Updated Jul 11, 2022 10:29 AM
The best advice for any pet parent may just be that “a tired dog is a well-behaved dog.” Our pups love play and stimulation and, just like us, they start to go stir-crazy if their minds and bodies aren’t active. Luckily, pet owners have a vast assortment of rubber dog toys, among other types, to choose from to help keep their pup chasing, chewing, tugging, alert, and thinking throughout the day. The KONG line in particular offers an array of thoughtfully developed interactive dog toys. Below, we’ve rounded up a few of the best KONG dog toys for your dog-friendly household.
These are the most important factors to consider when purchasing KONG dog chew toys
In our search for the best KONG dog toys, we sought high-quality, durable products. New dog owners may be tempted to pick up any cheap dog toys for their pet, but seasoned owners know that quality is important in any kind of pet gear. When your fluffy pal’s hunting instinct kicks in, they’ll rip squeaky stuffed animals to shreds. And when they’re actually itching for some mental stimulation, they might methodically tear a plastic chew toy into a hundred tiny pieces out of boredom or frustration.
The KONG company, which has been around for over 40 years, is a prominent brand in the pet world. KONG is famous for its line of enduring dog toys and perhaps best known for its dog puzzle toys. The classic KONG toy is a hollow, snowman-shaped sphere of heavy plastic with a small hole in the bottom, designed to be filled with peanut butter or treats so your dog can spend time carefully working to get the good stuff out. It’s fun to watch a pup plug away, chewing and tossing the KONG around, or even batting at it with their paws.
However, the KONG brand extends far beyond the classic dog chew toys. The company boasts many other types of toys, including rubber dog toys, plush dog toys, antler chew treat toys, rope knots, and much more. With so many to choose from, we narrowed down five of our favorites for you and your favorite fido.
Interactive dog toys for much-needed mental stimulation
Dogs can feel anxiety and boredom just like humans do and, much like humans, these feelings can lead to depression. Interactive dog toys help to prevent those negative feelings because they require your dog to participate in play, even if they’re playing alone. When your dog spends time working on a puzzle and is subsequently rewarded when it doles out a dog treat, they get the thrill of accomplishment. That’s why the overall best choice when purchasing a dog toy is an interactive puzzle toy that keeps your pup busy while also providing a tasty reward at the end of the play session.
Best overall: KONG Classic
The KONG Classic is well-known amongst dog owners. Dogs love working to get treats out of the hollow rubber toy, and they’re unlikely to give up before they complete the task. The snowman-shaped toy bounces unpredictably, making it an enjoyable challenge to both catch and fetch. This durable toy is made from a thick rubber that is dishwasher safe, and there is a size perfect for every dog.
Give growing pups something safe to chew
The most important thing to consider when shopping for dog toys is safety. The KONG company website offers different strengths of rubber for different stages in your dog’s life. For example, the puppy stage is the prime time for chewing. A puppy may destroy anything it can get its little jaws or paws on, including your shoes, books, the deed to your home, all of your cash, the walls—really, anything. They aren’t behaving badly for no reason; they’re simply trying to soothe the pain of their sore, teething gums while developing their jaw strength. If your furry friend has started tearing your house to shreds, a KONG chew toy made especially for puppies can help put their chewing habits to appropriate use.
Best for puppies: KONG Puppy Activity Ball
The KONG Puppy Activity Ball is a fun dog toy for pups under nine months old. It’s made of soft rubber so their little jaws and teeth are strong enough to give it a good chew. Use the light bouncy ball for a game of fetch, or fill it with treats or peanut butter so your dog can chew and puzzle through it. The bigger the treat, the more difficult it is to extract, so if younger puppies have a hard time solving this one, break up the treats into smaller pieces and let them enjoy the reward. If your over-achieving dog figures it out too quickly, try sticking it in the freezer for a few hours to make the game more challenging.
Super-strength rubber dog toys survive even the toughest chompers
Softer rubber is best for puppies and seniors, while harder rubber is best for full-grown dogs who are strong enough to rip softer pieces apart that could create a choking hazard. Similarly, the size of the toy matters—a Great Dane’s favorite KONG ball would give a dachshund a lot of trouble. Find toys that are appropriate sizes for your pup to maximize their use. That said, bigger, full-grown dogs who have sharp teeth and powerful jaws will need a tougher product made of sturdy materials. Even KONG admits that there’s no such thing as an indestructible dog toy, but the brand’s Extreme toy line is made from an exceptionally durable rubber that withstands more than most other toys. Many of the best KONG dog toys are made with Extreme rubber, including the Classic toy, KONG frisbees, Goodie Bones, and more. They’re light enough for play, but also made with prolonged chewing in mind.
