Product Review: Kongs
Kongs are the closest item dogs have to a baby pacifier. Similarly, when used at the right time, Kongs make for a much-needed soothing toy that'll help take a lot of pressure off of you, as they will help relax and mellow your dog's brain towards a nap.
There's a common misconception when it comes to Kongs, that I often experience firsthand when pet parents describe how they use theirs. The misconception with Kongs is that they act as a puzzle/mental enrichment outlet which may be right if you have an 8 or 9-week-old puppy, but past that age, Kong-like toys, or really any chewing and licking toys won't provide much of a mental challenge.
Why I recommend Kongs
The main reason I resort to and recommend using Kongs is that they can make a big difference, by helping your dog's stimulated brain go from feeling aroused, restless and excited to feeling mellow and relaxed through licking, gnawing and spending time getting each piece of food.
"A friend (of the creator Joe Markham) commented that the toy looked like an earplug for King Kong—hence its name." – Kong Company
When you should use it
The best time to bring out your dog's Kong for him or her to use is after you've done some fun physical, and above all mental enrichment activities! Taking your dog to new places and meeting new people and dogs also counts as engaging activities you can do with your dog, which should then be followed by a calming Kong session to help your dog relax from all of that excitement.
If the answer to the question "Is my dog feeling tired and mellow enough to take a nap now?" is yes, then it's the perfect time to bring out a stuffed and frozen Kong. If and when your dog isn't using it, your best bet is to put it back in the freezer (or in the sink to be washed), instead of leaving it out.
Making it so your dog's Kong comes out at the right time and when it's going to be used the most is key, to maintain that engaging association towards it.
What you should put inside the Kong
This purely depends on two things, your dog's diet (as recommended by your vet) and your dog's taste. There's no one size fits all solution when it comes to feeding or treats, and this applies to Kong. A general rule is that if your dog's diet allows for variety in flavours, you will not only be able to find what your dog likes inside his Kong the most but also keep him engaged if you're not always using the same food. Reach out to your vet today and have them recommend the right proteins and flavours so that you can start experimenting and finding out what your dog enjoys best. Freezing their Kong with the right food or treat is a win-win for you both!
✔️ Uses a little bit of energy remaining energy
✔️ Relaxes/soothes an overexcited/tired dog
✔️ Encourages time alone The best time to provide a puppy or dog with a frozen/stuffed kong is when they're tired from physically and mentally stimulating activities.
A Kong may provide a bit of a fun challenge to a very young puppy, but it won't do the job of a puzzle or snuffle mat or an even more mentally engaging activity you can do with your dog (this is a common misconception with most pet parents). And so Kongs are most useful when used to help your dog relax when he has little energy left, by licking, gnawing, and chewing on it.
Have a few stuffed and frozen in your freezer on rotation so you're never caught unprepared!
You can freeze your dog's kibble, apple or banana puree, and more (double check with your vet.).
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