Enrichment is any activity that can make life more interesting for your dog. It should be enjoyable, not difficult or frustrating.
Why enrichment feeding?
There are so many ways to make mealtimes more exciting for your dog. Now I know some of you are thinking "but my dog loves mealtimes, why would we do this?". Yes, your dog loves mealtimes, but how quickly are they over and done with?
Mealtimes and walks are probably the highlights of the day for most dogs. So anything that you can do that makes them more interesting, and more fulfilling, will benefit them mentally.
How do you 'do' enrichment feeding?One of the simplest ways you can start to incorporate enrichment feeding into your routine is by scatter feeding. Distributing your dogs meal (or some of it) in the back yard and letting them forage for it is very rewarding for your dog. On a very basic level they are hunting for their food, but the act of sniffing out their food brings them enormous enjoyment.
Your dog sees the word through his nose - and with a sense of smell up to 100,000 times better than ours, your dog is receiving huge amounts of information.
Add this together with the mental stimulation of puzzling out where the food is, and your dog will feel tired but relaxed. You can read more about "treasure hunts" here.
You can also use an enrichment feeder. We have many different styles available - you can view the entire collection here.
The mats are best suited to wet or raw food, although some do work well with kibble too.
They are also perfect for a little snack, such as a spoonful of yogurt of pumpkin. Think how quickly your dog would lick up a spoonful of yogurt in a normal bowl - and then imagine how long it would take on a textured mat or in a wobble bowl.
Benefits of Enrichment Feeding
Enrichment feeding can benefit your dog's health and mental wellbeing.
- Slow down eating
- Reduced risk of vomiting and indigestion
- Reduced risk of bloat
- Stimulates saliva to aid digestive health
- Promotes fresher breath, healthy teeth and gums
- Increased enjoyment at mealtimes by extending time taken to eat
- Reduce stress
- Reduce anxiety
- Reduce boredom
Some people love to use enrichment feeding as a creative outlet. But enrichment feeding doesn't need to be difficult or time consuming. It can be as simple as throwing a few handfuls of kibble or air dried food onto the grass, or smearing a can of wet food or some yogurt onto a mat.
Why not give it a try? Your dog will thank you.
See all our enrichment feeders here