DIY Indoor Enrichment
There are so many different enrichment toys out there to purchase, but sometimes making them can be more fun and save you some money!...
There are so many different enrichment toys out there to purchase, but sometimes making them can be more fun and save you some money! These DIY enrichment crafts can all be used for dogs or cats, unless specifically noted. Cats need enrichment just like dogs, and you might be surprised what your feline companion is interested in!
After trying some of these ideas, you may find different ways to change up the enrichment to cater to your pet’s specific needs, by making them more easy or difficult. Always monitor you pet when giving new enrichment for safety purposes - plus it’s fun to watch! These DIY enrichment crafts are purrfect for the winter months to help keep your pet engaged!
Snuffle Mat – You need: Fleece, Scissors, Rubber Sink Mat (with holes), Treats
1. Cut fleece into small strips, about ½”-1” wide and about 4”-6” long. Cut enough to fill each hole in the mat, plus some extra just in case.
2. Cut the sink mat to whatever size you prefer (smaller dog or cat = smaller mat).
3. Thread a strip of fleece from (front to back) into a hole in the corner of the sink mat. Bring the two ends together and tie a simple knot. The long ends should be facing you, with the back of the mat being smooth.
4. Continue to tie pieces of fleece all the way down the edge of the mat.
5. Once you’ve completed one edge, go back down that same row and tie a piece through the same holes to the next row. continue this until you have fill all of the rows with tied pieces of long fleece. It should look like a forest of fleece, with the knotted pieces filling the holes and gaps.
6. Ideally, when finished, the fleece strips will be 2”-3” long sticking out. Just enough for a treat to be buried down in the fleece, but no too much excess fleece flopped over. (If the strips are too long, you can always cut them shorter after you’ve made the mat.)
7. Bury a couple treats down in the mat and place it on the ground for your pup to sniff and hunt. Don’t forget to let your cat try this too!
*The size of strips completely depends on the mat and your preference, play around with it! If you have a smaller dog, you may want to make the strips shorter so they don’t have to bury their whole head to find the treat.
*The softer pliable sink mats work best for this project. These can be thrown in the washing machine to make for easier clean up.
*Always cut longer strips than you need, because you can shorten them later, but you cannot lengthen them again.
*You can start by having less strips and seeing how your dog handles it. If it is too easy for them, add more to make it harder to find the treats!
Burrito Roll – You need: Towel, Treats
1. Using your preferred sized towel, lay it out flat on the ground.
2. Starting with the short end facing you, line up a single row of treats (or pieces of food!)
across the bottom of the towel.
3. Roll up the towel like a burrito, rolling the row of treats into it, just past the food.
4. Add another row of treats or food and roll again.
5. Repeat step 4 until the whole towel is rolled up in a burrito!
6. Place on floor (careful not to spill any of the treats!) and let your pup work for their delicious snacks!
*For first time pups, let them try the basic burrito to begin and see how they handle it. Once they have mastered that, you can add variations.
*Variations include spacing out the treats, using multiple types of treats, knotting the towel (smaller towel works better) after rolling it up, overlapping multiple towels rolled together, and knotting multiple rolled towels.
Krinkle Kicker – (Cat Toy) You need: A Long Sock, Wax Paper, Catnip
1. Add a small amount of catnip down inside the toe of the old sock. (it needs to be a long sock for this to work)
2. Take a small piece of wax paper and crinkle it up into a small ball. Stuff this down into the toe of the sock.
3. Tie a knot in the sock, leaving a little room in the toe, so as not to squish the wax paper ball.
4. Add more catnip down into the sock.
5. Take a much larger piece of wax paper and roll it like a burrito (you can always cut this down if it’s too long). In the middle, twist the paper burrito about 5 times so it is tight in the center and loose on the ends.
6. Place the long twisty wax paper burrito down in the sock. Add another sprinkle of catnip on top of it.
7. Tie a knot at the top of the sock, making sure not to crush the wax paper burrito. You can double knot here if you are at the end of the sock, but you don’t have to. One solid knot should suffice.
8. If you have more room, repeat steps 1-3 until you reach the end of the sock.
*You can replace the wax paper and catnip as time goes on and it gets worn/kicked down.
*If you don’t have wax paper you can use parchment paper to get the crinkle sound. Wax paper holds up the best. Do not use foil as it doesn’t move in the same way and can be sharp.
*Cats typically love wool, so if you’ve got a long wool sock that would be purrfect for this craft.
Tube Treat Dispenser – You need: Empty Paper Towel Roll, Scissors, Treats
1. Cut 2 or 3 holes in random spots in the cardboard roll. Avoid the ends, and spread the holes out so they aren’t directly across from each other. Make sure the holes are big enough for the treat or food to fall through. You can always break the treats into smaller pieces so the holes can be smaller.
2. Fold one end of the tube. Stand the tube up length wise and you will work on the end that is in the air first. Push one edge down, then push the opposite edge down to meet the first one. You’ll have two points that are flaps. Fold each flap down to create a solid enclosed end of the tub. It helps to crease the cardboard with your fingers when folding these, so they stay in place. There shouldn’t be any gaps in the end.
3. Add treats or food to the tube. Don’t fill it too full - leave space for them to roll around in
4. Repeat step #2 on the other end to completely enclose the tube. Watch for treats falling out of the holes!
5. Lay on a flat surface and push it around to test the ease of accessibility. If you’re finding that the treats aren’t falling out easy enough, you can cut the holes to make them a bit bigger.
6. Let your pet enjoy pushing the tube around to dispense treats!
*If needed, you can add tape to the ends to secure the treats inside. Be sure to watch you pet so they don’t eat the tape.
*Make sure to monitor your pet, especially if they have a tendency to chomp down on things that have food inside. This may not be suitable for some dogs who like to eat their way through everything. You never know until you try! *You can refill through the holes, or by opening one of the ends and resealing it.