4.05.2014

Pro-Tip: DIY Kong Case

I can't  say it enough: food toys and puzzle games are mandatory for our urban dogs. Dogs who roam freely spend upwards of 85% of their day just looking for food, according to Dr. Nicholas Dodman at Tufts. That's a lot more time devoted to a job than anything most of our pet dogs experience. Most dogs just hang out, barking at the neighbors all day. They need something to keep them busy.

Most dogs prefer to eat in 30 seconds flat after the food hits the bottom of the dish. By the time you put the bag of dog food away, they are looking at you expectantly, as if to say "That would have been delicious if I took the time to taste it. Now what do we do!?! ADVENTURES!"

Having a dog eat out of a puzzle toy is the easiest thing to stave off boredom, and keep them busy for 10 minutes while you take a shower, or prepare to leave for work.

I always advise my students to go through the following routine:
-Buy 6-8 Kongs
-Fill them once a week with a mix of their Kibble and yogurt (or peanut butter, cream cheese, soft dog food, or something palatable/soft to mix with the kibble).
-Stuff the Kong and put in the freezer.
-Give dog the Kong at breakfast, dinner or as a goodie to distract from jumping on company.

The problem with this comes in two forms.
1. If the Kong is just hanging out in the freezer, the soft substance goops up the freezer, because it leaks during the freezing process.
2. If you try to put these in a bag first, they don't get quite as frozen, and your hands get yucky when you remove the Kong from the bag.

Instead, the next time you make a 12 egg omelet, save the carton. Put the egg carton on the inside of the freezer door, and put the stuffed Kongs pointy end down into the egg cartons. The cardboard (or Styrofoam) will catch all the goopy stuff you don't want to clean out in a year, and the Kongs get solidly frozen.

Viola!


Let me know what you think, and what you have used to help your dog stay busy! There are thousands of puzzle toys out there. Even just sprinkling kibble in a clean back yard (no pesticides, cocoa mulch, or other poisonous substances should be around!) can give a more sedentary dog a little break from the monotony of eating out of a food dish.