Wednesday, March 28, 2018

5 Reasons We Love the KONG Classic

Barley and Rye have done a lot of training, so there are a lot of words that they're familiar with, but there are three words that Barley knows with certainty: Popcorn, Cosmo (her first and favorite toy), and Kong. When our friends at emailed us to see if we'd be willing to review the KONG Classic dog toy, I knew there was nothing Barley would like more.

Rye thinks she might know the word Kong, too.

Chewy sent us a trio of KONGs so we'd have one for spare and Barley thought that was pretty well.

We chose the large size because that's the size that's appropriate for Barley and other 30-65 pound dogs because KONG recommends that in multiple dog households you choose the KONG "for the largest and/or toughest chewer in the house." We do have a few of the medium KONG Extreme toys around the house because they're for 15-35 pound dogs that are heavy chewers, which is Rye's size range, but when I tell Barley to get her KONG, she always goes for the large classic red ones.

Barley loves her KONG because it gets stuffed with snacks, but there are several reasons that I love her KONG, too: they slow down feeding, they keep the dogs busy for a long time, they're durable, and they're easy to clean.

Barley is a chow hound and vacuums up food as soon as I release her to eat her dinner. I'm pretty sure she doesn't even taste it. Sometimes we use puzzle toys for meals, and the KONG wobbler is one our favorites, but every now and then the girls get wet food and puzzle feeders aren't the best for wet food--but the both dogs will grab their wet food in one mouthful and swallow it without chewing! The KONG Classic is perfect for slowing them down with wet food. I put a little piece of kibble or a treat in to block the little hole at the small end of the KONG to keep the wet food from dripping out and then it's easy to spoon in the wet food and top it with a little more kibble if we want to. 

Barley eats 2/3 cups of kibble at each meal and the large KONG Classic is a little too small to hold all of that if we're just feeding kibble, so it's not necessarily a replacement for a slow feeder, but it's definitely useful for slowing the girls down when they have wet food added to their meals.

My very favorite thing about the KONG Classic, though, is that it can keep the girls busy for a long time. The KONG can be filled with wet food, kibble, treats, peanut butter, spray cheese, or anything edible and safe for dogs. For quick snacks, I put a spoonful of peanut butter inside, but when I need the girls to be occupied for a while, I'll put in a spoonful of yogurt--maybe a couple baby carrots or a couple treats--and stick the KONG in the freezer for a few hours. If I've got canned pumpkin on hand, I might put spoonful of that in, too. The girls LOVE their frozen KONGs and they'll work on them for at least 30 minutes. After years of trying, I haven't found anything that occupies them as long as a frozen KONG does.

Barley can hardly wait to dive in when I pull the KONGs out of the freezer. KONG has a whole page of recipes you can use for stuffing KONGs and they make special treats you can buy, too, so there are plenty of ways to make sure your dog is as excited as Barley is when you stuff their KONG with their favorite flavors.

(Rye is still learning that I am not going to hold a KONG for her until she's finished.)

The KONGs are also really durable. Rye is a power chewer and she destroys just about everything she touches (she can even puncture an unopened can of cat food). KONGs are made with all-natural rubber that's made in the USA and Rye has yet to destroy either her medium KONG Extreme or the large KONG classic. I got Barley's first KONG shortly after I brought her home over 7 years ago and I just threw it out and got her a new one for her birthday in January this year. 

The KONGs are also easy to clean. While KONG recommends handwashing in warm water, KONGs are top-rack dishwasher safe. The dishwasher is definitely the easiest way to wash them, but I've found that it does seem to shorten the life of the KONG a little bit. The KONG of Barley's that I threw out earlier this year got a little soft around the opening and stuck to the rack in the dishwasher a bit after several washes. I didn't have a dishwasher for the first several years we had it, though, and it were still easy to wash! Usually, I filled the sink with warm water and a little vinegar and let the KONG soak for a few minutes. Then I'd refill the sink with warm, soapy water and get out one of the free tooth brushes from the dentist's office and scrub out the inside and the crevices on the outside. 

I've seen lots of other dogs that will also play fetch with KONGS. The rubber makes them bounce unpredictably, which makes fetch extra fun. Neither of my girls is interested in playing with the KONG that way, but there are so many uses for KONGs that we can't recommend them highly enough! Between Barley's love of the snacks that she finds inside and my love of how they keep the dogs busy without adding a lot of extra work to my life, we have no complaints about the KONG Classic. 

Disclaimer: provided us with a trio of KONG Classic toys in exchange for our honest review as part of the #ChewyInfluencer program.


  1. Had to laugh as your post sounded just like ours at first with the 5 reasons. We love our classic Kong's too! Enjoy.

    1. Haha! I didn't even see your post until this morning. Kongs are great, aren't they?

  2. Us too! We stick to the black Kongs, as our dear departed Pica and our boisterous Obi were/are mega-chewers. It took Pica three full years to deconstruct a black Kong, and considering her cattle dog jaws, we were pleased it lasted that long (Habi is a milder chewer, so she gets our one Classic Red).

    Our current game is "Kong Alert!" - a variation of nosework. Having permanently lost two Kongs into black holes, we finally wised up and put Obi in charge of keeping track of them. When we say "Kong Alert", it's his job to find it/them and show us where they are. Great fun for all!

    Chris from Boise

    1. Barley finds her Kong on command, too! Rye follows Barley around when she's looking for them, but she won't pick one up, so I've been trying to get Barley to bring me two--but once she's got one, she doesn't see the point of working any more! She just wants her peanut butter immediately after finding the first one.

  3. Our dogs love Kongs, but we have to buy the black ones. They are not stuffed though, they just like to play with them.

    1. I love seeing dogs play with empty Kongs. Barley only plays with stuffed toys, so she only wants her Kong if it's going to have something inside. Rye loves to chase balls, though, so I'm not sure why she doesn't enjoy playing with her Kong the same way!

  4. My guys love their Kongs. At one time we had four, but I threw one out because it got sticky.

    I put pineapple in them, and cover the top with apple sauce. Delilah more so than Sampson really looks forward to this, and you are right, it does keep them busy.

    1. I'm too stingy with pineapple to share! I bet Barley and Rye would love it, though :) Barley's gotten apple sauce on occasion, but I go through phases where I love apple sauce and have it on hand all the time and other times where I don't want anything to do with it. I don't think I've been through the loving it phase while I've had Rye, though, so it might be time to add some of that in to spice up our frozen treats :)