Tonawanda News —
Another category of enrichment is self maintenance. A large portion of a wild animal’s time is spent grooming. Reptiles sun and soak themselves, canines and felines groom each other and birds’ bathe in the rain or in puddles.
By cleaning themselves they keep their hygiene and appearances up. Giving your pet options to clean themselves can be rewarding for both parties involved.
Watching my cats groom each other is relaxing to me and watching my bird enjoy a spray bottle bath is fun. Generally birds only bathe when they feel very comfortable. By focusing on preening they are more susceptible to predators because they have let their guard down. When I see my bird bathing indoors I know she is not worried about anything in her surroundings.
The third enrichment grouping is the five senses.
We use some of our senses so much, we often don’t have to think about it. We move things around and change colors to appease our visual senses. When cooking we use foods with strong aromas to get our appetite moving. We change the volume and track in our car to hear our favorite songs. We wear shoes to go over hard and rough surfaces and line our houses with sleek woods and fluffy carpets.
Changing our pets’ environment with the senses in mind can be a cheap, yet substantial adjustment. Changing the location and view of a pets cage, the substrate they walk on daily or scents they encounter are some ideas to get you started.
Adding and substituting an animal’s diet is a common category of enrichment. I will not go too far into this category because this one I feel many pet caregivers utilize. Before changing or adding to a diet I would consult a veterinarian. If your pet can eat carrots, for example, how are those carrots presented? I can think of eight for starters; whole carrots, minced, shredded, chopped, baby carrots, carrot sticks, steamed and roasted.