So you get home, take the dog on a walk, play a bit of fetch, then return home and feed him a nutritious meal. Or you rub the indoor-only cat behind her ears and scoop her out some of her favorite wet food. That’s it, right? Not necessarily! Your pet might not be getting the enrichment he or she needs.
Think about what dogs were bred for, and what cats would do if they were allowed the freedom of being outside. Dogs were bred for herding, protecting, retrieving. Cats were made to be independent hunters. These jobs didn’t allow for 8 hour couch days followed with sleep during the night!
Without proper enrichment, your pet’s health can be put at risk as well as their mental wellbeing, which can mean bad news for your home. Bad habits such a chewing on furniture, raiding the trash, and destroying your shoes can all result from boredom.
One of the best ways to enrich your pet’s life is of course, more exercise. Allowing your dog constant access to their backyard by installing a pet door can help by adding extra room to run, as well as more sights to see. Sometimes, it’s hard to allow cats outside but opening up some windows and sticking a perch next to a couple will give them more things to climb as well as things to see. You might also want to set up an outdoor “catio” that is fully enclosed and therefore a safe way for kitty to get some outside time! Take a look at our cat doors to provide access to one of these.
Something that is often forgotten is the mental stimulation that all creatures need to live healthy lives. Animals were designed to look for their meals, not have them handed to them everyday. Before you leave the house in the morning, try hiding treats and food around the house for your pet to find while you are at work! You can even get toys specifically made to slowly dispense food, or puzzle toys that your pet has to solve to get the treat. Teaching your pets fun tricks is an excellent way to challenge their minds while also bonding with your pet!