Here at Zigzag, we just love kong puppy toys. You’ve probably heard us mention them quite a bit and with good reason, Kongs are one of the original puppy brain training and puzzle toys.
In this article, we’re going to tell you all about why puppy kongs are king, We’ll cover:
- What a kong puppy toy is
- How to use a kong puppy toy or kong puppy paste
- Why you should give kong puppy toys to your puppy
- Why your puppy will love their kong puppy toy
- How long a kong puppy toy will last
If you want more information on enrichment, making mealtimes more fun for your puppy and boredom busters, then check out the Zigzag puppy training app. We also have a team of puppy coaches who can help advise you on what might be the best kong toy for your puppy.
What is a Kong puppy toy?
The Kong Company make various kong puppy toys. The original classic kong is a red rubber beehive-shaped toy that you stuff with food for your puppy to enjoy emptying. Fillings include delicious stuffings like kong puppy paste, peanut butter, or mashed sweet potato.
Kong puppy toys are different from regular ones as they have such a pedigree behind them and have years of experience in the industry. They build rugged, innovative toys that are both safe and made to last. Plus, your puppy will love them!
Why should my puppy use the Kong puppy toy?
There are quite a few good reasons to get your puppy hooked on kong puppy toys.
Kong puppy toys give your puppy something to chew on
Chewing is essential for puppies. But toys need to be safe not to break or chip their teeth and non-toxic in case they chew pieces off. Your puppy will bite and chew probably more than you ever realised, so have lots of chew toys such as puppy kong toys available for your puppy to take out that teething on.
Giving your puppy kong toys makes their day more fun
Anything you can do with your puppy to make the day more fun for them and challenge their brains is useful, right? Sometimes things don’t have to be fully educational. We’re allowed to just enjoy being with our puppies and giving them fun things to do, and puppy kong toys and kong puppy paste are great for this. Check out our favourite puppy brain games.
Stuffed kong toys help with boredom and keeps them entertained
Puppies are BUSY! They require a lot of stimulation and time, so if we can give them something to help them amuse themselves and give us a little break, who are we to complain? Although puppies sleep a lot, there will be times we can’t play tug, or do puppy training games with them, so stuffed Kong toys help bridge that gap, as well as helping to calm your puppy down. Try using the Kong puppy paste inside for a delicious treat.
Kong toys can help prevent separation anxiety
Teach your puppy that nice things happen when they’re on their own by using a stuffed Kong puppy toy or a Kong puppy quest toy, maybe with some kong puppy paste smeared on it. These kinds of enrichment puzzles build confidence and can help prevent separation anxiety in puppies. Separation related problems can be common in puppies left alone. After all, they’re not made to be on their own from a survival point of view, so any preventative work you can do to help with happy home alone time is beneficial. Kong puppy toys are great for this.
Side note: We have an entire home alone programme in our Zigzag puppy training app for you to work through.
Kong toys can help make mealtimes last longer
Does it feel like your puppy inhales food and barely stops for breath? Then giving them a stuffed puppy Kong toy is a great way to slow down mealtimes and their eating. Eating extremely fast can put your puppy at risk of bloat, so it’s worth keeping an eye on. If they empty the Kong toy quickly then try a different shape, like the Kong puppy tyre.
You can freeze puppy kong toys to help cool down hot dogs and soothe sore gums.
Yep that’s right, on a hot day, you can give your puppy a Kong popsicle. Simply stuff the Kong as usual with your filling of choice, and use something wet as a glue like the Kong puppy paste and then freeze. Frozen toys also help when your puppy is teething as the Kong toy gives a cooling sensation on hot and sore gums.
How long do Kong puppy toys last?
We get it. Puppies really know how to chew up and destroy everything. They can get through toys at a rate of knots, and no, they’re not cheap, are they?
You’ll be pleased to know that Kong puppy toys are surprisingly robust and many are dishwasher safe.
Stuffable kong toys (the beehive-shaped ones) come in different colours depending on how hard your dog chews – Black is the strongest and toughest rubber and is most suited for adult dogs, particularly bully and large or giant breeds. Red is the classic range that is suitable for all ages of dogs. The puppy range comes in blue and pink and is made of softer rubber for your puppy’s soft and wobbly teeth. Kong also makes a Senior Kong toy that is purple and softer for the oldies who may have fewer or more sensitive teeth.
How to introduce Kong toys to your puppy?
Make it easy from the beginning
When you first give a stuffed kong toy to your puppy, make it really easy by using something they can just lick out like kong stuffing paste or kong puppy treats that can fall out. If we make it too hard from the beginning, it can be really frustrating for our puppy, not enjoyable, and they can give up before they’ve even started.
Consider your puppy’s chewing style
Keep an eye on your puppy at first to see if that ‘strength’ of kong toy is right for them. It’s unlikely, but if they are pulling bits off the stuffed Kong, you may need to go up to the classic or Extreme Kong range or choose a different kind of Kong puppy toy, like the Kong Gyro.
Check the Kong regularly for cracks and splits
Replace your puppy’s kong toy when needed. As rubber ages and gets washed many times, it can start to break down a little, and your puppy might be able to pull chunks off. In this respect, Kong toys are pretty robust but do inspect them from time to time.
Go for larger puppy toys
Use a Kong puppy toy that is larger than you think you need! Puppies grow quickly and for safety reasons, it’s wise to always use a larger Kong toy than your puppy’s mouth. Don’t use a small puppy kong for a large dog, as the risk of swallowing the kong goes way up! Using a large Kong puppy toy also means you can stuff more food in there and have more surface area for products like the Kong stuffing paste, win win!
Vary up your fillings!
You can use all sorts of fillings in puppy Kong toys. Kong themselves make a product called kong stuffing paste which makes filling kongs or using it as a delicious glue to stick your puppy’s kibble very easy. However, you can also use peanut butter (ensure it is safe for dogs and doesn’t contain xylitol), mashed pumpkin or sweet potato, soft cheese and yoghurt. You can also fill with some of your pups daily kibble, just as a more entertaining way to eat.
Every puppy is different depending on what food they like and what food they can easily digest (check out our puppy nutrition guide for more info). If a food such as dairy upsets your puppy’s tummy, look at lactose-free versions. Dogs LOVE cheese, but some struggle with digesting dairy or lactose. Other dogs struggle with certain protein types like chicken so see what Kong stuffings suit your puppy.
For any queries on how to use puppy Kong toys, don’t forget we have a team of puppy coaches ready to answer all of your questions. We also have structured and fun training in our Zigzag puppy training app, why not download a free trial and give it a go?