When I learned that Kong had a new toy out from a Facebook post by Pitlandia, I knew the dogs were going to need to get it eventually.
Besides looking quite a bit different from most food toys, it’s also named Satellite, and my husband is an astrophysics grad student. Perfect, right? If you want to know about white dwarfs, earth-like planets, binary star systems, Type IA supernovae, or positron emissions, and hear the real name of the star you just bought naming rights to on the internet for $20 (hint: it will probably consist of rattling off some combination of letters and numbers)… well, I can definitely set up a spontaneous lecture for you. We recently ordered a Satellite on Amazon for $8 while getting soldering supplies so my husband could fix my computer.
Although Pitlandia recently reviewed the Kong Satellite, I thought I’d still do a post about it since the boys are much harder on their food toys than Athena.
Over time, the boys have managed to disconnect to very top portion of the XXL Kong Extreme enough that I intervened with a pair of pliers, chew open the top of a Wobbler, and crack an IQ treat ball and Kibble Nibble – all a couple chomps at a time under close supervision. Squirrel Dude and Big Yellow Ball are holding up surprisingly well since they are pliable enough to chomp and no one’s decided to target their weaknesses yet.
While no “durable” toy is truly Gambit-proof (in fact, we only get toys labeled “tough,” “durable,” and “ballistic” on clearance because they are the most vulnerable), I’ve been happy with the quality of our Kong toys. The boys no longer have unsupervised toys now that their Kongs are wearing out, but they lasted surprisingly long.
So, back to the Satellite.
We did have an initial hurdle of removing the packaging. The zip ties around two of the little satellites are particularly wide, strong, and were pulled very tight. I would love if they changed at least one of those aspects of the zip ties. After removing the cardboard portion of the packaging, the only thing I succeeded in with scissors and nail clippers was scratching the toy. Fortunately, my husband was able to cut the zip ties off with a relatively slim pocket knife.
Gambit loves the Satellite, and is very methodical about it. The kibble comes out of four interconnected holes, and I was happy to find that each of the holes on the satellites was on a different spot – top, bottom, end. Because of this, Gambit has to work it like a puzzle rather than just batting it around. He picks it up by one end at a time and puts it down to see if any kibble will come out. The process is pretty cute.
Edwin isn’t quite ready to eat full meals out of the Satellite yet. He’s had a few kibbles at a time in it, but is still trying to figure out how it works. He really wants to try to lick the kibble through the holes or give the toy a good bite. We regularly have to discourage the boys from spending their entire meals trying to chew toys open, so with a few sessions of “good boy, good boy, good boy, NO, good boy” hopefully he can use it for meals, too.
During their initial introductions to the Satellite, the boys managed to put some dents in it using their teeth. The packaging did warn that it is not to be used as a chew toy, so this wasn’t unexpected. It would be nice if it were made of a sturdier plastic like the IQ treat ball and Kibble Nibble.
The Amazon listing indicated that it was appropriate for all breeds and didn’t have multiple size options, so I assumed that it only came in one size. The packaging indicated that this is the small/medium size for dogs up to 45 pounds, so a large would have been more appropriate for Eddie.
The Satellite does need to be loaded through one of the holes. Since we use food toys for meals instead of treats, I use a canning funnel to shake in large quantities of kibble in less time. While toys that unscrew are much easier to fill, it takes 5 seconds for Gambit to open a Kibble Nibble and Eddie to open a Wobbler, so I’ve learned that toys that don’t open are not all that bad. My vision for the Satellite is a hard plastic release tab just inside the holes so that I can open it but the dogs can’t.
It takes Gambit about 5 minutes to empty a cup of food from the Satellite – longer than our other non-opening food toys and equivalent to the Wobbler. The main pod of the satellite looks like it would hold 2-3 cups of food.
Overall, I like the food capacity, how different this is from the usual food toys, the locations of the holes, and the amount of time it takes to empty. I do wish it was made of harder plastic, had a way to open for loading/cleaning, and had enough space between the zip ties and plastic to remove the zip ties with office scissors.
Conclusion: A good food toy. It’s a keeper!