5 Best Kong Toys For German Shepherds To Reduce Behavior Problems and Boredom

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Kong toys for German Shepherds are an often overlooked essential when owning a highly intelligent working breed dog.

In fact, they’re indispensable to keep your dog mentally stimulated and avoid the dreaded symptoms of boredom.

But do you know which Kong toys are suited for your companion’s powerful jaws?

By the time you finish reading, you’ll know which Kong toys are best for your German Shepherd and how to use them to make the most of training and exercising your GSD.

Let’s jump right in!

German Shepherd Kong Toys for Healthy Mental and Physical Stimulation

German Shepherd Kong Toys for Healthy Mental and Physical Stimulation
Kong toys for your German Shepherd can help avoid behavior problems.

Did you know that 65% of owners who relinquish their dogs to shelters in the United States said that behavior problems were the number one reason (source)?

Yet lack of training, physical, and mental stimulation can all be solved using Kong dog toys for German Shepherds!

German Shepherd Kong toys are not an option…

They’re a necessity for keeping your dog happy and healthy!

Why use a Kong for your German Shepherd?

Why use a Kong for your German Shepherd?
Does your dog have a job to do to keep them out of trouble?

Because dogs are genetically programmed to hunt for their food, not just lie around all day and then get served their dinner from a bowl. One reason there is such a prevalence of behavior problems in German Shepherds is that they have so little mental challenge.

They need to have work to do and perform jobs for German Shepherds at home, every day. 

So, instead of giving them their food for free, do what zoos are doing to improve the quality of life of many of their primate and predator species….

Give your GSD problems to solve in order to receive their food.

In fact, German Shepherd Kong toys are widely recommended for therapy, as well as an aid in the prevention of under-stimulation, boredom, separation anxiety, and several other behavior problems (source).

Without an acceptable outlet to fulfill your dog’s natural instincts, your GSD will find something to do with their energy — which more often than not, leads to problem behaviors.

Prevention is key! 

using kongs for your german shepherd helps prevent boredom and behavior issues
It’s easier to prevent behavior problems and boredom than wait to solve them later.

Many problem behaviors are correctable when you find acceptable ways to satisfy your breed’s natural instincts. Kong toys for German Shepherds help create more acceptable behavior while also strengthening the bond between you and your dog.

Many behavior problems in German Shepherds are the result of excess energy without a productive outlet and even boredom. Kong toys offer mental and physical stimulation and enrich their play. 

Directing your GSD’s energy into play with Kong toys can prevent, help resolve, and reduce problems such as inappropriate chewing and digging.

German Shepherds fully enjoy unpacking stuffed chew toys and uncovering hidden food treasures!

Are Kongs good for German Shepherds?

Are Kongs good for German Shepherds?
I use the Kong to train my German Shepherd to “wait,” with the Kong her reward.

Yes, Kongs are good for German Shepherds due to the durable rubber Kong uses for long-lasting play and durability. Their black extreme series can withstand the most aggressive chewers. Kongs are even good for stuffing with treats to reduce boredom and provide a mental challenge. However, if you’re not filling it with food or treats, it’s still a great toy for bouncing, rolling, or hiding.

Kongs are an all-around good, durable chew that’ll keep your German Shepherd’s chewing urges under control.

Best Kong Toys for German Shepherds

Best Kong Toys for German Shepherds
The best Kongs for German Shepherds come in so many sizes and shapes!

The Kong family of toys comes in many sizes and styles. By far, the most popular is the traditional bobble-looking style of Kong.

But, if you want to ensure a variety of enrichment for your German Shepherd, offer your dog the following Kong Toys to explore.

StyleSizeBest For…Use with wet or dry foods?
Kong Classic Dog Toy4 x 2.75 x 2.75 inchesAverage Chewers, ForagingCan stuff with both wet or dry food.
Kong Extreme Dog Toy4 x 2.75 x 2.25 inchesTough Chewers, Rough DogsStuffable with both wet and dry foods.
Kong Extreme Goodie Bone8.75 x 6.5 x 2 inchesTough Chewers, TrainingFillable with wet and dry food.
Kong Wobbler Dog Toy7.5 x 5 x 5 inchesForaging, Puzzle,
*not for chewing
Only for dry food that fits the dispensing hole (i.e. dog kibble, smaller size treats).
Kong Goodie Ribbon Dog Toy   8.5 x 3.25 x 2.25 inchesAverage Chewer For both wet and dry foods.
There are plenty of options for your German Shepherd’s Kong.

