Enrichment for Dogs

Enrichment allows dogs to perform natural behaviours, provides them the opportunity to exercise control or choice over their environment and enhances well-being.

Try these DIY enrichment activities with your dog at home to provide additional mental, sensory and physical stimulation.

Try dog food puzzles or a Kong. You can fill them with soft treats or kibble, or Google ‘Kong filler ideas’ for inspiration, so your dog has an outlet for natural foraging behaviours. One of our favourites is filling a Kong with canned dog food, a bit of Greek yogurt and a dab peanut butter.

Use empty egg cartons, toilet rolls, cardboard boxes or anything else suitable in your recycling pile to hide food in. Searching for food and problem solving to get to it provides mental stimulation for dogs. Supervise your dogs when they first start doing this so you can help them along if they get stuck and just in case they start any habits you do not want them to develop (like eating plastic!). If you are short of time scatter some food/ treats in the grass and let them sniff away.

Grab a muffin tray and put some kibble and soft treats into it, then cover with balls so your dog learns to remove them to get to the food. It’s one way to slow down fast eaters and to get a dog’s brain activated.

Making frozen dog treats at home is easy and your dog will love licking and working away at them. Try freezing their kibble and water in an ice tray and popping out as needed, or some Greek yogurt with an inserted dog biscuit or liver treat.

Dogs love to sniff! Keeping lavender and rosemary plants can have a calming effect on them. Wheatgrass has lots of nutrients and helps with digestion. Mix dog friendly spices like cinnamon with water in a spray bottle and spray in their environment to provide scent variety.

Depending on what your dog is into, providing a sandpit, a pool filled with balls or with water can provide an outlet for natural behaviours. Some dogs love to retrieve balls from a pool filled with water and balls! Or some love to jump into the pool to cool down in-between play sessions with you.

Interact with your dog through play. Most toys are just not as exciting without you! Give your dog a choice of what toy they would like to play with. If they like tug or soft toys make the toy move away from them so they can use their natural behaviours and senses to follow and chase. Have fun with it!

10 Things You Need to Know About Pet Toys and Chewable Products

We love our pets and we want them to have loads of fun, so we buy them lots of toys and things to chew on. Unfortunately, toys and chewable products can lead to injury, expensive veterinary bills and sometimes even death. So what are 10 things you need to be aware of to minimise risk for you and your dog?

One: Pet proof the environment you are in.

You and your pet hang out at different places, right? Your home, your friend’s place, at the local cafe, the park etc. So it is important to scan the environment you are in to look for and remove potential hazards, e.g. items that could be swallowed or destroyed, sharp objects, plastic bags, chemicals etc

Two: Use toys that are of appropriate size for your pet.

Toys that are too small have the potential to be swallowed or become lodged in the throat.

Three: Observe the condition of tennis balls and other toys.

The outer “fuzz” of a tennis ball can cause problems and these thin, hollow balls can be chewed into small indigestible pieces. Discard balls once a change in shape or structure poses a risk hazard. A thicker, sturdier rubber ball (of appropriate size) or a frisbee is a safer solution. Discard toys that start to break into pieces or are torn.

Four: Supervise play with squeaky toys.

Your pet may feel that they must find and destroy the source of the squeaking, which means they could ingest it if left without supervision.

Five: Avoid or alter any toys that aren’t “pet-proof”.

Remove ribbons, strings, eyes or other parts that could be chewed off and/or ingested.

Six: Use rawhide products with caution.

Pieces of rawhide can get stuck in the esophagus or other parts of the digestive tract.

Seven: Select appropriate type and sized bones for your dog and only feed under supervision.

Only raw bones should be given to dogs as cooked bones can splinter and become choking hazards. The RSPCA recommends that bones must be large enough so that the dog cannot fit the whole bone in its mouth or swallow the bone whole. They also advise to avoid large marrow bones (these have very thick outer rims), T-bones, ‘chop’ bones e.g. lamb cutlets, large knuckle bones and bones sawn lengthwise (as done by some butchers) as dogs may crack their teeth on these, and to always feed bones under supervision. As the bone decreases in size, discard it, and any parts that fall off it, so they cannot be swallowed.

Eight: Consider whether toys/ chewable products are suitable to be left with your pet without supervision.

Remove any items that could become a hazard. Products with high durability and of the appropriate size are the safest options. The Humane Society of the United States recommends as one option, durable rubber toys for dogs, such as Kongs or Nylabones.

Nine: Don’t forget the stuffing.

The Humane Society of the United States recommends checking the labels on stuffed toys to see that they are labeled as safe for children under three years of age and that they don’t contain any dangerous fillings. They advise that problem fillings include nutshells and polystyrene beads, but even “safe” stuffings aren’t truly digestible. Remember that soft toys are not indestructible, but some are sturdier than others.

Ten: Discuss near misses and incidents with family and other dog owners.

This will help other family members and pet owners to become aware of potential hazards. Plus, sometimes we don’t realise something is a hazard until we hear about a near miss or incident.

Anzac Day Dog Play & Social Sessions

Treat your dog to an Anzac Day Dog Play & Social Session.

We are taking dogs to Bellambi Beach for a run, play and social session . Cost is $40 which includes:

  • Pick up and drop off (suburbs between Coniston to Austinmer)
  • 1.5 hours of fun
  • Treats for good behaviour
  • Ball games for those that like them

Book now by emailing eva@tabbyandpooch.com.au or phone 0481 254 853.

Puppy socialisation

Puppy socialisation is important to help your pup adjust to new experiences in a positive way and helps to shape proper behaviours for a well-behaved and balanced adult dog. 

The crucial period for socialisation is about three to seventeen weeks of age.

Some important parts to socialisation include allowing puppies to:

  • Be petted by many and a variety of humans;
  • Engage and play with other puppies so they learn how to meet and greet, and learn the difference between ‘play bite’ and real biting;
  • Learn how to be recalled by you when they are distracted by another dog, human, object or sound;
  • Have positive experiences with different people, dogs and environments.

Whether you attend a structured socialisation session through a puppy school, an unstructured one with friends and other pet owners, or a combination of both (recommended to give your puppy maximum exposure), it is important to ensure your puppy and other puppies are appropriately vaccinated. Your vet will provide guidance on when it is safe for your puppy to start socialising with other dogs.

As your puppy gets older, pack dog walking and doggy day care sessions are great ways to regularly continue their socialising with other dogs.

Useful websites on puppy socialisation:

http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/getting-a-dog-or-puppy/general-advice-about-caring-for-your-new-puppy-or-dog/puppy-socialisation/

http://www.thepuppyplan.com/

 

Quick and easy Chicken and Vegetable dog food recipe

There are many benefits to making a homemade meal for your dog. You know exactly what is going into your dog’s bowl, you can create meals that contain your dog’s favourite ingredients, and it’s a great way to add variety to your dog’s diet.

Today we share a quick and easy dog food recipe containing only five ingredients that takes less than 20 minutes to prepare. You can separate the dish into portions and freeze some for later, or refrigerate if your dog/s will consume within a few days.

Happy preparation! Your dog will love you for it.