Posted in Dog
Sometimes you need a break from playing when your dog is craving more play time. While it is important to spend time playing with your dog, there will always be times where you need to keep your dog busy with toys he can play with on his own. These toys will help you with just those moments.
The most popular type of toy to keep your dog busy is one that holds food or treats. These toys motivate your dog to spend time figuring out how to get food out of the dispenser.
The Kong is one of the most popular dog toys, and for a good reason. It’s a durable rubber toy that you can stuff with food and treats. Most dogs take to this toy really well and will spend hours chewing and licking to get the food inside. If you don’t have any food dispensing toys yet, this is the place to start!
What to put in the Kong? There are so many options, which is what makes this toy so versatile. When you first try out the Kong, use something easy for your dog to get out. Your dog will need to learn first that the toy contains food and second that he can get the food out. It takes a bit of strategy and learning at first. The easiest thing to do is to start by filling it with your dog’s regular kibble. The kibble can easily be shaken out. To make it more motivating, you can also add a few small cubes of cheese as treats.
Once your dog gets used to the toy, start adding food that is a bit more challenging. Peanut butter is a great option that is highly motivating for dogs. You can also try replacing some of your dog’s regular food with wet food and putting it in the Kong. Wet food is excellent nutritionally for your dog, and can provide variety in your dog’s diet in addition to the additional mental stimulation of getting it out of a Kong.
Other more challenging treats to put in a Kong are apple slices, chunks of banana, or baby carrots. The different shapes make it interesting for your dog to get it out of the Kong. Don’t forget you can always use chunks of cooked chicken or beef.
Once your dog has mastered the above, you can get to the real challenge of frozen treats! Fill the Kong with peanut butter, bananas, or anything else listed above and stick it in the freezer. Now the Kong will last extra long!
The Buster Cube is another very popular toy for dogs that like the challenge of a food toy. This toy is meant for dry kibble, so you can put your dog’s dinner in here and make him work to get it. The Buster Cube is very durable and tends to last a long time. It can sometimes be a bit challenging for dogs to figure out at first, but once they do, it’s great entertainment for them!
The Bob-a-Lot has a rounded bottom that bobbles around to dispense food. The difficulty level can be changed as your dog gets better at the game. When your dog is first learning how to use this toy, it’s best to use a high value treat and keep it on the easiest setting. Then you can work up to the most difficult level. It’s made out of hard plastic, so while it is very durable for the average dog, it will not stand up to very heavy chewers.
Tug a Jug
Another great food dispensing toy, the Tug a Jug is a jug that you can put your dog’s kibble in. This toy is a bit more challenging the Bob-a-Lot and Buster Cube toys listed above. The rope will make it challenging for your dog to figure out how to get the food out. If your dog is a heavy chewer, he might chew apart the rope. Without the rope, the toy can be used just as well if you put a tennis ball or a few golf balls inside the jug. When the balls move around it will block the food from coming out and your dog will need to figure it out!
In addition to the food dispensing toys, don’t forget about long-lasting chews! Dogs that love to chew will spend hours working at bones or antlers. While deer antlers or buffalo horns are more expensive than bones, they can last for many months of chewing. They also don’t smell as much as bones do. While the food dispensing toys need to be filled up to be used and shouldn’t be kept out all the time, antlers or horns can be kept out for your dog to chew on at any time.