Enriching Your Pet's Life With Enrichment
Updated: Apr 6, 2021
Enrichment is improving your dog’s overall health and well being. If the weather is too cold or too hot for your dog, they may not be getting the amount of exercise they need. Enrichment will help mentally tired them out. Enrichment is also great mental stimulation for other animals. In fact, most zoos and even some aquariums use enrichment with their animals. There are 5 types of enrichment:
1) Sensory- This stimulates all of the animal’s senses (visual, hearing, smell, taste, touch). Examples: flavored bubbles, sound machines, TV, CDs, scratching post, etc.
2) Foods and Feeding- Make feeding time challenging and fun for animals. Examples: puzzle bowls/slow feeders, licki mats, using safe "human food" for your pet and other ways to encourage animals to think and find their food in the wild.
3) Toys- This enrichment can be manipulated in some way (using hands, mouth, legs, horn, or head) by investigating and playing. Examples: Puzzles, stuff kongs, food hidden in boxes, etc.
4) Environmental- This enhances the animal’s enclosure by change or adding new items. Examples: novel substrates, swings, climbing structures, hiding places, new toys, etc.
5) Behavior and Social- Interactions in the form of training and structured play builds trust between handler and animal. Examples: play, flirt pole, and training
Different animals have different enrichment needs. Use your pet’s natural behaviors to come up with enrichment ideas that are appropriate for your pet. The good thing about enrichment is that it is good for any aged animal.
Some dog enrichment ideas are puzzle feeders and slow feeder bowls, licking mats, snuffle mats, stuffed rubber toys frozen or unfrozen, flirt poles, nose work/scent work, hide food in boxes, new toys, agility/parkour training, go on a sniff walk, training/take a training class, teach tricks, exercises, etc. Visit our Pintrest board for some more ideas: https://www.pinterest.com/AllJazzedUpPetServicesLLC/dog-enrichment-gamestoys/
Some cat enrichment examples are puzzle feeders and slow feeder bowls, licking mats, snuffle mats, stuffed toys (and similar toys), cat wands, pipe cleaner toys, new toys, cat nip/perfumes/fresh herbs/other animal scents, paper bags, go on a walk, training, teach tricks, etc. Visit our Pintrest board for some more ideas: https://www.pinterest.com/AllJazzedUpPetServicesLLC/cat-enrichment/
Some bird enrichment ideas are new toys, sticks (make sure it is a safe wood), hid food in cardboard tubes/paper bags, paper/paper plates, etc. Visit our Pintrest board for some more ideas: https://www.pinterest.com/AllJazzedUpPetServicesLLC/bird-enrichment/
Some small animals (rabbits, guinea pig, hamsters, etc.) enrichment ideas are scatter food in enclosure, hide food in cardboard tubes, new toys, sticks (make sure it is a safe wood), etc. Visit our Pintrest board for some more ideas: https://www.pinterest.com/AllJazzedUpPetServicesLLC/small-animal-enrichment/
Making enrichment toys can be enriching for us humans too! Make some toys for your own pets or for you local animal shelter or rescue. Visit our Pintrest board for some more ideas: https://www.pinterest.com/AllJazzedUpPetServicesLLC/diy-pet-toys/
Kathlyn Lawrence of All Jazzed Up Pet Services LLC is a Certified Professional Trainer (CPT) with years of experience training dogs and working with animals. For more information on our Pet Services please visit our website.