It's hard to read any advice on how to keep your dog from getting bored without coming across the phrase "Give them a stuffed Kong". But many new dog owners may wonder "what the heck is a 'Kong' and whatever do you stuff them with?
Kong is a brand name for a wide variety of relatively chew-resistant rubber toys. Classic Kongs are hollow, kind of "bumpy pear-shaped" and are great for stuffing with yummy food items. And unless you have a crazy "Hulk" chewer, they are generally safe to leave alone with your dog when you're away or occupied with something else.
There are other brands and shapes of dog toys that can be used for this purpose, so this is not an endorsement of the Kong brand exclusively. But make sure that whatever toy you stuff with food can safely withstand aggressive chewing from your dog.
If you choose to purchase the brand Kong, remember that the color has significance:
- Blue/Purple Kongs are fashioned for “gentle chewers” – puppies, small dogs and seniors
- Red Kongs are the standard and work for most dogs
- Black Kongs are promoted for “Xtreme chewers” and hold up the best for dogs with strong jaws who try and chew through ANYTHING!
Once you have a good, sturdy "stuff-able" toy, here's some helpful hints on how to use them.
- The list of suggested ingredients below is broken into 3 categories: (Select a minimum of one item from each of the first two lists, but feel free to mix and match more than one)
- Stuffers - solid food that your dog can dig out of the toy and take up space
- Binders - more liquid / soft food that hold the ingredients together inside the toy
- DO NOT USE-ERS - known items that you should not feed your dog for their own safety.
- Some "people leftovers" are OK, as long as there aren’t rich sauces or too much salt already mixed into the items.
- Freezing the stuffed toys helps hold ingredients together and prolong the fun! You can also mix up a couple of toys ahead of time to have on hand.
- A simple combo of kibble and broth, frozen, can serve as part of your dog’s regular meal.
- Wedging a stuffer out of one or both ends of the toy can create a fun, time-consuming challenge.
- If using more liquid Binders and your toy is open on both ends, clog the hole on the small end with a Stuffer and set the toy upright in the freezer in a cup. For multiple toys, a muffin tin works well.
So get those creative juices flowing and have fun concocting a fun, entertaining treat for your dog...they will love it!
- Kibble – dog’s own food
- Different shaped dog treats / bones
- Green beans
- Carrots – baby or slices / diced
- Bananas - sliced
- Apples – sliced or chunked (no seeds)
- Peaches - sliced or chunked
- Mangos – sliced or chunked
- Watermelon - chunked (no seeds)
- Chunks of cheese or “diced” string cheese
- Roasted/boiled chicken or turkey chunks
- Salmon/Tuna/other de-boned fish
- Other lean meat chunks, cooked without sauces or condiments
- Oatmeal – (rolled oats)
- Cooked rice
- Scrambled Egg
- Bananas - mashed
- Mashed potatoes
- Peanut Butter
- Canned Dog Food
- Canned Pumpkin
- Low / No Fat PlainYogurt
- Liquid from canned Salmon
- Chicken or Beef Broth
- Honey (added to one of the above)
- Bacon drippings (small amounts, drizzled)
DO NOT USE-ERS!
(Starred items indicate even small quantities can be dangerous. Other items vary in the quantity and frequency that lead to problems. This list isn't all inclusive - if in doubt about any ingredient, research it thoroughly or contact your veterinarian before feeding.)
- Grapes / Raisins **
- Macademia Nuts **
- Artifical Sweetners - specifically xylitol **
- Chocolate **
- Onions & Garlic
- Coffee, Tea, other sources of caffeine
- Raw Eggs
- Raw Potatoes
- Seeds, stems, leaves or pits of many fruits
- Cooked bones
- Fat trimmings off of cooked or uncooked meat
- Bread Dough