(picture by @enrichingprincess)
Does your dog enjoy his Kong, but you got into a rut of always putting peanut butter in there? Are you looking for some new recipes that will keep him busy with his toy while also being delicious?
We got you with a variety of ideas on how to fill Kongs. Try them all out or mix and match parts of recipes. As long as you use foods that are safe for your dog the possibilities are endless!
How to fill a Kong
Here is a video of how I prepare chew toys. Remember to always freeze the Kongs – otherwise your dog will empty them out in minutes! Freezing them until they are solid is what turns Kongs into lasting chewing fun.
Let’s look at the different ways to fill your Kong. When deciding on what goes in, consider your individual dog: Is it a puppy who needs a gentle diet? An overweight dog who has to watch calories? Does your pup have any allergies?
Not every recipe will work for every dog.
Puppy King Filler Recipes
Puppies can have a sensitive stomach and require gentle introduction to a variety of foods. Here are some ideas:
Stuff the Kong with only chicken (cooked, canned; however you like). You can pull it into little pieces and stuff it into the Kong tightly to make sure your dog has to work a bit to get everything out.
Chicken Pot Pie
Peas, carrots, low-fat yoghurt and chicken. What is a favorite for humans is also a favorite for dogs!
Pumpkin, cottage and chicken.
Peas In A Pot
Peas, carrots and cottage cheese.
Low Calorie Kong Recipes
If your dog is less active and you are struggling to keep him from being overweight, a peanut butter filled Kong may not be what he needs.
These recipes are low in calories and fat while still being delicious:
White And Green
Cottage cheese and cucumber.
An Apple A Day
Apples and yoghurt. Make sure the yoghurt is low-fat and without sweeteners.
Pear With Me
Pears, cottage cheese and egg white.
Watermelon, yoghurt and mango.
Kong Filler Recipes For Senior Dogs
Our senior dogs require protein and vitamins to stay healthy. While you can help them get their nutrition needs met by feeding daily supplements, putting them in Kongs is also a great idea. Some senior dogs that don’t want to eat might get an appetite again through the fun challenge a Kong presents!
The Banana Buster
Bananas, peanut butter and apples.
Shredded cheese, pumpkin and carrots.
Green beans, cream cheese and corn.
Blueberries, raspberries and plain yoghurt.
(Avoid yoghurt that is artificially sweetened. If your dog enjoys this combination check out the this berry and yoghurt treat recipe!)
How can I make my Kong last longer?
I recommend Kongs to at least half of my clientele. Dogs are hardwired to chew. They enjoy chewing, it calms them down and many dogs desire chewing so much that if we do not give them appropriate options, they will pick their own – unfortunately this often means furniture, shoes etc.
Chewing and cleaning out a Kong will let your dog engage in his natural desire to chew as well as help him settle.
I many cases a Kong is a first bandaid as well as a long-term management tool for dogs with behavior issues. (And even if he does not have any behavioral problems, working on emptying a frozen Kong is always a fun challenge for your dog.)
But how do you make a Kong last longer? Filling it to the brim and freezing it is the key to success! Some owners try to put individual treats in the Kong – every dog can shake those out within seconds. Simply putting some peanut butter along the walls also won’t work, your dog can lick it off right away.
By filling it to the very top and then freezing it, you can essentially turn your Kong into a reusable hard bone.
Kongs – The Canine Babysitter
Especially for puppies Kongs often function as babysitters. I advise all puppy owners to have a filled Kong ready to go in their freezer at all times. When needed it functions as an instant entertainment for their puppy.
Surprise visit from your friends and your pup won’t settle and let you catch up in peace? Give him the Kong that’s ready in the freezer and he will take it and lie down somewhere working on it.
Have to leave and your pup is whining because he doesn’t want to be left alone? A Kong can turn saying goodbye into an actual pleasant experience for your dog, as he learns that every time you leave him a delicious treat is waiting for him.
Which Kong Is The Right One?
When picking out a Kong for your dog make sure that your dog is not able to take the whole Kong into his mouth.
Food-driven dogs can become so thrilled about getting a filled Kong that they attempt to take it into their mouth as a whole. While they may not be able to swallow, it can become lodged and require an expensive and unpleasant vet visit.
