A Kong is a hard, hollow, rubber dog toy that is shaped like a snowman, with a small hole on the top and a larger hole on the bottom.  It is dishwasher safe and, for the most part, virtually indestructible for most dogs.  A Kong by itself can be a fun toy for dogs to chew on, but many dogs can quickly become bored with it.  However, a Kong properly stuffed with tiny morsels of yummy food can become “heaven on earth” for dogs.

Many people ask me why they should give Kongs to dogs when the average stuffed dog toy suffices just fine.  What a Kong can provide, that a stuffed toy can’t, is long-term entertainment for a dog.  If you think about it, animals in the wild spend a good portion of their day hunting for their food.  The hunting process provides both mental and physical exercise, leaving animals tired after a hard days work.  On the other hand, most domesticated dogs don’t have to work for their food at all – it’s handed to them a few times a day, or even worse, left out for consumption ALL day long.  If you are able to make your dog WORK for some of their food, they’re being entertained, receiving mental stimulation, and are provided with a healthy outlet for their energy and desire to chew on things.  A stuffed Kong can not only help alleviate boredom, but also mild separation anxiety as well.

So when you may not have enough time to properly exercise your dog, you need them to be entertained while company is over, or you will be leaving your dog alone for an extended period of time, a well-stuffed Kong may do the trick. The Kong should be stuffed well enough that your dog has to work at it to get the food out, but not too well-packed that they get frustrated.  When first introducing a stuffed Kong to a dog, start off easy and pack it a bit loosely, possibly filling it with some peanut butter and a handful of cheerios, with a dog biscuit sticking out the large hole.  As your dog gets more experienced excavating the Kong, you can pack it with more items and freeze it over night to make the process of cleaning it out more challenging for them the next day.

A nutritious and energy-expending way to feed a puppy his morning meal is to prepare a Kong for him the night before.  Measure out his dry kibble in a bowl, add some water to it, stuff it in the Kong and freeze it.  The next morning, you are ready to go with a fabulous time-consuming chew toy.

There are many ways to stuff a Kong with any food that is safe for your dog to eat – try various combinations of dry kibble, quality canned food, vegetables, apples, bananas, rice, plain organic yogurt, peanut butter, hot dogs, or mashed potatoes.

Have fun and get creative. There are many recipes for stuffed Kongs as well as an instructional video of how to layer a Kong to make it more enticing for your dog.