Kong toys are my favorite! They are one of the few toys that my lovely 10-year-old pit, Tank, hasn’t destroyed and can provide dogs with tons of mental stimulation. These are some of the same Kongs we bought when he was a puppy.
The Kongs can be stuffed in a thousand different ways and have an almost magical ability to keep my dog busy for hours! They can be given to dogs in a crate in a multiple dog home and offer the added benefit of making the crate a HAPPY! place. They can be given right next to your work desk to keep your furry child from saying “Mom! Mom! Mom!” all day long while you try to write a blog post (…or binge watch that TV show).
First, let’s find the right toy for your dog. Kong makes a number of different stuffable food toys. I personally have had the most luck with snow-man shaped Kong Extreme. These toys are designed for epic chewers and have stood the test of time in my house. The company recommends a size from small to XXL based on a dog’s weight. I suggest going up at least one size for extra, anti-chew security. We actually have gone up 2 sizes (to the XXL Kong Extreme) in my house with great success.
Kong Extreme XXL with freezer safe cup.
Next, how can we stuff it? Let me count the ways!
Ok, some days you’re lazy. It’s part of being human. On lazy days, I swipe a bit of peanut butter, wet dog food, pumpkin, sweet potato, or plain yogurt around the opening. Bonus points if you freeze overnight. (Freezing makes it more challenging for our dogs to get out the good stuff!) This is a great way to teach your dog to Kong.
I tip my Kong upside down and place in a freezer-safe cup. This holds the Kong “open” so I can stuff easily and catch any drippings in the freezer. I layer dry food and some type of “glue”. You can use pumpkin, wet dog food, sweet potato mash, or yogurt (or a mix) to glue the layers of dry food together. I layer to the top, pack tightly, and freeze over night. I don’t recommend peanut butter for this because it would be too many calories and may result in an upset tummy. Tip: If you use this method, and your Kong holds enough food, give this Kong in lieu of a meal.
Another basic tip: I mix 2 cups of dry dog food with 1 can of wet food. I stuff that inside Kongs and the mixture fills a few. Has to be a healthier choice.
I’m a big fan of extreme fillings for our Extreme Kongs. It takes a bit of prep work but because I use multiple Kongs, I can fill them all at the same time. I pack tightly and then freeze. I always have one ready to go at a moment’s notice. Here’s how to do it.I prep all my ingredients before I even started filling.
1) Get your ingredients.
Here are some suggestions:
High quality dry food (a must have as we want this to be the bulk of your stuffing)
Sweet potato (mashed)
Wet dog food
Unseasoned scrambled eggs, whites or whole eggs
Cheese (use in moderation)
Boiled boneless, skinless chicken breast
Cooked ground beef, fat drained
2) Layer, pack down, layer, pack down. Repeat until full.
3) Freeze overnight or until needed.
P.S. There are some foods I always avoid! Things I always skip:
Berries – These squish on my carpet and stain. I also skip foods that are not safe for dogs including the following list from the Humane Society of the United States:
Candy (particularly chocolate and products containing Xylitol)
Coffee in any form
Hops (used in home beer brewing)
Onions and onion powder
Potato leaves and stems (green parts)
Tea (contains caffeine)
Tomato leaves and stems (green parts)
Xylitol (artificial sweetener in candy or peanut butter, read your labels)
Kong Extreme toys are available from Petco, and other online retailers like Amazon.