Stuffable toys are a major part of any dog’s life. Well they should be. They present a great opportunity for our dogs to learn many self-rewarding behaviours whilst having a good workout. They fall into the category of food-based enrichment but your dog is also experiencing cognitive, sensory and environmental enrichment. Stuffables are a great canine enrichment activity.
Using a stuffable will help teach your dog how to settle and soothe themselves. It will encourage them to lap and chew which they find very relaxing and stress relieving. It can slow down eating and make mealtimes last a lot longer. We love them, they’re great.
What dog toys are suitable for stuffing?
Many different types of dog toys are stuffable. Popular ones are Kongs, K9 Connectables, Snakes and Zogoflex Toppls. You can also use large hollow bones, apples and wafer ice cream cones if you don’t have toys. I’ve put a table of good stuffable toys at the end of this article.
It’s useful to have at least 3 or 4 so you can rotate them and keep things interesting for your dog. Also in the summer you can freeze a batch of stuffables ready to give your dog plenty of cooling summer fun.
How many stuffable toys do I need?
By using a different toy each time and changing the fillings your dog can enjoy each game afresh and have to develop different techniques to solve the puzzles. Working out how to get the food out will help your dog develop their skills in manipulating the toy and improve their dexterity. If you ever wondered what the purpose of dew claws are, you’ll see their dew claws come into action here.
Using stuffables in your day to day dog life
When giving a stuffable to your dog make sure that they have a safe space to enjoy it. This can be on a mat if you are using the stuffable for teaching them to settle. Or in their crate. Or it could just be a quiet area in the kitchen where they won’t be disturbed by other pets or members of the household.
If this is the first time you have given a stuffable to your dog then make sure you use a loose filling ( so not peanut butter) that is super tasty ( a high value reward) so that they can get the hang of licking it out without getting frustrated.
Once your dog has got the hang of it, stuffables can form part of their daily life and can be really useful in managing and redirecting behaviours. Stuffables can be given after a stressful or exciting event, like training sessions, after a walk, or when visitors arrive in your home.
How to make stuffable fillings
Making stuffables is an activity that all the family can join in with. Kids especially love to invent new filling combinations from the list of suitable ingredients you give them. (Remember to supervise your children at all times with your pets). Stuffables don’t take long to make ( about 10-15 minutes) and you can make batch and freeze them for later.
15 Stuffable recipes for you to make
1. Apple & Yogurt Dog Treats from Irresistible Pets
5. Candy Corn from Caleb at KONG Company
4. Butternut Squash Baby Food from Brooklyn Farm Girl
7. Earth Day from Barkley at KONG Company
8. Healthy Turkey Loaf from Skinny Ms.
9. Homemade Dog Treats Toy Recipe from Not Quite Susie
10. Homemade Pumpkin & Banana Filler from Miss Molly Says
11. Make-Ahead Doggie Stew from Skinny Ms.
12. Peanut Butter Bone Filling from Pretty Fluffy
13. Pumpkin Spice Dog Treats from Irresistible Pets
14. Strawberry & Coconut Oil Frozen Dog Treats from Pretty Fluffy
15 Sweet Potato Puree from Healthy Little Foodies
15. Apple Puree from Healthy Little Foodies
6. Coconut Whipped Cream from Minimalist Baker
Always read the ingredient labels and check for additions that may be harmful to dogs like xylitol which is a sweetener often added to peanut butters.
How to fill a kong
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