Winter is a tough time to have a busy dog. Granted, this winter has been much milder than most here in Portland, but what do you do for dogs that have lots of energy when it’s cold and rainy out? Keep their mouths busy – stuff a Kong! Many people know about stuffing Kongs – those durable red or black rubber toys are great to smear a bit of peanut butter in. However many people don’t get creative enough about their Kong stuffing, and may be wasting a good opportunity to keep a dog busy. <! — more — >The stuffing is only limited to your imagination. Peanut butter with no added sugar or salt is a good stuffing for sure. A bit of cream cheese is often fun. We don’t love the ingredients in the commercial stuffing pastes. However, when you start thinking outside the box, you can really make those Kongs interesting. The best way to really make the Kong work for you is to feed your dog out of it. When you put your dog’s food in a bowl it’s gone in a few moments, but if you stuff it into the Kong, breakfast can take a lot longer to get through. For the Kong novice dog you can just put their kibbles in there and let them roll it around and eat them as they fall out. As they get the hang of it, you can soak the kibbles in a bit of water to soften the kibbles, or mix canned dog food in there, and stuff that mixture into the Kong to create more work for them. You can create layers of soaked kibble (or ground raw meat if you feed raw), a cookie or two, some cooked rice, another layer of kibble, some cottage cheese, etc. If you need it to last even longer, you can freeze that mixture the night before. Freezing is actually a great way to even make treats last longer in the Kong. Yogurt and bananas are fun to freeze, or canned dog food, mashed potatos, cooked carrots, or how about plugging the little hole with cheese, standing the Kong up in a cup and filling it with chicken broth to freeze (ok, so maybe that’s a good summer outdoor treat). I have a friend that puts shredded cheese and kibble in her Kong and microwaves it to melt it and stick it all together, then freezes that! The nice thing about a Kong is you can also wash it on the top shelf of your dishwasher. Nifty! Do any of you have a creative idea about stuffing Kongs? Post them in a comment here and share them with others!