What to Put in a Kong? Here's the List of the 15 Healthy Treats You Could Use

What to Put in a Kong? Here’s the List of the 15 Healthy Treats You Could Use

Are you struggling to think of good fillings to put in a Kong? Well, you’re come to the right place, because we’ve compiled a list of 15 healthy treats to tempt your dog. Kongs are a great way to keep your pupper amused and fillings only add to the entertainment.

Dogs of all ages love them because they present a fun challenge. As dogs need both physical and mental stimulation, Kongs provide a great distraction. They often last as long as a bone, and can be used over and over again. Read on to find out our top Kong stuffing tips and get creative! Soon, your pooch will have chosen their favorite Kong recipe.

Why are Kong Fillers so Great?

Stuffing a Kong is great fun and it provides your dog with plenty of mental stimulation. There are plenty of other benefits. Take a look!

Kongs are also a useful training tool. During training sessions, you need a way of rewarding your dog for displaying positive behavior. A stuffed Kong is the perfect way to do this! Additionally, Kongs are a great way of stopping your dog from eating their food too fast. This is a particular problem in breeds such as Labradors. If you don’t want to give your dog a bone to chew on, Kongs make a great alternative. It certainly takes them longer to get at the food inside.

A stuffed Kong is certain to keep your dog busy. Your dog now has the difficult task of removing any treats stuck inside, allowing you to get on with your work. Lastly, Kongs are a perfect way to use any healthy leftovers from your fridge you would otherwise throw away!

Beautiful woman giving food to dog from her hand.

How to Stuff a Kong

Stuffing a Kong is not as easy as it sounds. It can certainly get messy! To help you out, here are our top tips on how to stuff a Kong successfully.

Dogs That Eat Too Much

Bear in mind, whatever you put inside the Kong will contain calories. These can add up and result in your pet putting on extra weight. Keep a mental note of what you have stuffed inside and add it to your dog’s daily intake. Some dogs are prone to obesity, so you’ll want to be careful this extra treat doesn’t put their health at risk. To better keep your dog healthy, always stick to their maximum calorie intake per day. If you don’t know what this is, speak to your vet.

Mix Up the Ingredients

Another tip is to mix it up a bit. You want to keep your dog entertained, after all! First, use a variety of fillings so they never know what they are going to get. This should keep your dog guessing what is coming their way. Next, use a filling that is a mix of regular dog food and your own leftover ingredients, such as cream cheese. This may sound (and look) disgusting to you, but your dog will love it!

Where to Start With Kongs

If your dog has never used a Kong before, it is best to start with a filling that they are familiar with. Try their favorite treats or some simple kibble. Encourage them to play around with the Kong so they can discover the tasty something inside. Lastly, make sure to give them plenty of praise when they find the treat.

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Choose a Kong that is suitable for your dog’s size and breed. For example, puppies need a softer Kong. Once they’ve gotten the hang of it, you can experiment with different fillings varying in taste and texture. For expert Kong eaters, you can freeze the stuffed Kong to make the puzzle even more challenging!

Stuffing a Kong Without Too Much Mess

Now, your challenge is stuffing the filling inside the King without too much mess. To start, mix up the ingredients in a bowl. It will save you time to stuff several Kongs and then store them in the fridge. But first, here’s how to fill it:

  • Keep the Kong stable: Place the Kong upright in a small cup or glass. This will keep it stable while you’re busy stuffing the filling. Plus, it saves a whole lot of time! Make sure that the larger opening of the Kong is on top before you start filling it.
  • Make the Kong opening wider: You can make the Kong opening wider by squeezing it until it forms an oval. Additionally, this makes it easier to stuff with larger foods, such as green beans.
  • Stuffing a Kong with runny ingredients: If your dog likes runnier fillings, here’s a technique to help you stuff it. Similar to frosting a cake, place the runny ingredients in a plastic bag. Next, snip off the corner and squeeze them into the center to fill the Kong. This works well with blended pumpkin, honey, or cottage cheese.
  • Keeping runny ingredients in the Kong: Once you’ve added the runny mixture, it is probable it could fall right back out again. To keep these more liquid ingredients inside the Kong, simply stuff something in the end to serve as a stopper. You could use a cube of cheese, a piece of chicken, some solid dog treats, or even a glob of peanut butter.
  • You don’t have to fill it: A Kong does not have to be stuffed right up to the top, or even filled at all. Your dog will love it even if you just smear something delicious around the inside. Example ingredients include peanut butter or honey. There is also the option of adding some smaller treats inside. This works well for a dog that is just getting used to their Kong.
  • Use a binder: Use something that is a little sticky as a base to bind it all together. You could use peanut butter, cream cheese, or even your dog’s regular wet food. Make sure to add in some dry food as well! The whole thing combines together into one, terribly sticky mess. But dogs love it.

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Top 15 Healthy Kong Treats

Kong filling can also be healthy! Peanut butter has got to be an all-time favorite for most dogs. However, you must be sure to use one of the safe peanut butter brands. You can check them out here. Here are some other healthy filling ideas that all dogs are sure to love:

  • Cottage cheese
  • Canned pumpkin
  • Chopped green beans
  • Cooked ground meat
  • Shredded chicken
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice
  • Peas
  • Chopped apples
  • Baby carrots
  • Freeze dried ground meat
  • Cheese cubes
  • Cooked and chopped eggs
  • Broccoli
  • Celery

If you want to get creative, you can also put together some of your own recipes. Remember that these combos may not sound appealing to you, but you are not a dog! Here are some recipes to try:

  • Mix one cup of cooked and mashed sweet potato with one cup of rice cooked in chicken stock.
  • Add one cup of mashed banana with one cup of peanut butter, plus some yogurt.
  • Chop one cup of cooked apples and mix with one cup chopped carrots.
  • Combine one cup of pumpkin with one cup of cooked, shredded chicken before adding some yogurt.
  • With one cup of peanut butter and one cup of string cheese, add some chopped carrots.
  • Stir together one cup of cream cheese with one cup of mashed banana, then add some chopped apples.
  • Cook and chop up some eggs with natural yogurt for a high protein filling.

