Does leaving your dog alone, even for a short spell make you nervous? Or does your dog nip and bite all the time and you wonder how to get your dog’s mouthy needs met without sacrificing your nice things (or your fingers!)? Or, do you want your dog to love their crate and run in happily at nap time? Well then, you should buy a KONG and read on!

I’m a dog-owner and dog coach who wants to spread the word about one of my favorite time-tested chew toys, and share some of my favorite KONG-stuffing recipes! 

KONGs are:

  • Long lasting
  • Interactive; they’ll keep a pup entertained for hours
  • An easy way to use up leftovers and prevent food waste
  • Made of a soft rubber that’s gentle on your dog’s teeth and great for teething puppies
  • Dishwasher safe for hassle-free cleanup

What’s not to love?

The famously red chew toy has saved countless shoes and countless canine owners from headaches since its inception in 1970. Intended to be a chew toy that would cut down on doggie destruction, the KONG also provides mental stimulation and enrichment, which helps with everything from boredom to separation anxiety to crate training. Chewing is a very satisfying activity for dogs and actually releases endorphins which calms your pup like nothing else!

The hollow section that runs through the middle of the KONG is excellent for stashing treats, which dogs will happily pursue for hours. This is also a great way to slow down a pup who eats too quickly! 

Pup-approved KONG recipes

Some of my favorite ways to stuff the KONG are simple. My fur baby Mazlo loves peanut butter, so I mix a little PB with some kibble and fill it with that. He loves it! Other easy favorites are mashed banana, strawberries, seedless watermelon or cooked sweet potato, pureed pumpkin or steamed carrots. Natural peanut butter mixed with anything – seriously, anything – is bound to be a hit in our house. 

If you’re new to KONG stuffing, start slowly. Try introducing it with some kibble or a few small treats inside. When your dog begins moving it around in an attempt to get the pieces of food out, praise her! This is all about encouraging curiosity and play.

As your pup gets comfortable with her KONG, consider switching up your stuffings. One of my favorite things to do is chop up some unseasoned chicken or steak from dinner and mix it with a bit of rice, and spoon it into the cavity and freeze it for the next time I use the KONG. This is such a great way to use up leftovers, and Mazlo loves it!

As I just noted, these versatile rubber toys are freezer-proof. Try freezing some of your creations to help stretch playtime and give your pup a cool treat on a hot day. I like to stuff cubed, seedless watermelon into a KONG and freeze the whole thing. Other great frozen options include wet dog food mixed with kibble, a little plain yogurt, or a smear of cream cheese. If you’re feeling brave, you can even cover the bottom opening with a bit of peanut butter, place the KONG in a shallow dish to prevent a messy freezer, and fill with low-sodium broth to freeze. There are so many options!

Get creative!

Once your dog loves the KONG, you have a chance to get creative with your concoctions. As we know, dogs have some very strange palates. Why not experiment to find out what your pup enjoys? Peanut butter with carrots — sure! Bits of salmon mixed with green beans — why not?  Dogs have certainly found weirder things to eat, and enjoyed them., 

Please be mindful of the extra calories that come from some of these treats, and adjust your pup’s food intake accordingly. If you’re giving your dog a new food, be sure to test a little bit first since new foods can cause digestive stress for our furry friends.  A good rule of thumb is to keep it simple: don’t add unnecessary additional flavor, salt, or fat.

The KONG website is brimming with user-submitted stuffing recipes. I’m most excited to try Oakley’s Oatmeal Cookie Dough and Fido’s Farmhouse Feast. Have you tried any of these, or do you have your own favorite KONG stuffing concoctions? 
I’d love to hear about it in the comments below, or on social media. Find me on Instagram and in our private Facebook group, and let’s chat!

For more free dog training resources, check out my blog, or sign up for remote or in-person training on my website!

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