One of the dogs I used to pet sit when I was younger was a lively boxer who was fed exclusively through stuffed Kongs. At the time I thought it was really strange, I had only used a Kong as a ‘special treat’ when I needed to keep Kendall particularly busy but really the owner had a great idea. Using a Kong to slow fed your dog gives them a sense of accomplishment and can fulfil their need to work for their food so they don’t get bored.
Although I still don’t fed Kendall meals using a stuffed Kong, I do think it’s a great tool in your dog mom belt for rewards and the occasional meal time so I’m breaking down how I stuffed her Kong and some of her favourite ingredients.
A stuffed Kong for meal time
Whether you plan on feeding your dog all of their meals with a Kong or just a supplement, make sure you’re measuring out the serving independent of what it takes to ‘fill the Kong.’ For example, Kendall gets 1 scoop of dry food at dinner – filling her Kong with her dry food would be almost 2 cups, double her recommended serving. To prevent overfilling I first measure out how much dry food she should receive for the whole meal, put half in her bowl and put half to the side for her Kong.
A well-stuffed Kong should be like any good meal – 4 courses.
- Appetiser | peanut butter or yogurt to ‘seal’ the Kong for freezing. I put a little something to stick out of the Kong to draw them into the fun as well (think a biscuit or hard treat that your dog particularly likes).
- Salad | the ‘healthy’ bit, I mix in low calorie foods like apples, blueberries or pumpkin, any dog friendly foods that I can find. If I’m feeling particularly fancy, I might mix them in a little yogurt or coconut oil into this bit for added flavour and substance.
- Main | dry food, wet food, whatever you dog ‘normally’ has for their meal. Depending on the serving size you may need to limit your salad and dessert portions. Or you can just make two!
- Dessert | everyone’s favourite part – I use Kendall’s most beloved treats here and in small quantities. Recently I’ve been cutting up duck jerky or using dried liver. You can also put a little more peanut butter or cheese for dessert.
*Remember, when filling you want to stuff the Kong dessert to appetiser so they eat in the correct order.
A stuffed Kong as a special treat
The biggest problem I face when it comes to stuffing the Kong for a special treat is how to keep it healthy. The obvious answer is to limit the number – I try to keep it to one or two a month. In the summer she typically gets more as I think it’s nice for her to have something cold and I tend to stick to just Watermelon so it’s very low calorie and I don’t need to worry.
A special treat should be an explosion of tastes and something different from the normal
- The Lazy Morning | Scrambled egg, chopped apples, banana chunks, sealed with a generous amount of peanut butter (served fresh, not frozen)
- Holiday Special | A cube of two of cheese, peas and carrots, mashed sweet potato mixed with boiled shredded chicken and sealed with a bit of peanut butter (frozen)
- Beat the Heat | Chunks of watermelon, fill with water and freeze *make sure to seal the whole at the bottom with something first or the water will run through
- Doggie Smoothie | Blend together strawberries, blueberries, banana and yogurt until it’s smoothie consistency. Put a few small treat in the bottom of Kong to seal hole, fill with smoothie and freeze.
Do you feed your dog a Kong? Tell me about your favourite stuffed Kong recipes in the comments, Kendall loves trying something new!