Happy Weekend, People! Oh, glorious, glorious weekend. With our current weather and it being Friday, I feel like I’m in a fantastical dream. And to make things weirder, I give you this:
“This old man, he played one,
He played knick-knack on my thumb.
With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.”
Yes. Yes, I did just type that. So, I looked around our house the other day, and noticed just how many dog toys we’ve collected in the seven months we’ve had this ham:
Hoo Boy. That face makes me pretty dang happy.
Anyway, Jones isn’t just a cute little face. He’s also a crazy powerful chewer, so we’ve kept his treat shelf pretty well-stocked with bones, toys and treat puzzles. And in the process, we’ve not only spent a small fortune, we’ve also learned which toys/treats/bones are worth the pennies and which are a total waste of time/money. Since I learned the hard way, I figured I’d share some of my knowledge with you and be the hero. You know, just giving back. Also, BTW, I’m not getting paid for this and I probably should be, so hey there, KONG, Leerburg and JW Pet Toys. **wink, wink**
This is kind of a long post, click “more” to read the rest!
So, maybe you’ve heard of the KONG toys? They’re made of a hard rubber, shaped like a beehive, and they are hollow inside so you can stuff them full of treats. To make it more challenging, you can cram it full of food and then freeze it. I mention them first, because they are by far the cheapest and strongest of anything I’m going to list here. See how I get right to the point for you? I’m a giver like that! HA!
It’s a little used, but you get the gist. There are two holes, a little one at the top, a larger one at the bottom. This is the Extreme Kong for powerful chewers. Here is what I’ve tried so far:
- frozen apple slices
- organic canned pumpkin
- low-sodium chicken broth
- frozen blueberries
- treats and kibble
- organic sugar-free peanut butter
- cheese cubes
- canned wild salmon
How to stuff it: put a baby carrot, a dab of peanut butter or canned pumpkin in the small hole to block the flow of liquid. If using PB or pumpkin and you want to add a liquid, put the KONG in the freezer before adding the other goodies. Once the plug is hard, add the small bits of food and liquid before putting back in the freezer. I have multiple KONGS (we got a puppy one when Jones was little) and I make them both to freeze overnight. Jones LOVES LOVES LOVES these. He watches me make them, all cute and excited and then he’s bummed when he sees the freezer door open.
KONG makes what they call a MARATHON treat toy, which Jones also loved, but we didn’t take it away soon enough one day and he destroyed the opening that the treat fits into, and then he just wanted to work on the rubber. But I’d recommend them for puppies who are powerful chewers or just regular intensity chewing dogs.
And then they make a Genius puzzle dealy that fits into each other. We just have one, and I stuff a strip of t-shirt inside filled with small treats. Again, Jones loves this doodad too. He has chewed the thinner lip off around the top though…
Stock pictures taken from the KONG website, click here to access it.
OK, so the only other treat toy that’s lasted this long is this pickle:
Photo from Leerburg’s website here.
Jones really likes this toy, but he whines in frustration when he’s working on it because the slots are so narrow that the treats get stuck pretty well in there and they’re hard to get out. But it keeps him busy for a long time, and that’s kind of the point.
So, two toys that lasted a while but didn’t make the cut are these do-dads from JW Pets:
Stock photos from the JW Pet website, click here.
Once Jones realized he could do it, he tore these into shreds. The rubber isn’t very hard. But for a less intense chewer, they’d probably work wonders. The ball is super cool, because you can put treats inside and there are two small holes that they fall out of as the dog rolls the ball around. I stuffed strips of t-shirt in the red hol-ee ball with treats tucked inside them. So much fun for the dog. Spoiled little mutt 😀
Alright, so those are the basics. In an effort to save some time here’s a quick list of other toys/bones that keep Jones from destroying our leather couch, Bessie.
- bully sticks –> yes, it’s gross to think about what they are (sorry, Jenn!) but they last Mr. Strongjaw a good hour, they are full of protein, they eventually break down in the belly and JONES.FREAKING.LOVES.THEM. Like a pothead loves brownies, no kidding. Only problem is, he’s got a sensitive tummy, and he can only have like, one a week. Which is OK, because they’re expensive as hell. Costco has them right now 12 for $25-ish, and that’s the best price I’ve found.
- antlers –> usually from elk, and cut down to a reasonable size. Also super expensive, and Costco is also carrying these in a one pound package for $39.99. These are super long lasting, but the ones from Costco are cut with the bone marrow exposed, so they don’t last as long as solid ones. That being said, Jones has had one a month now (admittedly, he’s not nearly as interested in it since he chewed all the marrow off).
- KONG tennis balls –> he chewed the yellow fabric off the outside, but the inner rubber ball has entertained him for a while now. And he generally doesn’t like balls…
- a length of hose cut to a reasonable size for tug-of-war (yes, the standard, garden hose – and yes, we learned this the hard way).
I think that covers it. Let me know if you have any long-lasting chew toys that we can try. I’m always on the hunt for ways to keep Mr. Always-Full-Of-Energy busy, and chewing is kind of his thing.
OH! And if you know Mr. KONG, Señor Leerburg or Sista JW Pet, let them know they owe me one! Hehehe