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Kongs are ideal dog toys. Not only are they excellent for heavy chewers and teethers alike, but they keep dogs occupied for long stretches of time. The key to a stellar Kong experience for your pup? Fillers. Kong encourages dog parents to fill their toys with healthy snacks to increase fun and create high-value rewards for pups-in-training. Curious what to toss into your Kong? We’ve rounded up some of the best Kong fillers for you.

Why Kong fillers are a good idea

Beyond keeping your dog entertained, a Kong full of deliciousness works wonders in many ways. First, they can help ease separation anxiety in anxious pups. A Kong every morning when you leave the house (or whenever you head out) builds an association between a high-value treat and activity with your exit. Second, dogs who eat too fast (especially large breeds prone to bloat) are forced to slow down when eating from a Kong. Third, working for a snack triggers your dog’s foraging instincts. It feels good to work for a bite every now and then! Finally, Kongs can make it easy to transport healthy snacks when you’re out and about. Toss one in a cooler or reusable baggie and deliver it to your dog at the final destination as a reward for a well-behaved ride.

These fillers are easy as pie (but don’t fill your Kong with pie). You probably have many at home already or have used them as dog treats before. This time, fill your Kong with ‘em! Be sure to review which fruits and vegetables dogs can and can’t eat before feeding anything to your pup.

RELATED: The 15 Best Dog Carriers

Best Kong Fillers Peanut Butter
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1. Peanut Butter

An all-time dog fave, full of protein. Make sure the peanut butter doesn’t contain Xylitol, an ingredient often used instead of sugar. It’s toxic to dogs! Chunky and creamy PB varieties are both fair game.

Best Kong Fillers Canned Wet Food
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2. Canned Wet Food

If your dog eats canned wet food already, toss some into a Kong during mealtime to slow down fast eaters. Dogs who need more hydration or protein may benefit from a wet food Kong to complement their kibble diets. Or, if you’re trying out a new human-grade dog meal plan, start by filling your Kong with the new recipe to see how your dog likes it.

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3. Dehydrated Raw Dog Food

Dehydrated dog food, like Stella & Chewy’s Meal Mixers are a great way to boost your dog’s antioxidant intake. Mix with water and your dog’s favorite protein, spoon into a Kong and voila! This is also a great option for canines with sensitive tummies.

Buy it ($10)

Best Kong Filler Unsweetened Applesauce
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4. Unsweetened Applesauce

Apples alone (without the cores, stems or seeds) are terrific dog snacks. Take it one step further with unsweetened applesauce! Easier on you when it comes to filling the Kong, exciting for dogs because they’re getting a wild treat.

Best Kong Fillers Yogurt
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5. Yogurt

Again, protein is the name of the game with this healthy Kong filler! Yogurt helps boost the immune system and contains probiotics. Go for plain, Greek yogurt (nothing containing too many fruits or added sugars) to keep it healthy.

Chewy

6. Kong Easy Treat

The Kong company makes its own filler, which is definitely worth a try. Easy Treat comes in flavors like liver, pepperoni and peanut butter, so there’s something for everyone. It’s also a cinch to dispense.

Buy it ($10)

Chewy

7. Kong Stuff’N Ziggies

Another brilliant product from Kong! These treats are not only grab-n-go, they freshen your pup’s breath with rosemary and parsley. Chowing down on Ziggies helps reduce plaque build-up, too.

Buy it ($10)

Best Kong Fillers Dog treats
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8. Dog treats

A Kong full of your dog’s favorite treat? Um, yes please. They won’t have any complaints.

Best Kong Fillers Pumpkin
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9. Pumpkin

Full of fiber and other nutrients, both canned (sugar-free) and fresh pumpkin make good Kong fillers. This is an especially smart choice if your dog suffers from diarrhea or other bowel issues (though check with your vet first to make sure)!

Best Kong Fillers Cottage cheese
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10. Cottage cheese

The ASPCA says cottage cheese in moderate amounts is safe for your dog. The protein and calcium content makes this a healthy snack; the low dairy content (cottage cheese is fermented) makes it safer than some other cheeses.

Best Kong Fillers Carrots
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11. Carrots

Whether you slice ‘em, dice ‘em, or puree ‘em, carrots are veggies your dog will thank you for adding to the rotation—they’re best cooked to make them softer to avoid hurting their teeth or choking risks These orange powerhouses are full of vitamins B, C, D, E and K.

Best Kong Fillers Sweet potatoes
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12. Sweet potatoes

Make sure you cook sweet potatoes before feeding them to your dog! Cubed and roasted (without crazy seasoning) or mashed and stuffed into a Kong are the best ways to serve these taters.

Best Kong Filler Zucchini
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13. Zucchini

Steamed zucchini in a Kong is basically a green smoothie for your pup. Rich in vitamin A and potassium, it supports healthy bones and kidneys in canines. Raw is OK, but steaming makes it easier for your dog to chew.

Best Kong Fillers Oatmeal
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14. Oatmeal

The AKC says oatmeal is healthy for dogs, but don’t overdo it. One tablespoon for every 20 pounds of your dog’s weight is enough. Oatmeal makes a great mixer. Scoop some yogurt, berries or pumpkin into a Kong for a flavorful, exciting snack.

Best Kong Filler Melon
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15. Melon

Cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon are all excellent options during the summertime for dogs with no weight issues or diabetes. These melons are extremely hydrating but contain lots of natural sugar.

