As the temperature plummets, our animals are going to need more enrichment than ever. Here are five enrichment activities that help keep your pet stimulated during those long cold days.
Before leaving for work, scatter treats around the house for your animal to find throughout the day. This helps them to use their sniffing skills to find them all. The better hidden the treats, the more challenging the activity!
Make or buy a snuffle mat. These mats make it more difficult for you pet to get the treats out, requiring them to use their brains. If you don’t have a snuffle mat, you can also roll treats in a towel and make your animal figure out how to get them out.
Place treats at the bottom of each cup in a muffin tin and cover each one with a ball or toy. Your pet has the challenge of taking each ball or toy out before getting to the treats.
Food dispensing and stuffable toys make for a tasty challenge for your animals. These toy can be filled with tasty treats that require a little extra brain power to get the treat out. If you don’t have a food dispensing toy, make your own using an empty toilet paper roll. Simply cut a small hole in the side, fold the ends shut, and place treats inside.
One of the simplest enrichment activities is freezing your pets treats. Fill an ice-cube tray or container with pet friendly liquid food (such as meat broth, yogurt, or pumpkin) and freeze. Include pieces of treats inside for little surprises. Give a frozen treat to your pet to keep them busy. Worried about them making a mess? Put the frozen treat in a large bowl or cookie sheet, or lay down some old towels.
“An enriched [environment] is interesting, allows animals to perform natural behaviours, permits them to be more active and increases the animals’ control over their environment. Enrichment helps satisfy both the physical and psychological needs of animals and allows them to make choices.” – The Saint Louis Zoo