Dogs are natural hunters and scavengers so why are we still feeding out of a bowl? All animals need environmental enrichment, so let's look at the simplest way to do that. Kongs are one of my favourite food dispensing toys in the world and I just happen to have almost a dozen of them in my freezer at all times.
It is important for dogs to succeed at their "work". Make it easy for the dogs or puppy to remove the Kong stuffing at first. As they become more experienced, you can make their job more challenging.
- Pack the contents tighter.
- Wedge bits of biscuits inside under the rim.
- Freeze a fully stuffed Kong for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.
- Cheese the inside of the Kong, melt it in the microwave until it's soft and then add the other ingredients so that they stick. Let it cool to a safe temperature.
- Put a dab of peanut butter in the small end of the Kong to plug it. Turn it upside down in a cup. Freeze it and then fill it low-sodium broth or another soft / liquid from the list below and freeze again. (These are recommended for outdoor use!)
- Create a scavenger hunt! Leave your dog a few stuffed Kongs and let them find each of them!
- As you create recipes, be sensitive to your dog's sensitivities/allergies as you experiment.
- your dog's regular kibble
- canned dog food
- plain noodles or pasta
- white or brown rice
- mashed potatoes / yam
- cottage cheese
- cream cheese
- plain yogurt
- peanut butter / almond butter
- canned tuna / salmon
- ground meats
- green beans
- chopped apple
- steamed broccoli
- scrambled egg
- dried liver bits
- banana chips
- unsalted cashews or almonds
- rice cakes (crumbled)
- Avoid only giving your dog stuffed Kongs when you leave them alone - otherwise they become a predictor of you leaving, which can be distressing for some.
- Watch the caloric intake and try to use mostly their regular meals to ensure a balanced diet.
- Use Kongs Safely! Your dog's safety is your responsibility. ALWAYS supervise your dog's use of Kongs until you are confident they can be used safely without you!
- CLEAN KONGS THOROUGHLY AFTER EVERY USE! Dishwasher or warm soapy water with a bottle brush is even better. Don’t let them sit in water for longer than a few minutes as they may soften!