Why We Love Kong Toys For Our Labradors


Labradors love chew toys, and they are also very motivated by food.

0001-148128750As highly intelligent dogs, it’s important to keep them mentally stimulated.

And as adored members of the family it’s great to be able to offer them a treat that really appeals to them.

Kongs were invented in the 1970s,  and these excellent products have really stood the test of time.

Around the world, Labradors are kept busy and happy biting, chewing and eating from these fun and unique entertainers.

Where Do Kong Toys Come From?

According to Wikipedia,  the inventor of the Kong Joseph Markham spent around six years developing the product after noticing that his German Shepherd dog enjoyed chewing on the hard rubber of a Volkswagen suspension device.

His dedication certainly paid off.  Kong toys are now one of the  most popular dog toys in the world.

Let’s take a look at some of the great products Kong has available, and why we love Kong toys for our Labradors.

What Are Kong Toys?

The original Kong is a virtually indestructible chew toy.

Kong toy for labradorThis classic red hollow chew toy is designed so that the average dog won’t be able to tear off little bits of rubber and swallow them.

So it is quite safe to leave him alone with his Kong.

And because the Kong is hollow,  you can fill it with food.

This provides the dog with hours of entertainment trying to get the food out of the centre.

Especially if you freeze it first.

The Kong Extreme

Although the classic Kong Toys stand up to quite a lot of chewing, Labradors are among those breeds for whom chewing came be quiet extreme.

kong extremeAnd when your dog is an extreme chewer, you need an extreme chew toy.

The Kong Extreme is the exact same shape design as the classic kong, but it is made of an even tougher material.

Designed so that even the most strong jawed dog can bite down on it without damaging it.

It is tailored for strong and persistent chewers.

So, if your Labrador has taken apart every chew toy you have tried so far, then the Kong Extreme is defintely worth a go.

Puppy Kong Toys

For young Labradors, when they first arrive home, there is a smaller and more manageable version of the Kong.

31E8eZsTQiLThe Puppy Kong comes in pink or blue, and is available in several different sizes. For the average 8 week old Labrador puppy the medium or large puppy kong will be best.

Using puppy kongs can really make a difference to those first few weeks with a new pup in the house.

Exercising your puppy’s jaws and fulfilling his need to chew.

Don’t forget to fill your puppy kongs with something tasty, and to freeze for maximum enjoyment!

Regular opportunities to chew on a puppy Kong help to reduce your puppy’s desire to gnaw on your furniture,  but will not prevent this altogether.

You will probably still need the help of a puppy crate or puppy pen when you are not able to supervise your little one.

Filling the Kong Toy

kong fillerYou can buy special paste to fill your Kong, designed just for use in these toys.

However, you are free to experiment and use whatever you find works best.

Anything that is reasonably mushy can be used to fill the Kong.

Minced meat,  mashed vegetables,  soaked and mashed dog biscuits, peanut butter.

And combinations of the above keep most dogs happy.

It is handy to have a couple of Kongs so that one is in the freezer ready for when you go out.

Can Kongs Help With Separation Anxiety?

Some dogs can get bored, restless and upset when they are left to their own devices. In serious cases, where this leads to destructive behavior, noise and extreme distress, this is known as separation anxiety.

Giving your Labrador a classic shaped Kong just before you leave him alone can help avoid or reduce any symptoms of separation anxiety.

Knowing that your departure is associated with a nice long lasting treat helps him to feel positive about being left. It is also a distraction to keep his mind occupied whilst you are elsewhere. Not to mention pleasing in terms of taste.

Real separation anxiety is an ingrained problem that takes a long time to solve, but Kongs can help with this. And they can certainly help to prevent it occuring in the first place, if you always leave your young pup with something they love to keep them happy during your initially brief absences.

Fun Kong Toys

As well as the traditionally shaped Kongs, there are some fun variations which Labradors love to play with too.

