Frozen KONGS are a dog’s and dog trainer’s best friend. They are very useful in many situations. They can be used to keep the dog busy, happy and quiet for just about any thing that can come up, whether planned or spur of the moment. If your dog loves KONGS, it is a great way to keep him busy for repair people coming in the house, important meetings, time with your other pets, or when company comes who aren’t really “into” dogs. They can be used when Aunt Millie comes over and you don’t want her to be knocked down, when 22 people are over for Thanksgiving dinner, or just to have an hour to yourself — which if you have a new puppy, you haven’t had in a long time. If you don’t use a crate, any room with a cleanable floor (carpet gets messy) will work. Put a gate up though so he doesn’t drag it all over the house or try to bury it in the couch. You can also use safe, fenced in back yard or deck areas.
Frozen KONGS can help with separation anxiety, chewing issues, getting a dog to love his crate, and many other behavior situations. They are a delight and with a few helpful hints they can make your life with you dog easier. Lhotse (at the right) broke her leg and ate frozen KONGS twice a day in her crate for 8 weeks. When she finished eating, she would roll over and take a long nap with her empty KONG.
The KONG is a hard rubber tubular (kind of) shaped toy with a hollow inside, a small hole on one end and a bigger hole on the other. When stuffed with your dogs favorite foods and then frozen it has the potential to be a 30-90 (depending on the dog) minute feast for your dog. For sensitive teeth or dogs who don’t like the cold part (not many) they can be used fresh, they just don’t last as long.
It’s important to evaluate your dogs chewing habits. Most dogs will not have a problem with Frozen KONGS. A few dogs with veracious chewing habits may not be candidates for KONGS. The process needs to be supervised at the beginning to make sure your dog eats the food and not the KONG.
Your dog may need to get used to good things coming out of the KONG before you freeze it. Start with treats. Fill up the KONG with a few loose pieces of treats and put the KONG on the floor or in his crate. Let him wiggle it around and get the treats out himself. As he learns that only great things come from a KONG, you can gradually start to fill it with foods they have to work to get. Once they learn this, you can freeze the KONG and your dog will put out the effort.
The dog’s meals can also be put into the KONG in lieu of their regular feeding. Please remember whatever you put into the KONG needs to be subtracted from their food plan for the day.
In the beginning it’s important to stuff the KONG with your dog’s very special, important food and treats (high value)
High value food is different for all dogs. Some popular foods include: cream cheese, cheese, liver sausage, meat, peanut butter (no sugar, low fat), bananas. Use foods they already are familiar with and if you expand the menu, do it slowly and sparingly. If you are not using their meal food, these other fatty foods should be used sparingly. Here’s a tip: put something like peanut butter, or cheese in the small hole to block leakage and then just fill it up with goodies.
Please, please, please, watch the calories. I usually just use their meals, then they are not getting all these high caloric treats. They like it just as much, because they like their food, and they don’t gain weight.
KONGS come in many different sizes and styles. As with all toys, make sure you use the appropriate size toys for your dog.
The good news is it can go in the dishwasher, top shelf.
After a while the KONG may need to be replaced, again depending on the dog and how hard he/she chews.
Little Star uses a puppy KONG. Since she turned 10, she has had some dental issues, so we give her the softer KONG to help save her teeth. Also in this situation we take Star’s KONG out of the freezer 1/2 hour before we give it to her. That softens it up for her.
Because of the high value of the KONGS if you have multiple dogs or small children it is imperative to closely supervise the use of KONGS. The dogs will most likely need to be separated.
When I first wrote this article in 2005, KONGS were the thing and then maybe the only thing. Now you can get many different food stuffing toys such as the Buddy Biscuit and many new things on the market. Remember before you buy any toys for your dog, make sure they are safe and have been tested by someone you know and trust or come with the recommendation of your trainer or vet.
Go slow, ease them into it and you will have them jumping for joy and running into their crates every time you give them their “special” look and open the freezer.
Send in your KONG recipes.