The Right Kong Toy for German Shepherds

First things first…

You’ll need to choose the right size Kong for your German Shepherd so they get the most enjoyment and time out of it. 

Step 1: Choose the right style of Kong for your German Shepherd based on their age.

Choose the right style of Kong for your German Shepherd based on their age
The smallest size that’s safest for a GSD is the medium, as a puppy will outgrow the small quickly.

The traditional Kongs are available in six sizes and five rubber strengths to meet the needs of a wide variety of German Shepherds throughout their growth and lifespan.

It’s essential to use the right size Kong, based upon your dog’s age so that your German Shepherd has the safest and most fun experience. 

Choose the Kong that is the most suitable for your GSD’s head and mouth size, age, and chewing temperament.

Step 2: Determine your German Shepherd’s chewing style.

determine your German Shepherd’s chewing style
Most German Shepherds are either average or power chewers.

When selecting a Kong, you’ll also need to consider the way your dog likes to play and mouth their toys. 

Your dog’s chewing style can be classed into three main groups:

Gentle chewers: Gentle chewers are easy on their toys and prefer soft toys or licking toys rather than chewing them.

Average chewers: Average chewers enjoy carrying their toys around, might destroy soft toys, but tend to not tear rubber toys.

Power chewers: Power chewers are dogs that are determined to hunt and destroy almost any toy, even rubber toys.

Step 3: Select a suitable Kong that is safest for their mouth size.

select a suitable Kong that is safest for their mouth size
A puppy’s sharp teeth might puncture rubber that is too soft.

Your German Shepherd should be able to easily and comfortably grip their Kong toy in their mouth. However, if the Kong fits completely inside your dog’s mouth, it’s too small and shouldn’t be given to them.

When in doubt as to which size is the correct one, choose a size up for safety.

With all the different styles on the market, there’s bound to be a Kong toy that’s a perfect match for your dog.

What size Kong do you need for a German Shepherd?

What size Kong do you need for a German Shepherd?
My 10-year old senior German Shepherd shows the difference in Kong sizes. For reference, she weighs around 90 pounds.

The right size Kong toys for German Shepherds is medium and large for puppies and large and extra-large for adults. Given the powerful bite and strength of German Shepherd Dogs, you should at least choose the red Kong Classic or the black Kong Extreme. The medium size for both the red Kong Classic and black Kong Extreme toy is 3.5” tall by 2.25” wide, while the large and extra-large red and black Kong toys are 4” tall by 2.75” wide and 6” tall by 4” wide. 

And very strong and large German Shepherd Dogs should definitely only be provided with the XXL size Kong Extreme to keep them occupied and entertained safely.

Do NOT give your German Shepherd a Senior Kong or Puppy Kong. Use the red and black Kongs only!

What size Kong to get a German Shepherd puppy?

What size Kong to get a German Shepherd puppy?
German Shepherd puppies do best with a medium or large Kong, as the small and light blue puppy Kongs will quickly become unsafe as your puppy grows.

The best size Kong for a German Shepherd puppy is either a medium or large size. Do not get any size smaller than a medium for a GSD puppy! It’s safe to have a Kong too big for your puppy, but can be hazardous or fatal to get a Kong too small. Plus, German Shepherd puppies grow so quickly they will soon need the larger size Kongs to withstand their jaw strength and mouth size.

Which Kong toys should you start off with?

Which Kong toys should you start off with?
These types of traditional Kongs are the best to begin with for your German Shepherd.

The traditional bubble-style (they look like snowmen) Kongs are best to start off with for German Shepherds. They are so versatile and you can use them for stuffing with foods, playing a game of fetch or catch, and even using them for training.

