How mental enrichment can make your pet happier, calmer and help prevent problem behaviours from developing.
Many pets have limited mental and physical stimulation living in indoor environment. Over time undesirable behaviours may develop, such as:
chewing or other destructive behaviour
searching the pantry or bins
Toys can help, but they are only effective if they are engaging. Many pets don’t play with toys when their owners are not around. A great way to engage your pet and offer mental and physical stimulation is through enrichment feeding!
Here are some handy enrichment feeding options that you can try:
Scatter feeding – scatter your pets dry food on the floor or grass
Stimulate hunting behaviour (cats) – in the wild, cats have to hunt for their food. There are lots of great feeding options for cats that help stimulate that behaviour, such as the Indoor Hunting Feeder.
Food dispenser – provide your dog with food throughout the day.
Food puzzle – Buster Activity Mat, slow feeding bowls, even your local Kmart usually has a couple of puzzle feeding options!
Commercially available products – Kong, Kong Wobbler, Kong Gyro, Kong Ballistic Hide N Treat, chewable balls with holes.
DIY – There are so many do-it-yourself options when it comes to enrichment feeding! A quick google will give you loads of options on how you can turn empty plastic bottles, PVC pipe, muffin trays and tennis balls into a fun feeding time for your pet!
To maximise enrichment for your pet, have a selection of enrichment toys and rotate them daily. If you can hide them around the house to encourage searching and hunting, then that's even better!
How to get started?
Introduce the enrichment toys when your pet is hungry and offer the simpler options to them first. You can help your pet to solve the puzzle and roll the toys around to show them how it works.
Enrichment feeding is a wonderful way to provide mental and physical stimulation and controlled food portions - making your pet happier and healthier!