These are more active, moving toys on the whole and are great as entertaining toys for whilst you are at home but not able to play directly with your Labrador.

wobblerThe Kong Wobbler

We are big fans of the Kong Wobbler.

And so is our chocolate Labrador, Rachael.

We did a full review of the Kong Wobbler, along with some video of Rachael enjoying it, which you can find in this article.

For lively, intelligent Labs, the Kong Wobbler is a great interactive treat dispensing toy.

Kong Jump’N Jacks

I really like the Kong Jump’N Jacks. They are in the shape of the traditional children’s toy, with slots down the sides of each arm which you can press dog kibble, dog treats or squeaze kong filler into.

0001-80981279I recommend using the treats, as they are harder for the Lab to remove and keep the game going for longer.

The Kong Jump’N Jacks will bounce around when your Lab plays, so make sure to give it to him somewhere out of reach of breakable objects – or even in the garden!

A fun toy, which will keep an active Labrador entertained.

Kong Safestix

If your Labrador loves fetching sticks in the park, then you might want to check out the Kong Safestix.

0001-150558945There are concerns from some vets because letting our Labs retrieve sticks can occasionally result in some very serious injuries.

Sticks our dogs find can snap off or get stuck with unthinkable results.

The Kong Safestix is designed to be thrown in the exact same way as a stick, but without the risk of injury.

They are light weight and easy to carry around, and come in bright colours which show up well on the grass or in the woods. Making them nice and easy for you to find.

They also float, and so are great for those water loving Labradors who enjoy retrieving from the local pond.

Kong Jumbler Ball Toy

Another great toy from Kong is the Jumbler Ball Toy.

0001-80981792This ball contains a squeaker to attract your Labs attention, a tennis ball to roll around inside and keep your dog entertained and best of all these are both shut away inside so that your dog can’t easily get to them to destroy them.

It has handles on the outside, which make it easy for you to pick it up, throw it or shake it.

It comes in a variety of sizes, and you will want to get the largest one for an adult Labrador.

The Kong Jumbler Ball Toy is the perfect accessory for the Labrador who loves fetching, playing ball and noisy toys.


The Best Kong For Labradors

Although Labradors have a lot of characteristics in common, they are all unique dogs. The best Kong for my Labrador may not be the best Kong toy for yours.

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson

0001-80978517You can either try a few and see which he favours, or have a think about his personality and interests.

My Labs love the classic red Kong, and have never got close to damaging it. Even one we have had for several years.

However, if your Labrador is a very strong chewer then it is probably sensible to go straight to the Kong Extreme.

If you are brining home a Labrador puppy, then start out with the Puppy Kong toy, and move onto the classic kong when he is a little older.

The fun variations on the kong are all great toys. I’d highly recommend the Jump’N Jacks and the Kong Wobbler for lively Labs, who you want to entertain whilst you are at home. The Safestix and Jumbler for the garden and the park. But stick with the classic kong shape for more relaxed kong use in the dog crate whilst you are out.

There are of course lots of other brands making fabulous dog toys, and you can find out which of these are the best toys for Labradors in this extensive review article. 

Your Labrador’s Favourite Kong

Does your Labrador love his Kong?  Which size and colour do you use?  Why not share your thoughts in the comments box below!

The Labrador Site Founder

Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.

She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program 

Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website


  1. We had a 12 1/2 yr old yellow lab that crossed the Rainbow Bridge in February. He had the red kong, but really didn’t care for it. Now we have a 5 1/2 month old boy who loves his new kong, but doesn’t care for the one left behind by our previous lab. I recently bought a new Kong toy, the dinosaur, and that is his baby for sure. It’s the only stuffed animal that he hasn’t destroyed. Thank you for these great products. Our boy is quite the chewer. I have only put the kong food in his kong, and freeze it, but have more ideas from everyone on this site. Thanks!!

