Have you been to a zoo or marine park lately? If you have you may have had the privilege to see some of the creative methods the keepers have to help relieve boredom in their charges as well as try replicate, if only in a small way, natural hunting instincts of the animals. Ice Blocks are used for Polar Bear attractions, Malaysian Sun Bears have honey and other treats placed around their enclosures and within logs and other parts for them to forage for. In exhibits for the large cats, their food is often placed up high so they have to work out how to reach it to eat. This is what environmental enrichment is all about and something the general public is now able to relate to when it comes to these wild creatures, something expected and demanded. Many years ago, before it was recognized we needed to provide activities to do, many captive animals suffered behavioral issues sometimes as “minor” as repetitive type behaviors such as rocking or pacing to often extreme aggression.
Humans enrich their own lives in so many ways too, such as having a TV, radio or IPod. Many people install pay TV in their homes for extra entertainment or they might sit down with a good book. Children are sent to school to learn and through to university to prepare for life as an adult; adults generally go out to work during the week and perhaps have some wonderful activities planned for the weekend. Just what is your cat or dog doing while you are out enriching your life?
For a quick guilt free start to enriching the life of your pet, why don’t you try hiding dry food all over the garden, house or the pet’s enclosure –great for cats, dogs and other small rodent type creatures. One fun thing I used to do for Cole is hide a fresh bone or some food in a cardboard box, self sealing the box by interlocking the lid sections. To make it a little more challenging I would place the original box inside a bigger one and then even another. Cole loved tearing up cardboard anyway, so this way I was utilizing something he loved to do but creating a challenge and a reward at the end.
Remember enrichment is not just about great toys – we also offer a range of other items that enrich the lives of pets. Items such as the Thundershirt – a specially designed garment to help with anxiety. There are also a range of water fountains to encourage drinking water (great for cats that are prone to Feline lower urinary tract disease) and raised feeding bowls for that poor old geriatric large breed of dog that can’t bend down to his food bowl anymore.
Pets Need A Life Too! also has access to a wide range of health products that we can order in on request such as Doggie carts (for that partially paralysed pooch), special booties to help protect paws, other protective products and surgical body stockings etc.