Kong Stuffing Classics

There are a few tried and tested classics that always work well in a Kong. They are easy to fill the Kong, which is a win for you, and hard to get out, a win for your dog. Also, they freeze well. Dogs simply love them!

Start with a base that has a liquid consistency. This stays securely in the Kong and is easy to freeze. Some great options include:

  • Natural yogurt: While this contains plenty of protein, dogs also find it very tasty! Use natural yogurt to fill the Kong as it is better for controlling your dog’s sugar intake. Too much sugar can lead to obesity and other health complications.
  • Peanut butter: Another tasty source of protein is peanut butter. A dog classic! It’s something that most people have laying about their kitchen and also, sticks inside Kongs pretty easily. Remember to use a dog-safe peanut butter that does not contain xylitol.
  • Prepared Kong filling: Another option is to buy premade Kong filling from the store. It often comes in a wide range of flavors. This may be the most convenient option, but it is not always the cheapest. Just something to keep in mind.
  • Broth: Chicken broth is a dog favorite and a great Kong stuffing. Beef broth is also great. It freezes very easily and dogs love the taste. However, it can easily run out of the Kong, so you’ll need to seal it in with a dab of dog-friendly peanut butter.
  • Dog foods: Wet dog food is another great base for stuffing a Kong. Use your dog’s regular brand to prevent stomach upsets.

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Once you’ve decided on your base, you can fill your Kong with lots of other yummy foods. Kibble is a great option for dogs still getting used to Kongs. It falls out easily and presents dogs with an immediate reward. Dog treats and snacks from the pet store are good alternatives, too. Make sure, of course, that the treats are actually small enough to fit in the Kongs! Also, check the ingredients list. Try to avoid any food that is high in sugar, as it may cause your pooch to put on too much weight.

Read here our articles on Gourmet Dog Treats and Jerky Treats for Dogs.

Kong Recipes for Puppies

While puppies need a balanced diet with plenty of high quality food to be healthy, they could certainly benefit from a few Kong recipes. Many new puppy owners worry about what to fill their Kong with, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Though many Kong stuffing recipes are aimed at adult dogs, the toy is still great for pups. Frozen Kongs are especially useful for teething pups. Here are a couple of recipes just for puppies!

Start by using their regular puppy food. Then, add tiny quantities of other foods. You could try oatmeal, rice, peas, banana, or shredded pumpkin. Some low sodium, frozen chicken broth in a Kong is a superb teething toy.

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Frozen Kong Treats

Frozen Kong recipes are certainly more popular among dog owners. We’ll tell you why! It is because freezing the ingredients makes them last a lot longer.

Some ingredients cope with freezing better than others. Peanut butter and natural yogurt both freeze very well. However, there is an art to making the frozen Kong more enjoyable for your pooch. The solid chunk of frozen food inside the Kong can be off-putting for your dog. Here’s a tip: Just before you freeze it, push in a carrot stick or dog biscuit. It should stick out just enough give your pooch something to grab hold of. This should encourage them to keep licking and find the rest!

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FAQs:

Q: Are Kong toys dangerous for dogs?

A: Not exactly, but sadly, no dog toy is 100% safe. It depends on the dog and how they use said toy. For example, there are several different Kongs to choose from. The Kong puppy toy is most suitable (and safe) for your pup because it is made from the softest rubber. Next, the Kong senior toy is made from soft rubber, too, but is more suitable for older dogs. Lastly, the Kong classic is made for average chewers and is built from durable rubber. There’s also the Kong extreme, which is made from very tough rubber. This one is safe for extreme chewers, but not so much with older dogs or young pups.

Q: How can I make my dog’s Kong last longer?

A: Kong toys are tough, but they are not completely indestructible. You can make a Kong last longer by supervising your dog when they are playing with it. If you see them getting too rough with it, simply take it away and give it back to them later. Be careful they don’t put the whole thing in their mouth. Larger dogs can choke on a Kong toy or even swallow it whole!

As for the filling, our best tip is to freeze it. Your pooch will take much longer to get the filling out if it is frozen. This can be a life saver if you have visitors or something important going on, as it is sure to keep your dog’s attention for longer than a regular snack!

Q: What can I put in a Kong for an 8-week old puppy?

A: Your little, 8-week-old pup will surely love playing with their mini-sized Kong, but remember to be careful about what filling you use. Your pup will have sensitive digestion for their first few months. Start by putting some of their regular puppy food into the Kong. This can be canned dog food or their regular puppy kibble.

Gradually, you can experiment with other foods that are gentle on a little dog’s digestion. Additionally, canned pumpkin is a good option, as well as sweet potato, or even baby food. Only put small portions into your pup’s Kong. Don’t completely fill it! If your pup has a positive reaction, then you could fill it a little more next time. You don’t want to overfeed your little growing guy!

Sources:

  1. How to Train Your Dog to Play With a Kong, Wag!
Sharon Parry

Sharon is a Ph.D. scientist and experienced pet content writer. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a Cockapoo puppy. She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and turning it into easy-to-understand articles that offer practical tips. When it comes to our furry friends, she knows that there is always something new to learn!

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