  2. We got our rescue lab/shepherd mix when she was six months old. She was/is a very sweet intelligent critter, but I never had a dog before who chewed so much. I got her a Kong ball, and she loved it until she was 10 months old, when she just sat there, looked at me, spit it out, and said “no.” I was in the kitchen making breakfast at the time. It still haunts me.

    So what to do, because her sharp teeth are capable of destroying just about everything. I bought her a couple of indestructible balls to retrieve and chew. And I gave her unlimited sourced in the US and Canada (we live in the US) small rawhide rolls and chips. She consumed so many of them that they became part of her regular diet, but at 2 1/2 she is thriving. She is now chewing less, and I am buying a lot less of those rolls and chips, but she still needs a couple of them a day. Meanwhile, the only things in the house that seem to be in danger now are hairpins, paper clips, ball point pens, small pieces of paper and pieces of tissue. Good luck to all!

  3. I don’t want to be a kill joy ..but I know three labs …including one of my own …who loved chasing their Kongs..if you notice the dogs back when they are chasing I think this is horrible …the movements of their back is not normal …long story short …my dog plus the other two I know of ..all ended up with a spine injury …blood clot ?? ..my dog was paralyzed from the waist down …we had to wait and see if he improved and if he could go to the bathroom on his own..( I did catheters on him for days ) ..my Labs did get feeling back but it took a very long time …lots of acupuncture…and lots of physio…but they all did not have a good outcome…I believe the Kongs for chewing on are great but I would never ever give my dogs a Kong to chase again…

  4. Our dogs–Emmett, a 1 1/2 year old English Shepherd, and Lucy, a 9 month old Lab mix, absolutely LOVE two Kong toys in particular–the Jumbler Ball (Lucy WAS able to get the squeaker out but they still LOVE it for playing tug) and one we have that looks like the Squeezz Crackle Stick but it squeaks rather than crackles–I think it is an older version.
    Lucy is a small Lab mix–40 pounds–but she can destroy most toys in record time! Kong toys (some, not all) last, even with her “monster jaws” (one of her nick-names!)!
    I am thinking of getting a couple Jump n’Jacks for them but I’m not sure they will last with Lucy. It seems that any toy she can get a good grip on gets torn apart!
    I LOVE your articles and really appreciate the ideas and advice I’ve gotten here!

  5. Our two year old black lab chase loves his jumbler ball. He loves to play fetch in the yard or in the river. The ball is too much inside the house. He currently has a Nyla Bone which he loves, although it’s a bit messy. What is a great toy for him to have that he won’t want to play fetch with? Chase is a chewer, but only goes for the wife’s shoes. It’s literally the only thing he goes for. Thanks in advance.

  6. So many great ideas for putting food and snacks into a Kong. Could I just ask, is frozen food good for the stomach ?? I love the idea of putting the evening meal into the Kong to make it an activity as well.

  7. All of these comments are so helpful! Love the “recipes” for what to stuff inside the Kongs. We brought two sibling pups into our family in July and have spent $100’s on toys for them only to be destroyed in minutes. Bought puppy sized Kongs to occupy in their crates; never thought about upgrading the size but just realized these are the ONLY toys they’ve not destroyed! I will now try some of the other shapes. Love the Lab community!!

  8. My 2 and 9 year old Labs have Kongs in all shapes, colors, and sizes, cones, balls, kibble dispensers to knock around. It’s great fun for them. I also have retriever rolls (pressed rawhide) for them and once a month or so, a pig’s ear. After a lifetime with Labs, I have learned that Kongs last. I use part of their kibble mixed with something soft or a small amount of peanut butter spread on a little milk bone pushed into a red ball. Peanut butter is very fatty, so only a little to avoid stomach upset, pancreatitis. Note — they have no interest in Kongs without food.

