Foraging Toys are the best way to satisfy dogs and cats natural urge to hunt, chew, problem-solve, and play.
• Relieves boredom
• Reduces anxiety
• Helps with crate training
• Provides physical & intellectual stimulation
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Kong Classic – the #1 toy for puppies and dogs. Made of durable, dishwasher-safe rubber, you can put just about anything in a Kong Classic.
While Kongs are durable they’re not chew-proof. Choose a large-enough size, and always supervise until you’re confident your dog won’t destroy it.
Foraging Toys are the best way to satisfy dogs’ natural urge to hunt, chew, problem-solve, and play. While dogs of any age will benefit, puppies in particular benefit from the use of foraging toys. Feeding puppies out of a bowl is like giving away money instead of having them work for it. Puppies should get most of their food from foraging toys when they’re young (the rest should be from you as training rewards). A puppy might have 4 or more Kongs a day to occupy them. This is the best way to use that wonderful extra puppy energy. For more about this see Ian Dunbar’s book Before & After Getting Your Puppy.
Start simple – Make it easy for your dog to learn the fun of unstuffing a Kong. Fill it with dry food and add a smidge of cream cheese, nut butter, or canned food at the larger opening to entice them to get started. They’ll lick away the canned food and the dry food will fall out (you can even include a couple of dry treats like freeze-dried liver).
As your dog gets the hang of it you can get creative with healthy food and snacks by layering dry, moist, and wet options and even freezing it. Just about anything your dog can eat can be used in a Kong.
Start increasing the difficulty by including some moist food in with the dry food.
For more difficulty include wet food, and for extra difficulty freeze it overnight.
Dry options include basic food, freeze-dried food or treats, and biscuits.
Moist options include soft treats, fruits and vegetables, loaf-type canned foods, raw or cooked meat pieces, scrambled eggs,etc.
Wet options include stew-type canned food, rehydrated foods like The Honest Kitchen (or their Ice Pups), raw food (nuggets are best for this), meat baby food, yogurt or cottage cheese, broth, nut butters, etc.
Kongsicle: Tightly stuff a small piece of cheese or meat in the small end of the Kong. Set the Kong upside down in a cup. Pour in broth or wet food that’s been thinned with water (Ice Pups from The Honest Kitchen works well too). Insert a bully stick or dried fish skin so that it sticks out of the large opening. Freeze, then offer to dog while still frozen.
For an extra-calming variation, use one of these herbal pet products mixed with the meaty broth: The Honest Kitchen Quiet Tea, Herbal Energetics Pet Calm, Animals’ Apawthecary Tranquility Blend.
Some additional ways to use stuffed Kongs:
• to help dogs get used to crates
• Hide them in your yard or around the house
• Use them during your meals to encourage appropriate manners away from the table
• Freeze stuffed kongs for teething puppies. Adding some chamomile tea will help ease the teething process along with the cold chewing.
Dry foraging options We have other options for food foraging toys that are designed to be used with dry food or treats. They vary in degree of difficulty so choose one to match your dog’s interest in food. Most of them come in sizes to suit both large and small dogs.
- Buster Cube
- Kibble Nibble
- Atomic Treat Ball
Remember to supervise the introduction of these toys so you can get an idea about whether your dog will get destructive with the toy if left alone. These are not chew toys, so some dogs will destroy them if left unsupervised for too long.
Cats Can Forage Too Many of the small dog toys can be used with cats. There is also a cat-specific dry foraging toy called Slim Cat.