Tuesday, October 1, 2013

How to Make A Fun Kong for Your Dog!

Sharing a helpful article from our friends at Your Dog's Friend in Rockville, MD, a non-profit group that educates and supports dog parents!


If your dog isn’t used to Kongs, start by making them easy and then gradually make them harder as your dog gets used to them. The point is to keep your dog busy and out of trouble - not to make it so hard that he gives up.

A beginner Kong has some loosely placed treats inside. These could be your dog’s kibble, tiny liver biscotti treats, or any item that is small enough and falls out with little effort. Your dog will nudge at the Kong and be delighted to eat the treats that fall out. If that is too much, you can start by putting some peanut butter inside for him to lick out of it. He will soon learn that the Kong is a fantastic food dispensing machine and not just a boring rubber toy.

Once your pup has mastered this, pack the treats in even more. Your dog will toss the Kong onto the floor or keep manipulating it with his tongue to get the food out. If he’s still interested and not giving up, you can keep making it harder by putting a larger item on top of the smaller bits so your dog has to work at getting that out.

The next level could be stacking items in the Kong. Start with kibble or dry treats and then put some peanut butter or cream cheese in it. Your pup will enjoy licking the good stuff out and then be surprised by the treats that reward him for his effort by falling out. Be creative; make sure you use items YOUR dog likes. Always check with your vet if your dog has any health concerns that might be affected by a change in diet or any of these foods.

If you are looking for a higher value Kong but your dog isn’t ready for a tremendous challenge, fill it with peanut butter, cream cheese or even canned dog food or smash some soft dog treats into it. Many dogs enjoy canned sweet potato puree or 100% pure canned pumpkin. These are healthy and lower fat alternatives to peanut butter.

You can freeze a Kong to make it longer lasting. Stuff a tiny piece of bread in the small end of the Kong. Place it large end up inside of a tall container (to keep it upright in the freezer) and then fill it with your fun ingredients and freeze it. I like to use take out containers or yogurt tubs to keep it from tipping over.

Once you have done this, you can fill it with the above items or even more stuff. Try fat free plain yogurt or chicken/beef broth. For a special Kong you can even add some meat or chicken and even some cooked carrots so that as the broth thaws even better pieces of meat will fall out. Applesauce is a nice treat or even diced apple. Try a blender - Mix banana or peanut butter or anything with yogurt or cottage cheese before pouring it into the Kong.

Another favorite could be freezing layers for a fun variety. Freeze some soup in the bottom. Once that is frozen, add some applesauce and freeze that then add some blueberries and then put some pumpkin on top or sweet potato. I like to make a lot of Kongs at once and freeze them so that I always have one ready. Keep in mind that frozen food doesn’t smell as enticing so you may want to put a swipe of peanut butter or something smelly on the top of the Kong before giving it to your dog.

If you use frozen Kongs, which could get messy as they thaw, you can easily teach your dog to eat on a particular washable mat or towel or give it to him outside.

If the Kong isn’t too messy and you know your dog will eat the things that fall out, you can hide Kongs around the house for your dog to find while you are out, so he doesn’t get bored.

Kongs are dishwasher safe. So, keep them clean.

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