Start off with the Kong Classic and Kong Extreme, depending on the chewing style of your GSD. Then, add in a Goodie Ribbon Kong and try out the Kong Wobbler.

Here’s a quick overview of the best Kong toys for German Shepherds.

1. Kong Classic

The Kong Classis has become the most popular staple for dog owners around the world. The red snowman-shaped toy offers enrichment by helping to satisfy your German Shepherd’s natural instincts.

Its rubber is ultra-durable and all-natural. The non-toxic rubber is ideal for dogs and puppies to chew and fulfills their need to play.

Your GSD can play with the toy without food if they simply love chewing.

Want to extend the playtime further?

Try stuffing the Kong following the steps below to really challenge their minds.

2. Kong Extreme

Kong Extreme

The Kong Extreme toy is the most durable strength rubber for the line. 

Its specially designed rubber is created for the toughest of chewers and the more powerful jaws of the German Shepherd. The Kong Extreme offers enrichment for dogs that are too rough and tumble with regular store-bought toys. 

Does your dog regularly tear up their fetch balls?

Try using a Kong Extreme toy that withstands determined chewing.

3. Kong Extreme Goodie Bone

Kong Extreme Goodie Bone

Using a Kong Extreme Goodie Bone is a new experience for dogs that are used to more traditional Kong toys.

Depending on how much pressure you use to fill the ends of the bones, along with the size of the treats used, you can make this dog puzzle an easy or difficult challenge.

If your GSD already chews on bones happily, then introducing a Kong Goodie Bone might ease them into food dispensing toys.

4. Kong Wobbler

Kong Wobbler

If you have a German Shepherd puppy who loves to chase anything that moves, then the Kong Wobbler is right up your way!

The specially weighted base keeps the large toy upright and withstands the roughest of pawing. While not a chew toy, your dog will still enjoy batting the wobbling treat-dispensing toy to earn the reward.

The top and bottom screw together safely while allowing you to drop in a handful of treats with ease.

While my German Shepherd prefers the rubber-style classic Kongs, a higher-energy or younger GSD will fare better with all the paw-work and movement this puzzle takes to release their prize.

5. Kong Goodie Ribbon

Kong Goodie Ribbon Dog Toy

With 4 fillable compartments, the Kong Goodie Ribbon is a mini smorgasbord of flavor!

You can choose to fill each compartment with different treats or tidbits to enrich your dog’s sense of smell and taste and keep them occupied while exploring the extra tastes.

And the Goodie Ribbon washes up easily, like most of the rubber Kongs, in the top-rack of your dishwasher. So, you don’t have to worry about time spent cleaning out all the fillable holes.

Senior Kongs and Puppy Kongs

Even if you own a senior German Shepherd, the Senior Kong is NOT recommended for your dog. This is due to the fact that the rubber used in the Senior Kong style is too soft, generally even for older GSDs. 

If your GSD still has all their teeth, then stick to a regular, red Kong.

The Puppy Kongs are not large enough to keep your dog safe. German Shepherd puppies grow so quickly it’s best to purchase the red Kong Classic in a medium-size to avoid and choking hazards.

Your little puppy will quickly outgrow the largest puppy size and you don’t want to risk when this happens! So, go ahead and choose the red Classic Kong instead of worrying about your dog chewing the smaller puppy size.

Safety considerations when using Kong toys

Safety considerations when using Kong toys
No chew toy is indestructible… especially with German Shepherds!

Many owners give their dogs treat-filled Kongs when they leave home for the day to go to work or even to run an errand. Kong toys are specially constructed to be strong and relatively indestructible, so this is generally considered safe for most dogs.

However…

No chew toy left alone with a German Shepherd is without risk!

Although it’s rare, some dogs do succeed in chewing off fragments of their Kong toys and ingesting them. The could require emergency surgery.

Therefore, before leaving your German Shepherd alone with a Kong toy, think about your dog’s unique personality.

Is he a vigorous chewer with a reputation for destroying toys?

If that’s the case, then don’t allow access to any toys, including Kong toys, while he is left unattended. If your GSD is an average chewer, on the other hand, you likely have little cause for concern.

