When your dogs feel bored or under stimulated, they might start to act out in ways that could get them into trouble. Chewing up shoes and clothing, digging in the garbage and escaping from the yard are all fair game for bored pups. Unfortunately, engaging in these naughty diversions can result in serious injuries or illnesses that may land your pups a visit with their veterinarian in Raleigh, North Carolina. Luckily, you can redirect your dogs’ energy to enrichment activities that will keep them healthy and happy throughout each day. Here are four veterinarian-approved enrichment activities to keep in your regular rotation.
A snuffle mat safely brings dogs back to their days of looking for food in the wild. You can create this device by tying four-inch strips of flannel or fleece across an entire sink strainer mat. Fluff up the soft material to create nooks and crannies for your dogs to sniff through in search of treats. To keep your dogs busy with this activity, simply sprinkle kibble over the mats, and then lightly shake to allow the pieces to settle in the fabric folds. This activity has the added benefit of slowing down fast eaters, which can help reduce the risk of bloat.
Puzzle games reward your dogs for thinking outside the box in their pursuit of tasty treats. The devices are commercially available at local pet stores or you can make your own tricky contraptions out of egg cartons, cardboard boxes and plastic bottles. To set up the puzzle games, you load up the trap doors and slide rails with your dogs’ favorite treats to entice them to try to outsmart the device. Then, sit back and watch as your dogs use their paws, mouth and nose to trigger the release of the treats.
Hide ‘n’ Seek
To pair physical activity with thinking games, teach your dogs how to play hide and seek. You should start by hiding their favorite treats in the house or yard, and then releasing them with a find it command. Encourage scent tracking by dragging the items along the ground to the hiding spots. As your dogs start to master this activity, skip the scent marking and allow them to think it out on their own. Add even more excitement to the game by having family members go hide and encouraging your dogs to seek them out.
Flirt Pole Chase
A flirt pole provides dogs with an opportunity to anticipate movements and chase down an object, as they would while hunting prey. You can buy a strong flirt pole from pet shops and specialty retailers that focus on dog training. To play, simply dangle the toy in front of your dogs, and then drag it in the opposite direction as quickly as you can. When your dogs catch the toy, do not pull it away as that could cause an injury. Instead, state your leave it command and offer a treat in exchange for the toy. Don’t forget to begin the game anew after offering treats and praise for a job well done.
Schedule a Visit with Your Dogs’ Veterinarian, Raleigh, North Carolina Today
Remember to always supervise your pups while they interact with their enrichment mats and toys. Your time and effort will be well rewarded with tired dogs that comfortably snooze the rest of the day away. When it comes time to bring in your dogs for a checkup with their veterinarian in Raleigh, North Carolina, give our Animal Hospital of Brier Creek team a call at 919-544-2226 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping care for your beloved pets.