Enrichment Activities using Food

Canine Enrichment
Canine Enrichment with Food
  • Emotional enrichment includes the love, trust and security of a safe and happy home.  Social enrichment is met through bonding and play with both humans and other dogs.  For example, things like fetch, tug, flirt poles, sprinkler games, bubbles and hide & seek.  
  • Physical enrichment is met through exercise.  E.g., hikes, parkour, sniff walks, running, playing, and many different types of dog sports.  
  • Mental enrichment is an activity whereby a dog’s mind is exercised through cognitive and sensory stimulation.  Mental and sensory stimulation can be accomplished through trick training, puzzles, music, nosework, play, new sights and sounds, etc. 
  • satisfies your dog’s natural instinct to forage
  • slows down eating to aid digestion and reduce bloat
  • makes meal times more interesting for picky eaters
  • provides an energy outlet
  • reduces stress and anxiety
  • reduces inclination to chew, bark and dig, etc.
  • calm a dog after a surgery, injury or spay/neuter when physical activity must be limited

Foods to ALWAYS Avoid!!

Grapes & Raisins
Macadamia nuts
Yeast dough
ANYTHING containing Xylitol

Canine Enrichment with Food
Canine Enrichment with Food
  1. If your dog is a beginner, start out by filling the cavity with kibble or dry treats. Then cap it off with some wet food, squeeze cheese or peanut butter.  The wet topper will keep your pup interested until they reach the kibble jackpot.  
  2. Once your pup has the hang of it, try filling with kibble that has been soaked in water or broth. In fact, you can even just mix the kibble with wet stuff  (pumpkin, yogurt, baby food, peanut butter, etc.).  
  3. Pack it loosely at first and then start packing it tighter.  
  4. Finally, once you have an advanced dog, you are ready to start freezing it.  However, if you are not able to freeze the entire toy, you can freeze things in ice cube trays or small silicone molds. Add this to your stuffer toy, along with kibble or ingredients.
Canine Enrichment with Food
  • Hoof/Horn/Bone: If you are like me, you have a variety of hooves, horns and bones lying around the house. Why not try using them as stuffing toys.
  • Paper Towel or Toilet Paper Tube: Put kibble in a tube. Now fold the ends over or cap the ends with packing paper. You can also fill the tube with kibble, cap both ends with wet ingredients and then freeze.
  • Kitchen Items – muffin tins, ice cube trays, old measuring cups, etc.
  • PVC: Pick up a pvc elbow or tee, stuff it and freeze it. Or you can just smear some peanut butter all around the inside surface.
  • Pupsicle:
    • Try putting a few treats/veggies/fruit into ice cube trays and fill with dilute broth. Freeze. Now, give a cube to your dog, add one to his bowl, put one in a kong or even float a couple of cubes in a bowl of water or even in a kiddy pool on a hot day.
    • Put treats/veggies/fruit and broth in a paper cup. Stick in a milk bone or carrot that will act as your pupsicle stick. Freeze, unmold and serve.
    • Same concept, but with an ice cream container. Freeze and unmold in the yard on a hot day.  If you have a large enough container, you can even freeze a ball or other toys into the mold.
Canine Enrichment with Food

Make Your Own Snuffle Mat
A simple snuffle mat can be constructed in an evening.

– plastic sink mat
– 1-2 fleece blankets or about 1 ½ – 2 yards of fleece
– scissors or rotary cutter

Cut the fleece into strips, about 1″ wide and 8 to 10” long.  Thread a strip through each hole in the sink mat and tie it off.  Make sure that you have tied a strip through every single hole in both directions.  Viola! – snuffle mat!

Canine Enrichment with Food
Canine Enrichment with Food
Canine Enrichment with Food
Canine Enrichment with Food
Canine Enrichment with Food