For decades, dog lovers all over the world have been attributing the dog kong as the solution to many of their canine concerns.
The kong has provided answers to mental frustrations such as dog boredom, separation anxiety and excessive digging. It’s also been praised for tackling physical concerns including weight issues, and dental health. Pretty paw-some, right?
But the question of what to fill the dog kong with very much depends on the desired outcomes you’re hoping to achieve. Dog biscuits is the easiest option, but if you consider your furry friend’s specific needs, the kong will prove better value for money and will ensure your dog gets more out of it.
So, without further ado, let’s get started with our 15 things to put into your dog kong that you’ll find so pup-tastic, you’ll wonder howl you ever lived without them (too much?).
While puppies are bundles of love and cuteness, they’re notorious for those razor-sharp teeth and their obsessive chewing habits. Not only will a kong save your furniture, but it’s also great for soothing puppy teething pain. So, for the new addition to the family, give your furry ball of energy the best start with these kong fillers:
1. Frozen Chicken Soup
When your little buddy is at this stage, it’s important to soothe their teething. By freezing a broth inside the kong, the coolness and the slow-release chewing will ease the pain they feel as their teeth grow through their gums. Simply add chicken and carrots to a pan full of water and cook until you’re left with a broth. Let it cool down and pour into the kong before placing it in the freezer.
2. Chewy Dental Treats
Dogs never stop chewing. It’s embedded in their minds to keep their fangs sharp and goes all the way back to their less domesticated ancestors. But the puppy phase is the period where they’ll chew the most so take care of their new teeth by cutting up puppy dental sticks. By cutting the sticks up into chunks, you can vary the sizes to give them a challenge as they try to work out how to get the larger chunks out.
3. Fresh meat
Puppies grow at a rate that’s 20 times faster than adult dogs, so receiving the right amount of essential nutrients is paramount. And since a Norweigian study suggests that raw meat is more nutritious than it’s dry food counterparts, stuffing the kong with raw meats might be the better option for your pup. From six weeks onwards, your puppy will be able to eat both white (chicken, fish and turkey) and red (mince, beef, duck) – be sure to leave out any bones.
4. Puppy Treats
As a quick alternative or a great way to diversify the textures, quality puppy treats are a great option too. Many are now fortified with fibre and nutrients including omega 3, vitamins and calcium that promote a healthy immune system.
When choosing a treat, check the quality of the nutrients content and the age range as some treats aren’t suitable for puppies under four months.
High Mental Stimulation
Breeds such as Border Collies and German Shepherds need a lot of engagement and mental stimulation to stay healthy. So, to make sure your Canine Einstein gets all the brainwork they need, consider adding multiple layers and textures for them to work through.
Think: dog trifle.
The outer layer of the kong should be easier to give your dog the initial reward that’ll motivate them to continue. A paste-like substance such as dog friendly chicken-liver pate, canned dog food or peanut butter is an easy option and will seal the rest of the treats inside the kong as well.
The next layer should be the nutrients layer to ensure your pooch is getting their daily essentials. Tuna is always a winner for a protein boost and will aid in keeping their coat as luscious as a herbal essences advert thanks to its rich levels of Omega 3 oil.
7. Carrot Chunks or Treats
This layer should be a crunchy, hard texture that makes your dog work to get it out. You can use dog treats or carrot chunks and place a mixture of smaller and larger pieces to promote their interest and give them a chance to exercise their problem solving skills.
8. Frozen Food
The centre of the kong will be like the main course and the section they’ll work on the longest. For this, you can freeze food from your own meal such as green beans or chicken (be sure to check it’s all dog friendly). Since your dog will have to be patient while the food thaws, it’s a perfect way to keep their focus for longer.
If the beard is greying and the bark is sounding a little more wiser, then it might be time to choose treats for your dog that’re suitable for the mature season of their life.
Stuffing it with treats that’s easy to chew will be softer on gums and teeth that have already gone through years of chewing.
Aim for treats that’re low in calories to match their slower pace and high in protein since dogs begin to lose muscle mass as time goes on.
Thanks to their rich amino acids (essential for tissue repair), eggs are an excellent source of protein and are a healthy and nutritious snack that’s also known for their soothing effect for upset stomachs.
10. Glucosamine Supplement Powder
Your dog might be a little slower these days, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be full of life. To help them carry on enjoying all the things they love, why not add a joint supplement to their kong? Glucosamine helps to ease stiff joints and since it’s available in powder form, it’s easy to mix in with peanut butter or pate.
With brands providing specialised dog food that’s designed to combat ageing issues, kibble is an easy and beneficial choice for the kong.
Iams for Vitality senior dog food and the famous Harrington’s all-natural senior dog food targets key concerns including weight gain, joint pain and eye-sight. If you’re unsure of which senior food to choose, why not browse our guide for best Senior Dog Food?
Help for the Heavier Dogs
There’s a reason ‘puppy dog eyes’ is a saying. When they look at you with wide eyes full of sorrow, it’s impossible to resist showering them with food and treats. But if your dog is becoming a bit of a chunky monkey, the kong may well be a perfect aid in tackling the problem.
12. Apple Bobbing
What dog doesn’t have a sweet tooth? We don’t know any, but what we do know is those tasty treats aren’t always the best choice for the waistline. So if you want a healthy option for those sweet cravings, try cooking 1 or 2 apples in a pan with 1 tablespoon of water until it becomes a stew.
If your apples are a little on the sour side, add a hint of honey to achieve that sweet taste. Once the stew has cooled, add it to the kong and watch your pooch devour every last drop while you’re safe in the knowledge that their waistline will be dropping too!
13. Yoghurt Coated Berries
As an alternative to shop-bought treats, try stuffing your dog’s kong with yoghurt-coated blackberries. Since some yoghurts are difficult for your dog to digest, we’d recommend using fat-free, natural yoghurt that’s low in lactose.
Cover the blackberries in the yoghurt and then stuff the blackberries into the kong making sure they’re small enough for your dog to reach them.
As a great and healthy option for protein, stuff the kong with minced turkey. Fry it in the pan until it’s browned and once it’s cooled slightly, stuff it in the kong.
To ensure your four-legged friend is getting even more goodness, why not add courgette chunks into the Kong as well? This will slow down the rate the mince is coming out and occupy your dog for longer.
15. Diced Raw Celery
Celery is a dog-friendly veg that’s an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. It’s also rich in fibre for that all important digestive system. And since it’s low in fat and cholesterol, celery is a perfect choice to help your dog lose weight. The chunky texture of celery will keep your dog occupied for a while slowing their digestion and keeping them fuller for longer.
Important things to consider…
There are plenty of recipes and ideas out there but it’s always good to consider your dog’s unique needs first so your pooch gets the most out of the kong.
When you’re preparing the kong, you should consider changing the amout of food your dog is consuming in their other meals to avoid weight gain or loss of appetite.
If you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s dietary requirements, we recommend talking to your veterinarian.
And now all that’s left is to get stuffing then sit back and watch your dog chew… roll around… chew… throw the kong in the air… chew… paw the kong… and then chew some more.