would be absurd to most scientists. Compelling evidence of play wasn’t gathered until the end of the 20th century. Animal behavior recordings made studying it possible.

Playtime with Dog Kong Toys

There is not a definitive answer as to why and how this playful instinct began to emerge in some creatures. It could be an affinity to explore their surroundings in new ways, a way to satisfy curiosity, get some exercise, or gain experience.

Although the exact reason is elusive, experts now acknowledge that play is a basic activity that is often a necessary part of the learning and growing process.

A study of 4,000 dog owners and their pets by Bristol University reveals a powerful connection between animal behavioral issues and playtime. Dogs that don’t spend enough time playing often develop problems that may include mental anxiety, adjustment issues, aggression, and bad manners. The lack of exercise can lead to waning strength and agility. Your dog wants to be a “good boy,” and longer play sessions will encourage obedience.

Why Do Dogs Like Kongs So Much?

Because they don’t have hands to investigate items and spaces that are new to them, dogs explore with their mouth and teeth. If they like how your favorite shoes smell after a long day or enjoy the taste of last night’s trash, avoiding temptation is hard for dogs. Encouraging them to play and chew a Kong toy will build an association of fun toward “allowed” items instead of “forbidden” ones. 

Dog toys come in an endless array of sizes, types, and materials. It can be overwhelming for a new dog owner. Kong makes it easier by dividing its products into easy-to-search categories.

Does your dog love noise-making toys, or do you prefer quiet ones? Are you always on the lookout for special dental toys with unique grooves to help your dog’s teeth? The “Features” category has links to each type.

Are you looking for a simple design or the newest high-tech toy? Dogs aren’t picky. They usually enjoy balls, ropes, and chew toys in their classic fetch and tug-of-war forms. Implementing decades of research has made Kong toys a favorite of both dogs and their owners. Other companies continue to develop glowing balls for night play, interactive talking toys, and launchers that throw a ball for your pup to fetch.

Why do dogs like Kongs so much? They offer an exhilarating mix of exercise and excitement! Comfort toys like stuffed items, active toys they can chase, and distraction toys like puzzles and “feeders” can keep your pet busy for hours. Keep the same toys from becoming boring by storing some toys and rotating in others. Give your dog an exciting surprise by letting them “find” their toys in unexpected locations.

How do You Get a Dog to Chew on a Kong?

The dogs’ urge to chew starts early. Puppies play with each other and learn social skills a few weeks after birth. Then they start chewing on everything! Sofa cushions, retainers, slippers, and furniture are favorites.

If they’re alone for a long time, feelings of anxiety may develop. This makes it likely that your puppy will seek out ways to alleviate distress by chewing. Kong chew toys are a perfect alternative.

How do you get a dog to chew on a Kong? Whether you give them an empty toy or you stuff the toy with healthy leftovers, cheese cubes, or peanut butter, it doesn’t take much to get dogs excited to chew on a Kong. There are on-the-go food options available if you’re going for a hike, as well as advice as to the best freezable treats for your dog’s toy!

The Kong website has dog-friendly recipes of “stuffing” you can put inside their chew toys. There’s a savory chicken pot pie and a sweet treat that includes peanut butter, mashed bananas, and yogurt. The recipes also include different flavors of their food product, “Easy Treat.” There are holiday-themed creations from “Licks and Love” for Valentine’s Day to “Candy Corn” and “Thanksgiving Feast” for festive fall fun.

It’s always a good idea to consult your vet on the proper amount and the best types of foods for your dog. Even if a company states that a particular food option is “easily digestable,” be sure to introduce a small amount at a time to test your pet’s reaction. Remember that treats should be shared in moderation, so be ready with alternate rewards and toys that don’t need “stuffing.” 

Chewing Styles

They’re having fun, but does it seem like your dog destroys a chew toy as soon as you throw it across the lawn? You’ll be happy to know there’s an easy solution. Choose something durable by looking at recommended toys according to breed. If the world’s most perfect mutt is your companion, then the best place to start would be to observe your pet’s chewing style. Yes, it’s a thing. 

Gentle chewers are tiny dogs and puppies. Puppies need a softer toy while they’re teething. They’ll feel better and will learn to play while those new baby teeth are on the way.

With dog Kong toys, you can encourage your puppy and small dog to develop positive and healthy chewing habits. That way, you won’t need to take and post photos of the inappropriate items your dog finds to chew!

Average chewers and power chewers need toys that match their bite strength. Otherwise, their excitement during play leads to the quick demise of a fabric, plush, or soft rubber toy. The rubber hardness varies between average and power chewer toys. Both provide extra bounce and much-needed durability. Look for long-lasting, quality toys. They don’t have to be expensive, and the right toy will strengthen your dog’s gums and teeth.

The moderate chewing of senior dogs is less forceful and intense. A flexible, softer toy helps your dog keep on having fun and looking forward to a nightly chew session. Chewing helps keep your dog’s teeth clean, so it’s essential to continue providing appropriate toys. Your furry friends can play on their own or have a great time with you at home or at their favorite dog park.  

Toy Safety

Vets have extensive experience with injuries and other problems that can arise because of different toys. Spending time researching their expert toy recommendations will help you avoid any risky purchases. It’s your pet, and you may decide to buy a controversial product, but there are inherent dangers to consider. 

Examine toys to see if they would be considered child-safe. If any part could break off and become a choking hazard, then it is not safe for your child or for your dog to be playing with that toy. Avoid strings, feathers, ribbons, or anything smaller than a ping-pong ball. Stay away from harmful fillings by looking for the tag that reads “safe for children under three.” 

While they may be natural, bones, rawhide chews, sticks, or any items with sharp parts or corners can puncture your dog’s mouth. Internal damage can happen if your dog accidentally swallows a broken piece. Tough items such as antlers and ice cubes can break your dog’s teeth.

If you decide to allow your dog to have any of these common or “found” toy types, please do so under close supervision. No one officially regulates the safety of dog toys. If you have any doubts, ask your vet before sharing the toy with your canine companion. Being aware of possible issues could protect your pup, save you from emergency room distress, not to mention high-cost medical bills.

Lead a Playful Pack

Who’s the boss? You are. Whether you’re casually tossing around a dog Kong toy or teaching your pup a new game, remember that you’re the pack leader. Set clear rules and boundaries. Treats, praise, snuggles, and toys are excellent rewards for when they do well.

With the hierarchy well established, this type of playtime will help when you’re teaching your dog at home. Consider it a warm-up for further training. 

Keep building on what comes naturally by actively playing with your pooch. Strengthen their physical and mental agility. Entice and entertain with toys that excite them. If your dog could speak like the dog Doug in the movie Up, they would likely tell you that a life filled with play is the best life. Or they’d say, “Squirrel!” Either way, you’d both be on your way to having more fun.