DOG ENRICHMENT IDEAS
Enrichment is a critical part of any healthy and happy pets life! It not only acts as a boredom buster but can help with anxiety, build confidence and social skills, and it can also aid in preventing destructive behaviours.
Just like humans, being mentally stimulated is super important for our pets! We can often forget that mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise, but that’s why we’ve created this blog post to give you some ideas on easy and effective ways to keep your pets mind active!
Games and Toys
Using games and toys are a sure fire way to keep your pet’s mind stimulated, while also rewarding them!
Lickimats are a favourite of ours here at Happy Paws Co, as they are super versatile and boast a range of healthy benefits for your pet!
For the pet that needs extra stimulation try the LickiMat Wobble! Simply spread your pet’s favourite spreadable treat over the bowl and watch as they spend hours licking it out and making the bowl wobble!
HAPPY PAWS CO TIP: We love to use our Happy Paws Co Dog Safe Peanut Butter with our LickiMat products!
Food Dispensing Toys
Let your pet use their brain and be instantly rewarded with food dispensing toys! Food dispensing toys rely on your pet finding the secret holes, pressing buttons, twisting pieces, and many other brain stimulants to release treats!
Food dispensing toys are sure to bust your pet’s boredom and keep them entertained all day! Or at least until the treats run out…
Try our best seller Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble Feeder Ball!
Much like food dispensing toys, puzzle toys rely on your dog using their brain to be rewarded! Puzzle toys are great for all levels of enrichment needs with many puzzle toys being ranked from easy to hard.
Simply find a puzzle that best fits your pet’s needs, fill it with their favourite treats, and let them be entertained for hours!
Dog Brick - Level 2 Intermediate Dog Puzzle Toy
At Happy Paws Co we have a great range of enrichment toys suited to any pet! Check them out HERE.
Snuffle mats are a great interactive and cuddly enrichment tool to get your pet stimulated! Simply place your pet’s favorite treats under flaps of fabric and let them dig their way through the mat to find the goodness!
You can even make your own snuffle mat with fleece fabric, a rubber honeycomb mat and a pair of scissors!
Enrichment doesn't have to be hard, or expensive! Here are a few of our favourite DIY enrichment ideas for your pets.
The Treat Roll
Simply use a towel, yoga mat, face cloth or anything you can roll that you don't mind touching dog treats. As your roll your chosen item, add in treats, and then let your dog unroll and find the treats that you've hidden away from them.
Sustainable DIY Enrichment
Don’t throw away those old egg cartons! Use each cup to hold a treat and close back up the carton. Let your pet figure out how to open the egg carton and get their well earned treats.
DIY Obstacle Course
Use your backyard or house as an obstacle course for your pet!
Sprinkle their favourite treats throughout the space, place treats under rocks or furniture, use the above egg carton puzzle, use any enrichment toys or puzzles and set up a course for your pet to get through. This is sure to keep your pet enriched and entertained all day!
Freezing treats or toys is a super easy way to make your pup work harder for their rewards! By freezing your pet’s bones, treats or meals makes them last longer, and makes your pet use their brain to enjoy their food.
Some of our favourite ways to utilise a freezer for enrichment is to chop up meat, or simply use your pet’s favourite treats, and place them in an empty ice cream container. Fill the container with ice and let the treats/meat and water freeze. This will make a large frozen obstacle for your pet to get through before they reach their food.
Freezing your pet’s favourite toy is also a great way to make them use their brain! Letting them figure out how to free their best toy friend from the ice will keep them busy for hours!
Safe Spaces to Dig
If you have a digger, give your pet a safe space to dig! Even though they love digging, we don’t love backyards full of holes. Digging can be a great way for pets to release stress, as well as being a great outlet for harnessing energy.
Create a sand pit in your outdoor space that can be solely used for your pet’s digging needs. Encourage them to use the space by burying treats in the sand, and watch as they spend hours upon hours digging away!
Meal time doesn't just have to be about eating, it can also be fun and mentally enriching! Use any food dispensing toy such as our West Paw Toppl Treat Dispensing Dog Toy to let your pet enjoy their meal from.
We love to use our Happy Paws Co Moo Tubes to stuff our pet’s meals into.
Make the meal time more exciting by adding things such as berries, yoghurt, our Happy Paws Co Meal Sprinkles and treats to their usual food. This with the addition of the food being served in a Moo Tube is sure to keep your pet entertained through meal time.
HAPPY PAWS CO TIP: Freeze your stuffed Moo Tubes to make the enrichment last longer!
Check out our Instagram for more enrichment ideas, and join our Happy Paws Co Facebook group for recipe ideas!
copy by Amie Maclaine