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Enrichment for our animal friends

Enrichment: 'the action of improving or enhancing the quality or value of something' (ref-Oxford Dictionary)

Keeping your animals physically stimulated is an obvious importance, but so is mental stimulation. Years ago when I worked as a Zoo Keeper we were educated the importance of enrichment for our animals that we cared for. Physical and mental enrichment was and still is used daily in most Zoos around the world to keep captive animals happy in there captive environment. Enrichment is used to stimulate natural behaviour in Zoos.

For the big cats I cared for I would use something like pate or blood and do a scent trail. Or get some Sheep wool from the farm and hide it within the enclosure. This form of enrichment, scent trailing stimulates the animals natural behaviour like they would in the wild for stalking prey etc.

But its not just for our captive animals in Zoos that need enrichment. Its also our beloved pets. I try daily to bring something new and exciting for the dogs I care for in day care and boarding and also the other animals on visits. I'm sure most owners do enrichment for there animals without even realising there doing it. Like a new walk, where there are lots of new smells or a new toy etc.

I use Kongs and licki matts, which are great for dogs and cats as they stimulate calming hormones, helps promote a healthy mouth as licking stimulates saliva production, and is also a great bordem buster.

In this heat recently I've been freezing kongs and licki matts and have done a massive chicken stock ice block today, which all prove to be successful on cooling dogs and my cat down and keep them stimulated as walks at the moment are either short or not happening due to being too hot. Bubbles are another form of enrichment that i use for both cats and dogs and they love it. Especially my dog!!

Hope this gives you some ideas for your animals and look forward to my busy August x

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