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There are few things that Koly loves more than a food puzzle.
Well, lets be honest. There are few things Koly loves more than a food anything. He’s half beagle and half pug, two breeds that are notorious food hounds, so he comes by his penchant for snacks naturally.
Last month, we shared how we use food puzzles to keep Kolchak busy during the cold, rainy winter months. I’m pretty sure I owe my sanity to Nina Ottosan and her dog puzzles. (Is it creepy to send someone you’ve never met a love note? Probs, eh?) The only trouble is that having a dog who plays a lot of food puzzles means you have a dog who gets a lot of food. If you’re not careful, that could lead to a dog who is overweight.
Confession folks: Koly is looking a little Roly Poly.
It’s nothing serious – yet, but he’s definitely put on a pound, maybe two. We’re resolving to eat less and move more, but we aren’t ready to give up food puzzles just yet. For my sanity and Koly’s, we decided to look for tasty low calorie treats, so we could keep playing with dog puzzles.
1. Vegetable Chunks
My dogs are both huge fans of vegetables and they will devour carrots, broccoli chunks, bell peppers or cauliflower florets. They aren’t always big enough fans of vegetables to work for them. My secret? Place a small piece of stinky high value treat in 1/4 to 1/2 the openings of your dog treat puzzle, then fill the rest of the puzzle with Veggies.
2. Fruitables Skinny Mini Training Treats
These tiny little bite sized treats pack a huge flavour and scent profile, with just a a couple calories each. (Like 2!) They smell so good Koly and Fe are particularly fond of the Mango flavour, but we’ve heard about a pineapple bacon flavour that Koly has demanded I hunt down for him.
3. High End Kibble
I know what you’re thinking: kibble is not that exciting. However, if you choose a different kibble than what you normally feed, especially in a another flavour, most dogs will treat kibble like a treat! You can deduct the amount you use in toys off their total daily kibble allowance or you can go ahead and feed every meal from a puzzle toy.
4. Homemade Training Treats
For those of us who have dogs with allergies, commercial treats are often out of the question. Get back to basics: treats as simple as lean meats, cooked and diced into 1/4″ cubes can make awesome puzzle toy treats or check out our homemade dog treat recipe using canned food or meat paste.
Freeze dried treats tend to be really low calorie and as an added bonus, they crumble really easily which means you can crush them and put treat dust in your puzzles. Your dog will have to stop to lick out the dust making the puzzle last longer.