Some chew toys used thoughtfully can be a great management tool!
Look for a chew toy that is ...
1. Round - so that your dog will have to use their paw to hold it stationary
2. Hollow - So that you can put yummy stuff in it
3. Two Holes (One on either side) - so you can put yummy stuff in it and their tongues do not get stuck or injured.
Typically dogs or puppies will hold the chew toy in place with their paw or wrist while they work to get access to the yummy stuff you have put inside. In order to gain greater access to the yummy stuff inside, the dog will typically lay down. This encourages your dog to lay down, focus on the chew toy and enjoy the good stuff inside.
It doesn’t get much better than this.
Preparing and giving your puppy or dog a stuffed Chew Toy has many benefits:
Teaching your dog to like chewing a legal object (the Chew Toy) rather than an illegal one (your shoe)!
If given in the crate creates a positive association to the being in the crate.
Helps the puppy or dog learn it is ok to be left alone for short periods of time (very important)
Sooths gums, exercises their jaws & relieves stress
Helps the dog learn to settle
It is critically important to choose the right Chew Toy for your dog.
1. Choose a size that is appropriate for your dog.
2. Choose a durability level that is appropriate for your dog's chew intensity.
Use their kibble to stuff the Chew Toy as to not upset your puppy’s digestion or GI tract. In addition, this will lessen the risk of over feeding your puppy with empty calories. Measure out their next meal and take a portion of it to fill the Chew Toy.
A few bits of kibble will fall out immediately rewarding your puppy for showing interest in the Chew Toy. Your puppy will entertain themselves and eventually may even fall asleep.
Once your puppy knows what to do with the Chew Toy, you can make things more interesting by wedging a small piece of freeze dried liver into one of the openings of the Chew Toy.
You can also soften your puppy's kibble with water and stuff into the Chew Toy. Please the stuffed Chew Toy in the freezer overnight.
Remove the next day and tada ... Kibble-cicle!
You can get more creative with adult dogs!
You can coat the inside of the Kong with honey, plain yogurt, oatmeal, or peanut butter (without Xylitol),
An additional benefit to using honey is that it offers antibacterial activity.
Stuff with a mixture of these yummy items:
Dry kibble Yogurt Small bits of apple
Blueberries Small bits of Chicken Small bits of carrot
Oatmeal Small bits of Cheese Small bits of green bean
Pumpkin Freeze dried liver Their favorite dog treat
Bit of banana Small bits of cooked sweet potatoes
You can also choose to place the stuffed Kong in a baggy, in the freezer for a cool treat on a hot summer day.
Note of Caution: Some of these items may make a mess and you may choose to give the Kong outside where a mess would not cause you frustration. Many dogs are so focused on getting every treat out of the Kong that when they are finished there is very little, if any evidence the Kong was ever stuffed!