Next, compare the size and shape of your Kong toy.

Is the toy large enough for your German Shepherd?

If a large dog is given a Kong toy designed for small dogs or puppies, the risk of ingestion goes up seriously. An appropriately-sized Kong toy, however, would be extremely difficult to swallow for many dogs.

Finally, check the condition of the toy every day.

How’s the overall condition of the toy holding up to chewing?

If you begin to see cracks in the rubber material or other signs of aging, it’s definitely time to remove and replace it. Any Kong that is beginning to break down increases the risk of your dog tearing off a piece of the toy and swallowing it. 

Are there Kong toys that don’t require food?

best kong toys for german shepherds without food
Is your German Shepherd a ball-lover or a tug-lover? There’s a Kong for that!

You can certainly use any Kong toy for your German Shepherd without food, as long as they stay interested in the toy. 

But adding food entices most dogs to play with the toys longer, as well as keeping their minds engaged and their brains busy on their foraging adventure.

Two toys that I highly recommend for GSDs that don’t enjoy a food-filled toy or puzzle are the Kong Jumbler Ball Toy – for dogs who are ball and chase fanatics – and the Kong Aqua Dog – for those who love to both tug and enjoy a fun swim.

Now that you know more about the different Kongs for a German Shepherd and your best toy options, here’s how you can use the toy to decrease behavior problems and prevent boredom.

9 Genius Ways to Use Kong Toys for German Shepherds to Reduce 90% of Behavior Problems

9 Genius Ways to Use Kong Toys for German Shepherds to Reduce 90% of Behavior Problems

The following ideas show you how to use the best Kong toys for German Shepherds that are not only multipurpose…

But fun both mentally and physically!

1. Daily Chewing Outlet

Daily Chewing
Try a Kong for your GSD’s daily chewing urges.

Without a satisfying outlet for natural chewing instincts, many German Shepherds turn into destructive chewers! 

Help prevent destructive chewing using Kong toys for German Shepherds. Teach your dog that a Kong is an acceptable toy for chewing, rather than your furniture, clothes, or hands. 

When your puppy decides to bite your hands, ankles, or clothes, present them to the Kong for chewing instead. Use a bit of peanut butter smeared on the inside of the toy to keep them chewing on it, instead of your fingers.

2. Soothing Teething

teething with kongs
Instead of a dirty tennis ball, how about using a soothing frozen food-filled Kong for teething pains?

As your dog loses their baby teeth the adult teeth begin to erupt through its gums. This pain can hurt and cause discomfort. 

Providing your German Shepherd puppy Kong toys helps alleviate teething pains and reduce stress. Kongs are made from customized rubber which massages their aching gums.

Throughout the teething phase, give your German Shepherd puppy frozen Kongs to soothe gum inflammation. Just follow the steps to stuffing your Kong below and keep several on hand for pain relief.

3. Decreasing Digging and Barking

digging and barking
Kongs are great for outdoor use due to their durability.

Boredom can lead to unwanted digging and excessive barking. Creating healthy behaviors starts with a constructive play session that encourages dogs to expend their excess energy in productive ways.

Playing with Kong toys offers your German Shepherd a mentally occupying challenge that directs your GSD’s energy. Use the Kong toy as a replacement for a usual fetch ball to stimulate your dog’s mind. 

Play frequently with your dog and their Kong in the backyard to reduce barking and digging behaviors when they’re outside.

4. Reducing Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety
Offer your dog a stuffed Kong before you leave to help ease your departure.

German Shepherds tend to rank higher for separation anxiety, which generally peaks during the first 20 minutes after they are left alone. 

Instead of leaving your GSD howling, crying, or whining at your departure, leave them with a treat stuffed Kong toy. This way, they associate being left alone with good things, helping to alleviate the anxiety peak.

Place the Kong on their bed when you leave for short amounts of time at first, then work up to longer lengths you’re gone. This way, you keep the stress level of your departure in check and progress in steps, rather than just having your puppy think you’ve abandoned them.

