As well as our top 10 tasty Kong recipes, we introduce reasons to use stuffable dog toys, alternatives to Kong dog toys and how to make the challenge easier or harder for your individual dog.
Every dog owner has times when they need to keep their dog calmly occupied without them. Stuffable dog toys are an indispensable part of an owner’s tool kit for this reason. It’s also useful to have a selection of Kong recipes to choose from, so you can chop and change. There are a variety of reasons when you may like to utilise a food stuffed toy, including-
- Canine enrichment, to add variety to your dog’s day.
- As a slow feeder, to make your dog’s dinner last much longer than feeding from a bowl.
- To promote calm behaviour.
- To lower stress levels.
- As an engaging activity to reduce boredom and keep your dog occupied.
- For mental stimulation. Working for food occupies the brain and produces feel good hormones.
- When your dog is injured, recovering from surgery or other times when physical exercise is reduced.
- To help keep puppies out of mischief, so you can go to the toilet in peace!
As well as the classic Kong, there are other stuffable dog toys available that add variety or offer different challenges. Our favourites are the Westpaw Toppl and the Westpaw Tux. Both these are easy to clean as they can be put in the dishwasher.
The Toppl has soft rounded teeth inside a contoured cavity, these hold treats in place so they take longer to eat. You can also fit a small and a large Toppl together to create a greater challenge for those dogs that need it.
The Tux is a stuffable dog toy, treat toy and play toy all in one. It makes food last much longer and when it’s all gone the Tux can also be used for playtime.
A natural alternative instead of Kong dog toys is to fill a Buffalo Horn.
How To Vary The Challenge
For some dogs, if they find the activity too difficult they will lose interest or give up altogether. Other dogs need more of a challenge to occupy them because if it’s too easy, they whizz through the food quite quickly.
Easier recipes may include softer food, smellier treats and food served at room temperature. A single Toppl has a larger opening than a Kong, which encourages interaction. They are suitable for-
- First timers and in the early days of introducing the activity
- Dogs that are pessimistic or those who lack determination
- Nervous dogs
- Older dogs and poorly dogs soon after illness or surgery
- Fussy eaters
To make the challenge harder you can mix textures of food, use firmer food, add small pieces of more chewable food or put your recipe in the freezer before feeding. Adding two different sizes of Toppl together creates an enhanced challenge. Harder challenges are suitable for-
- Dogs who are accustomed to using a Kong, Toppl or Tux
- Fast eaters
- Confident dogs that have grit and determination
- Situations when you need the activity to last longer
- Times when keeping your dog occupied for longer periods is beneficial for your dog
- Days when exercise is limited
- Dogs who need greater mental stimulation
It is advisable that whatever the challenge, your dog is supervised at all times whilst using their stuffed dog toy. As always, introduce new foods gradually and make sure that you are giving activities and recipes suited to your individual dog.
The Best Kong Recipes
There are lots of ways you can fill your dog toys, it is good to have a selection of options. Varying your Kong recipes helps to give your dog an interesting diet and is a great way to provide enrichment in your dog’s life.
Here are our top 10 suggestions for how to fill a Kong, Toppl, Tux or other food filled dog toy.
1. Roasted Sweet Potato, Chicken and Green Beans
Next time you’re cooking a roast dinner, add a couple of whole sweet potatoes in to the oven. Once cooled, mash up with some pieces of roast chicken and chopped green beans. Feed warm for a really tempting activity or freeze for a longer lasting challenge.
2. Mashed Banana With Grated Apple and Blueberries
A naturally sweeter treat packed full of antioxidants and really quick and easy to make. Feed immediately, keep in the fridge for later or freeze for a harder activity.
3. Squash, Salmon and Broccoli
This one takes a bit more preparation but it’s easier to do if you’re cooking already. Peel, chop and roast a pumpkin or butternut squash. Add in cooked salmon and mashed broccoli heads, or long strips of chopped raw stalk. Feed warm for fussy eaters or freeze if your dog needs it to last longer.
4. Sardines and Grated Carrot
Another quick and easy recipe, useful for when you need to stuff and feed in a rush! Mix a tin of sardines (or mackerel) with some grated raw carrot and off you go. Our dog likes sardines in tomato sauce!
5. Raw Mince and Tripe Sticks
For this recipe you can use any type of mince from a raw dog food company. We like Paleo Ridge for their high welfare, ethically sourced range. Benyfit Natural also offer a good selection made from all British ingredients. For added chew factor, the large opening of the Westpaw Toppl is ideal for adding tripe sticks, which can stick out of the top or the hole on the side. Tripe is full of health boosting digestive enzymes and probiotics.
6. Soaked Kibble and Fresh Vegetables
If you prefer to feed your dog kibble, soak it in water or fresh meat gravy and add in some chopped carrot, broccoli, cauliflower or grated parsnip. If prepared with warm water, feed immediately for those needing an easier recipe or freeze for dogs that need a greater challenge.
7. Scrambled Egg and Cottage Cheese
This is a speedy and simple recipe that lots of dogs love. Fill your toy with alternate layers of free range scrambled egg and cottage cheese. If using the Westpaw Tux, you can easily fill one bulb with cottage cheese, one with egg and one with both.
8. Natural Greek Yoghurt, Strawberries and Blueberries
This recipe is a good source of probiotics and natural antioxidants. Just chop the strawberries, bung them in a bowl with the blueberries and yoghurt and fill up your toy. This is a great one to freeze in the summer for a cooling, long lasting treat.
9. Pure Pate and Fresh Vegetables
As well as being versatile enough to chop up for training, our Pure Pate makes a great filling for your Toppl and Tux. It is made from 100% meat or fish and can be combined with grated or chopped vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, green beans or cauliflower. Can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.
10. Raw Mince and Sprats
This is a favourite in our house, nice and smelly! You can use complete raw meat or fish mince, (Paleo Ridge do both) and mix in broken up pieces of dried sprat, with a few whole sprats sticking out of the top. This is a great way to feed your dog their breakfast or dinner and much more enriching and mentally stimulating than feeding from a bowl. It also has minimal preparation, so really quick and easy.
Thank You For Reading
I hope you will enjoy sharing some of our Kong recipes with your dog. Let us know your favourites!
Natalie Bucklar, BSc (Hons), MSc is the owner of Pawsitive Thinking. We offer a tried and tested portfolio of products to help you with the training, care and enrichment of your much loved pets. SHOP HERE
Check out more of our blogs….
- Choosing The Reinforcer
- Ditch The Bowl
- Mighty Middle Game
- Kong Recipes
- DIY Brain Training Game For Dogs