King of the Kong: Culinary Creativity for Canines!
The time has come to play with our food! Dispensing toys like Kongs are as mentally stimulating as they are physically filling, as they encourage dogs’ natural foraging behaviour. As hunters and scavengers, the challenge is as satisfying to them as the nutrients themselves. I love watching my pup become immersed in his tasty quest to lick every crevice clean and leave no ridges unexplored. For energetic and eager puppies who tend to gulp, the obstacle of the container slows down feeding time from a brief exercise in inhalation to a fuller experience encompassing mind & body. There are a variety of depths and durabilities you can choose from across several brands to suit any size jaw, chewing power, and desired portioning.
Pop the stuffed toy in your freezer for a couple of hours in advance to prolong lunch breaks, encourage quiet dinners, or even just for a chill out snacking session in the crate while you grab some down time for yourself too. A frozen treat holds your dog’s attention as the filling slowly defrosts, like he’s chiseling out a buried snow treasure, determined to dig out delicious winnings. But the world of Kong contents goes far beyond the often suggested spray cheese or peanut butter. There are tons of healthy ideas to fill up on! With a blender and a freezer, meal prepping for your pup has never been easier.
You can create your own grinds & minces with a blender by pureeing chunks of lean stew cuts, deli meat slices, and organ meats. Many organ meats are soft and pliable, so there are still plenty of stuffings that can be made sans blade. My dog’s favorite offal is pork brain!
DIY blender ideas for purée base fillings:
• Dry kibble with home made chicken stock
• Turkey with butternut squash
• Beef with egg yolks
• Fish and greens
• Boneless skinless chicken breast
• Deboned pork chops
• Gizzards, hearts, livers etc.
No blender? No problem:
• Scrambled eggs
• Canned wet food
• Pre-ground meats (like meat loaf mix)
• Baby food
• Canned pumpkin
• Canned fish ( like tuna, mackerel, sardines)
• Mashed bananas
• Mashed cooked sweet potato
(Always read labels on pre packaged/canned goods)
Make mealtimes full of surprises by adding some crunch or solid chunks to your purée bases
• Pureed dry food with some solid kibble mixed throughout
• Piñata style: loose whole kibbles in the bottom sealed in with a topper of your purée filling of choice
• Layers of different meats, like alternating layers of fish and beef
• Steak and eggs “omelette”
Cut your mixtures with water, home made stock or broth, eggs, or even go smoothie style with crushed ice! Some fruits & veggies make great low calorie options for even more added textures and flavors.
• Chicken & blueberries
• Salmon & cucumber
• Turkey with peas & carrots
• Pork with apples
• Strawberries & crushed ice “daiquiri”
Time saving hack: You can cook ingredients in mere minutes using microwave safe dishes before stuffing your toys. But I also support feeding raw meats from sources you trust.
Links to the toys I use pictured in this article:
If you and your dog are loving fillable toys as much as we are, here are a couple of our previous articles that include more great uses and varieties: