There's a small picture superimposed onto a big picture. The small picture features 2 black Boxer dogs enjoying filled KONG dog toys. The big picture features Mini Nibs from Vital Essentials displayed on white square plates.

How to Entertain Your Dog with Vital Essentials Mini Nibs & a KONG

Vital Essentials Mini Nibs are great to stuff Kong dog toys with!

The Mini Nibs are a freeze-dried raw dog food and one of my top nutritional finds at the Global Pet Expo in sunny Orlando, FL back in 2016.

That said, I’ve included them in my dog treat approach ever since!

Black Boxer dog lying down on carpeted floors in front of a square black plate that's filled with Vital Essentials Mini Nibs

Disclaimer: This blog post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated in 2024. It contains affiliate links I may earn compensation through at no additional cost to you. 

Vital Essentials Mini Nibs: Company Facts

I found Vital Essentials in the natural section of the show floor. They’re a US based company that’s family-owned & operated.

They’ve actually been making a difference in what we feed our dogs and cats since 1968!

The brand meets all the requirements I’m looking for in a company who produces healthy, species-appropriate dog nutrition.

I’m going to let their company facts speak for themselves:

A list of 20 Vital Essentials Company facts

Vital Essentials sells raw frozen patties as well as raw freeze-dried complete meals.

The freeze-dried meals offer ultimate convenience because they don’t have to be refrigerated.

That makes them a great alternative to raw feeding when camping. Click here to read more about this topic.

That’s thanks to the slow, 48 hour freeze-drying process of the raw meat, bones, and organs.

Vital Essentials Raw Frozen Patties & Freeze-Dried Mini Nibs displayed on a table at Vital Essentials booth at Global Pet Expo

Freeze-Dried Vital Essentials Mini Nibs

The freeze-dried Mini Nibs are available in beef, chicken, turkey, and duck.

That said, here’s what the duck and turkey nibs samples my pups taste-tested consist of:

Vital Essentials Mini Nibs displayed on white square plates at The Global Pet Expo

Ingredients Duck Mini Nibs

Ground duck with bone, duck liver, duck gizzard, duck skin, herring oil, mixed tocopherols, d-alpha tocopherol.

Ingredients Turkey Mini Nibs

Ground turkey with bone, turkey heart, turkey liver, herring oil, mixed tocopherols, d-alpha tocopherol.

I Used The Mini Nibs as Dog Training Rewards & to Fill Dog Food Puzzles

I felt very comfortable letting Missy & Buzz taste-test the nutritious turkey and duck Mini Nibs I brought back for them.

Obviously, I didn’t have enough for a whole meal, so I incorporated one half in a little dog training session, and the other half in a dog food puzzle. 

As you can see in the pictures below, I rewarded Missy with the Mini Nibs for holding a “down-stay” combined with a “leave-it”.

Buzz got some Mini Nibs for holding his “paws up” on our chaise lounge combined with a “leave it”.

That’s a great core-strengthening dog exercise, by the way!

Filling The KONG Toys

I also filled the pups’ hollow KONG toys with a mix of the:

  • Mini Nibs
  • Peanut butter
  • Plain greek yogurt
  • An apple/carrot/pineapple smoothie

Tip: It’s best to purée plant matter because dogs lack the enzymes that break down plant cell walls.

Learn more about vegetables for dogs (and in raw dog food) here.

4 pictures that showcase how to keep your dog entertained with Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Nibs and a KONG Food Puzzle
Vital Essentials’ Mini Nibs and Missy’s & Buzz’s Kong Dog Food Puzzles

The filled KONGs then went into the freezer for about 6 hours.

I also could have offered them non-frozen, but that way they only would have lasted about 10 mins.

Freezing them adds about 20-30 minutes of licking time.

Missy & Buzz got to enjoy their frozen goodies when I came back from my dog walking visits on one of our awesome, warmer spring days!

2 black Boxer mixes enjoying their frozen KONGs on grass in a backyard
Missy & Buzz enjoying their frozen Kongs

As expected, they lasted a little over 30 mins, which gave me some time to unwind with a cup of coffee while watching the pups enjoy their frozen treats outside in our yard.

Meeting KONG At Global Pet Expo

Speaking of our KONG toys – of course I also had to stop by the KONG booth while I was at Global.

I had the pleasure of meeting Minoru and chatting with him about the importance of mental doggie stimulation – which is just as important as physical exercise! 

Click here for lots of ideas on how to exercise and train your dogs.

Food puzzles are an excellent means of burning mental energy because they ask dogs to figure out how to get to the edible goodies inside of them.

I can’t recommend them enough, especially when you’re in need of some “me” time.

Female dog blogger from K9sOverCoffee dog blog next to KONG Brand Rep Minoru at Global Pet Expo at the KONG booth

Vital Essentials Mini Nibs: Our Paw-Sitive Verdict

I’m stoked, to say the least, to have found another raw feeding company who sets itself apart from the big commercial dry dog food brands.

Here’s to all the amazing health benefits associated with raw food for dogs:

  • Healthy Skin & Coat
  • Reduction of Allergies
  • Reduction of Cancer Risk
  • Improved Weight Management
  • Improved Digestion & Oral Health

More Freeze-Dried Goodness from Vital Essentials – Minnows

Vital Essential’s wild-caught, freeze-dried Minnows are a small freshwater fish typically used for bait by fishermen.

I’ve been looking into adding more fish protein to Missy & Buzz’s diet and treat allowance, so I’m excited that I’ve been finding out more about fishy products.  

These particular ones don’t smell and are a hit with the pups!!

Black Boxer mix licking their chops over a bag of Minnows by Vital Essentials

Has your pup taste-tested some of Vital Essentials’ yummy foods and/or treats?

As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below this blog post!

Related Reading

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.


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12 responses to “How to Entertain Your Dog with Vital Essentials Mini Nibs & a KONG”

  1. Vital Essentials Avatar

    Thanks again for stopping by our booth and chatting with us! Happy to hear Missy and Buzz are enjoying the Mini Nibs.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      The pleasure was all mine – thank you for making a difference in the dog food world!

  2. MilitaryWifeandPugLife Avatar

    Your dogs have beautiful coats!!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      The pups are wagging “thank you” your way!

  3. Julie Smith Avatar
    Julie Smith

    Mental exercise is for sure so good!! I know Miss Cocoa needs to have puzzles to solve. These sound like good treats and how fun to meet the people behind the products!!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Oh yes, mentally engaged pups = calm pups 😉 The nibs are a complete meal that I “misused” as treats – the minnows are actual treats. Yes, it was great chatting with the brand reps face to face as opposed to having virtual email conversations!!

  4. JoAnn Stancer Avatar
    JoAnn Stancer

    That big kong is too cool. I will need to get my kongs back out to stuff for the puppies now.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Isn’t it?! One of my good friends has the largest KONG toy collection ever. I need to work on mine 😉 Happy KONG stuffing for your chessie puppies!

  5. MilitaryWifeandPugLife Avatar

    Aww Missy and Buzz are so cute!!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thank you :-)) I love my little stinkers!!

  6. 2 brown dawgs blog Avatar

    Those treats looks super yummy. Storm would have loved to go to the Kong booth. 🙂

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Mmmh yes, they were very well received 😉 The pups would have loved to go there as well!!

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