DIY Enrichment

Enriching our pets’ lives can be as simple as opening a window or tossing a toy. But to get them truly engaged—as engaged as we are in our newfound appreciation for making bread or learning calligraphy—it’s worth taking a few minutes to create DIY projects to pique their curiosity. With some household staples and a few items you were probably going to add to the recycling, you can now cue the dog and cat equivalent of a socially distanced happy hour.

Gloves of Love
This easy-to-make project will satisfy your cat’s predatory drive, increase physical fitness, and encourage appropriate play.
What you’ll need: a fabric glove, catnip, yarn, tissue paper, scissors
What to do: Let the tissue paper sit in a bowl with catnip overnight and then stuff it inside the glove. Tie it closed and either hang it from a door knob or let them chase it around.

Cardboard Castles 
Give your cat an interactive space to play that also serves as a cozy hub for naptime with a castle of their own.
What you’ll need: cardboard boxes, packing tape, scissors, pens
What to do: Cut holes for doors and windows and stack your boxes into the design you have in mind. It can be fun to create a theme (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Frozen, etc.) and decorate the castle accordingly. Note that cats like to climb, so if you are adding more than one level, either ensure it is secure enough to hold your cat’s weight or don’t include an opening. Also note, that cardboard bridges and ramps, while tempting, are not sufficient to hold a cat’s weight, so it’s best to keep those at ground level.

Braided Tug Toys
Take a few minutes to create this tug-o-war toy that will get your dog active and engaged.
What you’ll need: tee-shirts or other clothing/fabric, scissors
What to do: Dogs love items that smell like you, so it will make this toy extra fun if the clothing comes straight from your drawer. Cut 2- to 3-inch slits and then tear into strips. Tie one end together and then braid the strips into a single bundle. Tie off the other end and get ready to play!

Delicious and entertaining, these DIY treats are sure to delight your dog’s senses.
What you’ll need: chicken broth, plain yogurt or mashed banana, muffin tin, kibble
What to do: Fill a muffin tin with a few pieces of kibble and top with the filler of your choice. Freeze and serve!

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