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Review: Kong is King

In light of my experience with Orvis, I felt I should jot down a couple notes on the companies and products that have done wonderfully by my tenacious Evee.  In this post, I’d like to focus on the Kong company and a couple of the products they make that have made it into the Pet Toy Hall of Fame in this house.

Who is Kong? Kong is a company founded in 1976 with the purpose of providing strong rubber toys for pets.  They look funny at first, but these toys are the best for even the toughest of chewers.  The company has the slogan, “Your dog will love you for it,” and they aren’t kidding.  The Kong product line has grown from dogs to cats to other animals, including horses.  This review will focus on Evee’s three favorite toys: classic Kongs, tennis toys, and their new donut.

Classic Kong

Classic Kong

Classic Kong, Classic Look. I admit, when I first saw a “kong”, I was a bit taken aback.  It looked ugly to me.  I didn’t want my little princess having anything ugly.  But as I began to understand what the purpose of the Kong was and how much my poochie loved it, I grew fond of it as well.

The company points out on their website that no toy is indestructible and that there should always be supervision with animals and toys.  This is a good rule to follow, but I worry less with Kong than I do with any other brand.  I don’t know if she doesn’t want to or she can’t, but my Evee has yet to destroy a single Kong.  (EDIT: As I was finishing this post, Evee abruptly made mincemeat of her donut.  Aww!)

Dogs can just chew on their kong all day long, but what’s glorious about this toy is that you can stuff treats and pastes into it, and that’ll keep your dog really preoccupied!  As the dog turns and rolls the kong, or squeezes it with her teeth to push to treats out, or if she sticks her freakishly long tongue into the kong, she will be enjoying herself and getting treats at the end of the game.  I have become a bit imaginative in the way I stuff treats in so that the effort takes longer and longer — now, just tossing the kibble in will result in my Evee eating everything all too quickly.  If I stuff enough in a complicated way, she has enjoyment from anywhere to 20-40 minutes (enough to get a real workout in!).  My husband and I will often stuff several kongs with treats around the house before we leave for work, in order to counteract our pup’s boredom when we’re not there.  It’s a huge winner — we have several kongs of different varieties, including the stuff-a-ball.

Tennis balls, Kong court.

Air Kong Tennis Ball Squeaker

Air Kong Tennis Ball Squeaker

My dog is part Labrador retriever, though for the longest time I thought those genes were dormant inside of her.  It wasn’t like she’d catch the ball and then never give it back to us — she just wasn’t interested by a thrown ball.  In fact, when we take her to dog park, the best way to get her exercise is to find the dog that *does* retrieve — part grayhound, my Evee will just chase the other dog back and forth, paying no mind to the ball that’s leading the chase.  With some effort, I have awakened some of the retriever in her, but nothing has done it as well as the Air Dog Tennis Squeaker.

The first thing I really love about this kong toy is that they come in a size bigger than a standard tennis ball.  The standard size tennis ball freaks me out, because it seems just small enough to get stuck in my dog’s throat.  When choosing toys for your dog, it’s important you try to choose toys that are bigger than they can swallow.  I got a size that was easy for her to catch in her mouth, but I never had to worry about her swallowing it.

The next point I love is the squeaker.  Ahh, the squeaker.  Yes, my dog loves anything that squeaks.  It gets her attention and I’m happy for it.  However, the problem with squeakers is that Evee hones in on finding that coveted squeaker.  She will rip apart anything and everything to get to it (R.I.P Soggy the doggie Loofah, 40 minutes).  The quality of the work on this ball is done so well, however, that the best my dog can do is remove some of the yellow fuzz.  And there’s no internal squeaker to worry about getting swallowed — the whole thing is a squeaker.

This toy is truly the perfect tennis ball; if you have a dog that is part retriever, I would seriously consider getting one (or two or three).

Air Kong Donut

Air Kong Donut

Rocking and Rolling Donuts, Kong Style. I consider this toy to be the next evolution of the tennis ball. My dog loves donut-shaped toys… something about the way she can shove her whole snout into the hole while sinking her teeth into the toy must be pure heaven to her. The problem with donuts is that she destroys them. Well, here comes Kong with its take on the toy.

Made of the same material as their tennis toy, they are designed to be fetch toys with the same yellow fuzz.  It is a squeaker as well, so while it could be a fetch toy, for Evee, it’s been more of a chew toy.  It’s designed to have an erratic bounce so dogs can never quite predict what’s going to happen next.  For a true retriever, this toy can provide endless entertainment.  It also can float in the water, so I’m very excited to try it out at a dog water park sometime in the future.

One important note, though: this is the only kong toy that my Evee has managed to get into.  It’s the stitching — that evil stitching that she can sink her teeth into.  That said, when she had managed to tear off part of the tennis-ball like outer surface, we were very impressed to find durable kong rubber underneath.  My faith in the company had been shaken when I realized my dog had gotten through — only to be restored upon looking at her handiwork.  Sadly, as I write this, Evee has managed to find a weakness in the material, and in a matter of moments obliterated half the donut.  Still, I will not hesitate to buy her a new one… though I will be keeping an ear out for that indescribable ripping sound that happens when my pooch gets into a toy.

I’m really excited whenever I see new products from Kong.  I hope to be trying their Jump N Jack soon, as it looks like a ton of fun for the poochie.  They also have a cat line as well, but I don’t think I could ever hope to have  cat that would survive Evee’s hunting instincts.

You can check out the whole Kong line of products at their website, www.kongcompany.com.  Their products are carried in almost all the major chain pet stores likes Petco and Petsmart as well as local ones, like my favorite, Centinela Feed and Pet Supplies.

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