As a dog owner and former sales clerk at my local pet store, I’m accustomed to researching the latest toys for chewers, retrievers, and everything in between. It’s kind of second nature now. But of all the options out there, the ones that stand out in my mind are KONG dog toys. A KONG product was one of the first toys I remember buying for my Labrador retriever puppy about 14 years ago, and the brand remains a top contender for my family’s Great Dane today.
The real benefit of KONG toys is that they’re made to last a while. Not only did I notice this with my own dogs, but many customers I interacted with at the pet store shared the same sentiment — not once did I ever hear negative feedback from this line. And even if there were any complaints, KONG offers a 60-day guarantee, just in case. Another bonus is that many of KONG’s toys are dishwasher safe or can be tossed in the washing machine for easy cleanup. Durability, high engagement, and easy cleaning? You can’t ask for more from a dog toy than that.
KONG makes a number of different toys for activities that include tug, fetch, and chewing — all of which, in my experience, are difficult for dogs to destroy and can help keep them busy and promote mental stimulation. But the one toy that KONG is best known for is its KONG Classic. This is the toy that seemed to best address my Lab’s destructive chewing tendencies and kept him entertained whenever my family had to step out of the house. And trust me when I say, it was a godsend any time I didn’t have to come home to him rummaging through our trash bin for snacks.
With it’s snowman-like shape, the KONG Classic might look odd at first glance. It’s made with a natural rubber that feels sturdy and tough, and it’s designed with a hollow center. One huge benefit of the hollowed-out center is you can fill it with your dog’s preferred treats or KONG’s Easy Treat paste, which comes in a variety of flavors including liver and pepperoni. Our Lab is very food-motivated, which is probably why he enjoys licking out all the stuffing more than our finicky Great Dane. But both of my dogs were big chewers, and my KONG Classics have never shredded or came apart throughout all the years I’ve owned them. Our Dane mainly enjoys an erratic game of fetch this toy creates any time you throw it. Its odd shape makes the game unpredictable as it hits the floor and wobbles in different directions.
Below you’ll find five KONG toys that I — and other shoppers — have tested and loved over the years.
1. The Fan-Favorite KONG Classic Toy
As previously mentioned, this is the dog toy that initiated my love for the KONG brand. It has a tough rubber exterior to stand up to prolonged chewing yet is soft enough to bounce around in a game of fetch. I’ll admit that the first time I tried filling it with the KONG treat paste, things got a little messy — but it’s totally worth it if you have a designated area (like a crate or outdoor environment) you’re willing to let get a little dirty. Even if you don’t, this toy is totally customizable in that you can substitute the paste with kibble, peanut butter, or treats. (Fun tip: The KONG website also has a ton of DIY recipes you can try out for free.)
The toy is dishwasher safe and can be placed in the freezer if you want to cool off your pup in warm weather. The KONG Classic is made for average chewers and comes in six sizes, but you can also check out KONG’s Extreme version of the toy designed for more heavyweight chewers as well as softer ones for teething puppies and seniors.
This toy is also a favorite of Bustle editor Wesley Salazar. She writes: “I’m always looking for good, durable toys for my foster dogs to try, but I always end up returning to my reliable KONG Classic toy.” Salazar adds that she’s only had one fall apart, and it was one that had lots of mileage on it by the time it was handed down to her. “Just one has shown significant wear and tear after years of fostering all kinds of dogs,” she explains. “That’s a pretty good track record.” Salazar also keeps the more heavy-duty version of the toy, the KONG Extreme, on hand for fosters who are super chewers. She’s only ever had to purchase one of those so far.
2. A KONG Toy For Puppies
If you have a teething puppy on your hands, you’re going to want to check out this KONG binkie toy. It’s made with gentler rubber than the KONG Classic which is softer on your puppy’s sensitive gums and teeth. With its stuff-able hollow center and chewable shape, it’s a great option for keeping pups occupied. Plus, the ring on top makes it easy for your puppy to grip and carry it around.
My family purchased this toy when our Great Dane was a puppy, and it helped redirect her attention away from unwanted behaviors, like chewing up our family’s shoes. While she wasn’t a fan of hunting for treats with this toy, she did enjoy tossing it around the yard and spending countless hours gnawing away at the rubber. Two years later, it’s still one of her favorite toys, and the exterior shows no signs of wear or tear.
- Available sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large
3. A Durable KONG Tire Toy For Power Chewers
My Lab could chew through dog toys like nobody’s business, but not this KONG tire toy for power chewers. My family often tossed it at the park as an alternative to tennis balls, and when our pups are bored at home, they would seek out this toy and toss it around themselves. But there are other ways you can use this toy besides fetch — the rim around the inner part of the tire can be filled with treats or KONG paste to stimulate your dog’s senses, and some reviewers have noted that the toy makes for a great game of tug. It lasted years in my household and endured tons of heavy chewing from both my Lab and Dane before it was misplaced. It’s a great option if you’re looking for something durable and ring shaped, and it comes in two sizes as well as in a version for puppies.
- Available sizes: Small, Medium/Large
4. This Nylon KONG Toy That’s Made For Tugging
Who doesn’t like a good game of tug? The Wubba toy is ideal for sessions of tug or fetch (not to mention a fantastic solution if you’re looking for a toy without stuffing). It features a durable nylon design that encases two balls at the top, including one that squeaks, and tentacles at the bottom. My Lab enjoyed chewing on the tennis ball portion and trying to rip out the squeaker (though he never did). On the other hand, my Dane liked to ruffle through the tentacles and carry it around the house with her to snuggle with. Many Amazon reviewers have noted that it accommodates aggressive chewers and lasts longer than most plush options out there. One customer wrote, “My two dogs are power chewers. Stuffed animals last maybe 5 minutes. This is still hanging on even after a few weeks!” Choose from three different sizes for large breeds or this fun character version for smaller breeds.
- Available sizes: Small, Large, X-Large
5. These KONG Tennis Balls With Squeakers
These KONG tennis balls were a hot commodity at the pet shop. Customers with water dogs (such as retrievers and spaniels) typically liked that they were affordable and lightweight enough to float. They are made with a non-abrasive felt that’s soft on teeth and contain a squeaker to pique your dog’s interest even further. While these toys are great for active dogs that like to play fetch during supervised play, they’re not something you want to leave with your pet unattended, as reviewers have noted that they can be destroyed by dogs who love to chew. One shopper wrote, “Felt comes off easily, but great bounce and squeak!” Still, it’s a great value for the price and worth adding to your collection if you’re looking to release your pup’s energy in a fun game of fetch.