Need more ideas to fill your dog’s KONG toy with? Looking for a way to save money with low-cost ingredients that you probably already have? Interested in a way to keep your dog busy with his KONG for longer than 5 minutes? BARKTASTIC! Let BarkThink show you the best way to stuff your KONG toys to maximize your dog’s chewing experience that will increase his mental stimulation and keep him busy longer. This KONG stuffing technique can be particularly effective in calming dogs with anxiety, tiring down hyperactive dogs, soothing fearful puppies, and crate training.
KONG Dog Toys, and similar treat-dispensing toys, has always been a MUST-HAVE toy for my sanity and my dogs. These wonderful enrichment toys is readily available at most pet stores or online.
The premise is simple: stuff the toy with food and allow your dog to keep themselves occupied while he/she works at obtaining the food inside.
What about destructive chewers? Fortunately, KONGs are made out of long-lasting, durable rubber and is built to withstand a dog’s biting. There are also several variations for puppies, older dogs, and extreme chewers.
Dog owners often fill their KONG with treats and kibble in hopes of keeping their canine companion occupied for the hours claimed on the product packaging. Unfortunately, in reality, this usually does not happen quite as advertised. Often, the dog will quickly empty out the kibble-filled toy and quickly become bored once they have achieved their goal of eating the treats. Food paste and peanut butter lasts a bit longer; but still, can be consumed within 5-15 minutes. However, when packed appropriately, these food-stuffed toys can last for an hour or more in keeping your dog occupied, mentally stimulated, and satisfied (and getting rewarded with delicious goodies, of course!).
In my years of trying to keep mischievous puppies occupied and away from things such as furniture, I discovered some effective and healthy ways to get the most out of the KONGs. Ready to learn the secret?
Use Layers & Freeze it.
Freezing Your Kong Dog Toy
Basically, you stuff the KONG Dog Toy in multiple layers of food, and then freeze it. By freezing the ingredients, it will last much longer and provide more stimulation for your canine companion. Sure, you can use the expensive fillers sold at the pet store…but have you looked at the ingredient list? It may be convenient; but not so healthy for long-term use. You can easily blend a healthier mix from a variety of leftover foods you already have in addition to their regular dog food or treats.
Freezing Kong toys can also save you time! By having more than one Kong toy, you can freeze several ahead of time until you actually need them. I’ve had friends who had at least 7 Kongs for their dogs—one for each day of the week. Often, their dog would instinctively run into their kennel whenever a Kong is pulled out of the freezer!
Here is an illustration using a popular 4-layer method for stuffing your KONG. Be creative and change up the ingredients as you (or your puppy) please!
Food Items To Stuff inside a KONG
With that said, for you first-timers out there, here are some simple one-ingredient stuffers to get you started:
- Peanut Butter — Smeared or Stuffed
- Canned Pumpkin — Smeared
- Canned Premium Dog Food — Smeared
- Cottage Cheese — Stuffed
- Ground meat, raw or cooked — Smeared or Stuffed
- Greek Yogurt — Stuffed
- Kibble — Capped with a thick paste (such as peanut butter) to keep it inside the Kong
Now, for the fun part! Feel free to practice with 2-layers or two ingredients and work your way up as you get comfortable. Practice makes perfect! Here are many other easy and healthy ingredients to try grouped by suggested layers (many are interchangeable):
LAYER ONE: TANTALIZER
- Peanut Butter
- Canned Pumpkin
- Canned Premium Dog Food
- Cottage Cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Yogurt (Greek or Plain)
- Apple Sauce (May need to cap with peanut butter)
- Liver Pate
- Cheese Spread
- Velvetta or Cheese Whiz
LAYER TWO: DESSERT
- Dog Treats
- Dried fruit (of any listed here)
- Cheese Slices
- Green Beans
- Liver, freeze-dried
- Peanuts or nuts (preferably unsalted)
- Saltines or broken crackers or hard biscuits
LAYER THREE: ENTREE
- Baby Food
- Bran Cereal (Avoid raisins)
- Chicken, cooked or shredded
- Turkey, cooked or shredded
- Eggs, cooked
- Dog Kibble
- Leftover meat scraps (remember to avoid poisonous spices)
- Mac & cheese
- Oats, cooked
- Pasta, cooked (Ravioli, tortellini, etc.)
- Potatoes, skinless
- Rice, cooked
LAYER FOUR: APPETIZER
- Slice of bread, folded with a tasteful spread inside
- Beef Jerky
- Cold cut deli meat, rolled up
- Hot Dog
- Pizza Crusts
- String Cheese
- Vegetable Stick (Carrot, Celery, etc.)
- Agave Nectar
- Chicken Soup
- Oatmeal (uncooked, sprinkled)
- Parmesan cheese
- Soy or vanilla ice cream (watch for excess sugars)
- Tomatoes (be careful with canned sauces)
- Water cooked with bouillon
Mix It Up! Change is Good
Like dog toys, it is always a good idea to ‘mix it up’ in order to help prevent your dog from getting bored with the same thing.
With KONG Dog Toys, alternating between freezing and not freezing the fillings works well, as does changing up the ingredients stuffed inside the KONG.
For a change of pace, instead of using a KONG, you can try stuffing a hollowed out marrow bone (available from your local butcher). The key is to ensure that bone length is two to three times the length of your dog’s tongue.
2017 Update: Lately, in addition to the KONG, the Nylabone Dura Chew Marrow Alternatives have been a HOWLING hit with our dogs. Both, our small Rat Terrier (Spock) and Olde English Bulldogge (Otis) have been stealing each others bones and eating it for themselves. You can stuff it similar to the way you stuff a KONG; but it feels and looks like a hollow marrow bone. Otis, our most aggressive chewer, has enjoyed the ability to gnaw on it like he does traditional nylabones…a two for one winner!