How to Stuff a Kong Toy
The KONG is a nontoxic, dishwasher-safe rubber toy with a hollow center. When stuffed with food, it provides dogs with a healthy outlet for their natural desire to chew and lick. KONGs come in many sizes, from very tiny to extra-large. Some are made for puppies with baby teeth, some are made for regular chewers and some are made for dogs with powerful jaws. There's a KONG out there for every dog!
Why Give Your Dog a KONG?
Nature made dogs to hunt, forage, scavenge and work for their food—not have it delivered for free in a bowl! One reason dogs develop behavior problems is sheer boredom, resulting from a lack of physical exercise, problem solving and outdoor exploration and investigation. To make your dog's life more enjoyable, you can give him fun “work” to do when he's home alone or when you can't play with him.
Food puzzle toys give dogs a chance to work for their food. These toys are sturdy containers, usually made of hard rubber or plastic, which can hold food or treats. They usually have holes on each end or on the sides. A dog must work to get food to come out by shaking, pawing, rolling, nibbling or licking a puzzle toy. The effort dogs make to get their food from these toys eases boredom, reduces destructive behavior and lessens the anxiety they can feel when alone. In addition to the KONG, here are some of our favorite puzzle toys:
How to Use a KONG
You can stuff KONGs with almost any kind of food your dog likes. Feed him his meals in a KONG by mixing his regular kibble with a little canned dog food, cottage cheese, yogurt, peanut butter, canned pumpkin or mashed banana. After spooning the mixture into the KONG, you can use a bit of cream cheese or peanut butter to seal everything in. You can also fill your dog's KONGs with special snacks to supplement his diet. See the recipes below for creative KONG-stuffing ideas.
Start Out Easy
Dogs don't automatically know how to use food puzzle toys. They need to learn how. When you introduce your dog to the KONG, you'll need to make it easy for him to empty it so he doesn't get discouraged and give up. Use small pieces of kibble or treats that will fall out of the KONG easily.
Make It Harder
When your dog learns how to use the KONG and can empty easy KONGs quickly, you can make his job more difficult. He'll love the challenge!