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North Hills Monthly

Beat the Winter Blues with Puzzles and Games for your Pet

Nov 30, 2018 01:32PM ● By Trina Asterino-Nous

By Suzanne Denk, Animal Enrichment Specialist, Animal Friends

With the chilly winter weather upon us, you and your pets may be feeling the winter blues. But you can help your four-legged family members beat cabin fever with some daily activities that put their minds to work!

Providing your pets with opportunities to use their brains in new ways that engage their senses, reduce stress, redirect extra energy or relieve boredom can add to the quality of their lives by keeping them engaged with the world around them.

You may have seen dogs enjoying puzzle feeders and toys before. There are a wide variety of puzzle feeder toys available in stores for pets. While many are labeled for dogs, cats and rabbits can use the very same ones!

Everyday items that you find around the house can also be turned into enrichment activity puzzles for your pet. Hide a treat in a ball pit, an egg carton, a cereal box, a muffin tin, a paper towel roll or even in the box that Amazon or Chewy delivered. The possibilities are endless!

You can also scatter multiple boxes, plastic cereal bowls or yogurt containers around the room to be searched – there just might be a yummy treat or a new toy inside! If your pet is breezing through their puzzles a little too fast, try hiding the toy for them to rediscover or wrap it in a towel or blanket.

By offering your pet a new activity each day, you can help keep the winter blues away. It is so important to give your pets the opportunity to use their senses in ways that are fun, new and exciting. As Dr. Seuss said, “I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny. But we can have lots of good fun that is funny.”

To learn more about fun ways to enrich your pet’s days during the winter months, visit Animal Friends’ website at www.ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org/Enrichment.