Most dog owners will do just about anything to keep their pooch happy and healthy, but sometimes danger is lurking in the most unexpected of places. Jamie Stumpf's beloved family Rottweiler, Maximus, was tragically injured while playing with his favorite toy -- a Kong ball -- at their home in Chula Vista, Calif. Now Stumpf is warning other dog owners to be careful with these all-too-common toys. 
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Kong toys are chew toys that are designed to withstand excessive pressure, wear and tear from even the most enthusiastic dogs. Made from "pet-safe, built-to-chew rubber," as stated on the Kong website, these toys were actually designed to be less harmful on dogs' teeth than items dogs find in nature, such as sticks or rocks. Kong toys are characterized by small openings that allow pet owners to place treats inside the toy to keep a dog interested and engaged for long periods of time; Stumpf explains in the video at the bottom of the page that it was the opening in Maximus' Kong toy that led to his injury. 

Fox 5 News contacted Kong regarding the incident and received this statement from Hillary Van Der Zee, vice president of brand impact at Kong:
"We were deeply grieved to hear the news about Maximus yesterday. Since we’ve been made aware of this loss from our KONG Friends on social media we have reached out to Maximus’ family. After learning of the incident, we have launched an extensive review. We are taking this matter very seriously and need to have a deeper understanding of the facts prior to determining our next steps. We do know that this product has been sold for over five years and up until yesterday, we have never heard of any dog experiencing this type of health issue. Toy safety is at the heart and soul of what we do and we will be determining the next steps once we have all of the facts in front of us."

On her Facebook page, Stumpf explains that Maximus' Kong toy got suctioned onto his tongue while he was playing. This suctioning caused major damage that led to tissue death, and ultimately Maximus had to be euthanized on Aug. 20, only a few days after the injury occurred. 

Stumpf has expressed immense grief over losing Maximus, and though it must be incredibly painful to share her story with the world via social media, she hopes that she can prevent other dog owners from going through the same trauma. While many dogs never experience any problems with Kong toys, it's important to understand that even items that were designed for dogs can still pose a threat to dogs' safety. 

Maximus' story is a heartbreaking reminder that just because a certain product is marketed toward pets does not guarantee that it is safe. As a pet owner, always exercise caution in choosing toys and keep an eye on your pet's playing habits whenever possible -- it just might save a life. 

My Humble Loyal wonderfully loving family pet Maximus is in the fight of his life. His Kong ball got suctioned to his...

Posted by Jamie Stumpf on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Maximus Aurelius 2010-2015Fearless defender of his packBest player of fetchPuppy raiserCat whispererBed BuddyAll around Great K-9Rest in Peace My LOVE

Posted by Jamie Stumpf on Thursday, August 20, 2015