One of the most important preventative care you can provide your pet is mental enrichment. That’s right–your pet needs homework! And while you don’t need lesson plans to keep your pet’s brain active, we hope you will consider scheduling fun, games, and one-on-one attention into your daily schedule.
Providing your pet with mental enrichment is easy, and we’re happy to help give you some suggestions. So, prepare the feather wand, invest in some natural, unsweetened peanut butter, and prepare for some pawsome fun and games with your furry friend.
Why Provide Your Pet with Daily Mental Stimulation?
Mental enrichment does more than just show your pet just how much you love them. It also lowers your pet’s stress levels, staves off boredom, and can reduce depression and the effects of cognitive decline for older pets.
Need some ideas for how to keep your dog, cat, or rabbit mentally stimulated? We are happy to help!
How to Keep Your Dog Mentally Enriched: Toys, Toys, Everywhere a Toy!
Providing your dog with a variety of toy styles and keeping them within reach for your dog to access when they’re feeling a bit bored.
Puzzle toys are a great way to increase your dog’s mental stimulation while you’re not home. There are different levels of difficulty, so you can watch your dog’s ability to solve puzzles improve over time.
You can even make your dog some DIY enrichment toys. Try puts treats in the bottom of a muffin pan then a tennis ball in each muffin section. Or stuff a paper towel or toilet paper roll with a few tissues. Then fill it over and add a few treats followed by several more tissues. Let your dog pull the tissues out, finding the treats hidden within.
How to Keep Your Cat Busy and Mentally Engaged: Play, Treats, and Attention
Like dogs, cats benefit from mental enrichment. Keep your kitty living their best life by providing them with opportunities to play independently and with you.
Toys that hang from the door handle or suction to the window allow your cat to get frisky whenever they feel the inspiration. Leaving boxes with packing tissue or paper around will encourage your cat to explore. Of course, some cats also cannot resist battery-operated toys like those that look like a mouse and make squeaking noises when jostled.
Cats also enjoy a puzzle challenge. So, don’t be shy about investing in a few toys that spit out treats as they play, play, play.
You can also stock toys to use to play with your cat. Feather wands, bell balls, or even a shoelace will keep your cat entertained for hours.
Give your cat the opportunity to watch what’s going on just beyond the window with a cat perch or catio. Or create a ramp so your cat has access to the window sill.
If your cat doesn’t seem as into playtime as you want them to be, keep in mind that catnip can work magic for some cats. If that doesn’t work, remain committed to spending time with your cat daily.
Mental Enrichment for Rabbits and Other Pocket Pets
Dogs and cats aren’t the only animals that benefit from and enjoy mental enrichment. Pocket pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and mice love using their brain power for play and interactions.
Create cardboard balls by cutting a toilet paper roll into rings and overlapping two or three at a time. You can also fold the end of a toilet paper roll, dropping a few treats in, then closing up the other end.
Keep Your Pet Having Fun in the Sun!
One of the most loving things you can do for your pet is to encourage play. Mental stimulation provides pets with an outlet for their energy and a way to keep their mind strong.
Do you have questions about your pet’s mood? We can help you figure out if your dog is depressed or just bored. Make an appointment today.
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