As your German Shepherd becomes more accustomed to you leaving and expecting the Kong, begin hiding the Kong when you leave so they spend time looking and hunting the toy. Choose obvious locations at the beginning, then more difficult places that are safe and challenging for your GSD to sniff and find.

5. Helping With Weight Management

weight management using kong toys
Does your dog wolf down their food in a matter of minutes or less?

Did you know that about 35% of dogs are overweight or obese (source)? 

An overweight German Shepherd can experience joint pain and problems in their daily movements. Maintaining a healthy weight is critical to your breed’s health and longevity.

Using Kong toys to feed your German Shepherd slows down their eating and adds a mental and physical challenge that helps to satisfy their food and exercise needs. 

You can even freeze your Kong to make eating their meal last longer!

And slowing down your German Shepherd’s meal times helps reduce the occurrence of bloat — a life-threatening problem with this breed.

Just remember that any food or treats that you add to the Kong count towards your dog’s daily calorie intake.

So, adjust their food and meals accordingly to avoid unintentional weight gain.

6. Reducing Boredom Levels

reduce boredom with kong toys
Seniors and puppies alike can become bored in their daily routines.

With their high intelligence, German Shepherds will always find something to do when they’re bored

This often leads to problem behaviors that could endanger them.

Introducing a variety of Kong toys for your German Shepherd helps prevent boredom by providing them new textures, sounds, and challenges. Plus, Kongs can also be used as interactive toys — toys that you must engage your dog in — so that the both of you get a workout and spend quality time together.

Try a few rounds of “hide and seek” with a Kong as their reward when they find you. Place just a few bits of treat in the Kong so they finish the reward in a shorter time, but play the game multiple times to reduce boredom and engage with your dog.

Vary up what treats and the amounts you place in the Kong toy to keep them excited to find you!

7. Positive Crate Training Reinforcement

crate training reinforcement using kongs
Want to speed up crate training and make it more enjoyable for your dog? Yep, there are Kongs for that!

Crate training provides a safe place for your dog to retreat to enjoy quiet time alone and aids in housetraining. 

To help your German Shepherd develop a positive relationship with their crates from the beginning, give them a Kong stuffed with their favorite treats as a mind-occupying challenge to enjoy in their crates.

Frequent use of Kongs in your dog’s crate training can help speed up their acclimation to their crate and make crate training easier and less stressful for your German Shepherd.

Use the stuffed Kong every time you place your German Shepherd in the crate and you’ll be amazed at how quickly they take to their new crate!

8. Increasing Exercise

fetch and exercise with a kong ball extreme dog toy and your GSD
Does your German Shepherd play a wild game of fetch and catch? There’s Kong EXTREME for that!

Kongs aren’t just for chewing and food rewards! 

They can also be enjoyed for a game of fetch. The odd shape tends to bounce and roll differently every time, keeping your dog guessing where it will land. And Kong also makes Kong Extreme Ball Dog Toys for the chase!

For puppies and dogs who love to chase, tap into their prey drive by stringing a long rope through the Kong as a teaser for them to run after. 

Not only will your dog get their heart rate up, but so will you! 

Who says you need to go running daily when you own a German Shepherd and a Kong?

9. Introducing Nose Work and Scent Training

nose work and scent training using toys
Do you want to teach your GSD to follow a scent?

Interested in teaching your German Shepherd nose work and scent training? 

Then, you’re in luck! 

Use their Kong to create a smelly trail for them to follow by wrapping it in bacon and dragging it along the ground outside. Then, hide the Kong for them to search and find.

The reward is a stuffed Kong with bacon! 

As they become quicker at finding their Kong, begin hiding the Kong in harder and more difficult areas of your yard. Try different scents other than bacon for a change of pace. 

How about sardines, anchovies, or cheese?

Now, you might wonder how to actually get your German Shepherd interested in chewing on their Kong.

But, it’s quite easy to make your dog fall in love with his new favorite toy!

How to Make Your German Shepherd “Kong Crazy”

How to Make Your German Shepherd “Kong Crazy”
My GSD with her hoard of Kongs.

