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Dog Food Games for Healthier Hounds
Over the past few weeks, here in Cornwall, the weather has been nothing short of horrific and even our dogs have shown some reticence for their rambles and long walks!
As we know, whatever the weather is doing, it is of paramount importance that we don't let the winter affect the amount of exercise our canine companions get.
Thankfully there is something we can do at our dog’s dinner time that can make up for a little of the lost exercise they might have missed out on when the rain is making things miserable outside, food games.
Now, my mum always told me off for playing with my food, but, for our canine companions, it can provide extra physical and mental stimulation when it’s time to eat, as well as giving them a great way to limit the speed at which they eat if they are needing to watch their weight.
Additionally, these fun food games can be great for dogs who might not be able to exercise, even when the weather is playing ball. Those dogs in their golden years or those that might be recovering from an injury can greatly benefit from a few of these friendly and fun food games, to maintain their fitness and mental agility when a long walk isn't an option.
So, what are these games and how do we set them up to make dinnertime titillating for more than just their tastebuds?
Fun Food Games for Dogs
In this post, we have collated a short list of some of the games we play with our dogs, here at Natural Cornish Pet, however, this list is not exhaustive and if you have any other suggestions of games you play with your precious pooches at dinnertime we’d love to hear about them.
Find the Food and Scatter Feeding for Dogs
One of the simplest ways of getting your dog to expend some energy when they are eating is by scatter feeding or hiding their food. This is a great way of utilising a dog’s natural instinct to forage for food and can be done without any additional equipment being needed.
It's best to use dry kibble, such as one of the awesome options from Aflora, for this game (in case of stray food being left unfound until a bare foot finds it!) and generally on hard surfaces or outside, to prevent unwanted mess. Scatter feeding is as simple as it sounds, instead of using a bowl you scatter the food directly onto the floor around the house or garden. Start off small around the area your dog usually feeds and work your way up to bigger areas to increase the amount of exercise and mental stimulation they get.
With hiding food, the same principles apply, but, increases the difficulty for your dog. Try hiding food under small cardboard boxes, plant pots or mats (carpet samples are perfect for this). This game is particularly good if you have a garden as you can really go to town with the hiding, just remember where you put all the food as you won't want to attract unwanted visitors, such as rats!
Towel Burrito Game for Dogs
This is a game I've only recently discovered but is an absolute winner and can keep some dogs entertained for ages. Simply take an old towel, or another piece of material you don't mind being damaged, and set it out flat. Then take a kibble or other dry dog food and scatter it over the towel and roll it up into a sausage, folding it at the ends like a burrito for an extra challenge. This Kibble/towel sausage/burrito is then given to your dog to work out how to get to the tasty prizes inside. Make sure to keep an eye on your dog when they are feeding in this way to ensure they don't rip off and swallow any material.
Puzzle Toys for Dogs and Kibble Stuffing
The most commonly known way of getting your dog to exercise when eating is to utilise a puzzle toy. These perfect playthings are specifically made for making feeding and treating your dogs fun, physically engaging and mentally stimulating.
The Classic KONG is probably the best-known of these toys becoming a gold standard in the dog toy world. These perfect puzzle feeders are durable, unique in their design and available in four fantastic sizes, making them a good option for any size of appetite.
There are also a whole host of other puzzle toys that are available from us, here at Natural Cornish Pet, to keep dinner times as good for your dog's physical and mental well-being as they are for their tastebuds.
So, when the weather misbehaves and your dog doesn't fancy the walk they should be taking, why not try one of these fantastic food games, give them some exercise and mental stimulation when they eat, and keep them in prime condition until Spring?
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