Keeps puppies busy for extended time
Reinforces good chewing behavior
Gets slimy during use
Needs frequent cleaning
We purchased the KONG Dog Toy so our reviewer could put it to the test with her dog. Keep reading for our full product review.
KONG is a brand known for its rubber dog toys featuring a hollow cavity that allows owners to stuff all sorts of treats inside. The idea is that your pup then has to work to get the food out, keeping him or her occupied for at least a little while—and as puppy parents know, any quiet time is more than welcome!
The KONG toy line includes options for different dogs: the KONG Classic, KONG Extreme, KONG Puppy, and KONG Senior. To see if the toy lives up to the hype, I gave the KONG Puppy to my pup, Addy, a 7-month-old golden retriever. While Addy is sweet as can be, she’s going through a bit of a destructive phase, so I knew she would give the KONG a run for its money. Here’s what she and I thought of this popular chew toy.
Design: Simple and effective
The first time you see a KONG, you might think to yourself, “I don’t get it. What’s so special about that?” I have to admit that these toys don’t look like much. They’re made of rubber and have the silhouette of a snowman, as though there are three different sized “balls” stacked on top of each other. However, they’re made from one solid piece of rubber. The Kong Puppy comes in a few sizes (extra-small, small, medium, and large) to cater to different dogs—after all, a Great Dane puppy and a Chihuahua puppy need different-sized toys.
The key feature of these toys is the hollow inner cavity. There’s a small hole on the top, as well as a larger hole at the base, and the inner section is tapered along with the outer walls. The idea is that you can put all sorts of food inside them, and your pup will have to work to get it out. There are no bells, whistles, squeakers, or flavors in a KONG, but the design is perfect.
Entertainment Value: Delivers hours of puppy fun
Addy’s KONGs (yes, multiple) have been an essential part of her routine since the day she came home. If I ever needed to write an important email or wash the dishes, I could fill up a KONG with any number of treats, and it would keep Addy busy for at least 30 minutes—it was a total lifesaver on those days when she refused to nap for any length of time.
I also used the KONG as a part of Addy’s crate training. When I went to bed at night or left during the day, I would give Addy her KONG in her crate. This helped her settle down much faster, tired her out so she would nap, and helped her to create positive associations with the crate. Soon, whenever I reached for a KONG, she would go running into her crate with excitement because she loved it so much.
There are lots of different ways to stuff a KONG, and a few of my favorites include smearing some peanut butter along the inner walls with a knife, using a KONG-brand treat inside, or putting fruit and yogurt inside the cavity then freezing the whole thing to make it last longer. (If you want more ideas, KONG offers a whole section of dog-friendly recipes.) I love how versatile KONGs are—no matter what your dog likes, you can stuff it in the toy!
Safety: Monitor serious chewers
Another thing I love about the KONG Puppy is that it’s very safe for little pups. Its unique rubber construction is the perfect texture for teething puppies—soft enough that it feels nice to chew, but still durable enough that they can’t rip pieces off. I used the KONG all throughout Addy’s teething process and even once she had her adult teeth, and it’s still in one piece (unlike many of her other toys). I would regularly leave it with her in her crate, and I never had any worries.
As Addy got older, I upgraded from the KONG Puppy to a KONG Classic. She wasn’t ruining the Puppy model, but the Classic is more firm and provides more of a challenge for her. If you do stay with the KONG Puppy, you’ll want to monitor your pooch to make sure he or she is not ripping off pieces of the rubber.
Durability: As good as it gets
As mentioned above, Addy went through a bit of a destructive phase when she finished teething. All of a sudden, she had these big, strong teeth, and she discovered how fun it is to rip apart toys! Within a few weeks, she had shredded virtually all of her stuffed animals, as well as several toys that claimed to be designed for tough chewers. Turns out they weren’t as tough as they thought!
Still, the KONG Puppy made it through this phase unscathed. I regularly gave it to her when I was leaving to run errands, and it was always in one piece when I came home. Basically, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a toy more durable than a KONG!
Ease of Cleaning: Dishwasher safe
The only real downside of the KONG Puppy is that it gets pretty gross during use. The rubber surface gets coated with saliva, and if your dog pushes it around the floor, it will pick up all sorts of hair and dirt. I definitely didn’t enjoy picking it up after Addy was done with it.
The only real downside of the KONG Puppy is that it gets pretty gross during use.
On the same note, I found myself regularly cleaning out the interior of the KONG Puppy. Addy couldn’t quite reach the end of the opening, so peanut butter (and other contents) would build up there, forcing me to scrape it out with a knife then wash the interior with a bottle brush.
The brand recommends soaking the KONG in warm water to loosen up any leftover food, and you can also just toss the toy in the dishwasher if you want to sanitize it.
Price: You’ll want to buy two
Another amazing aspect of the KONG Puppy is that it’s really affordable. An extra-small KONG Puppy costs $6.50, while a large is $11.99. Given how expensive plush dog toys can be, this is an absolute steal for something that provides endless replay value and is extremely durable.
Competition: The best chew toy you’ll find
KONG Classic: Addy is the proud owner of several KONG toys, including a KONG Classic. The Classic model is the same shape and size as the KONG Puppy, but it’s red and made of harder rubber. She doesn’t have a preference of one over the other, but now that she’s getting older, she uses the Classic more because it’s harder for her to get the treats, keeping her busy for longer.
Nuts for Knots Ball: This woven ball is another popular puppy chew toy, and it’s one of Addy’s favorite options to drop in your lap when she wants to play. It’s great for playing fetch and surprisingly durable, but if given the choice between a peanut butter-filled KONG and the Nuts for Knots Ball, she’ll choose the KONG every time.
- Product Name Puppy Dog Toy
- Product Brand KONG
- MPN KP1
- Price $6.49
- Weight 6.2 oz.
- Color Blue or pink
- Warranty 60 days (satisfaction guaranteed)