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Kongs are a delicious way to entertain your pup. Aside from providing a tasty snack, Kongs can provide a soothing distraction to your dog while they’re left alone or while you’re busy on Zoom. But are they messy? If your pup is making a huge mess with their Kong, what are your options for reducing that mess? Let’s get into it!
What’s a Kong?
A Kong is a rubberized toy that is made to be stuffed with food. Dog trainers love using them as a way to help dogs unwind after a walk, stay entertained while left alone, or just play a bit for their food.
While many dogs enjoy playing with a Kong like it’s a weird ball, the real benefit of a Kong is that it can be filled with delicious treats for your dog.
Are Kongs Messy?
Depending on what you fill a Kong with and your dog’s eating style, Kongs can be quite messy.
In my house, one dog slurps his Kongs clean in no time and leaves very little mess. He also knows to carry his Kong to his bed and eat it there. However, my puppy lets the Kong sit for a while, causing it to leak out and make a mess. He also doesn’t quite know to eat the Kong in his bed, so the mess sometimes happens on my couch, bed, or carpet. Gross!
Luckily, you can reduce the mess of your dog’s Kong by either changing how you feed the Kong in your daily setup or by changing what you stuff the Kong with. Of course, if nothing works, you can always find an alternative to a Kong that creates less mess.
Dealing with Mess: Setup
One of the easiest ways to mitigate the mess created by a Kong is to just feed your dog their Kong inside of a crate. Lay a towel on top of your dog’s bed, then tuck the dog and the Kong away for a soothing snack and a nap.
Some waterproof dog beds and rugs can also help keep things clean. I personally use “dog towels” for this purpose, but there are a variety of attractive options for your home if you prefer to avoid the towel look!
You can also use baby gates or tethers to keep your dog away from expensive rugs or other no-mess zones, especially if your dog isn’t crate trained.
Finally, you can feed your dog their Kong outdoors if you have a secure yard and your dog doesn’t mind being alone outside.
Dealing with Mess: Stuffing the Kong
Some things that you can put in a Kong are simply messier than others. For example, wet dog food tends to be pretty gross while more viscous options like peanut butter and cream cheese aren’t quite as messy.
Freezing the stuffed Kong can also reduce mess, provided your dog eats quickly enough.
Finally, mixing hard food like kibble, traditional treats, or a dental chew into the softer food can help reduce mess. I generally fill my Kongs roughly 1/3 full with dry treats, then stuff the rest with a wet food of some sort, and then put a “handle” of a dental chewin the middle. By mixing in dry treats, you reduce the likelihood of the stuffing melting and making a big mess.
Kong Alternatives to Reduce Mess
If you simply can’t deal with the mess of a Kong, that’s ok. You have options for giving your dog excellent enrichment or puzzle toys without a mess!
- Licki mats allow you to smear delicious food out for your dog but without the mess.
- Bully sticks and other hard chews give your dog a dental cleaning as well as the other benefits of a Kong.
- Some West Paw treat toys allow you to stuff them with food but are a bit less messy due to their shape. Toppls in particular are good for this in my experience
What has your experience been with Kong messes? How do you keep your dog happy and keep your living room clean? Let us know below!
Kayla founded Journey Dog Training in 2013 to provide high-quality and affordable dog behavior advice. She is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant who’s worked with hundreds of private clients, thousands of shelter dogs, and dozens of working detection dogs. Kayla’s dog and cat behavior advice has been featured in NPR, the Chicago Tribune, and Pet MD. She’s an avid adventurer who is currently doing #vanlife on the Pan-American Highway with her two border collies and a cat. Aside from running Journey Dog Training, Kayla also runs the nonprofit K9 Conservationists, where she and the dogs work as conservation detection dog teams. You can get 1:1 advice with a Journey Dog Training team member here.