Kong Stuffing may seem pretty straight forward, but there's many common questions that I get on the subject. Believe it or not, many of us encounter the same issues when it comes to our enrichment toys. Here are a list of FAQs I get on Kong and Enrichment Stuffing:
1.) How do you clean your Kongs & toys?
I soak mine in warm, soapy water and use a spare toothbrush to get all the crevices inside – others have recommended the use of a bottle brush as well. I also run mine through the dishwasher (top rack, regular cycle) about once a week. If you have a very powerful dishwasher, I would make sure it’s not put through a high heat wash cycle.
2.) My dog leaves everything at the bottom of their Kong – why is that?
Most of the time this is due to improper sizing. To find out if this is a size issue and not your dog losing interest issue, put a very high value treat (your dog’s absolute favorite thing – think cooked chicken or cheddar cheese) at the very bottom of the Kong, and stuff the rest. If your dog leaves this high value treat at the base, consider sizing down. If they’re a breed with a flatter face or your dog leaves everything in the bottom even with a size change, reference FAQ question #10.
3.) I have a puppy. When can I use all of these ingredients?
I always like to stress how puppy bellies are sensitive and finicky. If you’re stuffing Kongs for puppies, I would keep them extremely plain and not stray too much from their regular diet. For example: Maybe their regular kibble/diet, a tiny bit of natural peanut butter or pumpkin, and a training treat. Or if they have a sensitive tummy: Their own kibble, some cooked white rice, and boiled chicken.
4.) Do you freeze your enrichment toys? Why?
I freeze mine but you by no means have to. I find freezing our enrichment toys helps them last longer for our pups and also contains the mess of the frozen trea
ts. Freezing them can also promote the act of licking, which is proven to help calm your dog. However, non-frozen stuffed toys are great, too!
5.) How do you store your Kongs to freeze? Mine get so messy!
My ultimate game changer has been an upcycled egg carton! I’ve also seen people use spare mugs as well.
6.) I have a flat faced breed, and Kongs are too difficult for them to get food out of. What would you recommend?
The West Paw “Toppl” or West Paw “Tux” are great Kong alternatives for dogs that struggle with Kong toys (both flat faced breeds and non-flat faced breeds alike).
7.) Do you use your Kongs as meals or treats? Do you moderate your dog’s food intake when giving these?
Personally I use mine as treats. I don’t moderate my pup’s meals with these unless I’m giving something extremely high calorie as a generous reward (i.e. something very cheesy for example) but I have two young, very active dogs. This won’t be the case for all dogs (i.e. breeds susceptible to weight gain, older dogs, dogs that are not as active). Always consult your vet if you’re unsure how many calories your pup can handle in a day, and tailor accordingly.
8.) What size Kong and Toppl do you use?
My two girls range from 40-42 lbs and the best fit for them currently is a Large Kong Classic. All Kongs display a size and weight range recommended for them on their packaging, so if you’re unsure, check the packaging or look on Kong’s website for reference. I cannot stress enough how important it is to properly size your Kongs! Any accidents I’ve heard of/ have seen are as a result of improper sizing (i.e. swallowing if too small, or getting caught on the bottom jaw if too big).
As for our Toppl, I use a small for treats and a large for meals. A large Toppl can fit roughly 1 cup of food, and is great for both kibble or raw feeders.
9.) Is it harmful for dogs to have frozen foods?
Frozen enrichment toys usually will not cause an issue as they contain small quantities of frozen food. Done well, your dog will be eating their frozen enrichment treat as it thaws – little by little. However, if you have a “gulper” who would try and swallow something whole, I wouldn’t recommend feeding frozen cubes to your pup. Toys such as properly sized Kongs, Toppls, Soda Pup cans, and the like should cause no issue when frozen.
10.) I tried stuffing my dog’s toys, but he doesn’t seem motivated by them?
This could be one of two things. #1: Are you using ingredients your dog genuinely enjoys? Take a muffin tin and place various dog safe ingredients in each tin, chopped. Place this in front of your dog. What does he go for first? What does he not touch at all? This can be great information to have when stuffing your toys. #2: Certain dogs are not food motivated, and enrichment toy stuffing is not as likely to get them going as much as a flirt pole or ball pit. Some dogs prefer play or sensory enrichment over food enrichment, and that’s okay too!
Have any questions for us regarding stuffing and the like? Send us any through Instagram DM, or via email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org!