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The Importance of Different Types of Enrichment for Pets: 5 Enrichment Activities and Ideas

Our pets deserve to have activities that are fun for them, offer them novel experiences, and that keep them from boredom. It can be hard, sometimes, to come up with different enrichment activities for different pets, though, so here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Snuffle mats- these are great options for dogs, birds, cats, and other small pets. Sprinkle food across the top of the mat and let your pet search it out. This encourages foraging behaviors that simulates what some pets, such as dogs and birds, would do in the wild.

  2. Sensory items- this can range from a box filled with dirt or hay for reptiles to climb and hide in, to a kiddie pool filled with play sand for your dog to dig in. For cats, consider adding vertical structures for them to climb, or a crinkly mat to feed them on.

  3. Puzzles- there are great options for food puzzles on the market, but you can make your own, too. Pasta boxes can emptied and filled with your dog's dinner. Close the box and let your dog figure out how to open it to get his food. Smaller boxes can be used for cats and other pets, and you can make the game harder or easier by closing or opening the box more.

  4. Scatter feeding- another great option for enrichment is scatter feeding. This can be done wherever you wish to feed your pet. Just scatter his food on the floor and let him find all the pieces. This is another great activity that helps fulfill the foraging behaviors that are inherent to our pets.

  5. Socializing- take your pet somewhere new. If your dog can behave in public, take them to a pet=friendly store. Harness train your cat or bird and take them outside on a leash. There are also harnesses and leashes for smaller pets like bearded dragons, turtles, and guinea pigs, too!

Overall, there are many different ways you can add enrichment activities to your pet's lives. My favorite have been using snuffle mats, scatter feeding, puzzles, and socializing. After a good walk through a store, my dogs are tired from all the new sights and sounds and promptly take a nap when we get back home.

What are your favorite enrichment activities for your pets? Tell me in the comments!

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