One of my favorite recommendations for all my clients, from puppies to adults (and even cats!), is to incorporate the “Food Puzzle Popsicle” into your home routine! Food puzzle popsicles are easy to make, but can provide your pup with lots of fun 🙂 Read more for information on why you should be making food puzzle popsicles and how important enrichment is for our pets!
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What the heck is a “Food Puzzle Popsicle” and why does my pet need it?
The food puzzle Kong is a perfect “casing” for making long-lasting frozen treats to kick up the enrichment in your pet’s life – enrichment is key to a happy dog and a happy home! Your pet spends a lot of time at home just waiting for you to get done with work or school – and then once you’re home you have chores and homework and television distracting you from your pet. Food puzzle popsicles can help your pet pass the time in a safe and appropriate way, instead of looking for shoes and furniture to chew on instead!
How to Fill a Kong (or other puzzle toys)
Tips for Food Puzzle Popsicle Filling
- Start off by filling the food puzzle toy with food and don’t freeze it! Give it to your pet to lick while it’s still at room temperature. This will help your pet ease into the idea of it and learn quickly that there are plenty of reasons to keep working on the food puzzle. After a couple successful attempts, start putting those food puzzle toys in the freezer!
- Fruits and veggies are fantastic fillers, and throwing a little pumpkin to balance out any cheese or yogurt is always a good idea! Check out this list of foods to avoid (by Lili Chin) when making your popsicles!
- Get organic peanut butter (no xylitol!!), and make sure you get pure pumpkin – not pumpkin pie filling!
- Make one of your dog’s meals the popsicle – use their kibble rations and cut it down a bit to account for the other filler calories.
Ideal Food Puzzles
It’s critical that any food puzzle you use has two holes in it – your pet will be sticking her tongue in the toy to get the good stuff out, and the second hole helps prevent a suction effect that can be incredibly dangerous (and even deadly).
- Kong and Kong Extreme (for power chewers)
- If your dog is tearing up the toy – use a substitute like a trachea, hollowed-out squash (don’t forget the second hole!), or hollow bones for dogs.
Food Puzzle Recipe Ideas
I love keeping PawTree’s Paw Pairings on hand to sprinkle in between layers!
Kong Company has an entire recipe blog of ideas to fill up those food puzzles. Like this one:
Come up with a recipe you want to share? Leave it in the comments below!