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Celebrating World Animal Enrichment Day

Celebrating World Animal Enrichment Day
November 12, 2023

Every year, we celebrate World Animal Enrichment Day. This special day is a reminder of our responsibility to improve the lives of our beloved companions. At Cedars Veterinary Hospital, we are committed to the health and happiness of pets and we embrace this occasion with open arms. Join us as we explore the significance of enrichment and how it plays a crucial role in the wellbeing of our pets.

Understanding Enrichment

Animal enrichment is a holistic approach to enhancing pets' physical and psychological wellbeing. Enrichment activities stimulate an animal's natural instincts, encourage problem-solving, and provide mental and physical exercise. There are five types of enrichment for pets: social, occupational, physical, sensory, and nutritional. 

Environmental Enrichment for Dogs 

There are many ways to provide enrichment for your pups that will keep their tails wagging.

Social Enrichment
Socializing your dog fulfills their need to interact with people and other pets! 
Examples include:

  • Walk your dog
  • Visit the dog park
  • Playdates with other pups
  • Obedience classes
  • Doggy daycare

Occupational Enrichment
Giving your dog a “job” provides mental stimulation and helps alleviate boredom. 
Examples include:

  • Playing fetch
  • Learning tricks to earn treats
  • Feeding puzzles (also nutritional enrichment)

Physical Enrichment
Encourage your dog to release natural behaviors and energy in a positive, safe way.
Examples include:

  • Various interactive toys
  • Dig a pit in the yard
  • A safe place to run around
  • Comfortable dog bed to rest and observe their surroundings

Sensory Enrichment
Appeal to your pup's senses by providing an environment that stimulates their senses of sight, smell, and hearing.
Examples include:

  • Ensuring your dog has a view outside (or inside) their environment
  • Allowing your dog to sniff during their walks/runs
  • Playing classical music occasionally and at a low volume has been shown to reduce stress in dogs

Nutritional Enrichment
Dogs naturally forage for food so allowing them to do so is important.
Examples include:

  • Food toys
  • Feeding puzzles
  • Hiding treats and having your dog go find them

Environmental Enrichment for Cats 

Cats require stimulation and enrichment to keep them happy and healthy. Here are some examples of different types of enrichment that you can provide for your feline friend.

Social Enrichment:
Cats are social animals and enjoy spending time with their human family and other cats. Social enrichment can include:

  • Playing with your cat
  • Grooming your cat
  • Opportunities to interact with other animals

Occupational Enrichment:
Cats are curious and enjoy exploring their environment. 
Occupational enrichment can include: 

  • Toys that require problem-solving (such as puzzle feeders) 
  • Interactive toys
  • Cat trees
  • Hide treats around the house to encourage your cat to explore and hunt

Physical Enrichment:
Cats are natural athletes and require regular exercise to keep them healthy. 
Physical enrichment can include:

  • Playing with toys
  • Providing climbing structures, such as cat trees or shelves

Sensory Enrichment:
Cats have keen senses and sensory enrichment can provide them with a stimulating and exciting environment. 
Sensory enrichment can include:

  • New smells using catnip or other cat-friendly scents
  • Playing music or nature sounds 
  • Providing a variety of textures, such as different types of bedding and toys

Nutritional Enrichment:
Cats are obligate carnivores and require a diet rich in protein and moisture. 
Nutritional enrichment can include: 

  • Providing a variety of high-quality wet and dry foods 
  • Rotating their food options 
  • Offering treats and snacks that are healthy and nutritious

As you celebrate this day with your pets, remember that small efforts can make a world of difference in their happiness and overall health. Together, we can make every day a celebration of love, enrichment, and compassion for our furry friends.

If you have any questions about enrichment for your pets or would like to schedule an appointment at Cedars Veterinary Hospital, call us today at (732) 477-8711!