Kongs are one of the dog toys that every dog parent should know about. These stuffable rubber toys are perfect for all stages of your dog’s life, from puppies to senior dogs! Kongs come in a variety of styles. I’ve always bought the regular sized red Kong and they’ve worked well for my labradors for the last 15 years. There’s also a Kong for puppies, or if your dog is a tough chewer, you can pick up the extreme version.
Creative Kong Stuffing Ideas + Hacks
Over the past 20 years of raising labradors, I’ve come up with some creative Kong stuffing ideas! In this post I’ll share five ideas to mix up your Kong routine. From how to stuff a Kong with peanut butter without the mess to how to make a Kong more challenging for your dog!
Plug the Hole in a Kong with Coconut Oil
This is the first Kong stuffing idea I want to share because it’s a game-changer! I love to make frozen stuffed Kongs with bone broth or some other kind of liquid… but it all runs right out of that hole in the bottom! For so long I tried to plug the hole from the inside with a treat but that never really worked. Then I thought of this hack!
I fill the small hole on the bottom of our Kong with coconut oil and pre-freeze it before filling with my favorite Kong stuffing recipe and topping off with water or bone broth. Why coconut oil? First, coconut oil is really healthy for your dog! As soon as they start licking it, it will melt quickly which opens up that hole at the bottom to prevent a suction vacuum when your dogs works on the other end (yes, that’s a thing!).
I also like coconut oil for this (instead of peanut butter) because it’s clear. No matter how many great places there are to relax and enjoy a Kong in our house, my dogs like to sit on the carpet. This way I don’t get any peanut butter stains on my rugs.
How to Make Frozen Stuffed Kongs in a Bread Pan
When it comes to my work I’m big on batching tasks to be more productive. Did you know that batching works with Kongs too? As our Kong collection grows I like to stuff them all at once and keep them in the freezer for a week’s worth of afternoon treats.
I mentioned in the previous hack that I love adding water or bone broth to frozen stuffed Kongs to make them last longer! I needed to figure out a way to freeze them standing up. It turns out a bread loaf pan perfectly holds 6 Kongs (or 4 Kongs and a West Paw Toppl!).
Don’t have a loaf pan? Stumps & Rumps likes to use a muffin tin and Bindi’s Bucket List recommends an egg carton! See… There’s nothing to stop you from making a bunch of frozen Kongs upright together!
Use a Piping Bag to Stuff a Kong with Peanut Butter
Don’t fall for the Kong spray filler, you can make your own using more affordable ingredients (with fewer additives)! The Kong spray filler costs about $7-9 for an 8oz can, but you can buy a huge 40oz jar of xylitol-free natural peanut butter for under $6 at Target!
But what if you still want the mess-free stuffing technique that comes with the can? Let me tell you how to stuff a Kong with peanut butter without the mess. Use a zip lock bag (or honestly, any plastic bag will work!) and scoop in enough peanut butter to stuff your Kongs. Snip off a little corner of the bag and pipe the peanut butter into your Kong!
You can also do us this Kong stuffing idea with plain yogurt. Try mixing up your ingredients and using more than just peanut butter. I have tons of Kong filling ideas in this post!
Hide a Kong in a Box or Container to Give Your Dog a Puzzle
Is your dog a Kong pro? It’s important to give our dogs variety so they don’t get bored with their routine. I know your dog won’t get tired of peanut butter filled Kongs, but wait until you see how engaged and satisfied they are then you mix it up a little bit. You can do that by changing your stuffing ingredients (I have tons of great ideas in this blog post).
Or, you can mix it up by changing how you present a Kong to your dog. Once a week or so, I like to hide my dog’s Kong in a small cardboard box or a large yogurt container with a lid (the Fage ones work great for this!). I was inspired to do this after I saw how much my dogs love the busy box enrichment puzzles I make for them.
When you give your dog a Kong hidden in another container, make sure to supervise them taking it apart and immediately remove any small pieces of the container that may get ripped off.
If your dog has a hard time figuring this out at first, you can poke holes in the yogurt container lid so they can smell the tasty kong filling inside. If you’re using a cardboard box, you can start with the box top open and work up to folding the top down.
How to Wash a Kong to Make it Last Longer
A lot of people will tell you that you can clean your puppy’s Kong on the top shelf of the dishwasher. But I don’t recommend it. The dishwasher gets extremely hot and since Kongs are made of natural rubber, they can dry out. You shouldn’t expose any natural rubber toys to extreme heat, so that’s why I avoid the dishwasher.
Instead, I handwash my dog’s Kong toys. Just put them in a bowl of warm water with some non-toxic dish soap and let them soak for 5-10 minutes. The crusty dried up gunk at the bottom of Kong can be so difficult to get out!
Here’s a few tricks to get your Kongs really clean:
– Get a little warm soapy water in the Kong, then cover the holes on both ends with your hands and shake!! That will loosen up a lot of the dried gunk inside.
– Next, use the dull end of a wooden skewer to poke around and scrape out any gunk that’s left
– And last, use a tiny scrub brush (this one of for cleaning reusable drinking straws) and swish it around the hole and inside of the Kong
If you need a deep clean, your Kongs (and other rubber toys like the West Paw Toppl) can be soaked in bowl full of warm water and a dash of white vinegar. Let them soak for about 10 minutes then wipe clean and rinse well.
I made a TikTok video of how to wash your Kong by hand like a pro! Watch it below.
More Kong Stuffing Ideas and Recipes
What can you use as a healthy Kong filling? One of the best things is that you can stuff a Kong with whatever you have available. Be creative! For my two labradors, I’ll often use peanut butter, plain greek yogurt, pumpkin puree, treats, kibble, carrots, apples, chews, jerky, etc.
Check out my other blog post with tons of healthy Kong stuffing recipes. They’re all Labrador approved!