Best Kong Filler Celery
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16. Celery

A “treat” that cleans your dog’s teeth and freshens their breath? Don’t mind if we do. A few celery sticks inside a Kong should do the trick.

Best Kong Filler Cucumber
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17. Cucumber

Now, here’s a treat high in water (hydrating) and low in calories (safe for dogs of all weights). Chop into cubes and peel if your dog sticks her nose up at the slightly rough skin.

Best Kong Fillers Blueberries
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18. Blueberries

A prominent ingredient in many human-grade dog foods is blueberries. Not only can you use them to help fill your Kong, they make excellent training tools. Toss a blueberry at your pup every time she follows through on a command! Or just hand over a Kong full of them.

Best Kong Fillers Pears
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19. Pears

After peeling a pear and making sure it's free of seeds and stems, stick it into a Kong for a copper- and vitamin C-fueled snack.

Best Kong Fillers Pineapple
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20. Pineapple

Don’t give your pup canned pineapple that has been sitting in sugary syrup. Go for canned pineapple in water or the real, fresh version. Make sure you remove all of the skin! Rough and spiky spots can cut your dog’s mouth.

Kong Filler Recipes

Amazon

21. Frozen broth

Frozen broth is a great Kong filler. If you’re not sure how to make your own, try Brutus Broth’s Bone Broth. Sure, you can top your dog’s kibble with it, but freezing it in a Kong makes slurping it down more fun.

$21 on Amazon

Best Kong Fillerss Cube Fillers
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22. Cube Fillers

Kong recommends this super simple Cube Filler “recipe” for Kong filling. We call it a recipe because it does take a few steps, but it’s as easy as filling an ice cube tray (literally). All you need is water, bananas, blueberries and a freezer. Honestly, try it out with whatever fruit or veggie combinations you can think of.

Best Kong Fillers Spinach  Carrot and Zucchini Dog Treats
Damn Delicious

23. Spinach, Carrot and Zucchini Dog Treats

This recipe comes from Damn Delicious and is full of healthy ingredients disguised as a treat. Homemade dog treats really are the way to go sometimes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour, or more, as needed
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat pumpkin puree, peanut butter and eggs on medium-high until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Gradually add old fashioned oats and 2 1/2 cups flour at low speed, beating just until incorporated. Add an additional 1/4 cup flour at a time just until the dough is no longer sticky.
  4. Add carrot, zucchini and spinach, beating just until incorporated.
  5. Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes and place onto the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Place into oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.*
  7. Let cool completely.

Best Kong Fillers Egg Scramble
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24. Egg Scramble

Eggs—in moderation—are safe sources of protein for dogs. Why not let your pup enjoy brunch with you? Scramble up an egg or two and toss in some veggies for a boost. Things like kale and bell peppers are low in calories and high in nutrients.

Best Kong Fillers Puppy Smoothie
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25. Puppy Smoothie

This is a fantastic treat on hot days. All it requires is a blender and a few Kongs (or bowls).

Ingredients:

  • 1 8-ounce container plain, Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 mango, sliced, without the skin
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup ice water

Instructions:

  1. Blend all ingredients together until creamy and smooth.
  2. Pour into several Kongs or bowls and place into the freezer.

Best Kong Fillers Homemade Dog Food
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26. Homemade Dog Food

Whether you’re an old pro at whipping up some homemade dog food or you want to give it a try, this recipe is a great place to start.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds salmon filet (boneless)
  • 1 large sweet potato, shredded
  • 2 cups green beans (canned or frozen)
  • ¼ cup apple, cored and chopped

Instructions:

  1. In a large saucepan, cook quinoa according to package instructions; set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add salmon until fully cooked (3 to 4 minutes on each side). Remove from heat, flake apart and double check for and remove any bones.
  3. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sweat potatoes.
  4. Cook until soft.
  5. Stir in green beans, apple, flaked salmon and quinoa.
  6. Let cool completely.

RELATED: What Bones Can Dogs Eat? It’s a Little More Complicated Than You Thought

How to clean a Kong

You can place your Kong in the top rack of the dishwasher (no high heat cycles or heated drying, please). O you can soak the Kong in soapy water to loosen food before scrubbing inside with a long dish brush. Suds with dish soap, rinse thoroughly, and let dry. Clean the Kong after every use to avoid bacteria build-up.

How to stuff a Kong

Stuffing a Kong toy is fairly self-explanatory, but we’ve got you covered in case you’re not sure the best way to go about it. First and foremost, set up shop somewhere you don’t mind getting messy. Second, the Kong website says, “You want to create a Kong that’s challenging enough to keep your pup interested, but not so difficult that he or she gives up.”

That said, put the larger items in the bottom of the Kong and seal it. This is where Kong Easy Treat comes in handy. You’ll want to seal both ends with a dollop of Easy Treat or peanut butter (or wet food) so nothing pops out before your dog has had a chance to start licking. Place smaller items in next, before sealing the other end.

If the filler is soft, invest in a spoon that easily slides into the Kong so you can spoon things in without constantly spilling.

When you want to freeze a Kong full of goodies, the sealant is absolutely necessary. Seal one end, fill with your stuffing, then seal the other end. Put it into a plastic or reusable, freezer-friendly bag and stick it in the freezer.

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