If your dog is a serious chewer, you know about and probably have several super-tough chew toys, like KONG Extreme toys. Some dogs will happily chew on the thick rubber without the need for any additional incentive, but ours really enjoy a little “special stuffing” in them.
The basic idea is this: put something edible into the hollow in the middle of the toy that will take the dog a while to get back out. Freezing the stuffed toy will help make the stuffing more challenging to get out, too. Keeping our dogs engaged in non-destructive activities is important to us – as well as our furniture and other potentially chewable belongings – especially when one is a teething puppy with a very short attention span!
There are many sites with great ideas and recipes for tasty stuffings for KONG toys, like this one. Inspired, I made my own – and in doing so, I can ensure that only top-quality, nutritious ingredients are included (no Cheez Whiz here!).
Here’s what I used:
- 1 (15 oz) can organic pumpkin
- 1/2 organic pear
- 2 Tbsp peanut butter or other nut butter
- 3/4 cup cooked rice (I used jasmine rice)
Empty can of pumpkin into a bowl and add rice and nut butter. Chop pear into small pieces and add to the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Scoop into a KONG, shaking and/or pressing the mixture in to fill the entire opening. Once full, freeze overnight; at room temperature, the stuffing gradually thaws and becomes easier to get out of the toy. Should make enough to stuff a large KONG roughly 6-7 times – refrigerate (or freeze, for longer-term storage) unused mix.
Banana or sweet potato or squash, cooked until soft, would also work well with this freezing method. The stuffing mix could be studded with healthy additions like chopped apple, broccoli…any crisp or crunchy fruit or vegetable that’s dog-safe. Bits of kibble and/or small dog treats could be worked in, too.
Caution: I did notice that a bit of color was left where pumpkin had fallen out onto the carpet, but it was easily cleaned up – I just wouldn’t add any dark-colored fruit or veggies due to the staining risk, or unless I was feeding on easily-cleaned flooring.
I recently stuffed the KONGs with frozen banana (I just slice strips off a solid block that formed after I stuck very ripe peeled bananas into a container in the freezer) mixed with a spoonful of peanut butter. I let the toys sit in the freezer for about an hour to refreeze them since the banana melts slightly during the stuffing process. They were a big hit!
When it’s this easy, why not spoil your good canine companion(s) with healthy homemade treats? It’ll keep them busy for at least a few minutes!