Best for aggressive chewers: KONG Extreme Ball
Durability is the word when you give your pup KONG’s Extreme Ball. This toy, made from puncture-resistant rubber for your dog’s safety, is the perfect choice for power-chewers. Unlike the Classic or Activity Ball designs, the KONG ball isn’t completely hollow, but it does have a hole that’s big enough for a treat or dental stick, so your dog can benefit from mental stimulation as well as serious chew time. The Extreme Ball is also great for playing fetch, so your dog can get some sprints in to stay fit and healthy.
Rope knots for solo fun or playing tug of war with a pal
Dogs love different kinds of play, so it’s great to have a mix of different functioning toys. KONG balls and KONG frisbees are great for catch and fetch, while chew toys and stuffed animals are nice for when they want to relax and chew. Having a small armory of dog toys ensures your pet has something fun for every mood, and that includes rope toys.
Rope knots are by nature made from a thick, heavy material, and even though dogs can destroy almost anything, these toys are generally strong, long-lasting, and they are a great option for a dog chew toy. As an added bonus, rope knots are perfect for one of a dog’s favorite games: tug of war. There’s nothing cuter than a dog getting into a play bow stance and lightheartedly growling as you tug back and forth. KONG offers several rope knots and other dog toys similarly designed for one-on-one playtime.
Best for tug of war: KONG Wubba
The KONG Wubba is another popular toy amongst dog owners due to its tough nylon cover and fun flapping tails. The Wubba’s squeaker awakens a dog’s primal hunting instincts, and they’ll love the way the tails flap when they shake it in their mouths. The tails also make this dog toy ideal for tugging games with their humans. Reviewers who swear by the KONG Wubba say that this toy lasts years and years.
The best dog toy on a budget
While you’ll need to reach deeper into your pockets for certain KONG toys, many of them are reasonably wallet-friendly. If you’re in the market for an inexpensive KONG toy, your best bet is to look for one that will last and is safe for your dog without causing a risk of choking on ripped plastic. Cheaper KONG dog toys may not have the versatility of some more expensive products, but your dog-parent peace of mind is what matters most.
Best budget: KONG Goodie Bone
The Goodie Bone is a simple plastic dog bone made from KONG’s signature durable rubber. It comes in a variety of sizes, including puppy, small, medium, large, and extreme (prices vary according to size). The bone has slots at each end to fill with treats or peanut butter to keep your pup busy and active between chewing sessions. One reviewer says this bone can take a beating and that her purchase has lasted five years and counting.
Q: Are KONG toys indestructible?
Dog parents know that there’s no such thing as 100-percent indestructible. Anything that’s truly indestructible in a dog’s strong jaws (like, say, a brick) wouldn’t be safe for them to chew. However, KONG dog toys come in a spectrum of durability that includes puppy, senior, classic, and extreme, each made with rubber that is softer or more durable depending on the stage in a dog’s life. KONG toys have proven time and time again to be long-lasting and dependable.
Q: How do you use KONG dog toys?
The interactive dog puzzle toys are simple to use. While you can simply fill the KONG with peanut butter or a regular dog treat, KONG offers a line of stuffing dog treats that are specially made for their toys. This line includes treats of specific sizes and shapes designed to challenge puzzle-solvers, as well as cans of treat-filling similar to Cheez Whiz (but in flavors like liver and pepperoni). Stuff the KONG with these custom-made tasty treats or fill it with peanut butter, then let your pup have at it!
Q: Is the toy good for dogs?
The answer to this question is an enthusiastic yes! KONG dog toys are excellent for dogs. As mentioned, they come in a spectrum of durable shapes, sizes, and materials to accommodate dogs of different ages and strengths. There are many variations to their toys, so whether your dog prefers to play tug of war, fetch, or solve a puzzle, there’s something fun for every pup and canine parent. While many dog toys aren’t built to last, you’re likely to have the same KONG toy around for years. Plus, if you happen to have a cat, KONG has a line of feline toys, too.
We love our pups. They’re loyal, adorable, and playful, and they bring so much joy to our lives. The least we can do is return the favor and bring joy to theirs by giving them as much playtime as possible. Remember: The best KONG dog toys are perfect for wearing out your curious puppy and keeping your adult dog stimulated.