I work at a pet supply store, and when people come in looking for recommendations for their dogs I tell them, “If you’re going to buy one thing today, this should be it.” If you own a Kong for your dog, you know how amazing they are. If you don’t, listen up! (And then go out and buy one.)
Kongs were originally designed as a toy to keep dogs busy, and boy do they work. They are oblong and hollow so you can stuff them with food or treats and keep your dog occupied for long periods of time. I give one to my dog when she goes into her kennel for the day, or when she is still hyper even after getting exercise and needs something to help her calm down. The Kong is especially good for this because for dogs, licking is self-soothing, like a child sucking their thumb.
As for filling the Kong, this is what I recommend: first, put a few pieces of your dog’s kibble in the Kong. Then, fill the rest with something spreadable: peanut butter works great, but you can also use cream cheese or canned dog food. The final part is key: put the Kong in the freezer. That way, it will take longer for your dog to work the food out of it and keep them occupied for a longer period of time. I recommend keeping 3-5 Kongs ready to go in your freezer. That way you can easily give one to your dog, clean it with a bottle brush when they are finished, run it through the dishwasher, and repeat.
Kongs are especially essential for puppy owners. The following situations are some great opportunities to give a Kong to your puppy (although they often apply to adult dogs as well):
- When they go into their kennel, either during the day when you are gone at work or just for some quiet time.
- When they are biting/chewing things that they are not supposed to (like people, clothing, furniture…you name it). Give them a Kong instead to keep them busy and show them what is appropriate for chewing!
- When they are absolutely crazy, even after getting the proper exercise and activity. This is a good way to get them to calm down; if needed, you can even put them in their kennel for some quiet time with the Kong in order to settle down.
- When you need to get something done and cannot supervise them. Again, confine them to their crate or another gated-off area and give them a Kong to keep them busy.
If you’ve read this far, I hope I have convinced you about how amazing and useful Kongs are. If you get one for your dog, hopefully you will agree. And trust me, your dog will thank you for it!