3 Simple DIY Enrichment Toys To Make for Your Pet

If your pet loves to play with toys but loses interest once the novelty wears off, you may be wondering how to keep them entertained without shelling out a ton of money to purchase new toys. For pets, interactive toys provide mental enrichment that is essential for their health and wellbeing. Enrichment relieves boredom, reduces anxiety, fosters critical thinking, and decreases inappropriate behavior. However, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to provide your pet with an outlet to follow their natural instincts and use their senses and intelligence to solve problems. Our Animal Hospital of Parkland team shares three simple do-it-yourself (DIY) enrichment toys you can make for your pet. 

#1: DIY pet puzzle feeder

Your pet’s active pursuit of food is instinctive, and puzzle feeders are a great way to provide mental stimulation and physical exercise at mealtimes. Puzzle feeders come in all shapes and sizes. Some feelers are round or tube-shaped and release bits of kibble or treats when your pet rolls the toy just the right way. Other feeders have sliders or hidden compartments that stash the food until your pet opens the slots. Regardless of what they look like, all puzzle feeders should challenge your pet to work for their food.

You can make puzzle feeders out of low-cost items you likely already have at home. These feeders can be adapted to increase the level of challenge for your pet. To encourage your pet to work for their food, make one—or all—of these DIY puzzle feeders:

  • Wheel puzzle feeder — Clean and sanitize a round food container with a screw-on lid, and use a utility knife to cut a few small holes in the container’s sides, ensuring the holes are large enough for kibble pieces to pass through. To give your pet an added challenge, glue a slightly larger in diameter lid to the container’s bottom to alter the way that the feeder rolls.
  • Egg puzzle feeder — Using a utility knife, cut a few holes in the top and bottom sections of a plastic egg. Place some kibble inside the egg and snap it closed. If the holes are not large enough for the kibble to fall out as the egg rolls, widen them. Your pet will enjoy batting around the egg to try to get the kibble to fall out.
  • Bottle puzzle feeder — After cleaning and sanitizing a plastic water or soda bottle, cut a few small holes on the bottle’s sides, ensuring the holes are large enough for kibble to pass through. Place some kibble in the bottle, screw on the cap, and let your pet get to work.
  • Muffin tin puzzle feeder — In an old muffin tin, hide a few pet treats under tennis balls placed in the muffin tin wells. Watch as your pet uses their nose and their brain to sniff out the tasty morsels. 

#2: Chewable T-shirt pet toy

When you make a toy for your pet, you can often use items that would otherwise be discarded. If you have a couple of T-shirts that you no longer wear, rather than letting them sit in your closet taking up space, use them to make this fun chew toy for your pet. Simply cut fabric strips from an old T-shirt, wrap them around a water bottle, and tie the strips around the water bottle. Your pet will enjoy chewing the soft fabric and plastic while listening to the crinkly sound the water bottle makes. 

#3: Braided tug pet toy

Head to your closet again, but this time to get supplies to make a DIY tug toy. Grab a pair of stretch leggings you no longer wear. Cut off each leg just under the crotch. Run scissors down each leg’s seam, creating two large pieces of fabric, each about 5 inches wide. Cut the legging’s waist down the back to create a third large piece of fabric about 5 inches wide. Gather the three fabric pieces and tie a knot in the end. Braid the three fabric pieces together and knot them at the end, trimming away any excess fabric. Let the tug o’ war begin!

If you enjoy making these DIY enrichment toys for your pet, try your hand at making the many other toys you can find online. To talk about your pet’s mental enrichment or to schedule your pet’s wellness exam, contact our Animal Hospital of Parkland team.

By |2024-02-14T23:50:50+00:00March 22nd, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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