Enrichment and our Pets

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Enrichment and our Pets

What exactly is enrichment when it comes to our pets?

Its important to realize that our companion animals are descended from wolves and wild cats meaning they still share a large portion of their DNA with them (99.9% dogs to wolves and 95.6% cats to wild cats). This genetic similarity means they share a lot of the same behavioral traits such as desire to hunt and scavenge.

Its important to realize that our companion animals are descended from wolves and wild cats meaning they still share a large portion of their DNA with them (99.9% dogs to wolves and 95.6% cats to wild cats). This genetic similarity means they share a lot of the same behavioral traits such as desire to hunt and scavenge. On average, a wolf travels 30 miles a day to seek out food sources and migrate to new territories. While our pets have evolved to adapt to a more sedentary lifestyle, their need for mental stimulation is still very important to their overall health. Since most dogs do not walk 30 miles a day, being cooped up in the house for long periods of time can lead to boredom and destruction. It's important to provide them with a variety of enrichment toys and treats to keep their minds busy. This will help to prevent undesirable behaviors such as chewing, barking, jumping and other behavioral issues triggered by boredom.

Here are few things we suggest to keep your dog and cat busy:

  • Kongs stuffed with peanut butter, canned food or pumpkin frozen for 2+ hours. Freezing kongs not only means the toy will last a long longer, but it also helps to soothe sore gums in teething puppies.
  • Snuffle mats that hide your pets favorite treat, they help to mimic foraging behavior a dog would display in the wild.
  • Puzzle toys such as Hide & Slide by Nina Ottoson that have various levels of difficulty for your dog. We have several varieties of puzzle toys available for your dog to chose from.
  • Frozen marrow bones, similar to kongs, marrow bones are chalked full of marrow goodness, they last a long time and keep dogs busy while providing dental benefits.
  • For a DIY idea you can use a muffin pan, add few treats in each cup and cover with tennis ball. Your dog will have to use their nose to turn the tennis ball over and find a treat.
  • For kitties we recommend places to hide such as cat trees and tunnels. You can hide treats around the tree and make them "hunt" for their food.

Need other enrichment ideas? stop by the store or give us a call to talk to one of our friendly associates!

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