by Imogen Lloyd // May 2017
Dogs get bored just like us if they don’t have engaging things to do. Unfortunately, they don’t find watching TV as interesting as we do, so we have to find things that they enjoy doing to keep them entertained.
Most dogs luurve food toys, as they combine their two favourite things! Food toys are designed to be rewarding and engaging for your dog, they don’t need any input from us so they’re great for when we can’t entertain our dogs ourselves. You can use different sorts of food toys to encourage different behaviours. If the dog is feeling active then you can give them a Kong Wobbler, treat ball or busy bottle. These toys are designed to be kicked/thrown about in order to get the food out so are a good way of using the dogs energy by giving them something appropriate to do. Other toys like Kongs encourage dogs to settle down and stay still whilst tucking in and chomping all the food out.
Sooner or later Kite will work out it is easier to lie down whilst chewing her KongQuest.
These can be bought or made quite easily by tying strips of fleece around a rubber doormat with holes in. Simply sprinkle dry food among the tufts and your dog can then enjoy hunting the morsels out.
These puzzle games really challenge your dog’s brain, as they often have several steps for you dog to work out in order to get the food. Also start simple and build the difficulty up to prevent your dog getting frustrated and giving up.
Homemade food toys
You can easily make your dog some great food toys from things that you might normally throw out.
Find a cardboard box big enough for your dog to get their nose in. Put some treats in the bottom and then add plenty of newspaper parcels scrunched up around one or two treats. When the box is full, let your dog work out how to get into the box and find the treats. Bear in mind, there will be a bit of a mess ripping up the cardboard and newspaper, but your dog’s enjoyment will be worth it!
Save the cardboard tubes from kitchen rolls, and fill with newspaper treat parcels, then fold the ends of the tubes over to close. You can also make some holes through the tube to stick chew sticks through.
Small plastic drinks bottles make great food toys. Remove the label, lid and plastic ring and rinse out and dry. Then add some treats and let your dog bite, push and throw it about to get the treats out.
Have fun making your food toys and watching your dog’s enjoy them!