KONG is one of the most famous brands in the world of dog toys, largely known for their big red snowman-style toy, the Classic KONG!
The KONG Classic functions as an all-in-one dog toy; it can be used as a ball for a game of fetch, it’s durable enough to be used as a chew toy, and it can be filled with food and used as a puzzle feeder.
This is a sponsored placement, in which an advertiser pays a fee to be featured in this article. Learn more
One of the most popular ways to use a KONG is to stuff it with food and let your dog mow down.
Why Stuffed KONGs Rule
Many owners testify to the tremendous power of a stuffed KONG that’s packed with food for your pup. But why exactly are stuffed KONGs so fantastic?
A stuffed Kong can:
- Keep your dog busy and occupied when you’re doing chores around the house
- Slow down a dog’s eating and prevent him from gulping down his food (which can result in dangerous bloat)
- Provide important mental stimulation and add enrichment to your dog’s day. Dogs don’t like to be bored – if you don’t give them something to do, they’ll create their own fun (like chewing your coffee table legs)
- Help ease [mild cases of] separation anxiety when you leave the house. Giving a stuffed KONG to your pup when you depart can distract him from your absence and can create a positive association around alone time. Just note that this won’t work for severe separation anxiety, as those dogs will be too panicked and frightened to eat at all.
- Manage problem behaviors and help your dog chill out. If you have a dog with overarousal issues who gets amped up at the drop of a hat, you can incorporate stuffed KONGs throughout the day during times when you know your dog will struggle. Licking is a very soothing activity for dogs, and a tasty KONG can be just the thing to help your pup calm down.
Stuffing a KONG is easy! Just shove the food in and seal the top hole with a thick sealant (ex. peanut butter) to ensure that the goodies you’ve stuffed inside don’t fall out.
6 Simple Stuffed KONG Recipes
Let’s go over a few tried-and-true stuffed KONG recipes you can give your pup to enjoy!
Recipe #1: The Greenhorn Beginner
For your first KONG session with your dog, keep it simple by just putting some kibble in the toy and letting your dog knock out the goodies.
This is the easiest way for your dog to learn that the KONG means things are about to get tasty!
Once your dog has gotten curious about the KONG, you can start experimenting with different KONG recipes, like the next recipe on our list.
Recipe #2: The Classic KONG
The Classic KONG recipe is a great introduction into the world of stuffed KONGs! The easiest way to stuff a KONG for your dog’s enjoyment is to:
- Stuff the inside capsule with kibble
- Seal the top large hole with a layer of dog-safe peanut butter. Another option, which I tend to prefer, is to fill up ⅔ of the KONG with kibble and stuff the last ⅓ with wet dog food, which also functions at a top sealant.
If you’re squeamish about a messy floor, this recipe is probably the least messy option since you can make it with just kibble and peanut butter, which is firmer than most of the other stuffable ingredients we’ll detail in other recipes.
However, the wetter, messier recipes tend to be what your dog will really go bananas for. If you don’t want KONG drippings all over your carpet, just gate your dog off in the kitchen while they enjoy their stuffed KONG. Then everybody wins!
Recipe #3: The Parfait
With the KONG parfait recipe, you’ll load up different layers of tasty noms for your dog to enjoy!
For example, I might construct a KONG parfait as follows:
- Layer of kibble
- Layer of greek yogurt
- Layer of chunky dog food
- Another layer of kibble
- Top layer of canned pumpkin (which also seals the top hole)
You can make a KONG parfait with any dog-friendly ingredients, so have fun experimenting! You can even load a KONG toy up with some dinner leftovers like mashed potatoes, so long as they’re dog safe.
Recipe #4: Kibble Stew
For the Kibble Stew, you’ll fill up your Kong with kibble, like you would in our KONG Classic recipe.
But before you seal the top, pour in some low-sodium beef broth and then freeze overnight! The beef broth will soften the kibble and cause it to expand for a tasty stew-style meal.
To start with this recipe, you’ll want to put a straw through the KONG. You see, the small hole at the bottom is designed to prevent a dangerous suction from happening which can suck in your dog’s tongue.
This isn’t usually an issue for most KONGs, since there is usually natural air flow, but when using liquid like beef broth, it’s best to use a straw to keep an open stream of air.
Once the KONG is frozen, you can remove the straw.
For stuffed KONGs with liquid ingredients, I’ll usually store the KONG upright in an empty dog food can to prevent any messes.
