It’s that time of year where we can see our breath outside and the winter chill pushes us indoors. Don’t let this change in weather limit your animals’ learning, energy release, and fun! By getting a little creative we can keep our pets mentally engaged. Check out these enrichment ideas for dogs and cats!
Nose work interests most dogs because there is the promise of a yummy reward! Pick your dog’s favorite treat and something to hide it in which requires your dog to think. We love using dog puzzles and crinkle mats!
A treat hunt is also a fun way to get your dog moving. While your dog is outside or distracted hide treats throughout the home and encourage your pet to search for them. Using small treats to lead to a grand ultimate reward such as your dog’s favorite toy or high-value bone is a great way to start the hunt. Be sure to use lots of praise when they find a treat!
Treat rolls make for a great DIY puzzle! Collect toilet paper rolls and stuff it with treats, peanut butter, tuna, etc. and fold the edges to seal it. Your dog (and cat!) will have to figure out how to open the roll to get the goodness within. If this is too easy for your brilliant companion Kongs are great for freezing peanut butter or tuna in so that they have to work at it a little more.
Cats are easily visually stimulated! There are free apps just for cats and Youtube channels dedicated to engaging them. If your cat is old school and prefers enrichment without screens try these ideas:
Cat puzzles! There are several treat puzzles/mazes that you can purchase online for your feline that will keep their brains busy. If your cat is anything like mine, he prefers the boxes that toys come in versus the toy itself. Boxes and paper bags make for a great DIY cat puzzle! Cut out holes (big enough for your cats arms to reach inside) throughout the box and place toys and treats inside so that your cat has to go fishing for them. Paper bags can also be cat heaven, especially with some catnip inside.
Laser pointers have stumped our cats for years! The mysterious red dot comes and goes with no apparent pattern or reason and most cats love to hunt/chase it. You can’t go wrong with this classic! If you want to be able to fully focus on finding your winter chill try automated laser pointers.
What are your pet’s favorite indoor activities during the winter months? Please share in the comments!
Written by: Tara Cleveland