Dogs, cats and other pets can get bored just like we do. When I’m bored, I tend to search all cabinets for anything edible and binge watch stupid shows on Netflix. And then I feel terrible about the time wasted and the calories consumed. Keeping our minds and bodies active is important for our health, and science shows this is true for pets, too.
My pups will surely tell me if they feel bored and need some enrichment in their lives. Especially my Border Collie Nova won’t hold back and shove one toy after the other in my face to show me that she has a need to be entertained.
Enrichment means providing pets with stimulating activities and settings designed to improve their overall well-being. This can include various forms of mental and physical stimulation, such as puzzle toys, interactive games, sensory experiences and socialization with other dogs or humans. It can also help reduce behavior problems caused by boredom or stress, as well as increase their physical fitness and mental alertness. It is an important aspect of responsible dog ownership and can provide a happy and healthy lifestyle for your furry friend.
There are many ways you can add some stimulation into your pet’s world that don’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Check out these easy and green pet-parent projects you can try this spring.
Make a pet bed or pillow out of your old clothes
Recycling your old clothes is a great way to give them a second life. Take an old sweater or something with a thicker material and turn it into a comfy pet bed or pillow. Here’s an easy tutorial to follow. Your dog will enjoy cozying up on a bed that smells like you!
Tie up your clothes for tug toys!
This is great for those of you who don’t sew. Take your old jeans and make chew toys for your dog like in this tutorial. Nova loves playing tug with these toys, it’s fun to make something new out of an old jeans and since she puts all her heart and teeth into playing, toys get destroyed quickly! Playing tug with your dog is a great way to channel their inner predator and teach them skills like drop it as well as listening while in an aroused state.
Pick eco-friendly pet toy companies
Many dog and cat-toy companies are paying close attention to their carbon pawprint these days. We love Westpaw, not only are they eco friendly but also their toys are super fun. My dogs love the Toppls the most and the glow in the dark frisbee is awesome to play at night in the yard. Check out these other eco-friendly pet-toy companies listed on sustainablejungle.com.
Build a cardboard box pet house
Our cats here love any cardboard boxes, just putting an empty one somewhere to take out to the trash later, I’ll be sure to find one of them in the box when I remember to take it out to the trash. A couple boxes might be all your pet needs for some exercise and entertainment. Get creative and make an “obstacle” course with hidden treats or cut it to make a cat bed! Different heights and sizes will help your pet use their body in new ways.
P.S. Dogs often like playing in cardboard boxes too! And you can do an easy scent work course with a bunch of them stacked or put up in a row. Your dog will love this one for sure.
Play the spin-out treat game
Dogs and cats will probably be a little confused when you are doing this for the first time but I’m sure once they’ve figured it out they will love it! In the Spin-Out Treat Game, your pet will need to spin a bottle so treats can fall out. My shy little Papillon needed a bit of encouragement and showing how to get those treats out but then there was no holding her back. Just make sure never to leave your pet alone with plastic bottles to avoid any over-zealous chewers from trying to GET ALL THE TREATS.
Make toilet paper or paper towel treat rolls
You can easily turn a toilet paper roll into a little treat game. New toys every now and then will add stimulation to your dog’s life which is very needed. This would be good for any pup that loves destroying paper and loves shredding things. Make sure to supervise your pet during this activity, especially if your pet likes to chew and eat cardboard.
Being eco-friendly in all areas of my life is something I try to do whenever possible. It’s important and I will always choose an eco friendly version if there is one available. Which of these little projects are you going to try? Let me know!