I’m excited to write about one of my favorite doggie accessories that have accompanied me on my journey as a dog mom for the past 6 years – the durable, diverse KONG.
KONGs are dog toys that come in a variety of shapes and materials, ranging from bouncy rubber to plush and rope and even non-abrasive felt.
The KONGs I’m talking about today are the classic hollow ones that can be filled and frozen with stuffing.
They’re a favorite dog accessory in our pack because they tick off many boxes that are of importance to me:
- They’re diverse because they do triple duty as food puzzles, chew toys, and fetch toys (the rubber is really bouncy).
- They’re safe to be offered on a regular, daily basis because they’re made of natural, non-toxic rubber.
- Their carbon footprint is minimal because they’re made right here in the United States.
- They’re easy to keep clean because the rubber is dishwasher safe (can be loaded on the top shelf)
- Kong makes it easy to feed your fussy dog if he or she refuses to eat regular dog food
They’re super durable because they’re made with a dog’s different life stages in mind and come in varying degrees of rubber thickness, covering puppyhood, (strong) adult chewers, and all the way to senior chewers (made of softer rubber).
What To Stuff Your Dog’s KONG With
When my pups Missy & Buzz are not playing with their KONGs, they enjoy licking at the tasty stuffing I fill them with. I use the following ingredients:
Mashed ripe banana. Bananas are easy to digest when ripe, filled with antioxidants, and produce a cancer-fighting substance called TNF – Tumor Necrosis Factor.
Plain yogurt. It’s a good source of probiotics, but be sure to choose one without sugar.
Peanut butter. It’s a good source of protein. Make sure it’s the kind without the natural sugar alcohol sweetener xylitol which can be deadly to dogs.
Homemade veggie and/or pumpkin purée. Veggies are rich in vitamins and fiber. Since dogs don’t have the enzyme necessary to break down plant cell walls, we need to break them down for our dogs by pureeing the veggies.
Kibble/wet food. You can take mealtime up a notch by offering your dog’s regular food in a KONG, especially if you have a picky eater (finding the food presented in something other than a regular bowl makes it more interesting) or a gulper (having to figure out how to get to the food inside the KONG slows the dog down, especially when the contents are frozen).
Pre-made raw dog food. Who said that KONGs aren’t good for raw feeders? I would know because I am one and sometimes fill my pups’ KONGs with ground raw food – the dishwasher safe feature really comes in handy here!
Treat crumbs. Instead of throwing a dog’s somewhat empty treat bag out with crumbs left at the bottom, I sprinkle them into the KONG filling. True to the motto “waste not, want not”!
How To Stuff A KONG
Simply gather the ingredients of your choice, mix them up in a bowl, and then fill the interior of the KONG with the mixture. I either use a spoon or a knife to transfer the stuffing. I found that it helps to cover the small hole on the bottom end of the KONG with a paper towel while filling the toy to limit the mess, especially if you’re using liquid peanut butter.
I suggest preparing several stuffed KONGs at once. That way you cut down on prep time and have frozen KONG backups when your pup needs to be entertained. That’s why I think it’s a good idea to invest in several ones. They’re affordable and range anywhere from $6-$11, depending on which size and/or strength rubber you buy. I have a total of 4 original KONGs as well as a KONG tire that can be filled with peanut butter.
When To Offer A KONG
Stuffed, frozen KONGs make great boredom busters when you’re busy and need to entertain your dogs. I also used them when I crate-trained Missy & Buzz to make the crate an interesting, fun doggie space.
Nowadays their crates are usually left open unless I have technicians over who do some type of repair work around the house and the pups need to be contained. But typically their crate doors are left open and allow them to come and hang out in their crates as they please. They enjoy their KONGs in the crate environment, and sometimes also dig into them in my office when I’m busy working at my desk.
I never seem to be able to gauge exactly how much stuffing I need to whip up to fill the pups’ KONGs, and inevitably end up with too much. Since I don’t want to waste any, I grab one or two of my fun silicone molds and make some extra frozen doggie goodies with the leftovers. That way we end up with additional refreshing summer treats that are super cute and easy to “harvest” – simply pop them out of their silicone mold as needed.
I have silicone molds in different shapes and sizes for no other reason than I’m a doggie treat nerd and love making homemade treats for Missy & Buzz. If you have a smaller or toy breed dog and like the idea of freezing the leftover KONG filling in smaller size portions, go with a small shape silicone mold – larger shape molds work better for the gentle giants out there.
Share this recipe with your friends on Pinterest if you like it 🙂