By Kong Company Staff
Sales of puzzles for people have reportedly skyrocketed by more than 300 percent since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Puzzle makers worldwide have sold out of stock as millions stuck at home rediscovered the benefits of mentally challenging activities. Mental enrichment is equally important for dogs. And while dog puzzles are not of the 1,000-piece jigsaw variety, they can stimulate canine minds. The choices, however, can be overwhelming for pet owners. Helping your clients choose safe, innovative options not only results in mentally stimulating fun for their beloved dogs, it also gives you the opportunity to strengthen your role as a pet expert.
Like muscles, minds must be challenged regularly to keep them healthy. This is true throughout dogs’ lives. Working out a treat puzzle can keep puppies busy and safe and help focus buzzing puppy energy. Mentally stimulating toys can help older dogs fight premature aging. By reducing stress and boredom, toys can also help decrease aggressive behaviors. They can help decrease separation anxiety. Toys also give clients new fun ways to strengthen their bond with their dog.
The right toys work with natural instincts set deeply in dog brains. Modern domestic life often does not provide enough opportunities for dogs to satisfy their instinctive needs to chew, forage for food and chase. Well-designed toys not only provide healthy mental stimulation, they also fulfill dogs’ instincts. This benefits their emotional health, which is so critical to happy, healthy dogs.
Kong’s all-natural rubber formula was created specifically to deliver a safe, durable chewing option for dogs. A stuffed one also provides instinct-based mental enrichment by encouraging dogs to forage for their food, combining mental and physical stimulation with a tasty reward that drives engagement. Your clients can find stuffing recipes to help keep their dogs interested here. Remind clients that freezing a stuffed toy can boost the challenge and prolong play.
The classic Kong is available in a variety of sizes and rubber formulas to meet the needs of dogs of all sizes and ages, from teething puppies to dignified seniors. And the same durable, chewy, natural is also used to make mentally stimulating toys in other shapes. For example, the Goodie Ribbon has four places to stuff treats.
And, the Ballistic Hide ‘N Treat features heavy-duty pockets and non-abrasive Velcro enclosures that hide snacks. There are several ways to use it based on the level of the dogs’ puzzling skills. Open the pockets for an easy challenge—close to increase the difficulty. Add more action—and healthy exercise—to the play session by turning it into a ball-shaped fetch toy. The reinforced, wipeable canvas make the toy easy to clean.
Clients can turn every mealtime into a brain-boosting session by serving kibbles in treat dispensers. Figuring out how to maneuver a toy to release the food stimulates dogs’ minds while satisfying foraging instincts. The durable, treat-dispensing Rewards Ball engages a dog’s brain with its unpredictable bounce-and-roll action. Its unique funnel makes it easy to fill, so clients can also use it to feed meals instead of a bowl.
Sharing your knowledge about the importance of mental enrichment—and fun strategies for providing it with different toys—is an easy way you to show your value as a pet professional. After all, finding ways to keep dogs’ minds active and healthy shouldn’t be a brain-buster for pet owners.