How long should a dog play with a Kong? Get Your Pet Thinking

What to put in Kong toys

There are many ways that you can stuff your dog’s Kong toy. Hard treats can be wedged inside of the Kong, requiring your dog to bounce or jostle it to dispense treats. You can also smear a soft treat on the inside surfaces of the Kong, allowing your dog to use his tongue to lick the treats clean. Use trial and error to see which type of treat your dog prefers.

There are a number of treats specifically designed for use in Kong toys. These include both hard treats, such as KONG Ziggies, (opens in new tab)and soft or creamy treats, such as KONG Easy Treat (opens in new tab). You can also think outside the box, using other soft or crunchy treats that you may have at home.

When it comes to soft treats for spreading, common options include:

  • Peanut butter (avoid sugar-free peanut butter, which may contain xylitol)
  • Yogurt
  • Canned pumpkin
  • Canned dog food
  • Cream cheese
  • Applesauce
  • You can even freeze liquid inside a Kong toy, as a special treat during the warm summer months. (You will want your dog to enjoy this treat outside, though, because it will be messy!) Seal the holes in each end of your dog’s Kong toy with peanut butter, then fill the center of the toy with chicken or beef broth. Place the toy in the freezer overnight to make your dog his very own pupsicle!

    Benefits of using a Kong toy

    All dogs need mental stimulation and enrichment. In a perfect world, we would all take our dogs for long walks and play interactive games, such as fetch and tug-of-war, multiple times daily. Unfortunately, the reality of life is that we aren’t always available to do those things as often as we (or our dogs) would like. Even when we’re at home, we’re not always available to provide our dogs with attention. As I’m writing this article, my dog is enjoying a nap – but what if he wanted to play instead? That’s where a Kong toy can help. Kong toys keep your dog busy and mentally stimulated, even when you’re unavailable for interactive play.

    Taking just a few minutes to stuff a Kong toy with food or treats can occupy your dog for several hours, depending on your dog’s personality and interest level. As your dog works to remove food or treats from the Kong toy, he’s expending excess energy. Not only does this help reduce boredom, it can also help alleviate anxiety. In some dogs with mild separation anxiety, a Kong toy can help prevent destructive behavior simply by giving the dog a source of entertainment and an outlet for his energy while left at home alone.

    While the gift of independent play is a major benefit of a Kong toy, it isn’t the only benefit. Some people feed their dog’s daily meals from a Kong toy, instead of a food bowl. This can be especially beneficial when striving to help your dog lose weight. Feeding meals from a Kong toy instead of a food bowl will add a bit more physical activity to your dog’s day, while also helping a small portion of food last longer for your dog.

    Kong toys are designed to be strong and relatively indestructible, so leaving a Kong toy as a special treat when your dog is home alone is pretty common among dog owners. However, the unattended use of Kong toys (or any toy, for that matter) is never completely risk-free. Although it’s rare, some dogs manage to chew off fragments of Kong toys and swallow them. If this happens to your dog, you could find yourself facing an emergency veterinary visit and maybe even emergency surgery.

    Before leaving your dog alone with a Kong toy, consider your dog’s chewing style and personality. Is your dog a vigorous chewer with a reputation for destruction? In that case, don’t allow access to any toys, including a Kong, while he is unattended. Vigorous chewers should be given access to a Kong toy only when they can be closely watched, so you can take it away at the first sign of a problem. If your dog is an average chewer, however, you probably have little reason for concern. (Again, though, it’s important to remember that the risk is never zero!)

    Next, consider the size and shape of your Kong toy. Is it large enough for your dog? If a large dog is given a Kong toy designed for small dogs, the risk of ingestion goes up significantly. An appropriately-sized Kong toy, however, will be difficult to swallow. Use the size guide as a general guideline when purchasing a new toy for your dog. Then, watch your dog as he plays with his Kong toy, ensuring that the toy cannot fit entirely within your dog’s mouth.

    Finally, inspect your dog’s Kong toy daily. If you see cracks in the rubber or other signs of aging or wear, it’s time to replace the toy. A toy that is beginning to break down heightens the risk of your dog tearing off a bit of rubber and swallowing it.

    What can I put in a KONG for a 12 week old puppy?

    Stuff a KONG with KONG Puppy Snacks, KONG Puppy Ziggies or canned soft puppy food and seal it with a small amount of KONG Puppy Easy Treat paste to invite your pup to start chewing. To extend playtime and alleviate sore puppy gums, freeze a stuffed KONG.

    Most DANGEROUS Dog Toy?! How you SHOULD NEVER use a kong, seriously!

    Winter is upon us, and here in the Boone, NC, that means lots of cold weather, short days, and SNOW! How do we keep our dogs from driving us crazy during those long winter nights?

    Working on your dog training skills with your dog is a great way to burn off some of that mental and physical energy they have! I love teaching new tricks to my students, plus it’s fun to have something to show off to guests!

    But… what do you do when you don’t have time for a dog training session? Get out the Kong!

    First off, you need to get the right size Kong for your dog. Kongs are available in sizes XS up to XL, and are made for puppies, adults, seniors, and super chewers! If your dog likes to destroy toys, get them a black Kong, and only use it when you can keep an eye on them

    You may have heard that giving your dog a frozen Kong is a great way to slow down their eating and keep them busy for 20 minutes or so. This is true! HOWEVER…. you can’t just hand them a frozen Kong. Most dogs will get frustrated and give up. You have to start easy, and slowly build up the difficulty.

    Now that we have the appropriate size Kong for our dogs, we need to pick some tasty food to go in it! Here are a few suggestions:

    To begin, I suggest giving your dog the Kong with a handful of kibbles or another dry treat that will easily fall out. We need to teach your dog that rolling the Kong around and playing with it makes food appear! Supervise your dog closely in the beginning so you can make sure they aren’t going to eat the rubber Kong, too! Pick it up and put it away once the food is gone.

    After 3 to 5 sessions, your dog should get pretty excited when they see the Kong. Now, you’re ready to make it a little bit harder! Smear something goopy that your dog loves (like peanut butter) on the inside of the Kong, then add the Kibbles so they get stuck to the side! Now your dog has to use their tongue to get the goodies out, not just rolling the Kong around.

    Once your dog gets the hang of that, you can start adding more food to the Kong and freezing it for short periods of time. For now, we don’t want it totally frozen. We want it to be just a little bit harder to get the food out. If we make it too hard, our dogs will give up and the fun is over.

    After a couple of weeks, your dog should be a Kong expert! My favorite way to stuff a Kong is to mix my dog’s normal kibble with some soaked Sojos (dehydrated raw food) inside the Kong. I then cover the big hole with a layer of yogurt and freeze overnight! The yogurt plug is super yummy, and takes 5 minutes or more for him to work through! By the time he gets to the Sojos and Kibble, they have softened enough that he can get his tongue in to work getting them out.

    A well packed Kong can take a dog 15 to 20 minutes to eat! That’s 20 minutes you don’t have to worry about them getting into the Christmas tree It is also mentally and physically tiring! Many dogs are content to settle down for a nap after finishing their Kong.