Written by Philly from our Papamoa clinic

There are plenty of ways in which we can make the lives of our pets more fun and entertaining! Keeping our pets active and allowing them to engage in their innate behaviors, such as playing, chasing, smelling, chewing and scavenging helps keep them happy and healthy! Below we outline some enrichment ideas you can try with your cat or dog.

Treat Ball:
These are a great way to keep pets entertained and help ensure they get extra exercise around home. Pets enjoy foraging and looking for food, so a treat or puzzle ball that makes them work for their food and keeps the brain and motor skills active. It can be a good idea to use biscuits from one of their main meals to ensure they don’t go over their whole daily requirements.

Maze bowl or puzzle feeder:
These are great for slowing down a fast-eating pet as they must work their way through the maze/puzzle to get their meal. This also helps prevent pets from regurgitating their food, which commonly happens if they eat it too fast.

DIY Enrichment:
Get creative and use items from around the house. It can be as simple as putting balls into a muffin tray for a fun guessing game. Cups or containers on the floor can work the same way for your pet to guess which one has the treat under. Another idea can be as simple as a folded-up paper towel tube with biscuits inside.

Get the whole family involved:
This is a fun way to help spread out the responsibilities and involve everyone in the family with the feeding duties. By spreading out the feeding duties, it will help decrease the chance of the pets begging from the same family member all the time. Another option is to get an automatic food feeder, so the animals learn that is where their food comes from.

Toy Box:
Rotating toys is a great way to keep old toys more interesting. Have a good range of different types of toys, from balls, ropes to soft toys. Ensure that they are checked regularly for any lose parts or holes that could be easily swallowed and potentially become a foreign body. Dispose of old toys once they become a hazard.

Engage with your pets:
Spend time and play with your pets or teach them something new. Pets could be bored and seeking attention, not necessarily just looking for food. Grooming can be a great time bonding if that is what your pet loves, as well as gentle walks, playing with toys or even a game of hide and seek.