Dogs have such unique personalities, and some German Shepherds might require a bit of encouragement to play with their Kong.

Keeping it easy to remove the treats will give your dog a “quick win,” enticing them to play longer. While experienced German Shepherds will need a harder challenge with their Kong. 

Start with the beginner level if you’re new to the game, and work your way up to the most difficult levels after your German Shepherd becomes more experienced with the game.

It’s important that your dog succeeds at their “work” when playing with the Kong so they stay interested in the toy.

You can’t just hand your German Shepherd a tightly packed frozen Kong. Most dogs will simply give up and get frustrated if you do! Instead, start easy, and slowly build up the difficulty level.

Here’s how the training levels work.

Easy and Beginner Level: Stuffed Lightly

Easy and Beginner Level: Stuffed Lightly

This level is best for dogs new to the Kong toy and first-time users. 

At the beginner level, Kongs are stuffed loosely which encourages your German Shepherd to finish the Kong as they are rewarded more easily.

If you stuff the Kong too tight and your dog doesn’t get the food out easily they’re more likely to give up out of frustration and could turn to something easier to chew — like your expensive shoes, fashionable rug, or pricey furniture.

To stuff an easy beginner Kong for success, use the following steps:

  1. Start out by placing a tasty and smelly treat inside the Kong at the very tip of the toy.
  2. Follow this with a handful of loose dry kibble.
  3. Lastly, smudge a dollop of peanut butter (xylitol-free!), cream cheese, or wet canned dog food at the larger opening to cap off and close the Kong.

Since the lightly packed looseness of the stuffing guarantees an easy win for your German Shepherd the near-continuous food reward keeps them attracted longer to the Kong.

As they continue to “win” at the easy level they are reinforced with a love of their Kong toy! 

Repeat the beginner sequence as many times as needed to help ready your German Shepherd for the next levels. 

Moderate and Intermediate Level: Stuffed Slightly Tighter

Moderate and Intermediate Level: Stuffed Slightly Tighter

Once your German Shepherd is successful at the beginner level you can move on to play with the intermediate level. 

I have 2 mini-levels within the moderate and intermediate levels.

One involves dry kibble that falls out easily, the other level uses moistened kibble that takes a bit of work to get out of the Kong.

Here’s how to play the levels.

Moderate Dry Kibble Level

  1. First, place a smelly and tasty treat at the very tip of the Kong.
  2. Next, drop in a handful of loose dry kibble.
  3. Then, place another smelly treat on top of the loose kibble. Make sure it’s really smelly to encourage them to try harder to get it.
  4. After the loose kibble and smelly treat add just a spoonful of peanut butter (xylitol-free), cream cheese, or canned dog food to cap off the Kong.

Intermediate Wet Kibble Level

  1. First, place your smelly and tasty treat at the very tip of your Kong.
  2. Follow this with all moistened kibble and use a spoon to pack it in a bit. This makes it harder for your dog.
  3. Top your moistened kibble with another smelly treat.
  4. Lastly, cap off the Kong with a spoonful of peanut butter (xylitol-free), cream cheese, or canned wet dog food.

How to Moisten Kibble for the Kong

To moisten your dog’s dry kibble for longer Kong play, soak a handful of your dog’s regular dry food in a bowl of hot water for 15 to 30 minutes. Let it soak until soft and mushy. 

Drain off any water that hasn’t been soaked up by the kibble. Now, use a small spoon to fill the Kong with the mushy, wet kibble. With the backside of the spoon press the mixture against the sides of the Kong and down into the tip to distribute more evenly.

Hard and Advanced Level: Stuffed Tightly

Hard and Advanced Level: Stuffed Tightly

As your dog conquered the moderate levels with their Kong, they’re ready to test out their chewing skills at the advanced level.

  1. Insert a smelly treat at the very tip of the Kong.
  2. Follow this treat with moistened kibble, but pack in the wet kibbled tightly against the tip of the Kong and the sides.
  3. Inside the moist kibble mix, place a few highly-scented treats.
  4. Now, take a larger size treat and wedge it under the rim of the toy to make it harder to remove and longer to finish.
  5. Cap off the Kong with a spoonful of peanut butter (xylitol-free), cream cheese, or canned, wet dog food. 

