Best kong toys for large dogs review

November 3, 2022
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What to keep your dog busy? Kong Toy

 

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If you could choose just one toy for your dog, it would undoubtedly be Kong – a rubber pyramid of three rings, hollow inside.

There are three levels of difficulty:

  • red – the traditional one for beginners,
  • black, for those who like to chew,
  • Blue is extra hard.

There are also special soft congas for large breed puppies (pink, blue) and older dogs (purple).

Most DANGEROUS Dog Toy?!  How you SHOULD NEVER use a kong, seriously!


Kongs also vary in size.

 

Best kong toys for large dogs review

 

It is very important to find the right size and level of stiffness for your dog. For a dog over a year old, you should start with a red conga of the appropriate size.There are also a number of other brands that differ in shape, stiffness and size. For example, West Paw Zogoflex Toys, Squirrel Dude. Pay attention to the fact that the toy had 2 holes or one large one – so that the dog’s tongue does not get stuck. Some owners stuff thick raw tubular bones, however, this can be traumatic to a dog’s teeth.

 

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The story of the conga is a success story

 

Best kong toys for large dogs

 

Joe Markham noticed that his three-year-old German Shepherd dog, Fritz, had grown fond of chewing on rocks and his teeth were severely abraded. Markham bought him different toys, but the dog would almost immediately tear them to pieces.

One day while Markham was fiddling with his Volkswagen bus, Fritz brought him a suspension part and threw it at his feet. The part had a metal brace and a rubber gizmo that looked almost exactly like modern congas. This incident inspired Joe to make toys. He found a rubber goods company that made a prototype conga in 1973.

 

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The road to pet store shelves was long and thorny. The first successful deal wasn’t until 1976. But even then things didn’t go smoothly. Dog owners did not immediately appreciate the new toy and pet stores were not interested in such a product.

But Markham didn’t give up; he had his dog’s example in front of him and positive feedback from friends and family. Even the Denver police reported that the dogs liked the new toy.

So Markham decided to make a television commercial, mentioning that the conga was available at local pet stores. This campaign cost him $3,000 for 15 or 20 late-night spots. Joe notified several pet stores, but only one agreed to take a few congas to try out.

 

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When the ads ran, people started asking for the toys at the stores. Only then did other retailers become interested in the new product.

It wasn’t until 1983 that Markham stopped working at the Yamaha motorcycle store and devoted himself entirely to making dog toys.

Why does everyone love the Kong?

The Kong is an extremely durable toy. That means it can be moved from the microwave to the freezer, and once your dog has handled it, into the dishwasher without damage.

Kong and other similar puzzle toys are an enrichment medium. They provide animals with the mental exercise, chewing and food retrieval needs they need. It’s an easy way to diversify your dog’s life and keep him occupied for a while.

 

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The benefits of a conga are:

  • Relieving stress and boredom. It’s an easy way to keep your dog occupied and entertained for a while while you’re Facebooking, there’s a thunderstorm outside, or guests have arrived;
  • it’s great for slowing down dogs who eat food out of the bowl too quickly;
  • alleviating separation anxiety – include kong in your dog’s separation anxiety behavior modification program, it will help keep your apartment and belongings intact, neighbors nice, and keep your dog busy while you’re gone;
  • kong provides the dog’s need to chew, table legs and your favorite shoes will stay intact;
  • Kong provides mental stimulation and a dog’s need to get food;
  • chewing cong strengthens teeth and gums
  • increases a dog’s persistence and concentration;
  • promotes coordination and forelegs work;
  • an easy way to dispose of leftovers and some food from the table;
  • an easy way to get a dog accustomed to the cage;
  • helps occupy a dog with arthritis or in a post-operative period when you need to limit his mobility.

What can you do with a cong?

 

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  • Freeze . Any moist or sticky food container can be frozen in congee to extend the time in which the dog will disgorge it. You can even keep one or two prepared congas in the freezer in case guests come over unexpectedly or other times when you need to keep your dog occupied. A frozen conga is especially welcome in the heat of summer.
  • Cook it in the microwave . Mix the cheese with some dry treats and heat in the microwave until the cheese is melted. Allow the congee to cool before giving it to your dog. The tangy, flavorful cheese is sure to be appreciated.
  • Hang it from a tree . Thread a rope through the conga and tie a knot at the small end of the conga. Flip it over with the big hole up and fill it with treats. Throw the other end of the rope up into the tree and secure it so the dog can easily reach the conga, but would have to jump to dislodge the food. This is especially good for dogs who tend to chew the conga itself along with the stuffing.
  • Finding Games . Stuff one or more congas and hide them around the house or yard. Teach your dog to look for the cong on command.
  • Distract from unpleasant manipulation . Fill congas with peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese that your dog will enjoy and be drawn to while you trim his claws or do other hygiene procedures. For example, a haircut:

 

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Basic Rules

  • If you haven’t given your dog any product before – use common sense, start with small amounts to make sure your dog tolerates it well.
  • To keep your dog interested in congee, it’s best to use foods that your dog loves but doesn’t get every day for breakfast and dinner for stuffing. Also, it is best to alternate them and use them in different combinations. If you go out and leave your dog alone for a long time – he will relate your leaving not with something bad, but with the expectation of a new taste of congee. Regular use of soaked dry food (as it most often is) as the main or only filler will quickly bore your dog, and he may find himself entertained, which may frustrate you when you get home.
  • Don’t worry about exotic combinations – your dog’s taste palette is completely different than yours and he’s sure to love it.
  • If you’re not happy with the stains and dirt your dog leaves behind trying to get to the tastiest things in the congee, train him to eat in one place or cage. You need to evaluate the amount of food you give your dog in the conga to subtract it from the daily ration to avoid excess calories. Sometimes you can substitute stuffed conga food entirely, especially if the dog is left alone for long periods of time. Don’t forget after your dog has stopped chewing congas to see how much food is left in them.
  • Wash the kong regularly to avoid spoiling the food. To clean the inside of the kong, use a bottle cleaner or place it on the top shelf of the dishwasher, pre-rinsing it and removing any available food residue.
  • Make sure each dog in the house has a cong (and preferably more than one:)).

Stuffing the cong.

  • Gather all the toys you want to stuff. It’s best to have several congas or other stuffing toys at once.
  • Gather all the ingredients you need. The dry and hard ingredients need to be shredded so that they fit through the large conga hole. A pastry bag or ziploc bag with the tip cut off is handy for the wet stuffing component. For convenience and stability, place the conga in the cup with the large opening facing up and start filling. The cup will hold the toy in place while you put the filling in.
  • To keep liquid ingredients from leaking out the other end of the cong – start with soaked dry food, canned dog food or a spoonful of peanut paste, which will block the exit and hold the rest of the filling inside
  • Most often the stuffing is stacked in layers, alternating between solid and wet ingredients. The last layer should be a wet one. This stuffing pattern increases the dog’s interest in picking further to see what’s inside. Or you can mix all the ingredients and fill the congee.
  • If necessary, place the cong in the freezer.
  • Take out the frozen cong when you need it. Unexpected guests, an interesting show, a night out at a restaurant, or the need to put your dog in a cage – cong will save the day.

Ingredients

For dogs who are on a natural diet (pet food, BARF or other form of it), cong is a great way to diversify their diet. Straight food usually contains more moisture, allowing you to freeze it to extend the treat.

Wet ingredients include moist canned dog food, yogurt, cottage cheese, peanut butter, low-fat cream cheese, pumpkin or apple puree, mashed banana, melted cheese, baby food, mashed cooked vegetables, raw ground meat or fish, meat broth, egg, cereal and mashed potatoes.

Peanut butter is the most popular component of congee filling. Its flavor and texture are very popular with dogs. When buying it, make sure it does not contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs.

There is also a special paste for filling congas with different flavors. Dogs usually love it and will do anything to get their hands on it.

 

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Solid ingredients: dry food, small treats (homemade or manufactured), sausage pieces, cooked meat, hard cheese, breads, jerky, raw fruits and vegetables, ice, frozen berries.

Dry food can be soaked or tossed dry, interspersing layers with wet ingredients.

What not to put in the congee

  • Foods toxic to dogs: onions, garlic, raisins, grapes, avocados, chocolate, macadamia, industrial products containing xylitol as a sweetener.
  • Very fatty and sugary foods.
  • Foods that cause your dog indigestion or excessive gas.
  • Other foods that are not recommended for dogs (boiled bones, smoked sausages, etc.).
  • Care should be taken with liver (too much vitamin A) and foods which can increase or decrease peristalsis (beets, bran).

 

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Recipes

Below are a few recipes recommended by other owners. But you can always make up your own or substitute an ingredient in a recipe if for one reason or another it does not fit.

