What is a Kong?
A Kong is a rubber dog toy that you can stuff and restuff (and restuff) to give your dog an appropriate outlet for his chewing needs. Kongs are durable, but still have enough give that satisfies our dogs’ need to chew. I personally use this as a fetch toy (it has an erratic bounce that engages my dog for hours) or as a food puzzle to feed him his dinner out of. **I do pick up the Kong after my dog is done playing or eating so he does not put energy into destroying it—our dogs can destroy anything they put their minds to given enough time.**
What Kong Should I Get?
Kong has several options for different level chewers. They have a puppy Kong which is perfect for puppies that are going through teething but do not have super strong jaws yet. They have the classic red Kong which is great for most adult chewers. Finally, they have the black Kong, which is their toughest type of Kong—this one is great for heavy duty chewers. If you have a crazy chewer, I recommend trying a size up from the one recommended for your dog; this makes it more difficult for them to destroy since they can’t get their whole mouth around it.
How to Stuff a Kong?
I always recommend making it easy for your dog to get the treats/food out of the Kong at first until they get addicted to the game.
Step 1: Put a few treats/dry dog food in the Kong and then seal the big end with a little peanut butter. Serve.
Step 2: Once your dog is drooling just watching you prepare the peanut butter Kong, you can start to freeze this peanut butter concoction. Serve after freezing.
Step 3: Switch up what you put in your Kong—try spray cheese, yogurt, pumpkin, or honey with treats/food. Mix it up to keep your dog guessing. Freeze and serve.
Step 4: If your dog loves getting the treat concoctions out of the Kong, trying mixing their regular dry dog food with a little wet dog food to get it to stick together and stay in the Kong. Serve.
Step 5: Now you can start freezing the dry food/wet food mixture in the Kong longer and longer until you can freeze it solid and your dog still works on it until every last morsel is gone.
Step 6: Stuff Kong. Freeze. Serve. Repeat.
I recommend feeding your dog his meals exclusively out of the Kong or other food puzzles. Dinner time will take him a lot longer and make him much more tired than simply eating out of a bowl. If he is occupied doing something appropriate and rewarding, he will not be looking for something bad to get into. (Also a great solution to keep him busy while you make your own dinner!)
If your dog has a sensitive stomach, make sure to be careful about what you put in the Kong.
Also, some of these recipes can get messy with the dog’s saliva and as they unfreeze. Make sure to only give the stuffed Kong in a crate, dog bed, or in a room with a floor you don’t mind having to wipe up a little.
**Make sure you do not put anything in the Kong that is harmful to dogs; for example, grapes, onions, etc. Here is a good online resource if you are unsure: Foods that can be poisonous to pets**