Enrichment doesn’t need to cost a lot
Use what you already have around the home
There are plenty of ways you can stimulate your pets and provide enrichment. Dogs, cats and rabbits love to play with cardboard boxes – so next time you get a delivery, use the packaging for an interesting game / activity with your pet, i.e. foraging for food.
Empty plastic bottles can provide hours of entertainment as a feeding challenge for your pet. Simply cut a hole in the bottle (or leave the lid off) and place their kibble or treats inside and watch them figure it out!
Some rabbits like to gnaw and dig at things. Old telephone directories or catalogues provide the perfect opportunity to do this. You can enhance this by putting treats in between the pages. You can also make ‘Hay crackers’ using brown paper and straw for them to gnaw and rip apart. They also like to climb inside paper sacks, so wrap some vegetables in paper and toss them in the sack and watch your rabbit dig about to find the food. Rodents particularly enjoy foraging for their food. Use lots of tissue paper pushed into an empty toilet roll tube and hung from the ceiling of their cages to tempt them.
Rodents particularly enjoy foraging for their food. Use lots of tissue paper pushed into an empty toilet roll tube and hung from the ceiling of their cages to tempt them.
Make your own enrichment activities
Whether you have a dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs or other small pets, there are plenty of activities you can put together or make yourself:
Dogs, cats and rabbits love snuffle mats! With a plastic mat and strips of fleece blanket (and a couple of hours of perseverance on your part), you can provide your loved pet with hours of enriching activity.
A game of volleyball with a balloon is the stuff of dreams for some dogs (not recommended for cats!!) Cats, and some dogs, prefer to chase bubbles.
When walking your dog, let them set the pace and the route; let them decide where they want to go. Let them stop and sniff anything and everything. Perhaps even let them try a bit of ‘urban agility’ by jumping on and walking on benches (if paws are clean) and balancing on logs.
Your local charity shops or car boot sales are full of items that can be repurposed for enriching the lives of your pets:
Children’s stacking cups or building blocks are perfect for dogs – they love to learn to stack or unstack;
Wooden or Plastic dolls-house furniture is brilliant for a makeover of your hamster, gerbil or rat cage.
Swop stuff to keep things interesting
Have you considered swopping enrichment products with friends or rotating items for your pet. Putting a favourite activity or toy away for a couple of months allows your pet to ‘rediscover’ it and experience that satisfaction anew!