Level 1 is for beginners:

  • bottom layer – dry food
  • layer 2: Cheerios chips
  • layer 3: slices of raw carrots
  • Layer 4: spoonful of peanut butter

When the dog licks off the peanut butter, the pieces will fall out like jackpot.

Level 2 – medium difficulty

  • bottom layer: unsalted cashews
  • layer 2: small pieces of hard cheese
  • layer 3: dry food and meat mixture
  • layer 4: dumplings

Fold the ingredients tighter to make the filling more difficult to remove. Put the congee in the microwave and heat for 15 seconds to melt the cheese. Before giving it to your dog – make sure the kong has cooled.

Level 3 – Advanced

  • bottom layer: piece of meat.
  • layer 2: pumpkin puree
  • layer 3: croutons
  • layer 4: spoonful of cream cheese

Stuff the ingredients very tightly. Then put the congas in the freezer for at least 3 hours. Frozen congas are a challenge for those who like it more complicated.

More recipe ideas at this link.

 

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Getting used to cong.

Some dogs quickly lose interest in congas at first, especially if the food inside is packed tightly. For them, you need to make the first attempts easy and successful.

Put a few pellets of dry food, pieces of cheese and an apple inside the conga and give it to your dog. She will be surprised to see the goodies coming out of the toy and will roll it around with her paws and muzzle and lick it, trying to get all the treats.

The next step is to spread peanut butter on the inside of the conga, fill it with treats and shake it to make the pieces stick to the conga walls. It will take some skill to get the food out of the toy.

Next, you can stuff the conga in layers, alternating solid and liquid ingredients and give it to your dog without freezing. As soon as the dog licks off the top soft layer, bits of solid food will fall out. This will stimulate his interest and he will lick and chew the congee with great enthusiasm. After a while she’ll get a second jackpot and so on several times.

Don’t leave your dog alone with the conga for the first time. You need to make sure that the size is right and the dog cannot swallow the toy or part of it.

Interestingly, different dogs use different ways to get the stuffing out of the Kong. Some dogs like to chew on the Kong by wrapping their paws around it,

while others try to lick it by holding it with their paws or chasing it all over the apartment.

Unfortunately, there are some dogs who quickly lose interest in the conga. These include non-food dogs (i.e., dogs that don’t consider food storage container to be such a significant reward that it’s worth trying for) and dogs that give up quickly (in which case there is still a chance of success if you gradually increase the difficulty and praise the dog for its success in getting the treat).

Levels of difficulty

The level of difficulty should be adjusted according to your dog’s experience. If you make it too easy, your dog will be done with the cong in minutes, if it’s too difficult, your dog will get frustrated, give up and lose interest. A simple level is not a tightly packed cong, where individual pieces of treat can fall out. The more complex ones are larger pieces that are difficult to get.

 

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When the dog becomes an expert at digging out the toppings – you can introduce complications by freezing the congee. This will significantly lengthen the period in which the dog will dispense with the toy. To begin with you can half-fill the cong, freeze it and then add the rest of the ingredients – this way the filling will not freeze into one piece and it will be easier for the dog to get the dainty.

For particularly talented rodents, use dog cookies that are slightly larger than the hole in the congee. To shove it in, place the cone on a table and press down with your hand – the hole will widen slightly. The cookie will get stuck inside and it will take longer for your dog to get it in pieces.

If you need to leave your dog alone for a long time

For dogs who are left alone all day, consider transferring the day’s rations to congas that can be hidden throughout the apartment. But don’t forget to leave fresh water for the dog.

You can make it harder by hiding the congas in a box of crumpled newspapers or in several boxes at once. Some mess in the apartment will be ensured.

There’s even a special machine that gives the dog congas on a timer!

Get him used to the cage

Cage training with a conga isn’t that difficult. Leave the cage open and put the conga in the far corner. The dog will be fascinated by the toy and have an interesting time in the cage. If he picks it up in his teeth and thinks about running away, don’t close the door, this may scare the dog and create a negative association. In this situation, you can start not with the conga, but with small pieces of treats that you will throw in the far corner of the cage, and the dog will have to come in and eat them there.

You can read more about this at this link.

Interestingly, Kongs are not only used for dogs, but also for wild animals in zoos.

 

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Kong also makes a number of other toys that can be filled with treats, but that’s for another time.

Shanna Derrick About Author

Author of dog food articles with a deep understanding of healthy dog nutrition.

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