Kong toys are one of the most popular dog products around. The Kong company have put a lot of effort into creating a toy that lasts. Even though a Kong dog toy is essentially an elongated ball made from natural rubber with a large hole in the middle, dogs all over the world go crazy for them! The range includes the Kong Classic, a Kong for power chewers, and one for pups. But a Kong is only as exciting as what is inside it so how can you choose what to put in a Kong?
Look no further! We have researched hundreds of recommendations to come up with the ultimate list of healthy kong fillers that will keep your dog busy and healthy.
Why Should Kong Recipes be Healthy?
It would be easy to compile a list of Kong stuffing recipes that are packed with calories. Sadly, more and more dogs are suffering from obesity and this seriously affects their health and life expectancy.
Pet stores are packed with unhealthy treats full of sugar and additives. Whilst these may keep your dog happy, they will not do them any good. As a responsible dog owner, you should find healthy alternatives for your furry friend.
Our Top 8 Healthy Kong Fillers
After hours of research on what to fill Kong with, we’ve compiled our top 8 healthy Kong fillers that will keep your pup engaged.
#1 Regular dog food
Kong stuffing does not have to be complicated. You can simply use your dog’s regular food. Canned dog food is ideal because wet food fits into the Kong toy in a way that makes it hard for your dog to get it out. Why not feed them their meals in this way? It slows down their eating and provides mental stimulation at the same time.
Dehydrated dog food is another Kong easy treat. However, it will fall out of the Kong very easily as your dog rolls it around so you may want to seal it in with a blob of peanut butter or canned food.
#2 Cheese Stuffed Kongs
Most dogs are big fans of any type of cheese including hard cheese and cottage cheese. As well as being packed with protein and calcium, for healthy muscle and bones, it also gives them vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, and essential fatty acids. However, you need to be careful about how much they eat. It’s high in fat so if a dog has too much cheese or eats it on a regular basis it can lead to obesity and pancreatitis. Therefore, only use it in small quantities in your dog’s Kong.
The soft cheeses are easier to use to fill Kongs so stock up on cream cheese, ricotta cheese, and cottage cheese. A tiny bit of squeeze cheese from a tube is also very popular. Don’t forget that plain greek yogurt is a healthy alternative to the soft cheese.
#3 Potato Stuffed Kong
Mashed potatoes are the perfect consistency for Kong filling but, again, you need to take care with how much you feed your dog. There have been some concerns about the health effects of potatoes on dogs. You must never feed a dog raw potatoes.
A better option would be mashed sweet potato. The sweet potato must be thoroughly cooked. They are a healthy source of carbohydrates and contain plenty of fiber which is great for your dog’s gut. They also contain Vitamins A, B6, C, and minerals including calcium, potassium, and iron. This keeps your dog’s skin, eyes, muscles, and immune system in top condition. Dogs usually love the taste of mashed potatoes, especially sweet potatoes but if you need to, you could add some chicken broth to make it irresistible. It’s a good way of using up healthy leftovers.
#4 Canned Pumpkin Filled Kong
Canned pumpkin forms the basis of many stuffed Kong recipes. It’s a good consistency for Kong stuffing and will keep your dog mentally stimulated for up to an hour. This is one of the most healthy treats you can give your dog.
Pumpkin is essentially a superfood for dogs because it contains high soluble fiber as well as loads of vitamins and minerals. It is especially good for intestinal health. This is the best option for your dog’s diet if they have some gastrointestinal issues.
#5 Cooked Ground Meat Stuffed Kongs
Ground meat is a firm favorite to pop in your dog’s Kong. It will keep a dog busy as they try to lick and bite it out. Any type of ground meat is fine but chicken is popular with many dogs. Do not add any type of herbs or spices and NEVER add garlic or onions as these are toxic to dogs.
You could, however, add in some brown rice as a healthy source of carbohydrate and if you cook the rice in some chicken broth it tastes even better and will certainly keep your dog occupied.
#6 Fruit and Vegetable Stuffed Kong
The secret to giving your dog treats based on fruit and vegetables is that they must be plain and given only in small amounts. Do not add any other ingredients to the fruit or vegetables and double-check that they are safe. Healthy dogs will welcome chopped vegetables and fruit into their diet – they have an interesting crunchy texture that keeps a dog engaged. They are also packed with vitamins and minerals.
Our top suggestions for vegetables to put in a dog’s Kong are:
- broccoli – raw or steamed
- baby carrots – raw
- green beans – raw, steamed, or boiled
- apples (remove core and pips) or homemade apple sauce with no sugar
- pears (remove core and pips)
#7 Peanut Butter King Recipes
Most dogs go crazy for peanut butter. However, it is too rich and too expensive for them to eat in large quantities. You would not fill a whole Kong toy just with peanut butter. However, it is excellent for sealing up the small hole and keeping things like dog treats and kibble inside.
Only use peanut butter that is safe for your dog to eat. Some brands of peanut butter contain xylitol and this is toxic for dogs. To be on the safe side, buy a special dog peanut butter from a pet store.
