Why Healthy Kong Fillers Ideas are Essential
When choosing what to put in a KONG, you want to be mindful of calorie content, especially if you are using the KONG in addition to your Goldendoodle’s meals. This is why I am always looking for healthy KONG filler ideas. I like to stuff the Kong with healthy ingredients that my miniature Goldendoodle Juno loves. Usually, I mix and match several of Juno’s favourite KONG fillers and create yummy and varied KONG recipes for her. I like to pre-stuff a few KONGS and store them in the freezer. This is great for when another KONG requires cleaning or when I want a KONG to last longer. A frozen KONG is also a fun treat on a hot summer’s day – sort of like a popsicle for dogs!
Why I Use a KONG
Like many other dog breeds and mixes, Goldendoodles are extremely smart dogs who require a high level of mental stimulation to keep them satisfied. Without providing them with plenty of canine enrichment, Goldendoodles can become bored and this can lead to destructive behaviours, anxiety, and an unhappy dog. One form of canine enrichment that I like to use with my Goldendoodle Juno is a KONG. A KONG is a rubber toy that helps to satisfy a dogs’ instinctual needs while providing mental stimulation.
To learn more about reasons why I use a KONG with Juno, how to choose the best KONG for your Goldendoodle, and how to clean a Kong, check out Does a Goldendoodle Need a KONG?
Top 10 Healthy KONG Fillers Ideas
1. All-Natural Peanut Butter
I only use all-natural peanut butter, as this way I know it is free from unwanted added ingredients and sugars. All-natural peanut butter only has one ingredient – peanuts! It is important that if you’re using peanut butter that is not all-natural, you check for xylitol. Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol that is often used as a sugar substitute. It is non-toxic to humans but extremely toxic to dogs. If consumed by a dog, the result could be hypoglycemia, seizures, and even liver failure.
If your Goldendoodle has never tried peanut butter before, start with a small amount. Peanut butter is best used as a treat. A small Goldendoodle can be given 1/2 teaspoon twice a day. Medium or large Goldendoodles can have up to a tablespoon, twice a day. All-natural peanut butter is a great occasional high-value treat that contains healthy fats and protein and most Goldendoodles love it!
2. Plain Greek Yogurt
One of Juno’s favourite healthy KONG fillers has got to be plain Greek yogurt. I use plain Greek yogurt in Juno’s KONG because it doesn’t contain any added sugars or artificial ingredients. In addition, it freezes well and adds another flavour to the KONG recipe combination that I am creating. It also contains concentrated levels of probiotics (live cultures of bacteria) which is great for a Goldendoodle’s gut health. Start with a small amount to test whether your Goldendoodle has a dairy intolerance first.
3. Pure Pumpkin
One of Juno’s favourite KONG fillers is pure pumpkin. I buy a big can of it in the baking section of my grocery store, but you could use fresh pumpkin as well. Just be sure to get the pure pumpkin and not the pumpkin pie filling. Pure pumpkin contains healthy nutrients and lots of fibre. A smaller Goldendoodle can be given a teaspoon a day, whereas a larger Goldendoodle can have a tablespoon or two. Make sure your Goldendoodle always has access to clean water, as you want to prevent dehydration with the added fibre in the pumpkin.
4. Sweet Potato
Juno loves sweet potatoes. I buy her dehydrated sweet potato treats as well that she adores. When giving your Goldendoodle sweet potato in their KONG, make sure it is cooked and without skin. Raw sweet potato could cause an intestinal blockage in your Goldendoodle, so avoid serving it raw. Sweet potatoes are low in fat and full of vitamins, antioxidants, and can help aid the immune system and lower the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. The Vitamin A in the sweet potato is great for your Goldendoodle’s eye, hair, and nerve & muscle health. When using sweet potato in the KONG, start with one or two teaspoons. Larger Goldendoodles can have a little extra if they tolerate it well.
Bananas are another healthy KONG filler for your dog. Bananas are high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, fibre, and copper. Use bananas as a treat, as they do have higher natural sugar content. Smaller Goldendoodles can have two or three small pieces a day, whereas a large Goldendoodle can have up to one-half of a banana. Bananas are safe for dogs but many fruits are not. Click here to find out which fruits you should never feed your dog.
6. Dry Kibble or Canned Wet Dog Food
As I mentioned in the introduction, Juno often has one of her meals from a KONG. I fill the KONG with a mix of kibble and some yummy wet food and it keeps her engaged and happy for longer than a boring bowl of dinner would. I usually add in a few dehydrated liver pieces or something else yummy just to keep it interesting for her. Juno gets very excited when she sees me reach for the KONG and watches me closely as I prepare it for her during dinner feedings. Click here to learn about other canine-enrichment methods I use to feed Juno her kibble.
Dog’s can benefit from vegetables in their diet. You have so many choices when considering what vegetables to include in your Goldendoodle’s KONG. Vegetables that are safe and healthy for your dog include potatoes, corn, peas, carrots, zucchini, rutabaga, spinach, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts. Make sure to chop the vegetables small enough that your Goldendoodle will be successful in retrieving them out of the KONG. Avoid onions and mushrooms.
8. Dog Treats
I always have a wide assortment of healthy dog treats in the cupboard for Juno. A variety of treats is useful when I do daily training exercises with her, take her for walks, and of course, she loves it when I include them in her KONG. I try to buy all-natural dog treats, as some are full of unhealthy ingredients that your Goldendoodle simply doesn’t need. I also use homemade treats, which she loves.
9. Lean Meat and Fish
Dogs flourish on high meat diets full of quality proteins that are the building blocks of life. For Juno’s KONG, I stick with leaner meats with greater nutrients like salmon, chicken, and extra lean ground beef. I avoid fatty meats like bacon and processed meats like hot dogs and bologna.
Eggs are a great source of nutrition for your Goldendoodle. They are high in protein, fatty acids, and vitamins. Be sure to only feed your dog cooked eggs, as raw eggs could be exposed to salmonella. Always start out with only a small amount of egg to rule out an egg allergy.
There you have it, Goldendoodle lovers! My top ten favourite healthy KONG fillers that will keep you Goldendoodle happy, engaged, and in great physical and mental shape! Let me know what your Goldendoodle’s favourite KONG filler is in the comments.
Click here for other canine-enrichment feeder ideas for your Goldendoodle.
Discover which KONG is right for your Goldendoodle by clicking here.
Happy Tail Wags. xo
Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.Kinky Friedman