Healthy Dog Treats for Kong's apples, chicken, carrots
Facebook
Google+
Twitter
LinkedIn

Healthy Dog Treats for Kong’s Interactive Chew Toys

What are Kong's?

Kong’s are a wonderful way to engage your dog both mentally and physically. Kong’s, when stuffed correctly, can keep your dog occupied for up to 45 minutes! 

While your dog is attentively chewing and licking their Kong they are simultaneously wearing themselves out. With the intense concentration on removing every last bit of stuffing they are releasing pent up energy and excitement. Leaving you with a happy and content dog in the end. 

There is an unlimited amount of different food, snacks, and tasty treats you can stuff inside the Kong for your dog but is every option a healthy one? Let’s discuss some basics about Kong’s before we jump into the healthy dog treats for Kong’s. 

Selecting a Kong chew toy

Selecting Kong toys is as easy as heading down to the pet supply store and picking some out. You can also easily purchase them at online retailers like Amazon, Chewy.com, Petsmart and even Wal-mart. There are some important details to keep in mind before purchasing the first Kong you find. 

Go one size bigger

For one thing Kong toys don’t hold as much as you think they do.

A good rule of thumb is to pick up the one that looks right and then buy the next size up.

Additionally dogs will give up out of frustration if they struggle getting the treats out. One size up will make for a bigger stuffing hole allowing the treats to fall out more easily. This will ensure your dog buys into the whole Kong idea from the get go.

Buy multiple Kong's for back-up

That leads us to the second point, don’t buy just one Kong. Get four at the minimum, that way you have them on reserve so you can fill, use, wash and rotate them. 

Otherwise if you’re not paying attention you’ll get caught without one ready when you need it.

Healthy Dog Treats for Kong's different toy

Different types of Kong toys

There are plenty of options when selecting a Kong toy. There are also many other brands similar to the Kong and work just as well. Some of the most used types are the red classic Kong, the black Kong for super chewers and other various colors.

The classic red Kong

The red classic is the standard Kong’s you find in most dog owner’s homes. They Come in various sizes from small to extra large. 

The black Kong for super chewers

While the black Kong is intended for more aggressive chewers they can be used by any dog. Their one downfall is being black, which makes it difficult to find if they get pushed under the couch or table. 

Various colored Kongs

You may come across Kong’s in various colors such as pink, blue or green. These have the same quality and durability as the classic red, just in a different color.

Other types of Kong toys

There are several types of Kong toys available on the market. The Petsafe squirrel dude is a popular alternative. The Kong biscuit ball is great for playing fetch and stuffing with dog food as well. 

Healthy Dog Treats for Kong's

Healthy Dog Treats for Kong's top 6

Our top 6 healthy dog treats for Kong's

There are plenty of options when selecting a Kong toy. There are also many other brands similar to the Kong and work just as well. Some of the most used types are the red classic Kong, the black Kong for super chewers and other various colors. 

All dogs are different. Some may have allergic reactions to certain dog foods and human foods. Be sure and monitor your dog closely when introducing them to new foods. We check petmd.com before feeding our dogs any human foods. If you’re dog does have an allergic reaction contact your vet immediately.

#1 Chopped Apples

Healthy Dog Treats for Kong's applesChopped apples are fantastic, affordable, healthy and low calorie treats for dogs. They are packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and dietary fiber. They also help to keep your dog’s teeth clean along with acting as a breath freshener. 

Apples are great treats for all dogs. They are low in protein and fat so if you have a senior dog or a dog prone to certain illnesses that need to limit their protein intake, apples are a great substitute to high protein snacks. 

Be sure not to feed the core or seeds to your dog. Be sure to remove the seeds and core and cut the apple up into roughly 1″ by 1″ squares. You don’t want them to easily fall out while at the same time you don’t want them too big preventing your dog from getting the apple chunks out. 

#2 Chopped Carrots

Healthy Dog Treats for Kong's carrotsChopped carrots are another tasty and nutritious treat for dogs. Carrots for dog’s are a great source of fiber, antioxidants and vitamin A. 

The crunchiness of a uncooked raw carrot is a great way to make your dog’s teeth stronger and slow down the progression of dental disease. We feed our dog’s at least 1 carrot a day each and their teeth are pearl white. 

They are a low calorie food but high in carbohydrates. It is not recommended to over feed your dog carrots. The same rule applies to all healthy foods though, too much of a good thing can be bad, even health food.

When using carrots as a healthy dog treat for Kong’s you want to ensure your dog can get them out. Don’t cut them so big that it is impossible for even you to get out. If you do happen to get a carrot lodged in the Kong too tight a pair of needle nose pliers will get it out. 

#3 Flavored ice cubes

healthy dog treats to stuff in kongs ice cubesFreezing some chicken broth, mashed up fruit or vegetables, dog food or a combination of all three is a great way to fill your dog’s Kong with healthy treats. 

You’ll want to make sure the ice cube tray has holes small enough to freeze treats that will fit inside the Kong. Some ice cube trays have square or odd shaped holes which won’t allow you to fit inside the Kong. 

