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.
The 26 Best Kong Fillers to Keep Your Pup Engaged and Happy
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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.
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.
8. Dog treats
A Kong full of your dog’s favorite treat? Um, yes please. They won’t have any complaints.
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)!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
23. Spinach, Carrot and Zucchini Dog Treats
- 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
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add carrot, zucchini and spinach, beating just until incorporated.
- 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.
- Place into oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.*
- Let cool completely.
25. Puppy Smoothie
This is a fantastic treat on hot days. All it requires is a blender and a few Kongs (or bowls).
- 1 8-ounce container plain, Greek yogurt
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 mango, sliced, without the skin
- 1 banana
- 1 cup ice water
- Blend all ingredients together until creamy and smooth.
- Pour into several Kongs or bowls and place into the freezer.
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.
- 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
- In a large saucepan, cook quinoa according to package instructions; set aside.
- 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.
- Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sweat potatoes.
- Cook until soft.
- Stir in green beans, apple, flaked salmon and quinoa.
- Let cool completely.
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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