Tonawanda News

Lifestyle

May 21, 2012

Easy ways to enrich your pet's life and help the environment

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Tonawanda News —

I know of many animals that have benefited from a cardboard toy box. Dogs, birds, cats and small mammals will all enjoy this free enrichment device. Fill a cardboard box (tissue box to refrigerator size) with shredded paper, their favorite toys or some food and they will be busy foraging for awhile. You can start off easy, by placing a little food on top of toys or paper that are inside the box, and then slowly progress to hiding the food at the bottom. Paper towel tubes, cardboard egg cartons and paper bags also make interesting foraging devices.

Just because an item falls off a chain or rope doesn’t mean it has to be discarded. We can reuse many toys by sanitizing them and restringing them. Some of the best cat toys I have are long pieces of string with broken cat toys tied at one end. Another item you can reuse are old or broken animal carriers. They unscrew in half and can be reused into animal beds. Once turned upside down they provide the perfect hiding hut.

Recycling is another great way to provide free enrichment to our pets. When it comes to enrichment, recycling has two meanings. First, you can simply use old items in new ways or incorporate those items into new devices.

The second meaning for recycle is to share the wealth. Just because one species of animal has had its fill of a particular opportunity doesn’t mean that the enrichment offering can’t be sanitized and offered to a different animal. A great example is scent enrichment. Many pet caregivers are familiar with how superior their olfaction is to ours. Recycling a toy or piece of fabric one animal has scented and giving it to another is a great form of free enrichment. In the wild they are navigating through a large range of smells. Hiding rabbit hair in your yard for your dog or spraying peppermint in the house for your cat will surely get your pets to elicit natural responses.

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