As many of you know, Gremlin has been on crate rest due to her IVDD – so I have been spending the summer trying to up my dog enrichment game! Enrichment is a crucial part of every day with your dog, but even more so when they are confined to a crate and trying to stay quiet and calm! Different enrichment activities offer ways to mentally and physically stimulate your pup!
One of my tried and true favourites is still the Messy Mutts Therapeutic Licking Mat, because it is SO easy. When I’m making the girls dinner or breakfast, all I have to do is spread something yummy on their mats and let them at it! For simplicity, I typically use a mix of canned pumpkin and their raw food to spread on the mat – but you can use canned food, natural peanut butter (no xylitol!) or plain yogurt, too! When it is super hot out, I toss the mats in the freezer first, for a cool treat!
So what exactly is so great about these mats? My favourite feature is that they provide mental enrichment to your dog, and mats help calm and soothe your pet, as licking releases calming hormones (e.g. cortisol!). However, these mats also help slow down your dogs eating, and result in increased salivation, which may aid in digestion and improved dental health!
Other fun and easy food enrichment options include stuffed Kongs or WestPaw toys, snuffle mats, or something as simple as treats in a rolled-up towel!