What To Put In A Kong Dog Toy?
Kong dog toys are universally recognised as one of the best dog toys available, and for good reason: they can keep your pup entertained for hours! But it can be hard to know what to do with them, aside from store-bought snacks.
If you’re wondering what to put in a dog Kong toy, fear no more. We’ve rounded up the most delicious recipes for your pup.
Using Stuffed Dog Toys
If you’ve got a dog, keeping them busy is key. It will allow you to focus on things other than the pup, and they’ll be healthier and happier. Win-win for everyone!
In general, dogs enjoy chew toys better, but any strong, attractive toy can do the trick. Even the strongest jaws deserve a good chew!
Related: Best Indestructible Dog Toy Australia.
Benefits Of Stuffed Kong Toys For Dogs
The Kong is a classic dog toy, and pups love them for a reason! Since they are hollow, you can stuff them with pretty much anything you like and it can keep your dog entertained for hours. In fact, stuffed Kongs are one of the best ways to crate train your dog or even helping with separation anxiety. Still on the fence? Here are some creative ways to use a stuffed Kong:
- Keeps your dog busy. Does your dog have a hard time greeting strangers? Are you trying to teach them to stay alone? A stuffed Kong lets them focus on something else while you’re out or can’t tend to them.
Related: Best Interactive Dog Toys Australia.
- Slows down fast eaters. It’s very common for dogs to gulp down their food. But not munching properly heightens your dog’s bloat risk, especially if they are a large or giant breed. Trying to get food out of a stuffed Kong takes way longer than eating from a bowl, so it can be a good meal replacement if you buy a large-enough Kong.
- Mental stimulation. Dogs are smart animals, and they need both physical and mental stimulation to stay happy. But sometimes, life gets in the way. Most dogs would do great with walks twice a day to keep their minds entertained, but this can be hard to fit in. and even if you can, some days are just too busy to take your dog along with you. To keep your pup entertained and keep them from wreaking havoc on your furniture out of boredom, try a Kong. They’ll focus on the toy and finish mentally tired, which is great for your home and peace of mind!
Related: Best Dog Puzzle Toys Australia.
- Great to use up leftovers. Have some leftovers that need to go? Your homemade meals can be a great Kong stuffing. Of course, avoid giving fast food to your dog, but healthy, veggie-based meals can be a nice treat. If you choose to use leftovers, follow our suggestions below!
Pro tips. How to stuff a Kong toy
I’ve been there. The first time I got a Kong toy for my pup, everything I stuffed in it seemed to fall out. It’s not effective to keep your dog distracted if they could eat everything inside in less than 2 minutes! Stuffing a Kong toy isn’t as straightforward as you might think, particularly if you’re a new dog owner. No worries, here’s our little how-to. It’s easy once you get the hang of it.
- If you use small pieces, seal the top. This is where I went wrong. Plain kibble, for example, won’t stay inside the Kong long enough to keep your dog entertained. This seal can be made of some peanut butter, wet dog food, pumpkin puree or mashed sweet potatoes.
- Try sticky fillings. These are especially useful if your pup is already a pro at Kongs. The stickiness makes it more difficult for them to get the food out, meaning they’ll stay focus on their toy for longer.
- Freeze the Kong. Is your dog eating their Kong way too fast? Try freezing it whole. This is also a great idea to fight the heat in the summer months. Just take some homemade, no-salt broth and pour it on a half-filled Kong with other yummy snacks. The broth will still be appetising for your dog even while frozen, and they’ll definitely spend a lot of time getting the filling out.
PRO TIP: Use a straw when freezing. Before pouring your liquids, put a straw through the Kong. This ensures the Kong doesn’t freeze as a whole block of ice, and air can pass through. This little opening will keep the Kong from creating a vacuum effect, which can be very dangerous for your dog and trap their tongue inside (this is why Kongs have to openings, to avoid the vacuum effect).
- Mix it up. Use different ingredients and stuff them together. Even if you don’t find it especially appealing, your dog will probably love it.
How To Choose A Kong Dog Toy Filling
In general, here are a few guidelines to help you along:
- Use easy-to-spill fillings when starting out. If your dog has never played with a Kong toy, make it easy the first few times. This will keep their interest and help them associate the Kong with delicious treats.
- Watch out for the calories. It’s easy to get carried away when wondering what to put in a dog Kong toy. And if you use a couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter, and add some kibble, one stuffed Kong can have the calories of a full meal. While some pet parents use Kongs at mealtime to slow down eating, if that’s not you, try to stick with healthier, low-calorie fillings.
- Choose things your dog loves. This one sounds a bit obvious, but you wouldn’t believe the times I put stuff in a Kong I knew my dog didn’t really like. In those cases, the toy was left behind after a couple of half-hearted licks. Keep your dog interested by using things your dog likes, and maybe try new flavours sparingly.
What to put in a dog Kong toy?
Here are some of our fave stuffing:
- Leftovers. This is an easy fix if you have a few random items ready to use up. Keep in mind, human leftovers need to be used with caution. Some ingredients are a big no-no for dogs, and others -like salt- can cause issues in large quantities. In general, stick to healthy, sauce-free leftovers made of whole foods your dog can eat. Mi and match leftovers to fit your dog’s taste
- Hydrated kibble. Regular kibble is fine, but dogs get bored of it fast. But soaking kibble in a tasty broth will change the texture and improve the flavour, for pretty much the same number of calories! Soak kibble for 5 to 10 minutes in homemade broth, and then fill up the toy. You can then either give it to your dog or freeze it.
- Cut up apples. This is an easy and tasty snack. Plus, if you cut it a bit large, it’ll be harder for your dog to get out.
- Cut up veggies + broth. Veggies can be really healthy for dogs, but you need to cut them up small enough so they don’t choke. To make the Kong more entertaining, add some broth and freeze the whole thing.
- Yogurt. Used as a sealer, it will allow smaller pieces -like kibble or veggies- to stay inside the Kong. Plus, dogs tend to love the tanginess.
- Eggs. Chop a boiled egg and mix with a starch like potato, then fill up the toy. It will add some nice protein to your dog’s diet and be a satisfying snack.
- Pureed pumpkin, potatoes, or sweet potatoes. Similar to yogurt, these act as a binder and a way to keep the stuffing in place. As a bonus, most dogs love the slightly sweet flavour and these ingredients are rich in essential micronutrients.
- Fruits. Mixed with other foods -either sweet or savoury-, fruits round up your dog’s nutritional intake. Berries, bananas, seedless watermelon, apples, and pears can work well with many other ingredients.
- Cooked rice. In moderate quantities, rice is a great base for Kong stuffing. This ingredient is also very useful if you’re trying to replace meals with the Kong.
Stuffed dog toys are great to keep your dog occupied and entertained but keeping them interested is key.
If your pup is food-motivated like mine is, a Kong toy can be a great addition. Try out some of our suggestions and let us know how you like them!