I love finding new ways to feed and entertain my Pup. I have a new obsession with silicone products and I’m finding all kinds of canine enrichment applications. It’s a treat to find things that create more play, relaxation, and treasure hunting.
When we feed kibble in a regular bowl, our dogs spend about 15 minutes or less eating each day. Enrichment feeding can take much longer and provide big benefits.
When our dog’s meals and snacks are enrichment games from puzzles we buy or create, this can slow down the eating process and they also get to have fun figuring out how to access yummy foods with different tastes and textures. When we engage our dog’s senses (smell, touch, taste, etc.) this improves their physical, mental and emotional well being.
LICK MATS – These are the most popular options for spreadable food. I like them but I prefer the price, size, and versatility of the alternative silicon products listed further below.
Potholders / Trivets are a perfect snack size to stack in the freezer and can be repurposed for target training. The hole works great with a carabiner attached for the inside of an open door kennel, or exercise pen to condition a dog to enjoy a specific space. They can choose going into the space to enjoy their snack and they can leave if they don’t feel comfortable.
The lime colored silicone is to keep a pan cool, it’s my Pups new favorite. I stuff it with a fish strip, add some dry kibble and wet food or spreadable to seal in the dry and then add a spreadable on one side. It’s a buffet of flavors that lasts a long time. The heart is similar but a smaller portion. The mint green brush cleaning mat has suction cups to adhere to a wall or floor.
I prefer frozen enrichment in smaller snack size portions vs a whole meal portion.
• This allows more opportunities to engage.
• The smaller portion defrosts faster for those that don’t like it so cold.
• I can prepare a bunch on the weekend rather than each day.
TYPE OF FOODS
My Pup has a limited diet, he cannot digest many foods. It’s a never-ending experiment that can be frustrating, however, it has motivated me to learn about canine nutrition. I feed Pekoe a combination of fresh, raw food and some high-quality kibble. When I add new options, I do one food at a time per 24 hours to track what works.
All dogs will have specific individual nutritional needs, I recommend you take time to learn what is nutritious and delicious to for your dog. A good resource is Chow: Simple ways to share the foods you love with the dogs you love by Rick Woodford You can also do a little searching on Facebook for groups that share more details about foods that are healthy and safe for dogs.
- Plain yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Cream cheese
- Baby food
- Promite, Marmite, Vegimite
- Sweet potato
- Almond butter (no xylitol)
- Peanut butter (no xylitol)
- Mashed berries
This list is for inspiration. You need to determine which puzzle feeders and foods are best for your dog. Remember to measure so you don’t under or overfeed.
TIP FOR SPREADABLES
You can do spreadable mixes such as cream cheese, grated carrot, apple, and/or cabbage or peanut butter, banana & oats. If you’re a making a mix, it can help to heat up some of the ingredients before mixing.
I’d love to hear what foods you use and your favorite spreadable products? You can find more ideas and leave comments here.
Your dog’s safety is your responsibility. Send me an email with the subject ‘checklist’ and I’ll send you my free enrichment checklist that includes safety cautions. Reminder – do your research and talk with your veterinarian or a canine nutritionist about any questions or concerns you have with new foods.
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