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Easy Fillings for Dog Puzzle Toys

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

How to fill your puzzle toy, what fillings to use, our favorite recipes and where to use your puzzle feeder to get the most benefit for your dog.


Puzzle feeders, slow feeders and lick mats are a brilliant source of enrichment and entertainment for our canine companions. These interactive toys challenge dogs to work for their food, helping to slow down meal times aiding in better digestion, prevent boredom by mentally stimulating them and satisfy their natural instincts to forage for their food. Due to their size and shape they are perfect for snacks, treats or full meals and being portable can be used as a great training tool when out and about.


The award winning West Paw Zogoflex Toppl is one of our favourite stuffable feeders due to its quality, size, ease of filling, durability and how long it takes pup to finish them. There are, however, some other great alternatives which we also use such as the West Paw Tux, Sodapup Honey Pot, Sodapup eBowls and Kong Products. Dogs like variety as much as we do so don't feel like you need to just stick with one, mix it up and keep it interesting!


Remember something that is used repeatedly might start of as fun and engaging but soon becomes normal and predictable so its worth changing this up - mix up the products you use and the fillings to keep them guessing.


If you don't own a stuffable feeder your pup will love you for getting one. We have a range of high quality puzzle feeders at Pup and Puzzle that are perfect for stuffing.





How To Stuff your West Paw Toppl or other Puzzle Feeder


When looking at fillings we can use anythings that's dog safe. Start with easy options such as kibble and a few treats for pups who are new to puzzle feeders - or those who get frustrated and ignore the puzzles when they're too difficult! As your pup gets used to them we can add in more difficult options.


Mix and match ingredients to make it exciting and keep your pup engaged. Whilst mixing sweet potato, peanut butter, yogurt and a chicken's foot might sound revolting to us, to your dogs its delicious! By putting something your dog really loves at the bottom it encourages them to keep going to get to it. Our favorite is a blob of peanut butter.


You can create layers as you build up the ingredients so they get different textures as they go or just mix everything together and stuff it in!


Once your dog becomes a pro at emptying their feeder you can up the difficulty by mixing ingredients with water or broth and then freezing it.


Remember that added fillings other than their nutritionally complete dog food are additions and should be given in moderation - some fillings can be high calorie so you need to account for this in their daily food allowance to prevent over feeding.


Tip - you can buy a stopper to cover the holes in West Paw Topples to prevent liquids spilling out whilst its freezing or you can stuff the hole with a hard treat and peanut butter.



Remember that toys such as Kongs, where there is a risk that the product could be swallowed if the product is too small, have a hole a both ends to prevent suffocation. When filling you can use a straw through it to keep the hole open. Always buy the correct size toy for your dog.


West Paw Toppls do not require the hole on the side to be kept open as they are much wider so don't have the same risk.


Tip : We like to do a bit of puzzle feeder and lick mat prep at the weekend. We make up a week's worth and freeze them so that during the week when we're busy and short of time we can run to the freezer and grab one that's ready to go.



Filling Options


There are lots of options, both sweet and savory, to use as fillings.


Kibble - The easiest option for stuffing into Kongs. Let your pup roll the Kong around knocking the kibble out as they go. You can also soak their kibble to make it more challenging.


Wet Dog Food - You can simply stuff your puzzles with their daily food allowance to keep them occupied and slow their meal down.


Raw Dog Food - Puzzle Feeders are a brilliant way to use your raw fed dogs daily allowance with added enrichment and engagement.


Fruit - Apples, Bananas, Strawberries Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Melon (not the rind)


Vegetables - Carrots, Broccoli, Brussels's Sprouts, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Green Beans, Kale, Squash, Peas, Spinach, Sweet Potato, Mashed potato, Courgette


Yogurt - Plain yoghurt with no added sugar or Greek yoghurt is a perfect healthy, low fat filling option.


Plain meats - Any meat without added herbs/spices/onions/garlic


Broth - Low-salt dog friendly broth are perfect for tempting dogs who might be reluctant to eat but also great to help your feeder to be frozen.

Tuna


Nut Butters - Ensure they are Xylitol-free as its toxic to dogs! Brilliant for spreading on the bottom and sides of feeders or spread on top to plug the rest of the food in.


Egg - Hard boiled or scrambled.


Cheese - In moderation as the can be high fat.


Mashed Potato - left over (unseasoned) mashed potato is a perfect stuffing for toys.


Cooked Rice - very easy for dogs to digest and a great filler.


Soft Cheese - one of the best options is cottage cheese as its tasty but low fat and low salt.


Cooked Sweet Potato - A great healthy but sweet taste for them.


Pumpkin


Now you've got a list of options to try have fun making your own recipes up!


Check out our downloadable list here


dog puzzle feeder filling options
Dog Friendly Fillings
.pdf
Download PDF • 63KB


See below for some of our favourite recipe mixes.




Our Favourite Recipes for yummy snacks are;


  • Yoghurt, mashed banana and peanut butter


  • Cottage cheese, blueberries and peanut butter


  • Scrambled egg, peas and a sprinkle of cheese


  • Simple Peanut butter spread all around the toy


  • Sweet potato, Yoghurt and mixed diced dog friendly fruit topped with peanut butter.


(As you may have guessed - our pup LOVES peanut butter)





Our Favourite Meal Time Recipes are


  • 40% wet dog food, 40% kibble, 20% mix of vegetables we have in the fridge and a few sprats


  • 70% wet dog food, 10% sweet potato, 10% cottage cheese, 10% kibble for crunch


  • Leftover recipe - Plain cooked chicken, plain cooked rice, vegetable mix and dog friendly broth - frozen.



If you want some incredible inspiration check out #toppltuesday on Instagram where there are beautiful creations made by owners. But don't worry, your pup will appreciate their feeder no matter what it looks like!




Where to use my Puzzle Feeder



These toys are perfect to use in so many situations.


  • Separation anxiety - brilliant aid in helping keep your dog calm and occupied if they struggle when left alone.


  • Guests coming over - If your pup gets over excited when visitors come over these are a brilliant and calming distraction, giving your dog time to calm down before they greet your guest.


  • Car journeys - If your dog struggles in the car, take your puzzle feeder with you so they can have a great treat as you drive.


  • Training classes - Take a puzzle feeder with you to class and spread some peanut butter or squeezy cheese on the inside of it if your dog is struggling to settle down. They will learn that being calm and quiet by you side is more of a reward that barking and pulling towards other dogs. Our pup was definitely 'that dog' in puppy classes, where as soon as we were sat listening rather than doing, started to bark (loudly!) and get bored. Using these puzzle feeders made such a difference and taught her to settle at our feet.


  • Pubs - If your dog struggles to settle down when your out at a cafe or the pub giving them a puzzle feeder each time can teach them to settle. The more you do this, especially when they're younger, the quicker they will learn to relax and settle when you're sat at a table.


Puzzle Feeders are a brilliant tool to have in your toolbox of dog toys to help entertain, engage and keep your pup calm. There are so many options for filling them so let your let your inspiration run wild!


If you've enjoyed this blog and found it informative please share it!



If you want to find out more about canine enrichment check out our blog here



Canine enrichment, West Paw, Sodapup, Lickimat, Nina Ottosen, Tug-E-Nuff products
Enrichment Rainbow






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