DIY dog enrichment projects for you and the kids

With many in Australia (and the world) taking part in self-isolation, we thought we’d do our part to keep you, your kids and your pets entertained.

Our friends at Animania have rounded up a bunch of DIY dog enrichment activities. Keep scrolling for some pooch-perfect ideas!

Puzzle feeders

Puzzle feeders are perfect for dogs who love to gobble their dinner. It spaces out their food into more challenging shapes to make sure they eat more slowly.

(If you happen to have a gobblemonster of a pup, you’ll know exactly what we mean.)

Here are some puzzle feeder ideas:

If your dog’s bowl has a rim underneath, like the one above, turn it upside down and put the food in the bottom.

diy2jpg 1

Use an empty egg carton to divide your dog’s dry food into the holes.

DIY1jpg 1

Divide your dog’s usual dry food into the cups of a muffin tray and place tennis balls on top.

muffin tray

Food games

Unlike humans, it’s not frowned upon for dogs to play with their food. In fact, it’s encouraged!

Make mealtime into a game to keep your dog entertained and exercised. Here are some ideas:

ball pit

Fill a large clamshell with tennis balls and scatter your dog’s food throughout.

85061685 183679732858248 6160093102401912832 n

Put your dog’s usual dry food into toilet rolls (if you’ve got any!) and place them into a shoebox. Watch that nose work!

DIY snuffle mat

image 6

A snuffle mat is a toy that gives your dog (or cat!) the opportunity to sniff out hidden treats, or even just her dinner. Your pet’s natural foraging instincts will kick in so it’s a great way to keep her brain and nose occupied.

Snuffle mats help to decrease boredom and stress, and can also help to slow down dogs who eat too fast.

Here’s our step-by-step tutorial on a DIY snuffle mat.

What you need:

  • A mat with holes in it (we found a really cheap rubber one in the doormat section of our local hardware store)
  • Fleece
  • Scissors
  1. Start by cutting your mat to size.
  2. Cut your material into thick, long strips. You’ll be threading the material through the holes and tying it up (see the next step) so keep that in mind when you consider the length. You’ll need quite a few, depending on how many you use in each hole.
  3. Take a strip of material and thread each end through adjoining holes in the mat. Tie the ends together in a double knot so it doesn’t come undone. Repeat. You don’t want any gaps for the food to fall through, so you may need to use several strips of fleece in each hole. Keep going until every hole is tied up.
  4. Voila! You have your very own snuffle mat to give your dog.

All of these pictures and ideas were taken from issue 42 and 47 of Animania, the RSPCA’s fun and informative magazine for kids. To find out more about Animania and subscribe, head here.