A well-packed Kong should take your German Shepherd 15-20 minutes to eat! 

It’s also mentally taxing for your dog to get their food this way, and you may find your German Shepherd takes a nap or is calm after the Kong.

Is this still too easy for your dog?

Then, freeze your Kong for 4 to 6 hours or overnight before giving it to your GSD! 

The key to the advanced level is that you must use moist and well-mixed kibble that is stuffed in tightly, along with wedging in a larger treat near the top to make it harder for your dog to reach their reward.

How to Freeze Kongs Without Making a Mess

How to Freeze Kongs Without Making a Mess
Coffee or tea mugs are great for holding the Kongs to help you fill them more easily.

To help with messiness, I place my stuffed Kongs upside down in an empty egg carton inside the freezer. 

I also use coffee cups to hold the Kongs as I stuff them on my counter, and then place the whole cup inside the freezer, too.

Is your Kong too hard for your German Shepherd?

If you find that you’ve made the Kong filling too hard for your German Shepherd to remove, then freely help them to get their food out. 

Finish the Kong with your dog by grabbing a small spoon, preferably with a long handle, and help them dig out the stuffed kibble. You can also roll the Kong under your foot or the palm of your hand to loosen the stuffing and let your dog pick it up as it falls out.

Wondering what else you can put inside your dog’s Kong?

Here’s what I suggest.

What can I put in my German Shepherd’s Kong?

What can I put in my German Shepherd's Kong?
These yummy ideas will get you started knowing what’s safe to stuff in your GSD’s Kong.

Now that we have the appropriate size Kong for our German Shepherd and we know how to use it to prevent behavior issues, we need to pick some tasty food to go in it!

Here are a few safe suggestions that you can put in your German Shepherd’s Kong:

  • Their regular, normal kibble
  • A new, high-quality kibble from the pet store
  • Any of these treats for your German Shepherd
  • Peanut butter (Xylitol-free because xylitol can kill your dog)
  • Canned pumpkin (100% pumpkin without seasonings, not pie mix)
  • Canned dog food (pate’ or chunks)
  • Cream cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Unflavored Greek Yogurt
  • Small and medium-size dog treats
  • Dehydrated dog treats
  • Shredded cheese mixed in
  • Sardines and anchovies
  • Cooked salmon
  • Cooked, sliced carrots
  • Diced apples (Without the seeds!)
  • The list is really endless as long as it’s dog safe!

Consider Your German Shepherd’s Allergies

Make sure the foods you stuff inside your toys are not only safe for dogs but sit well with your German Shepherd’s sensitive stomach and allergies. 

Don’t try out a lot of foods at once if you’re unsure. Instead, use only one new food addition at a time and watch for any reactions.

Kong Training Tips

Kong Training Tips
There’s no right or wrong way for your GSD to enjoy their Kong — as long as they’re safe.

Over the years, I’ve found using these easy tips helps to train my German Shepherd with their Kong.

Your dog will love their Kong more if you follow these tips to help them feel successful when playing with their toys.

Tip 1: Start off loosely packed

I always begin my German Shepherds with loose foods inside the Kong for beginners. This is especially true with puppies, who might give up too easily if the reward doesn’t come out quickly!

You don’t even need to cap off the top with peanut butter or cream cheese if this frustrates your dog. Work your way up to stuffing the entire toy slowly.

Tip 2: Layers, layers, layers!

Layers matter, but there’s no right or wrong way when it comes to how you stuff in the layers. It really depends on your dog’s preferences.

A mixture of different flavors and textures tends to keep my German Shepherd interested and occupied longer so she doesn’t get bored.

I love to freeze my Kongs because it helps to keep my GSD licking longer, and licking is scientifically proven to help calm dogs and lower their arousal level (source).

Tip 3: Enticement matters

The tip of the Kong is great for placing an enticing bit of treat sticking out. It tends to grab my German Shepherd’s interest and keep her motivated to find the rest of her hidden treats! 

