You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but you can make the most of an old toy with some common food items and a few tasty new recipes.
Rubber toys like those made by Kong feature a hole, or recessed area, where foods can easily be packed in, providing an extra challenge to your dog than just chewing. Getting every last bit requires a bit of technical tongue work and mental stimulation most dogs don’t see during snack time.
If you don’t have any such toys, there’s no better time to try one out. When you’re looking for one, it’s important to always pick a toy larger than you think your dog may need. A toy that a dog can easily chew up and swallow can pose a serious choking hazard. And puppy toys can’t always stand up to adult dog teeth. Most toys include a size recommendation for small, medium, or large dogs, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Always check with your veterinarian if you have questions about foods or toys. But if you’re ready to stuff that toy full of fun foods for your furry friend, here are some recipe ideas to get you started off on the right paw!
Smear a little creamy peanut butter on the inside of your dog’s chew toy and you’ll get a few minutes of fun. Make sure you get it around the deep inner edges of the toy to make the most of its design.
Stick it in the freezer and you’ll find the enjoyment stretches out much longer. You never want to make the challenge impossible, of course, but your dog will enjoy putting in a little extra effort for such a cool treat!
Squeeze in some soft cheese for a protein-packed treat your dog will love. Grab a few crackers while you’re at it, and squeeze some out for yourself. There’s no point in letting your dog snack alone.
Velveeta or Cheese Whiz are soft enough to be melted or squeezed inside a Kong, and will take more than a few tongue twists to clean out. You could also try cheese bites, of course, but keep an eye out for sodium and count those calories.
This fall favorite can be found anywhere canned foods are sold. It keeps a semi-solid consistency when spooned into the holes of a Kong, and can be smeared around the inside of the toy just like cheese or peanut butter.
You’ll want to steer clear of pumpkin pie fillings that may contain sugar, spices, flavorings, and other additives. Get the natural stuff and your pup will be pleased.
Pumpkin is high in fiber and water, so it’s perfect for pets that are suffering from blocked bowels, which occurs more often in older dogs.
There’s no better way to clean out the fridge than by getting your dog to help. Leftovers, provided they’re canine-friendly, can be stuffed into a rubber chew toy just as well.
Stuff the toy full of food and stick a small treat or bone in the large hole of the Kong so your dog gets a little instant gratification, along with a hint as to how the rest of yesterday’s dinner can be extracted.
Watch out for foods that may irritate or upset your pet’s stomach, of course.
Yogurt is a great way to add protein, calcium, zinc, and probiotics to your dog’s diet.
Choose an unflavored and unsweetened brand, fill up your chew toy, and stick it in the freezer. In a few minutes, you’ve got frozen yogurt for a fraction of the cost!
And don’t worry about those sugary toppings, unless you’re talking kibble. Dogs love plain yogurt, and it keeps them healthy. Your dog will enjoy this cool treat on its tongue, while you’ll enjoy keeping boredom, along with stomach issues, infections, and bacterial overgrowth, at bay.
It’s not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of dog treats. Lacking access to a blender and a well-equipped packaging and distribution center, however, baby food provides exceptional value for those looking for versatile and nutritious treats.
Banana and pea purees are excellent options to spoon into your Kong and either freeze, or seal in with a little cheese, peanut butter, or dog food. Another option is to make a slurry of your dog’s normal food and baby food, adding bulk to this treat and keeping your dog feeling fuller longer.
Experiment with different foods and see which your dog prefers, but always check with your veterinarian if you have any questions as to which may be unsafe for your pet.
A low sodium broth shouldn’t be considered a meal replacement by any means, but you can use it as a health supplement and keep your dog hydrated with this recipe.
Plug the small hole of your chew toy with some cheese or peanut butter, fill the cavity of the toy with a little of your dog’s regular food, then pour in the broth to moisten it. Fill the toy with broth and place it in the freezer. It should be ready in about an hour or two.
Opt for a hearty bone broth to get the most nutritional value. The gelatin in the broth is helpful to maintain healthy joints, which all dogs require.
Eggs are a protein-packed food both humans and their dogs can enjoy. An omelette? Even better.
Scramble your eggs and let them cool, then stuff them into a Kong or chew toy with some added yogurt, cheese, and vegetables. You can freeze it for later, or share breakfast with your buddy. This is a treat you and your dog will both enjoy!
Expect your little hound dog to thank you, thank you very much for this one.
Smear the inside of your chew toy with peanut butter. Slice up some banana, mash it together with some cheese and stuff it all in the Kong. You can add some kibble if you want to make more of a meal out of this recipe, and freeze it if you like, but the Elvis Pawsley has enough to get your pup’s tail wagging right away.
Looking for more recipes? Follow the button below to find some dog food options you can do yourself!
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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