#8 Canned Fish Stuffed Kong
Fish (including whitefish and salmon) is the basis of many commercial dog foods. Most dogs absolutely love the taste of fish! Not all fish is suitable for dogs and not all fish is the right consistency to put into a Kong. So, we recommend you use canned salmon or tuna.
Both should be plain fish with no added flavors. Also, pick one that is canned with spring water. This is healthier for your dog than the fish canned in fish oil. Use only a small amount of fish and mix it with either your dog’s regular food or some vegetables.
Be Imaginative with Your Kong Dog Treats!
Don’t forget that all of these can be mixed together. Whilst you might find the thought of a mashed potato and peanut butter combo totally disgusting, our furry friends will probably disagree. Be prepared to try a few different combinations until you get one that your dog loves.
Also, always do your research before giving any human food to a dog. Some foods such as garlic and macadamia nuts are highly toxic to dogs and can make them very ill. If you are in any doubt, always check with your vet.
What to Put in Kong for Puppy?
Kongs are a great chew toy for pups and there is even a special puppy version of the Kong toy that is gentle on a pup’s tiny teeth and delicate mouth. They provide mental stimulation and will keep a pup amused for ages.
Puppies can have delicate digestion so dog owners need to be careful about what they put inside to keep their young dog entertained. You also need to start with something delicious to get them interested in the puppy Kong toy in the first place.
Peanut butter is irresistible to pups but can you put peanut butter in Kong for puppies? Luckily, the answer is yes! As long as it is a special dog peanut butter containing no xylitol, you only use tiny quantities and your pup is over 8 weeks of age.
Start by smearing a tiny amount inside the Kong toy first and if there is no adverse reaction, try a little more the next day.
Healthy Kong fillings That Last a Long Time – Top Hacks
One of the main problems that dog owners complain about is that they take ages to stuff a Kong with tasty, healthy food that their dog loves only for their dog to finish it in a few minutes!
As much as we all love our dogs, sometimes we need dog toys that will keep their attention for a little longer. Fear not, we have two Kong recipe hacks that will solve the problem.
1. Frozen Kong Recipes
Frozen Kong recipes have a lot of advantages. They can be kept for up to a week in the freezer so they are there if you need one in a hurry without the hassle of filling the Kong. They can be a lifesaver if you need to jump on an unexpected work video call or you have a visitor. Also, they last way longer than the regular Kong recipes. It takes dogs ages to get their teeth and tongue inside a frozen Kong and reach those healthy treats!
All of the above recipes are suitable for frozen Kongs. You simply fill them as normal and pop the Kong overnight in the freezer.
Kongs can leak in the freezer! Make sure that you seal up the hole with something sticky such as peanut butter. Or, you could wrap it up in a freezer bag to protect the freezer shelf.
2. Cooked Oatmeal Recipes
Cooked oatmeal is very sticky and therefore dogs take longer to get it out of the Kong. Dogs can only eat oatmeal in moderation, the American Kennel Club recommends one tablespoon of oatmeal for every 20 pounds of your dog’s weight. So, try cooking it in beef broth for added flavor or combining it with pumpkin for a delicious and healthy filling.
Only use plain oats to make your oatmeal. Never use flavored oatmeals which could contain ingredients that could harm dogs.
How to Stuff Kong Toys in Five Easy Steps
So, now that you have loads of ideas on Kong recipes that will keep your dog’s attention and keep them healthy, you need to know how to get the food inside the Kong. This can be tricky because Kongs are an irregular shape and move around a lot. Also, many of the ingredients are sticky or runny and can make a huge mess in your kitchen! Our top tip is to fill Kongs in batches and store them in your refrigerator or freezer until you need them. Here are our five recommended steps:
Step 1: Gather Everything that you Need Before you Start
Clear a space on the worktop and collect the following
- Dry ingredients (e.g. kibble or chopped vegetables)
- Wet ingredients (e.g. beef broth
- Sticky ingredients (e.g. dog-friendly peanut butter)
- Muffin tin
- Plastic zip bag
Step 2: Place the Kongs in a Muffin Pan
A muffin pan is a perfect size and shapes for filling Kongs. Place the Kongs upside down in the pan with the smaller hole uppermost. You could even lift the Kongs into the refrigerator or the freezer in the muffin pan when you are done. It will keep them neatly in place and catch any leakages.
Step 3: Seal the Small Holes
Using the peanut butter, seal up the smallest hole of the Kong. This acts like glue and stops the liquid ingredients from leaking out. If you intend to fill the Kong with a very runny liquid, such as bone broth, you should pop the Kongs in a freezer at this stage. Leave them there for a couple of hours for the peanut butter to set.
Step 4: Pop in the Dry Ingredients
Place the Kongs in the muffin tray with the larger hole uppermost. Put any dry ingredients that you want to use (e.g. kibble or dog treats) into the Kong. If you are using fruit or vegetables, kibble-sized pieces are the best option.
Step 5: Add the Softer Ingredients
Make your own pastry/piping bag by snipping off the corner of a plastic zip bag. Put the mashed sweet potatoes or cottage cheese into the bag and seal with the zipper. Apply gentle pressure to squirt the food directly into the Kong. You could try to spoon it in but this rarely works and you end up making a huge mess!
Stand back and watch your dog enjoy their healthy treat.