Alternatively, you can soak the kibble in your beef broth mixture and, once the kibble has expanded, pour the soggy kibble into the KONG and freeze as usual.
Recipe #5: Healthy KONG
Maybe your pup is on a diet, or you’re looking for a lower calorie option that won’t take away from dinnertime.
For a healthy KONG, try layering frozen green beans, chopped carrots, and chopped sweet potatoes. I’d also suggest adding some beef broth or apple sauce to get it all nice and wet if you plan on freezing it.
Other great ingredients for stuffing a healthy KONG are:
- no-sugar added applesauce
- cottage cheese
- canned tuna
- cooked brown rice
Recipe #6: Bully Bonus
Another popular variation on a standard KONG recipe is to load up a kong ⅔ of the way up and then shove a bully stick through the middle of the hole for a lollipop looking design!
This is a fun treat to give your dog when you’re looking to keep them occupied for a longer period of time. If you freeze a loaded KONG with a bully stick inside, between licking up the frozen food and gnawing on the bully stick, your dog should be kept nice and busy for quite some time!
Plus, adding a handle to the KONG can make it a bit easier for your dog to pick up and handle. If your dog seems to be struggling, try adding a bully stick handle or any other long protrusion like a carrot or celery stick.
More Complicated KONG Filling Meals
- Doggie Dinner: 1/2 ground meat (chicken, turkey, hamburger) with 1/2 grain (potatoes, brown rice, cooked oatmeal, or crumbled wheat bread). Add a spoonful of kidney beans and grated raw or lightly steamed veggies.
- Breakfast of Champions: 1 Scrambled egg with chopped tomatoes and grated or steamed bell peppers. Seal with chunk of cheese.
- Fido Fruit Salad: Fill KONG 2/3 with chopped apples, bananas, and melon. Hold KONG upside down and add cottage cheese or yogurt for dogs (plain – not artificially sweetened, which can be toxic for dogs) until full. Lastly, add a marshmallow!
- Puppy Pumpkin Pie: Spoon some cooked oatmeal in to seal the hole. Add two spoonfuls of canned pumpkin puree. Next, add a spoonful of yogurt or cottage cheese. Continue layering until full. Then add some pieces of graham cracker into the end of the KONG hole.
You can basically stuff the KONG with anything (besides foods that are hazardous for canines). Just seal off the top hole with peanut butter or cream cheese (something thick).
Stuffing a KONG dog toy, along with other treat dispensing dog toys, is a great way to keep your dog happy and occupied. They are an especially good idea when you plan on leaving your dog home alone all day while at work.
Stuffed Kong Hacks & Tips for Longest-Lasting KONGs
- Freeze it. Freeze your filled KONG overnight and your dog will be licking at it all day! Whenever I can freeze a stuffed KONG, I almost always do. They last 5x longer! Try to incorporate more wet or liquid ingredients into your stuffed KONGs to ensure they’ll freeze well.
- Try a Chew Cap. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get more canine engagement out of your KONG, the KONG company makes these nifty chew caps (officially called KONG Marathons) that can help keep your dog occupied. This is an easy way to upgrade any standard stuffed KONG into a long-lasting recipe.
- Need Something Tougher? Try the Extreme KONG. Afraid your tough chewer will decimate a standard KONG? Try the Black Extreme KONG for extra chew-proof power.
- Avoid Messes. Want an easier way to seal the top of your KONG? Try KONG Stuff N’ Spread, which are squeezable tubes of dog-friendly fillings you can use to quickly seal up a kong without making a mess.
- Make it Fancy. If you’re feeling a bit extra, seal the top of your stuffed KONG with a treat!
- Turn it Into a Crate Training Game. Create positive associations around your dog’s crate by giving them a frozen KONG to nom on while they’re chilling in the crate.
- Hide the Kong. Hide your KONG toy in different spots around the house for your dog to hunt down and find for a fun scavenger hunt game that incorporates some nosework!
- Use larger pieces of food. Try wedging larger pieces of fruit, veggies, or large dog biscuits into the KONG opening.
Remy and I are big fans of KONG Club. It’s a pretty epic deal – you get several KONG toys with each box (with each toy normally retailing for $15 – $25), so it’s pretty awesome in terms of value.
Plus, Remy looks dapper as heck in his monthly-themed bandana.