For heavier chewers pick the black Kongs that will withstand even the strongest jaws.
One thing that can damage Kongs is sunlight: They should be kept inside. If you allow your dog to take his Kong outside make sure that you collect it after he is done or it will become brittle over time.
Can My Dogs Share One Kong?
Absolutely not! Having dogs “sharing” a Kong is a recipe for disaster (and food aggression). Dogs do not understand the concept of sharing the way we do.
In a dog’s mind the only possession he has is what is in front of him right at that moment. That means that your dog doesn’t understand that he owns a toy box full of treasures. As far as he is concerned, he only owns the toy that he has in his mouth at a certain moment.
From this concept results that he feels very protective about what he has and does not understand why he should give up that possession to another dog at all.
Do not give one Kong to two or more dogs and let them figure out who gets it. This will foster resource guarding tendencies and make the relationship between your dogs worse.
How To Prepare a Frozen Kong
You want to use a food processor for all foods that are found in this article. Puree the ingredients and fill the mixture into the Kong (alternatively you can also chop them up with a knife). You can block the little hole at the top with a piece of cheese if the filling seems too liquid.
Then put your Kong in the freezer for at least a couple hours. If you want to make sure it is thoroughly frozen, leave it in the freezer overnight.
It is advisable to prepare several Kongs and freeze them all. This way you always have one handy when you need it, as well as only having to spend time preparing and cleaning once.
Ideas For Smart Kong Usage
Filled Kongs are not just for enjoying at home. You can bring them anywhere and make many difficult situations easier and more fun for your dog by taking one of his favorite toys along. In contrast to feeding your dog treats which he might swallow instantly, a Kong will provide him with long-lasting entertainment.
Often you can build a new emotional connection by just bringing along a Kong for a couple times. Your dog will link the situation that may have been scary for him to his chew toy and the delicious treats and be much calmer and well-behaved.
Here are some ideas for taking your Kong on the road:
In The Car
Does your dog show signs of discomfort in the car? He might be panting, drooling, shaking or whining. Reasons why dogs are unhappy on car rides span from nausea over motion-sensitivity (and the wish to chase other cars in traffic) to being overly excited and impatient about getting out of the car.
Try to give your dog his Kong as soon as he jumps into the car. Unless your dog experiences heavy nausea (in which case it is best to consult a vet) he should not have problems chewing and working on his Kong during the drive.
He will arrive in a much more relaxed and happy state!
At The Vet
Nearly all dogs fear the vet. Even if they don’t have to go through any specialized examinations or surgeries, the simple experience of a basic visit with a physical exam and vaccinations is enough to scare most dogs.
Australia has a wonderful program at some vet clinics: Owners of puppies can drop off their dogs one day a week at the vet. Yes, a completely healthy dog, spending one whole day at the vet every week – this makes for very well-adjusted and not stressed dogs!
The puppies play together, go through mock-exams and get fed many treats. This results in them building up very many positive associations with being at the vet. When they need to see a doctor later in their life, they will remember all the good times they had there and be a good patient.
While most vets in other countries probably do not have a similar program, you can still help your dog build positive associations with the vet by bringing his favorite frozen Kong. Let him have it while waiting for his exam to relax and calm him!
During A Training Class
Is your dog majorly distracted or stressed during a training class? He may be anxious and a bit uncomfortable around dogs and people that he does not know. Or he might just be so excited to be in a room with many potential new friends!
Regardless of the source of his stress he will not be able to learn as well as when he is in a calm state of mind.
It can be very difficult to calm him down. I have had great success with having clients bring a chew item for their dog in such cases. Your dog will lie down and concentrate on his frozen Kong and learn to not pay too much attention to all the commotion around him – until it is his turn to train of course.
On Pet-Friendly Patios
Would you love to take your dog along to a restaurant patio or brewery, but are afraid he will not behave and embarrass you in front of everyone else? Kong to the rescue!
Bring a comfortable mat and a frozen Kong along for your dog. Tie him up at your table, show him his mat and give him his chew toy. He will be able to relax right away and chill while you have a meal or drink with friends.
The more often you do this, the more normal it will become for him to settle out and about and he will not think twice about it. There you have your perfect patio dog!
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