Imagine how boring it must be for animals which are natural hunters or foragers to be given all their meals in a bowl, day-after-day, year-after-year! In the process of domesticating our pets, we have denied them the opportunity to express many of their normal behaviours, one of which is feeding. It’s time to jazz-up those meals and get your pets excited and active!
Our dogs, cats, rabbits, birds and other friends are smart and inquisitive, so take advantage of their curiosity, and food is a great motivator. There are many interactive feeders and treat balls commercially available, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money. It’s easy to make your own! Maggie has an ice cube tray and a toilet roll pyramid, and at the age of 10 she caught on very quickly. Puzzle feeders can be created for most pets, just ensure the materials you use are safe and that you rotate the puzzles occasionally to keep your pet interested.
Another of Maggie’s games is “Chase the Bikkie”. I scatter dry food throughout the house and instead of wolfing it down in 2 minutes, she takes around 10 minutes to find the food (generally 3 circuits of the house to find it all). Food can also be scattered in the garden. A variation of this game is to throw one bikkie at a time and have your pet chase after it and return to you for the next one. As well as keeping them entertained, it’s great exercise and a fun way for you to interact with your pet! (If your pet is elderly or has a medical condition, talk to your vet before making them run a marathon every meal time).
Let’s see what you can come up with; share your suggestions and photos and together we can keep our pets’ bodies and brains active!
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