  9. Red Kong is the only toy my Leroy has ever had that he can’t chew through in 5 minutes!!! Tried other toys, but only the mighty Kong holds up. Started him at 12 weeks on puppy kong & now is 8 gorgeoud yrs old!! 🙂 ♡♡♡♡♡

  10. We have about 40 Kongs. Once a week we mix kibble, cottage cheese and a bit of peanut better all together, stuff all the Kongs, and put them into the freezer. When we sit down in the evening, our 9 y.o. boy gets 2 large and 2 small frozen Kongs. This is his evening meal and it takes him about an hour of blissful noshing to finish his meal. Koda is 9 y.o. and we have been doing this since he was just 10 weeks old. 🙂

  11. My lab pup loves his kong but he gets excited and start to dig around it, as he smells the food inside. Does it lead to become more aggressive, I wander?

  12. We just got another lab pup howard ( after our ten year old lab mix abby died she loved her kongs. She would chew those things forever, esp the red ones! My hubby and i would find little pieces of kong around. ( the large size!!!). Miss her we know she is in rainbowbridge looking down on us and happy. We will get a fewblack kongs for howie and more soft toysb c of his biting.

  13. I got a 10 week old golden lab and he loves his kong but I fill it with about 4 or 5 big treats and he has learnt that if he picks the kong up and drops it and a treat falls out so it don’t last long any ideas to make this fun with out giving him human food.thanks

  14. We have a 6mth.yellow lab…loves his kong…I keep it ready in the freezer…and when we are getting ready to go out he’ll sit by the freezer waiting for his kong…it really works…loves his crate.!!….

  15. I use the black extreme large kong with my 3 labs my chocolate lab however has managed to destroy hers! I think I need lion toys for her she’s quite ridiculous. Yet so extremely gentle when play fighting with us or playing with our children!

  16. The best way of doing this is get the kong, put some peanut butter in, then put a marrow chew and then put some more peanut butter to stuff it. works a treat, stick it in the freezer for prolonged pleasure.

  17. My yellow lab pup, LuLu, (now 8 months) loves her Kong’s filled w/peanut butter and then frozen. She takes them into her bed area (small room with a gate that can be closed at night) and savors every last lick! She even understands what the word “Kong” means!

  18. Our 8 Month old Daisy (yellow lab) is a bit of a chewer, ok well a lot of a chewer lol, we rescued Daisy when she was 5 months as previous owners said she was “boisterous, uncontrollable and greedy” duh she’s a labrador! Daisy lover her stuffed Kong whichwe have 2 of one for Henry our 2.5yr old Black Lab who is a gentle soul. Henry never gets a chance at the Kong as Daisy is greedy! We stuff our with kibble mixed with mash banana and honey and freeze as well as kibble with patè as well as nature diet food mixed and frozed Kongs last longer and my stairs are having a reprieve… Roll on the age of 2 for her.

  19. My black Lab Humphrey has 2 kongs (medium and large) and loves them both. They’re the only toys he’s not managed to chew up and destroy completely, so I’d highly recommend them, definitely worth the investment. Our dog trainer advised us not to go for the extra large kong because they can damage your house as the dog cavorts round with them bashing into the skirting boards, and your legs!

  20. Our 7 month dog was only briefly interested in a kong (with liver pate) but it diverted the chew brilliantly. She took it in the garden and hid it. Not seen since. Now she has a small range from a hard rubber ball in canvas for serious gnawing, via a rubber chicken down to a soft stegosaurus toy (don’t ask) which she carries gently like a puppy and cuddles when she’s tired. No one told us we were getting another toddler.

  21. Both our girls have large kongs, we give them when we are all going out (the youngest will be naughty otherwise, while the older one watches on – don’t think so!!!) we put dog chocs, small biscuits and then topped with a marrow biscuit to make it harder for them to get the contents, hense keeping them occupied longer.

  22. My 16 month lab LOVES her kong she has a large and we fill it with leftover stuffing , cheese or bakers. Keeps her happy for hours. We just have to pick the kong up and she races to her bed!