When you’re stuffing Kongs for 4 dogs, it’s helpful to pre-stuff a bunch, freeze ’em, then you’ve got them ready to go whenever you need them. I use the Kongs to buy me some time if I’m working on a project — occupied dogs are good dogs. Also, every dog in my house gets a stuffed, frozen Kong as I’m walking out the door. They love to see me leave (and don’t, therefore, stress about my leaving or being gone) — it’s a preventative measure to avoid separation anxiety.
Today as I stuffed Kongs, I took pictures, too, so you can see the process from beginning to end. We start with a basket of empty Kongs. I will run these through the dishwasher about once a month (top rack, no heat) just to clean all the spooge off. It’s for my sanity only — the dogs do not mind the spooge, believe me.
So we start with peanut butter — you can put almost anything in that your dog likes. Some ideas: cream cheese, canned pumpkin, leftover mashed potatoes, plain yogurt, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese — pretty much anything that’s gooey. You don’t have to stop there — if you really want to keep your dog busy, toss in a few kibbles and shake the Kong around so the kibbles stick to the sides. Or, add some apple or banana pieces (no grapes or raisins — these are toxic).
So. Now you’ve got your filling and your Kongs. Now just slide that knife into your filling, then put that filling all over the inside of the Kong. So the peanut butter’s on the knife, now just run the knife along the inside of the Kong. I try to evenly distribute the peanut butter, but that’s because I’m a control freak and like to have everything just so. The dogs don’t care how the PB is distributed just so long as there’s PB in that Kong!
After the Kong is stuffed, I drop it into a big plastic bag. Why the plastic bag? We put our stuffed Kongs in the freezer. Frozen peanut butter takes longer for the dogs to get out, so it keeps them occupied for longer.
This plastic bag also keeps all the Kongs together so I can find them easily. And it keeps my freezer a little cleaner.
All that’s left now is popping the entire bag of peanut butter filled Kongs into the freezer and letting them get frozen. Now I’m ready for the week ahead! Or at least ready for the next few days, that is.
Steph B says
Love this topic – Kongs are an essential part of a peaceful life at my house! We have 2 main recipes for Kongs. Our original recipe was to plug the end of a Kong with EZ Cheese and place it in either an ice cube tray or a plastic food storage cup (designed for salad dressing, I think?) We filled the plugged Kong with kibble, then poured chicken broth in to fill in the gaps. Once frozen, a little more cheese squirted on the large opening encouraged my dog to get licking! When Riker was placed on a restricted diet due to allergies, we tried smushing a mixture of canned sweet potato and kibble into the Kong, then freezing. Happy to report that he loves both, and a solidly packed and frozen Kong can take hours for him to finish – really ideal for such an active dog!
Thanks for posting this one Laurie! I’ve been using peanut butter in kongs for dogs but never tried freezing it! Will give that a try this week! Also I sometimes buy baby food (meat flavors) and use it in the kongs–need to try freezing it though since they lick it out so fast–it’s not as gooey/sticky as the peanut butter. Nice to have some other suggestions to try too!
Frozen stuffed Kongs helped keep me sane when I adopted my first Jack Russell. They did a great job at keeping Ricochet busy and out of trouble.
Kirsten Dillon says
I actually use my dog’s daily food allowance along with a peanut butter/cream cheese kicker, less additional calories and all the benefits of a mental workout.
Caroline Moore says
This is one of my #1 suggestions to my clients! It keeps doggy brains occupied, burns off some energy (especially important for those with puppies or adolescents), teaches persistence and patience, alleviates stress when the human can’t be with the dog, and gives the dog something constructive to work on instead of making his own fun (with your couch cushions or new leather shoes…). I LOVE STUFFED, FROZEN KONGS!
The Kongs in my own freezer are stuffed with banana. It’s cheap, it’s low-cal, it takes a loooooong time to lick out all the frozen banana, and almost every dog who passes through my house loves it.
I see that you’ve got some other stuffable toys (Squirrel Dudes?) mixed in with your Kongs. I also re-stuff marrow bones and use sterilized hollow bones and the Twiz toy for stuffing and freezing.
Question – Do you FILL the Kong? If not, how much do you put in each Kong? Thanks!
Laurie Luck says
Thanks for the question. I don’t stuff the Kongs *full* of peanut butter — that would be too many calories. I do, however, try to stuff them full if I’ve got lower calorie stuffings. So, if I’m stuffing with apples or bananas, I jam-pack as much as I can in there, with a little PB, too, to help the stuff stick to each other.
In fact, over-ripe bananas are my favorite thing to stuff Kongs with because they mush in there so easily. And when they’re frozen, it takes the dogs forever to get it all out of there!
Gina Tucker says
Whouda thunk to freeze them? I will have to try this. Rocky will love it. He sees his Kong and expects that it be filled. Rocky loves bananas, so I will try that too. Thank you for posting.
I give my two dogs a measured about of food each day. If that includes a kong or two, that still counts as part of their daily food. They end up eating the same amount of food each day, it’s just that sometimes there is less in the bowl and an extra kong for a treat.
If you “seal up” the little hole in the kong with peanut butter, then turn it over and put in some kibble, a treat, etc, squeeze the kong and wedge a large milkbone inside blocking the hole, then fill with water or chicken stock and then freeze it sitting upright (I use old plastic fruit cocktail cups) in the freezer, it makes for a nice “just give me a few minutes” treat. Oh, also cut some carrots so they just fit after being wedged inside and don’t come out easy, that is also good.
There was about a year or two that our Bella never ate from a bowl. She ate every meal from a buster cube or kong. Makes them eat much slower. I had it down to a science… how many of what size for each meal. Extra bonus? Hide them around the house and tell them to find the food. It was always on one of their beds, in the bowl, etc. The down side is they come running to the edge of the room when the freezer is opened. 😉