It also lets her know there’s yummy food to be found inside if she works hard for it. I like to stick a piece of tripe stick inside the tip. As a matter of fact, the tripe sticks I buy make a perfect fitting plug to seal the tip of the Kong so I can fill in foods without a big mess.

You can also create a useful “stick” for when you make frozen Kongs like a popsicle…

But a Kongscicle! 

Tip 4: One Kong just isn’t enough

I only bought one Kong, in the beginning, to see if my German Shepherd liked it. 

I now own multiples in different sizes and rubber strengths. It’s my own little arsenal that’s always ready on stand-by in my freezer section, right next to the frozen green beans. 

Having a few Kongs on hand means that I can stuff them in an assembly line fashion and I don’t run out mid-week.

Tip 5: Cleaning Kongs is easy

One of the biggest misconceptions is that Kongs are hard to clean.

Quite the contrary! 

They are top-rack dishwasher safe. You can also get a bottlebrush (for baby bottles) or use an old toothbrush to scrub out your Kongs if you don’t want to use the dishwasher. The brushes help you to reach all the crevices inside the Kong that your fingers and a sponge just catch reach.

Use only mild dish soap on your Kong if you’re going to hand wash them. Remember, your dog will chew it so don’t apply bleach or antibacterials as they could make your dog sick!

Let them dry thoroughly before adding any food to avoid the treats getting cacked to the inside.

Homemade Kong Recipes for Your German Shepherd

Homemade Kong Recipes for Your German Shepherd
Use your inner 5-PAW chef skills to stuff your German Shepherd’s Kong.

Here are a few quick recipes to get you started with homemade food for your German Shepherd. Adjust the ingredients to suit your dog’s special food needs.

Get creative! 

Lickin’ Chicken

Lickin’ Chicken Kong Receipe

Ingredients

  • Leftover chicken (or turkey) scraps without bones or skin
  • Cream cheese (fat-free if needed)

Directions

  1. Place small scraps of the chicken or turkey inside your Kong toy.
  2. Seal opening with a small amount of cream cheese to make a cap to hold the scraps in.

Crunch and Munch

Crunch and Munch Kong Receipe

Ingredients

  • Unsalted, plain rice cakes
  • Fresh, deseeded, and diced apples
  • Peanut butter (xylitol-free)

Directions

  1. Crumble the rice cakes into pieces that will fit inside the Kong.
  2. Add the diced apples.
  3. Top with a dollop of peanut butter to seal the opening. 

Soothing Pumpkin Pieces

Soothing Pumpkin Pieces Kong Receipe

Ingredients

  • Unsweetened, plain Greek yogurt
  • Canned plain pumpkin (Not pumpkin pie mix!)
  • Cooked white rice

Directions

  1. Combine the Greek, plain yogurt, canned pumpkin, and cooked rice in a small baggie.
  2. Mix well inside the bag by using your hands.
  3. Snip off a corner of the bag and squeeze it into the Kong toy.
  4. Freeze for 4 hours or overnight.

Watch how much syrups, honey, sugars, bananas, or other high glycemic foods you stuff in your Kong. And don’t feed your German Shepherd potato peels, fruit cores, seeds, or pits.

When in doubt about feeding anything…

Don’t feed it!

Now, you’ve got everything you need to start using your Kong toys for German Shepherds the right way. 

Kong Wrap-Up

A Kong is more than a toy — it’s a world of entertainment for your GSD!

Please always supervise your German Shepherd until you’re confident they won’t destroy or ingest the Kong!

Take away the Kong if they bite any pieces of the rubber off and also immediately after they’re done with their meal if they tend to eat the toy.

While you can give your dog frozen Kongs you shouldn’t feed hot foods until they’re completely cooled! German Shepherd Kong toys shouldn’t be hot to touch!

Keep in mind that dogs benefit from variety in their diet and dog-safe foods provide enrichment through their senses. 

The best Kong toys for German Shepherds will give your dog the added enrichment they need to lessen behavior problems. Plus, your German Shepherd’s Kong will give them more excitement in their day!

And that’s a win-win for both your dog and you to be happy about!