Having multiple trays will allow you to make multiple treats in one sitting. 

We fill the trays with mashed banana, yogurt and peanut butter and let them sit in the freezer until we’re ready for them. 

We typically give these treats to our dogs when we have company over at the house. They want nothing to do with our guests when they have the frozen tasty treats to distract them.

You can also stick plain ice cubes in the Kong and see if your dog is interested in that. Our oldest dog Daisy likes them but the other two are not interested unless there is some flavor. 

#4 Cooked Chicken

healthy dog treats for kong's cooked chickenStuffing cooked chicken into your dog’s Kong is one of the best options to keep your dog distracted and busy. This can get a little messy if your not careful but it is well worth it and a great alternative to store bought dog treats.

Chicken is high in protein and low in fat. It can be used as a meal replacement for dogs if you ever run out of dog food. It is not recommended to give your dog chicken as a meal replacement regularly but does work great as a snack.  

Make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked and not seasoned. It has to be cooked at a temperature suitable for humans to eat so 165 degrees. 

Whenever we have chicken for dinner we cook extra for our dogs in a separate pan making sure we don’t season it. We also cook extra salmon for them when we have that for dinner too. Our dogs are  spoiled rotten, we know. 

#5 Turkey jerky

healthy dog treats for kong's turkey jerky cutsYou may find yourself ill prepared to give your dogs a fresh carrot, apple or chicken. In case we ever run out of healthy natural treats we keep a bag of Nudges jerky cuts in the dog closet.

We don’t often feed our dogs store bought treats and snacks but when we do we look for the MADE IN USA label prominently displayed on the package.

After dissecting and reading numerous dog treat packages in hopes to find the healthiest option, we’ve deemed the Nudges brand jerky cuts worthy. It is made from 100% all natural chicken and made in the USA. There is no corn, soy,wheat or artificial preservatives in the jerky. 

100% Made in USA Jerky Treats

  • USA chicken is the #1 ingredient.
  • No animal by-products
  • No soy, wheat, corn or artificial preservatives.
  • Contains ingredients that help support bone and joint health

#6 Dry dog food

healthy treats to put in kon'gs for dogs One of the best healthy dog treats for Kong’s is their own dog food.  You can either freeze their food it or stuff it with other healthy snacks to keep from falling out. We like to add a little bit of their food with each just to make it more fun for them. 

If you want to only put your dog’s food in the Kong consider getting the Kong wobbler treat and food dispensing toy. That allows you to put small kibble in and unlike the classic Kong has a small hole that will hold the food in better. 

Using Kong's to feed regular meals

When we first start chew toy training our dogs they simply take their meals from the toy. A bowl is nice and convenient but in these stages it’s a waste of opportunity. Save the bowl for down the road after we’ve got them hooked on their Kong. 

When you take a loaded Kong out of the freezer place a dollop of something easy and tasty to start with over the big hole. Just smear some peanut butter, some plain yogurt or some cream cheese over it. 

Feed them their Kong meals in a crate or on a bed, same place every time, routines are the backbone of training. As the dog works at it, the Kong thaws fairly quickly and food starts to fall out. The more they work the more food they get. 

This is a self rewarding activity that doubles as auto training because your dog’s practically training himself at this point. All you did was engineer it to work and set it up right from the get-go which is conditioning the dog to love being by itself. 

Chewing and eating at the same time releases a payload of endorphins into their brain like a huge pleasure bomb. As we progress as your puppy gets older or your adult dog picks up the skill we can go back to using the bowl and keep the food filled Kong as the ace up your sleeve.

The #1 reason to get a Kong?

The number reason to get a Kong is that it helps teach your dog to be alone. This one thing in turn solves a bunch of other problems. 

Boredom, which always leads to mischief. 

Barking incessantly while you’re away, your neighbors will definitely appreciate this. 

Destructive chewing such as your table legs and futon cushions. 

Raiding the trash and bigger problems like isolation distress, which is commonly mistaken for separation anxiety. 

And of course true separation anxiety, which can be debilitating for a dog. 

Using a Kong to help train your dog

Training with an interactive toy like a Kong will help you calm your dog down and get them focused for training. It will also make going to their crate or outside a fun task since they have something to do. Crate training and potty training: For both puppies and newly adopted adult dogs attaching rope to a Kong gives you more options.

Feed a string or rope through the small hole, knot it and pull it tight. When you fill the Kong with treats the rope will be frozen in place. Once the toy and the food is frozen solid it can be tied to the inside of crates for crate training. It can also be tied to trees in the yard for summer fun. 

Conclusion

Lots of possibilities open up once you got your dog hooked on a Kong. Stuffing the Kong won’t do all of these things by itself you do need to have some regular chew toys available and you do need to interact with your dog in other constructive ways. 

As you can see the benefits and functions of a Kong is extensive. When stuffing your dog’s Kong considering using healthy dog treats for Kong’s instead of just dog treats. Properly stuffed Kong’s  will act as a force multiplier and help you get the job done.