What are dog enrichment activities?
Dog enrichment activities can include stuffed toys (like Kongs or Toppls), slow feeder bowls, lick mats, puzzles, and snuffle mats. These dog enrichment activities help to engage your dog’s mind and can help to relieve stress, expend energy, and even prevent unwanted behaviors. In addition to physical exercise, enrichment activities expend your pet’s energy and give them a task to complete. This can help prevent bored dogs from seeking out activities themselves to engage their minds, like shredding your sofa. When providing your pup with an enrichment activity, be sure to monitor them for safety and avoid letting your pup consume inedible pieces of toys or puzzles.
Engaging their brain for one hour per day can tire your dog out as much as a long walk. One great way to get your pup thinking is with a pet puzzle! When filled with treats, like Carnivore Crunch, your dog uses their mind and nose to navigate the puzzle and find each treat. These puzzles can be found at many local neighborhood pet stores, or you can create DIY puzzles at home.
Dog enrichment activities that help engage your pet’s nose are a great way to stimulate their minds and wear them out. One of the easiest ways to get your pup to use their nose is to hide treats, like Wild Weenies, around the room and have your dog search for them. This is a great way to encourage your pup to use their natural tracking skills and can make mealtimes more fun if you hide pieces of their food rather than treats. Snuffle mats are another great way to engage your dog’s sense of smell, and can be an easy way to slow down fast eaters.
The action of licking can be both soothing and tiring for dogs, which is a great way to wear them out and relieve stress. Some great ways to encourage licking are stuffed toys (like Kongs or Toppls) or lick mats. These can be filled with food, treats, and toppers to engage your pup as they work hard to lick up every last bit. For an added challenge, use wet food or toppers and pop it in the freezer! Marie’s Mix-Ins and Bone Broth are great fillings for stuffable toys or lick mats, and when frozen may even keep your dog busy for an hour.
Dog enrichment can be even more fun outside. One great way to encourage your pup to use their minds outside is through ‘sniffaris’, taking your dog on a walk but allowing them to sniff and explore their surroundings. This can be achieved along your regular walking route, but is even more exciting if you take your pup to a new park or trail and allow them to explore on a long leash. You can also involve food in this game, and scatter treats or pieces of kibble in the grass for your dog to smell and find. Providing a variety of enrichment activities for your dog is good for their health on every level, and may also help dogs who get the zoomies excessively.
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