Monday, September 1, 2014

Dogzilla Versus Kong

There are several different companies making durable rubber chew toys, but I'm pretty sure Kong was the first on the scene in 1976. Today there are quite a few different brands to choose from, but none is quite as similar to Kong as the Dogzilla toys by Petmate.
Photo by Erin Koski

The current Dogzilla toys are blue, and they make a big deal out of this. Earlier Dogzilla products were a very familiar red. I always found them for sale in stores that didn't carry Kong products, and wondered if they were trying to confuse people into buying Dogzillas thinking they were Kongs.

I personally think the Kong toys are better designed. The hole ion the toy is big enough to shove a biscuit through, but small enough to prevent most goodies from simply falling out. The inner chamber is deep, and significantly wider than the opening. In contrast, the Dogzilla toys tend to have very wide openings that are nearly as wide as the toy. The inner chambers tend to be shallow. Our Dogzilla dumbbell also has a super tiny passage that leads into the other end of the toy and is far too small to be unpacked even if I wanted to spend forever stuffing one kibble at a time through it.

The Kong company is clearly a dog-centered business. I genuinely believe that their earliest products in particular were designed by dog lovers for their own beloved dogs. I haven't been as impressed with some of their more recent offerings, but the intent to make awesome things for wonderful dogs is still there. Kong also has outstanding customer service, and complaints about their products are usually met with apologies and coupons. When I send a message or ask the Kong company a question, I expect to get back a personal response from an actual person. If I search around the Kong website long enough, I will probably be able to find a picture of this person's dog.

I don't have the same warm fuzzy feelings about the Petmate company, makers of Dogzilla toys. They don't have nostalgic tales about the company founder and their beloved dog gracing the Petmate website. They don't have a community presence or donate to charities on a regular basis. Petmate toys aren't routinely donated to animal shelters, as far as I am aware. They're just a large corporation trying to make money. If I had a problem with one of their products, I would expect to receive an impersonal and mostly useless response, like the time I contacted Premier about an issue with a product and they offered to sell me another one at the regular price.

But my feelings about the companies that make them aside, how do the toys compare? Well, on Amazon most Dogzilla toys have about a three-star rating, with most of the 1- and 2-star reviews complaining that their dogs had never destroyed a Kong but shredded the Dogzilla toy in minutes. Many customers were surprised because their dogs had never done such a thing before. The average Kong rubber toy has a 4.5-rating, and the 1-star reviews consist almost entirely of people lamenting that their super-power-chewers had destroyed the toys. I have yet to find anyone claiming their dog destroys Kongs but the Dogzilla is holding up admirably.

It is my opinion that Kong toys are superior to Dogzilla toys, both in design and durability. There are plenty of dogs who love their Dogzillas, and the brand has many happy customers, but I think Kongs are a more durable product and a better value.

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