If you’ve downloaded our Holiday Planning Guide for your dog (you did? yay!) you’ll notice I mention several times giving your dog frozen Kongs. ‘Cause I know you have one of these treat dispensing toys on hand, right? But here’s the real scoop behind Kongs you need to know – and why you should have some in your freezer right now.
Busy days are ahead for us as we move into the holiday season. It’s almost Halloween as I’m writing and already we’re starting to get our plans together for the next two months.
If I could recommend one thing that could save you the distraction of a crazy-excited dog during the holidays it would be to have a frozen Kong (or other brand of treat toys) ready to go.
Kongs are AMAZING little inventions. Take a Kong, stuff it with some enticing food your dog loves and watch them work at getting those treat out of the toy and into their belly! You can toss them on the floor and your dog will be thrilled with their unpredictable bounce. And puppies who are teething? The answer to your prayers is this little rubber funny-shaped toy.
And just so you know, I am in no way affiliated with the company – we just LOVE their products. Amazon Links coming up below. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Why give your dog a Kong?
- Help slow down fast eaters
- Great for the power chewers who just need to exercise those jawesome muscles
- Boredom buster
- Brain stimulation for dogs who need to solve a puzzle
- Helps work out anxiety or frustration
For the holidays, these stuffed treats work as a way to keep your dog distracted and entertained during those times when he could be underfoot or trying to snatch the appetizers off the coffee table.
- Entertaining? Give your dog a Kong to work on (maybe in his crate?) while your guests are nibbling on your charcuterie
- Family gathering getting your dog over-the-top excited? A little down-time with a stuffed Kong will help dissipate her craziness
- Cooking? Toss the Kong in the other room to keep your doggo from being underfoot
- Christmas movie night? Your pup deserves her own entertainment with a Kong
So what about that ‘truth behind the Kongs’ I mentioned?
Well – you’ve probably seen the articles circulating around the Web informing us we’ve been doing it wrong. To ‘properly’ stuff a Kong you choose only the ‘perfect’ ingredients that have ‘texture, crunch, shape, smoothness…’ etc. etc.
The truth is this: you can stuff your Kong with ANYTHING your dog loves and she is going to go for it!
All that mix of perfect ingredients is just so we humans get excited and feel good about preparing our pups those Kongs.
Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not.
That said, we’ve got three Chloe-tested-and-approved frozen Kong-stuffing recipes for you to try. And yep, one is a ‘Perfectly-Stuffed’ Kong version. The gourmand in your dog will appreciate it!
But first, let’s answer a few questions…
What Size/Type Should I Use?
When it comes to what size Kong you give your dog, size matters. Treat dispensing toys can range in size and softness of the material. If you have a tiny Chi-wee you’ll obviously go for the smallest size. But for those big dogs who rock those big bites, you’ll want the biggest and strongest Kong you can get. Bigger is always better (and safer.)
As for shapes, the classic bulbous Kong toy is your best bet for filling and freezing. Experiment with different treat dispensers to see what your dog prefers.
How Many Kongs Does It Take to Change a Lightbulb?
I have no clue; but I DO know you need more than one Kong.
Picture this: you’ve been invited out for dinner, a movie and dessert afterwards. That’s a long evening and your pupper will be home alone. You could leave her a deliciously stuffed frozen Kong toy to occupy her evening…if you actually had one in the freezer ready to go.
Have a couple Kongs stuffed, wrapped and ready to pop out of the fridge on a moment’s notice.
Do They HAVE to Be Frozen?
You can fill it with kibble, treats, peanut butter, whatever and toss it to your dog. It’ll keep him occupied…for just a few minutes.
Our goal is to give your dog a chew treat that will take a looonnnggg time to work on. Freezing the Kong is the way to go.
HINT: Smaller dogs and some breeds may not be that interested in working too hard at de-stuffing the Kong. If your dog gives up when the going gets tough, set him up for success.
Try freezing only half the stuffing ingredients. When you’re ready to give your dog his frozen Kongs, fill them the rest of the way with easy-to-remove treats. By the time your pup gets those out, the frozen food will be defrosted enough to get out more easily.
ALSO – frozen food loses its smell. No motivation there! If your dog needs a strong odor to be interested, freeze half of the ingredients only and add some really smelly treats before you give it to him.
My Dog Eats a Raw Diet…
Yay – Chloe does, too! And yes, you can stuff the Kong with raw food. As with any raw meat handling, wash your Kong thoroughly with soap and water and a bottle brush. Or use my favorite method and pop it in the top rack of the dishwasher.
If Your Dog Has Never Used a Kong Before
Start with a ‘dry’ Kong for your doggo’s first introduction. Add just a handful of kibble or treats. Offer it to her and make it super exciting. Once she understands this toy gives out good things, you can begin adding more.
Partially freezing some ingredients and adding easy-to-get treat on top will entice her to begin working for the good stuff at the bottom.
Here are three Kong-stuffing Recipes for you to try. As always, make sure any ingredients are safe for your dog’s particular diet before using.
Freezing is simple. Wrap each of your frozen Kongs individually with plastic wrap or drop them in a freezer bag/container. If you want to be environmentally-friendly, wrap with a couple layers of butcher paper.
Use frozen Kongs within 2-3 weeks for best flavor.
Thanksgiving Dinner Kong
- Peanut butter
- Chicken bone broth, unseasoned
- Turkey meat, chunked
- Pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- Carrots sticks
- Green beans
- Sweet potato chunks, cooked
- Apple chunks
- Cottage cheese or any block cheese
Fill small hole with peanut butter to stop filling from leaking while it is freezing. Smear inside of Kong with pumpkin puree. Stick in freezer for 15 minutes. Mix together a small amount of chicken broth with turkey meat. Remove Kong from freezer and fill 1/3 with broth mixture. Add layer of green beans and carrots. Add sweet potatoes and apples. Top with more broth mixture. Fill large hole with cottage cheese to seal.
Freeze Kong by standing upright in a coffee mug until solid. Wrap or store in freezer bag.
Totally Rawsome Kong
- Dehydrated liver
- Ground or finely chopped raw meat of choice
- Sardine in olive oil, no salt added
- Organ meat of choice
- Greek yogurt, plain
Stuff small hole with a piece of dehydrated liver. Smear inside of Kong with ground raw meat and add layer to bottom. Add one sardine fillet. Crack egg and pour over meat. Top with chunked organ meat. Seal large hole with Greek yogurt.
Gourmet’s Perfectly Stuffed Kong
Choose one of each.
|Something Crunchy||Something Sweet||Something Dry|
|Something Creamy||Flavor Enhancer|
|Mashed banana||Coconut oil|
|Peanut butter||Olive oil|
|Mashed sweet potatoes||Cod live oil|
|Pate canned dog food|
Mix together one of each ingredient and stuff Kong. Fill holes with peanut butter, sticking in a small dog biscuit at the large hole as an appetizer.
Seriously – it’s as simple as choosing foods your dog likes. Watch for fatty ingredients and use those sparingly. The sky is the limit for what you can come up with to freeze in your Kong.
We’d love to hear what YOUR dog loves to find in their Kong. Feel free to share in the comments.