We have a full video review below if you want to learn more (although since we initially made this video, Kong Club has actually added even more to their membership, so it’s a bit outdated).
Ultimate List of Dog-Safe KONG Stuffable Ingredients
- Squeeze cheese
- String cheese
- Ricotta cheese
- Cottage cheese
- Apple slices
- Watermelon (seedless)
- Cooked rice
- Flax seed
- Mashed potatoes
- Green beans
- Pumpkin (canned)
- Sweet potato
- Dehydrated dog food
- Canned wet food
- Canned tuna
- Canned sardines
- Canned salmon
- Canned chicken
- Cat food
- Cooked ground meat
- Meat pate
- Baby food
- Broth (low sodium)
- Hard boiled eggs
- Peanut butter
- Other nut butters
KONG Sizes and Types
The Classic KONG comes in several sizes and varieties. We’ll discuss the different KONG size options below!
- X-Small: Up to 5 lbs
- Small: up to 20 lbs
- Medium: 15 – 35 lbs
- Large: 30 – 65 lbs
- X-Large: 60 – 80 lbs
- XX-Large: +85 lbs
KONG also provides their KONG Classic in a puppy version and senior version, which offer softer rubber that is gentler on teeth. They also have a KONG Extreme option with KONG’s famous black rubber, designed to withstand extra tough chewers!
When you can freeze a KONG, I highly recommend you do.
Freezing a stuffed KONG makes the Kong last much longer. Plus, the licking motion is relaxing and self-soothing for your pooch.
For a frozen KONG-sicle treat:
1. Put a straw through the KONG to ensure that a pocket of air can travel through the KONG and that the smaller hole doesn’t get completely sealed. This will prevent an air pocket from forming that can suction your dog’s tongue into the KONG and get him stuck, which is very dangerous.
As long as your KONG is loosely packed, you’ll probably be fine. However, when using liquid ingredients like beef broth, you’ll want to ensure there’s an open air stream through the KONG.
2. Turn the KONG upside down and place it in a mug (or empty wet dog food can), with the large hole facing up. This will ensure that any wet or liquid ingredients you used don’t make a mess of your freezer!
3. Fill the KONG with broth. You can use low-sodium chicken or beef broth, then insert the mug with the KONG into the freezer. Just check the ingredients to ensure there aren’t any nasty additives that could hurt your dog. We’d also suggest watering down the beef broth to keep the sodium levels down.
4. Leave the KONG overnight in the freezer to harden. I often make a batch of KONGs and freeze them all for the week.
5. Take out the frozen KONG. If you used a straw, you can now remove it, leaving a clear air hole to avoid any chance of suctioning. Give it to your dog and let him nom it down!
Other KONG Feeding Toys
The Classic KONG isn’t KONG’s only toy that works great for feeding time fun. Other great KONG toys include:
The KONG Stuff-A-Ball features slotted ridges positioned all around the toy. These slots can be filled with Cheese Wiz, peanut butter, or any other spread. The rubber wedges work double duty as they clean your dog’s teeth too!
The Stuff-A-Ball also has a hole in the middle that can be filled with a bully stick, carrot, or KONG Ziggies.
In our house we’re pretty obsessed with the KONG Wobbler. Stuffed KONGs are awesome, but there will always be some days when I’ve run out of KONGs or didn’t prep enough the night before.
The KONG Wobbler is a real winner because you don’t need to use anything besides your dog’s standard kibble. Just screw off the cap, dump in the kibble, and watch your dog knock and roll the weighted KONG Wobbler around to dislodge the food.
It’s also smart to give your dog chew toys (like bully sticks or elk antler chews) that will take them some time to go through – having something for your dog to do is essential.
If your dog has a mighty mouth, make sure to only seek out dog toys specifically made for aggressive chewers. Luckily, KONG is one of those toys made with tough chewers in mind!
Common Kong Questions
How do you clean a KONG?
You can clean a KONG a few different ways. You can soak it in warm, soapy water and then rinse it out. Or, you can put it in the dishwasher. We recommend both! Start with a soapy warm water soak and then put the KONG in the dishwasher.
If you’re still struggling, try using a baby bottle brush or straw brush to dislodge stuck food particles.
Can KONGs go in the dishwasher?
Yes, KONGs are dishwasher safe!
What has your experience been like with stuffed KONGs? Does your dog love them as much as mine does? Share your stories in the comments!