Looking for ideas to keep your dog busy?

A stuffed Kong toy is a simple way to keep your dog busy and out of trouble. They’re easy to prepare, they last a long time and they’re a great way to keep your dog entertained. 

The benefits of a stuffed Kong include:

  • keeping your dog busy & entertained
  • great for slowing down dogs that eat too fast
  • help keeping your dog occupied while you go to work or do chores
  • giving your dog a simple job to do
  • providing your dog with plenty of mental stimulation
  • a simple way to use up healthy leftovers

The best part is you don’t have to buy any fancy Kong stuffing either. There is a list of common pantry items below that you can use. Just follow the instructions on how to effectively stuff a Kong and provide your pup with lots of fun and stimulation.

How to stuff a KONG

Here is an illustration using a popular 4-layer method for stuffing your Kong. Be creative and change up the ingredients as you or your dog please.

Some simple one-ingredient stuffers to get you started:

Peanut Butter (smeared or stuffed), Canned Pumpkin (smeared), Canned Premium Dog Food (smeared), Cottage Cheese (Stuffed), Ground meat (raw or cooked, smeared or stuffed), Greek Yogurt (stuffed), Kibble — capped with a thick paste (such as peanut butter) to keep it inside the Kong.

Now, for the fun part! Feel free to practice with 2-layers or two ingredients and work your way up as you get comfortable. Practice makes perfect!

Here are many other easy and healthy ingredients to try grouped by suggested layers (many are interchangeable):

LAYER ONE: TANTALIZER Peanut Butter, Canned Pumpkin, Canned Dog Food, Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese, Yogurt (Greek or Plain), Apple Sauce (cap with peanut butter), Liver Pate, Cheese Spread, Cheese Whiz

LAYER TWO: DESSERT Dog Treats, Apricots, Banana, Carrots, Peas, Cheerios, Cheese Slices, Croutons, Green Beans, Liver (freeze-dried), Saltines or broken crackers or hard biscuits

LAYER THREE: ENTREE Baby Food, Bran Cereal (avoid raisins), Bread, Eggs (cooked), Turkey (cooked or shredded), Chicken (cooked or shredded), Dog Kibble, Oats (cooked), Pasta (cooked), Rice (cooked), Tuna

LAYER FOUR: APPETIZER Apples, Banana, Slice of bread (folded with a tasteful spread inside), Beef Jerky, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cold cut deli meat (rolled up), Hot Dog, Pizza Crusts, String Cheese, Vegetable Stick (Carrot, Celery, etc.)

KONG 101 (for beginner dogs) This must be done a few times before offering more difficult KONGS or your dog may be too frustrated to finish them.

• Liberally smear anything spread-able over the entire interior of KONG (peanut butter, cheese whiz, cream cheese, liverwurst, last night’s gravy).

• Stuff a layer of the dog’s kibble, pack in hard.

• Drop in something delicious such as cheese, treat etc.

• Continue layering kibble/treat/kibble/treat/etc until you fill KONG to top. Use your knife to pack in HARD!

• Wedge two medium size treats into the large hole at bottom (this will be difficult, you might break a few at first, keep trying!)

• Turn KONG over and shake. If something falls out, pack in harder until you can shake it and nothing falls out.

• Put your dog in a sit/stay. Place KONG on floor. Wait for dog to look at your face, and tell him cue like, “KONG!”

• Watch a favorite television show for the next half-hour while your dog drives himself nuts dissecting his new favorite thing.

KONG 201 (for dogs who are easily de-stuffing KONG 101 in less than half an hour)

• Soak kibble in plain yogurt/beef broth/anything tasty and liquid until slightly soft.

• Follow KONG 101 recipe above.

• Place in freezer overnight

• Put your dog in a sit/stay. Place frozen KONG on floor. Wait for dog to look at your face and tell him cue “KONG!”

• Watch a favorite television show for the next 1.5 hours while your dog drives himself nuts dissecting his KONG-sicle!

How to Clean a KONG

1. Rinse with warm water and dish soap.

2. If stubborn treats, like dried peanut butter, don’t rinse out, try soaking the KONG in warm water and dish soap to loosen the leftovers.

3. Use a bottle brush or old tooth brush to scrub the inside of KONG.

4. Rinse thoroughly.

5. All KONG Rubber toys are top-rack dishwasher safe.