It’s still hot outside, but school is in session! The animals at Operation Kindness are keeping busy with summer enrichment activities to fill their days, calm their moods and keep their minds sharp. These fun activities are not only great for the animals waiting for homes at our shelter, but they’re also fun to try at home!
What is pet enrichment?
Enrichment activities for animals are activities designed for pet mental and physical stimulation. Enrichment helps animals by reducing stress, increasing socialization and improving overall health.
Ready to show your pet some extra love and excitement? Here’s some of the enrichment ideas we provide to the animals at Operation Kindness.
Dog Summer Enrichment Ideas
Our dogs love play group and playing in the wading pools outside as a way to splash in the sun!
Operation Kindness volunteers make our dogs pupsicles, frozen treats made from frozen peanut butter, yogurt and deli meat. Freeze some up yourself and serve to let your dog enjoy!
Muffin tin puzzles use a muffin tin with treats hidden under tennis balls. Dogs love using their noses to scrounge for their favorite treats!
Bottle Crinklers provide auditory stimulation to dogs. To make one yourself, fill a plastic water bottle with kibble and cover with a sock.
Towel Sushi Rolls are a fun way to use your summer pool towels for a quick and easy enrichment activity with minimal clean up. Dogs use their nose to unroll the towel and find the treats that are hidden inside. This activity uses household items and cleaning up is a breeze. Just throw the towel in the wash! Place the treats in the towel, fold the ends, and roll it up. Increase the difficulty level by rolling up different layers of towels.
Cat Summer Enrichment Ideas
Cats love to play and stay sharp as well! These are just a few fun ideas for activities you can do with feline friends.
Catcuterie Boards use mini frisbees smeared with wet food, catnip and then topped with a crunchy treat. We place these in the freezer for a prolonged treat that cats can lick and bite. (Licking is a stress reliever for cats!)
Save plastic, large sized bottle caps to make more lickable treats for cats. Just fill the cap with wet food or any puree, and freeze.
Save clean, empty toilet paper rolls. Place dry, crunchy treats inside and close the ends up. Cats are encouraged to use their noses and paws to get the treats out. This activity can be made easier by cutting a hole in the middle of the tube for treats to fall out of as the cats are rolling it around.
Using old wine corks, craft feathers or craft puff balls and school glue, we can make a fun, battable toy for cats to enjoy. Once the glue has dried, we “marinate” the toys in catnip!
Baby socks can be stuffed with polyfill and sewn shut. We “marinate” these in catnip and give the cats to hold and kick around.
No matter what you try, your pet will love the DIY summer fun at home!